Small Thrills: Flying Low is Part of the Fun of Caribbean Island Hopping

Regional Caribbean Airlines Facilitate Inter-Island Travel

Seaborne Airlines Twin Otter Seaplane
••• Seaborne Airlines Twin Otter Seaplane. Photo by Prayinto/CC by SA 2.0

Most people who fly to the Caribbean do so on a major airline like American, Delta, Southwest, JetBlue, or Air Canada. Once you arrive in the Caribbean, however, you're more likely to be taking a small "puddle-jumper" if your itinerary includes more than one island or if you're final destination is a more remote private-island resort or one of the smaller outposts of a multiple-island chain like Turks & Caicos, the Grenadines, or the British Virgin Islands.

Limited ferry service often means that air travel is your only practical choice for getting to many Caribbean islands.

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And don't expect a big plane, either -- or even a jet aircraft, for that matter. The small, regional airlines serving the islands of the Caribbean. Cayman Airways, for example, flies 737 jets between its Caribbean destinations, but the fleet operated by Mustique Airways is more typical: 19-passenger Twin Otter jet-props, 9-passenger Britten Norman Islanders, and 6-passenger Merlyn Commanders.

Flying in a plane that size is not necessarily for the faint of heart, but flying low and slow can be part of your Caribbean adventure -- especially when you're sitting right behind the pilots or, in the case of Seaborne Airlines, making your island-hop in a seaplane. Bimini in the Bahamas and St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands are just two of the destinations you can reach via seaplane, and it really is a thrill to take off and land on the water.

In an era when most air travel has the glamour of riding in a commuter bus, there's still something cool about arriving at your destination by alighting from a seaplane on a floating dock!

Top regional airlines in the Caribbean include:

Cape Air

Destinations: Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands

Reservations: 800-CAPE AIR

LIAT

Destinations: Antigua, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Martinique, Puerto Rico, St., Croix, St. Kitts, St. Maarten, St. Lucia, St. Thomas, St. Vincent, Tortola (BVI), Trinidad.

Reservations: 1-844-895-5428

Caribbean Airlines

Destinations: Nassau, Bahamas; Montego Bay, Jamaica; Kingston, Jamaica; St. Maarten, Antigua, St. Lucia, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados.

Cayman Airways

Destinations: Cayman Islands; Kingston and Montego Bay, Jamaica; Havana, Cuba; and La Ceiba, Honduras.

Reservations: 800-4CAYMAN

Mustique Airways

Destinations: St. Vincent & the Grenadines (St. Vincent, Mustique, Union Island, Canouan, Bequia), Barbados.

Reservations: 784-458-4380.

Dutch Antilles Express

Destinations: Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, St. Maarten.

Reservations: 599 717 0808.

Insel Air

Destinations: Curacao, Miami, Venezuela, Bonaire, Aruba, Suriname, St. Maarten, Haiti, Dominican Republic

Reservations: 877-546-7352

Seaborne Airlines

Destinations: Puerto Rico (San Juan, Vieques), U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Thomas, St. Croix).

Reservations: 888-359-8687.

SVG Air

Destinations: St. Vincent & the Grenadines (Bequia, Mustique, Canouan, Union Island, Carriacou), Grenada, Barbados.

Reservations: 800-624-1843.

Vieques Air Link

Destinations: Puerto Rico (San Juan, Culebra, Fajardo, Vieques) U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Croix).

Reservations: 888-901-9247.

Western Air

Destinations: Bahamas (Nassau, Andros, Bimini, Freeport).

Reservations: 242-329-4000.

Copa Airlines

Destinations: Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Haiti

Tiara Air

Destinations:: Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Colombia, Venezuela

Vision Airlines

Destinations: Grand Bahama Island (Freeport)

Reservations: 1-877-FLY-A-JET

 

More Airlines:​

Anguilla Air Services (Anguilla)

Trans Anguilla Airways (Anguilla)

Bahamasair (Bahamas) 

BVI Airways (British Virgin Islands)

Aerogaviota (Cuba)

Cubana (Cuba)

Aerolíneas Mas (Dominican Republic)

PAWA Dominicana (Dominican Republic)

Servicios Aéreos Profesionales (Dominican Republic)

Air Antilles Express (Guadeloupe)

Air Caraïbes (Guadeloupe)

Sunrise Airways (Haiti)

 

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Airlink Express (Jamaica)

TimAir (Jamaica)

FlyMontserrat (Montserrat)

Flamenco Air (Puerto Rico)

St Barth Commuter (St. Barths)

Windward Islands Airways (St. Maarten)

InterCaribbean (Turks and Caicos)

 

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