Getting To & Through The West Indies
Australian Passport Holders Do Not Require A Visa To Enter Any Caribbean Island That We Will Visit For Cricket Or Adventure, Though You Need To Pay A Visa Waiver On Arrival Into Trinidad & Tobago. If You Are Doing Independent Travel, Each Island Has Their Own Limits Of Stay Ranging From 21 Days In Dominica To 180 Days In Barbados.
The Best Reference For All Global Visa Requirements Is VisaHQ
No matter which way you bend it, reaching the West Indies in one go from Australia cannot be done. You need to overnight in the US or Canada and get a connecting flight the next day. Best option is get to Miami (for e.g.) ASAP, overnight there, and pick up a morning flight to arrive during the day into St Maarten; our proposed first stop!
Unless you are travelling on a 'Round-The-World' fare, it is far cheaper buying Melbourne - Miami - Melbourne on one ticket, and Miami - St Maarten - Miami on a separate ticket.
There are near countless multiple daily direct flights from US and Canadian hubs to most Caribbean nations. If you are coming from the UK, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic fly direct into several islands including Barbados and Antigua. You can always fly a US or Canadian airline via their hub, or KLM and Air France from Amsterdam or Paris into our beloved St Maarten. You are not spoiled for choice especially if loyal to an airline alliance.
Research all options using:
The term 'Island Hopping' captivates many and there may be no better waters than the Caribbean to do so even amid the turmoil of thunderous weather if not the blindness of glorious skies to reach your next tropical idyll. Though inter-island flights are included in your Experience if you plan to visit other islands book direct on:
- LIAT - connecting 16 Eastern Caribbean islands, albeit via one or two stops. Use the Multi-City search engine to hop throughout the region, with online bookings through LIAT.com offering the cheapest options.
CARIBBEAN AIRLINES (the original 'BWIA') - Connects the wider Caribbean from Suriname, Guyana, Cayman, Cuba, Florida, New York, and Toronto via their Trinidad or Jamaica hubs. Caribbean Airlines have introduced the 'Caribbean Explorer' which allows you to book 3, 4 or 5 destinations for a fixed price. A return flight to your starting point is included and all travel must be completed within 21 days.
- AIR ANTILLES - Connects the French Caribbean Islands, with Barbados and Antigua, as well as French Guyana in South America. Good Luck with their website!
- WINAIR - Connects the Winward Islands from St Maarten, incl. the world's shortest runway of Saba!
YOUR INCLUDED FLIGHTS
As part of your Australian Cricket Tour To The West Indies 2023 we will include all required inter-island flights. Based on our 'example itinerary' we include LIAT flights from St Maarten (SXM) to Antigua (ANU) to Barbados (BGI) to St Vincent (SVD) to St Lucia (SLU) to St Kitts (SKB).
When buying your inbound flight, and based on you enjoying every day of our 'example itinerary' you should book a return flight (for e.g.) from Miami (MIA) to St Maarten (SXM) and then St Kitts (SKB) back to Miami (MIA).
If you're joining us for 1 Test on one island, then no flights are included.
The Caribbean is not like Greece that has countless ferries connecting every Metaxa distillery north of Africa, which sadly means you cannot 'ferry' between cricket nations.
Primary ferry services connect regional multi island nations of Antigua & Barbuda, St Kitts & Nevis, Trinidad & Tobago, St Vincent & The Grenadines, Virgin Islands, Bahamas, Netherlands Antilles, and French Antilles.
The only company that connects two cricket nations is L'Express des Iles, connecting Dominica and St Lucia via Martinque on Monday, Wendnesday, Friday, Sunday. This 4.5 hour journey has a flat price starting at €49 one-way. You get better information on Dominica Ferry.
There is a ferry from Union Island in the Grenadines to Grenada, but you first must reach Union Island from St Vincent, and of course only if the cricket is being played from St Vincent to Grenada or vice versa.
If you are following cricket independently and if you have time the ferries can get you to where you might want to go, on a day you don't want to go, and may end up a convoluted migraine inducing effort but that's up to you. For us, it's far easier to take a short flight and quick hop to spend more time on the next island!
- A Great Caribbean Ferry Reference is Travellers' Point
It is imperative that you have adequate travel insurance to cover your time in the Islands. Caribbean airlines have a life-long reputation of doing as they please with your luggage or even your flight as we learned in 2015. Due to fly from St Maarten to Antigua to Dominica, the majority of passengers were not going to Antigua so they flew direct to Dominica without one word said. Instead of a 5 hour journey, it was 45mins! That was far from being a problem, I'm only suggesting you may end up somewhere unexpected, which may catch you out!
You may check in your bag and not see it for three days or your flight may be cancelled if there's not enough passengers or inclination to get it off the ground. Admittedly, after 25 years the regional airlines have improved out of sight but cultural DNA is impossible to shake so just make sure you are adequately covered.
SAFETY IN THE ISLANDS
There are not too many places in the world where a Government doesn't offer some kind of 'be safe' advisory so you can relax knowing this is the Australian Government understanding of life in the islands:
"The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade does not produce travel advisories for Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, (St Vincent & The Grenadines), and Suriname, or any of the non-independent Caribbean territories at this time."
Suffice to say, watch your back in Jamaica, Guyana, and Trinidad!