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Want to Save Money in the Caribbean? Rent a Villa.


Calypso del Sol, St. John, USVI.

How can I speak the words “Caribbean villa” in these recessionary times? Well, “villa” covers a lot of ground, and in the Caribbean it can mean a cottage, a simple but comfortable house, a very big house, and even those beach side palaces that truly deserve the name “villa.” With a villa, you can take a dip in the pool at midnight or have breakfast and coffee with the songbirds at 5 a.m. You make the schedule, such as it is. And as we enter shoulder season and low season, the prices of a villa go down like low tide.

The reasons to love a house rental in the Caribbean are legion, but money is a major one. Carefully chosen, a house or villa rental should save you a lot of money over the cost of a comparable hotel. Villas are ideal for a group of friends, a family or a multi-generational group, because sharing the cost brings the price down to a point that’s often lower than a comparable hotel. In fact, frequently you can stay at a house that is nicer than any hotel you could afford. The kitchen means that you can save on restaurants, which can be a major financial drain in the Caribbean.


Calypso del Sol, St. John, USVI.

But you get more than savings. You get space. I’m a big fan of any place, large or small, that offers multiple bedrooms, a kitchen, as well as plenty of communal space and privacy. A patio, terrace or deck is great. Even better is a private pool, a good view and access to a decent beach.

There are dozens of villa rental companies out there, but VRBO (Vacation Rental by Owner) shines here, offering hundreds of villa rentals in the Caribbean, like Calypso del Sol on St. John, a short walk to Chocolate Hole Beach. It’s a three bedroom, three bath home with a pool and a covered porch on a hillside with wonderful views. For six guests, rates from April 2 through November 19 are $3,400 per week, or $80 per person per day.

Calypso del Sol, St. John, USVI.

If there is a downside to house rentals, it’s that there’s no one to make your meals or bed (unless you hire a staff for a house, which adds up fast). House rentals shorter than seven nights are also hard to find. And you will often need to factor in the cost of a rental car, which is rarely a necessity at a large resort, to negotiate the often rough roads on islands like St. John or Virgin Gorda.

Minor drawbacks, as far as I’m concerned. The space, the savings, and the freedom make it all worthwhile.

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1 Comment

  1. May 18, 2011 at 9:31 am — Reply

    I totally agree with you when it comes to space, I love to have lots of space. My problem with that is mostly, I travel alone, so no villa for me

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