These Caribbean Airports Extend Your Vacation Right Until Takeoff
Punta Cana’s Pool with a Runway View
Swim a lap at this pool, and you can see a jumbo jet pacing you in the next lane over. The VIP Lounge in Terminal B at Punta Cana International Airport has the world’s only runway-side outdoor swimming pool. Grab a drink from the lounge bar, jump in the water, and paddle over to the infinity edge to watch flights take off and land until your own boarding call comes.
The pool and lounge are available to holders of premium class airline tickets, holders of airport lounge pass memberships, owners at the Puntacana Resort & Club, and anyone else willing to pay the $50 fee for access.
Virgin’s Departure Beach in Barbados
Keeping your toes in the sand until the last possible moment is what Virgin Holidays’ Departure Beach, which has a beach bar and lounge chairs arrayed along the shore of Barbados’ Carlisle Bay, is all about. Travelers get picked up at their hotel and have their bags checked and boarding passes printed at the beach, so all you need to do is chill on the shore, jump in the on-site showers to wash off those last flecks of Caribbean sand, then head to the airport when it’s time to bid Barbados farewell. Departure Beach is only available to travelers on Virgin Holidays trips, but we’re sure hoping other airports and tour companies pick up on this fantastic idea ASAP.
Trellis Bay at Beef Island Airport in Tortola
There’s not much to do once you clear security at Beef Island Airport in Tortola, so the smart move is to check in, hand over your bags, then take the five-minute stroll from the terminal to nearby Trellis Bay. Home of Tortola’s famous Full Moon parties, Trellis Bay is lined with a ramshackle collection of shops and beach bars where you can pick up a last-minute gift for someone back home or sip a rum punch or two until it’s time to get to the gate.
Kermit’s Airport Lounge, Great Exuma
Kermit’s is another great place to kill some time after you check in at the airport, in this case Exuma International Airport in the out islands of the Bahamas. Cross the street from the main terminal building to order a cold Kalik and some local Bahamian stewed conch and johnnycakes. There’s no air conditioning, but the outdoor picnic tables at Kermit’s still beat being crammed into the airport’s tiny departure lounge for hours.
Antigua Airport Executive Lounge
The indoor-outdoor airport lounge at Antigua’s V. C. Bird International Airport has a balcony with nice views of Long Island and Maiden Island as well as the airport runway. Shaded cabanas are a nice place to sip a rum punch before your flight; the $60 per person walk-in fee includes up to three drinks and unlimited visits to the buffet.
Sunset Bar and Grill on St. Maarten
The Princess Juliana International Airport might still be in temporary quarters since Hurricane Irma ripped away its roof in 2017, but this fun-loving beach bar and swimming pool complex adjacent to the airfield is back in full party mode, providing shade, rum, bar food, and the best view of one of the wildest airplane approaches in the world (directly over the sand of Maho Beach).
Club Mobay in Montego Bay, Jamaica
Club Mobay at Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, Jamaica, doesn’t have any outdoor seating, but you’ll still enjoy the flavors of Jamaica with unlimited Red Stripe beers and a selection of local food that includes tasty beef, chicken, and vegetarian Jamaican patties. Fast-track privileges through immigration and security mean more departure-day linger time at your resort before heading to the airport.
If you don’t want to pay for Club Mobay access, a nice alternative for island vibes is Air Margaritaville in the airport terminal (past security), a two-level restaurant with a tiki bar, Jimmy Buffett tunes, and fond farewells to Jamaica scribbled on every available surface.
The Graycliff Lounge in Nassau
The Graycliff hotel and restaurant in downtown Nassau is a charming throwback to the Bahamas’ colonial past, and their namesake lounge in Lynden Pindling International Airport offers both fresh air on an outdoor deck and a smoking lounge where you can puff on handmade stogies from the hotel’s on-site cigar factory. The $11 lounge entry fee may be the best bargain you’ll find in Nassau.
This family-owned local restaurant chain is known for its fried chicken and chips and rotis: the latter are Indian curry wraps stuffed with chicken, potatoes, beef, or a combination of all three. Skip the familiar American fast-food outlets at Barbados International Airport, and head for the two-story Chefette in Terminal 1 for a last bite of “Bim” before you go.