10 Top Tips for a Sustainable Caribbean Islands Vacation

You’re booking your dream vacation to the Caribbean Islands! Its palm trees, white sandy beaches and warm turquoise seas are waiting for you! But how do you ensure that when you’re there, your tourist dollars will have a positive impact? Especially on the communities around your resort. In this blog post, we’ve got 10 great travel tips for you. After this, you can enjoy the greatest, most authentic Caribbean islands vacation, in a truly sustainable way.

1.    Offset the carbon from your flights

caribbean airlines carbon offset program

In 2007 Caribbean Airlines became the first airline in the region providing sustainable air travel.

Whilst we all know that we should be reducing the number of flights we take a year, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t fly at all! When you’re planning the flights for your Caribbean islands vacation, you can easily offset the carbon footprint of your journey. Most major airlines now have their own carbon offsetting programs. Projects that are designed to help reduce greenhouse gases, or provide economic and social benefits to communities that they serve.

2.    Stay in sustainable accommodation

round hill hotel villa jamaica

Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Round Hill Hotel & Villas in Montego Bay, Jamaica

While there are tons of all-inclusive resorts that provide a luxurious experience for their guests, what impact do they have on the local communities? To their staff and providers live in? And how do they contribute to the community’s economical sustainability? When you’re searching for your Caribbean accommodation, look for sustainable all-inclusive resorts that have third party verified sustainability programs, such as ALLinVillas, Green Globe, or the Global Code of Ethics. A sustainable and eco-friendly Caribbean islands vacation is simply more fun.

3.    Buy conscious gifts and souvenirs

Oranjestad Local Craft Market

Local Craft Market of Oranjestad on Aruba

No doubt you’ll want to take back some reminders of the incredible time you spent in the Caribbean islands. You can do your bit to support local crafts and industry by choosing to buy your souvenirs from local craftsmen rather than from the resort gift shop. Just be careful not to buy items that come from endangered plants, trees, animals, or corals.

4.    Take a cooking lesson

Caribbean Cooking Lesson Class in Negril Jamaica

Cooking Class in Negril Jamaica

For a lasting taste of the Caribbean, that allows you to recreate delicious Caribbean dishes like Ackee and Saltfish, why not book a cooking lesson? Websites like responsibletravel.com offer lots of great options, like this one in Dominica. They ask all of their providers to detail exactly what they are doing to reduce their environmental impacts and to better their community, so you can be confident that your tourist dollars are helping to generate wealth in the local community.

Or, if you’ve eaten an incredible meal at a local restaurant, why not ask the chef if they’d be prepared to do a personal cooking lesson for you later in your vacation. You could even combine it with a trip to the local market to forage for all the ingredients!

5.    Hire a local guide

Uche's Foot Explore Jamaica

Uche, one of our trusted Jamaican Tour Guides

Hiring a local guide will allow you to have an authentic experience of whichever Caribbean island that you’re on, and will also get you off the beaten track. Plus, you’ll be supporting the local economy by spending your tourist dollars outside of the regular all-inclusive resorts.

Even better, in Jamaica there’s an amazing program called “Meet the People” that will match you up with a local Jamaican with similar interests to your own, to help you feel the real vibe of the island!

6.    Pay a fair price

Fair Trade in Caribbean Tourism

Fair Trade Please! Pay a fair price, not only for a Banana

When you’re buying products from local craftsmen, think about how much time and energy has gone into making them, and what that money is worth to you compared to them. Although nobody likes to be ripped off as a tourist, it’s also important not to haggle just for the sake of it and to remember that the difference of a buck for you and for them might be quite significant.

7.    Sample the local cuisine

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Grill

Tasty Jerk Chicken from the Road Grill

What better way to get the taste of the Caribbean islands than to get out of your all-inclusive resort’s restaurants, and sample some truly local delicacies? Think you’ve tasted the real deal Jerk Chicken? Wait till you try it at a local jerk shack! Not only will this help you to do your bit to support local chefs and business owners, you’re certain to taste the best food, and it will have all come from local farmers and fishermen too, meaning super low food miles!

Eating at local restaurants and supporting local business guarantees the maximum community impact, because not only will the staff wages stay locally, but the business profits will too. Plus, the businesses will be paying local taxes unlike lots of the major all-inclusive chain resorts. This means the tax money can go back into improving local services. Our free Caribbean islands vacation tip: Try the Grills on the Road.

8.    Ask your accommodation how they support the local community

jamaican kids

Support the Communities! Children are our future.

Applying a bit of consumer pressure on your accommodation can have a great effect. And we can all do it! If there’s a customer survey, say that you place importance on resorts that are socially responsible. And if you’re able to speak to one of the managers during your vacation, ask them what they’re doing to help the local economy prosper. If you show them that these are the things you consider when choosing accommodation, you will inspire them to make positive changes.

9.    Bring something to donate

help jamaica donations

HELP Jamaica! Their goal is to establish free library- and education in Jamaica!

If you’ve got some room in your luggage and you have still have some of your kids’ old toys or clothes, or even an old cell phone that you were going to donate at home, why not take them with you so that you can donate them when you’re on your vacation? The local Caribbean charities will be able to make great use out of these things, and they’re likely to be even more valued here than at your local Goodwill store.

A great example is helpjamaica.org. There you can help establish library projects in Jamaica. Their motto is simple and great: Education for a change! Donate or bring your books or computers. This way you make your Caribbean islands vacation sustainable yourself.

10. Capture the local culture

children in Kingston Jamaica exploring a photo camera

Be respectful and you’ll get Respect in return.

If you’re an avid photographer and you love to get up and personal with your subjects, be respectful of them and ask before you take a close up photo. Better still, ask them for their email address and offer to send them a copy when you get home.

We hope you’ve picked up some helpful sustainable Caribbean islands travel tips! If you’re up for having an incredible vacation that benefits the local people then contact ALLinVillas to book your favourite today.

If you’ve got any other sustainable travel suggestions, please let us know.


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