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best Caribbean airports for a speedy travel experience?

best Caribbean airports for a speedy travel experience?

Old Jan 2, 16, 8:59 pm
  #1  
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best Caribbean airports for a speedy travel experience?

Will be traveling to the Caribbean for 3 days and 2 nights, so I really need to minimize my time spent at the airport. Am open to many types of islands and have never been to the region before - really the main priority is a place where we will spend the absolute minimum time at the airport upon arrival and departure.

Can someone give me a sense of which airports get you in and out quickly, and which are likely to be a nightmare? Are there any airports where you can arrive 1 to 1.5 hours prior to departure time, or do all require something more like 2.5-3 hours advance arrival? (I am traveling from the United States, and I do have global entry status.) Thank you.
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Old Jan 2, 16, 9:06 pm
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You will want to avoid U.S. pre-clearance airports like AUA then.

Even at other airports, check-in times may vary by carrier. Will you be checking any bags?
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Old Jan 2, 16, 9:35 pm
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Not checking bags. Yes I'm wondering about Aruba - it caught my eye because it supposedly offers expedited services for global entry members, but still, would the pre-clearance add too much time? I read that it is suggested to arrive at Aruba 3 hours in advance. What is the typical time to arrive for airports that don't require pre-clearance? (Or as you mentioned, does it vary too much by carrier? Perhaps someone with a lot of experience can recommend both the best airport AND best carrier for a quick experience) Thanks!
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Old Jan 2, 16, 9:53 pm
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Thanks. Not checking any bags. I see your point about carriers - is it possible that some very experienced travelers can recommend both the best airports and the best carriers for a quick experience?

I was wondering about Aruba. It offers global entry which should save time (or does it?) but I wondered if the pre-clearance really cuts into time that could be spent on the island rather than doing it when I get back to the U.S.

I read that it is recommended to arrive at AUA 3 hours prior. For airports that don't require pre-clearance, how far in advance must one arrive?
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Old Jan 2, 16, 10:04 pm
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St. Maarten (SXM) is modern and quick. The island itself offers a lot, with two cultures, Dutch on the south, French on the north, with lots of great restaurants. Driving yourself around is easy, with well maintained roads. For a quick trip, it's a good choice.
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Old Jan 2, 16, 11:48 pm
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best Caribbean airports for a speedy travel experience?

I second SXM.
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Old Jan 3, 16, 1:12 am
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Providenciales in Turks & Caicos is pretty quick.

Barbados is fine if you do not need a rental car nor driving permit.

SXM is quick

St. Lucia is average.
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Old Jan 3, 16, 2:18 am
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best Caribbean airports for a speedy travel experience?

I just come back from SDQ and it was smooth getting in and getting out. And you can get to Boca Chica beach in less than 10 mins!
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Old Jan 3, 16, 8:29 am
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Thanks! For SXM - average time it takes to get through immigration upon arrival? And how early would I need to get to the airport prior to departure?

Would it be much better to travel Saturday - Monday rather than Friday - Sunday?
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Old Jan 3, 16, 9:28 am
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Antigua is pretty speedy now. They have opened a new modern airport terminal next to their old one in the last 12 months or so. We were towards the back end of the queue when we we were there in October and got through pretty quickly.
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Old Jan 3, 16, 11:09 am
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best Caribbean airports for a speedy travel experience?

Does Puerto Rico count? No immigration and the ag check is basically non-existent if you only have carry ons.
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Old Jan 3, 16, 2:24 pm
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Moderator Note: I think you will get more information in our "Caribbean" destination forum, so please continue the discussion over there. Thanks.
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