When you're cruising the Caribbean, sometimes a hassle-free day at the beach is more appealing than booking a cruise line-sponsored shore excursion or wandering around souvenir shops, sorting through shell art and T-shirts. If you're in the mood for some sun and fun, purchasing a day pass at one of the many resorts lining those gorgeous island shores might just be your best bet.
Resort passes offer all-day access to amenities like pools, lounge chairs, water sports equipment and activities. Some include meals at onsite restaurants, drinks from the bar and transfers to and from the cruise port or, more rarely, daytime use of resort rooms when available. You might even find that certain resort day passes end up being quite affordable compared to booking a private tour or a beach day through the cruise line, depending on inclusions. Just don't forget to factor in transportation costs, if any, when pricing out options.
Below, we've compiled a list of a few popular resorts that offer day passes in some of the Caribbean's most well-known ports.
Editor's note: Prices and amenities listed are subject to change at any time; additional taxes and service charges may apply. Passes do not include use of a room unless otherwise stated.
Sandals Grande Antigua
What's Included: Passes come in three varieties: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., $105; 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., $105; and 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. (full-day pass), $210. Prices include access to all on-property entertainment, meals and drinks. Sandals is a couples' resort for those 18 and older, so no children's pricing is available.
How to Get There: The resort is located 20 minutes from port; take a taxi.
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Starfish Jolly Beach Resort
What's Included: This resort in Antigua offers three day pass options. The standard day pass includes access to the resort from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., a continental breakfast, lunch, beverages and nonmotorized water sports. It costs $75 per adult and $45 for children ages 3 to 11. The all-day pass allows access from 10:15 a.m. until midnight and includes all of the above, plus dinner and nightly entertainment for $97 per adult and $59 per child. Lastly, there is an evening pass for use from 6 p.m. to midnight, which includes dinner, beverages and entertainment, priced at $70 per adult and $42 per child.
How to Get There: Jolly Beach is located about 20 minutes from port; take a taxi.
What's Included: Daytime passes (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) offer access to amenities including the resort's beach (with use of lounge chairs and towels), breakfast and lunch buffet, and snacks and drinks. If your ship is in port late, a full-day pass, for access from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m., includes all of the above, plus a dinner buffet, drinks in the lobby bar and a nighttime show and entertainment for $180 for adults. Kids ages 11 to 18 pay 75 percent of the pass price, those ages 5 to 10 pay 25 percent and kids under 4 years old are free.
How to Get There: Barcelo Aruba is a 15-minute taxi ride from port.
Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino
What's Included: The day passes offered at this Aruba resort include transportation to the resort's private island, as well as lunch, a drink and dessert. Access to the private island begins at 7 a.m., and the last boat leaves at 6:45 p.m.; beach towels are provided. The day pass costs $125 per adult; kids ages 6 to 12 pay half-price and children under 6 can visit the island for free. Food and other amenities are extra.
How to Get There: This resort is just a quarter-mile from the cruise port, and it's walkable.
Atlantis Paradise Island
What's Included: The Aquaventure Water Park day pass is priced at $134 for adults and $93 for children ages 4 to 12. It provides access to the resort's four beaches and 11 pools, as well as its marine life habitats and exhibits. The pass also includes admission to the resort's 141-acre water park, including all water slides and the mile-long river rapids.
Depending on the number of people in your group and the time of year, it may be more cost-efficient to book a room for one day while you're in port; that will allow you access to all resort amenities for one price. Plus, you'll have a place to shower and change.
How to Get There: This resort is a 10- to 15-minute taxi ride from the cruise port.
Beach All Inclusive
What's Included: For $45 ($25 for children, ages 5 to 12), visitors gain access to the resort's beach and three pools from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with use of beach chairs and towels. Use of snorkeling equipment is included, as is participation in scheduled resort outdoor activities. Other water sports, beverages and lunch are available at an additional charge (though adults do get a voucher for a complimentary Starbucks beverage).
How to Get There: From the Nassau cruise port, the Melia is a 15-minute ride by local bus or taxi.
What's Included: For $110 per adult ($55 for children ages 3 to 12; children 2 and under are free), a day pass includes access to the resort's beach, pool, beach chairs, facilities and nonmotorized water sports equipment from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Also included are unlimited alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, lunch and afternoon teatime.
How to Get There: The resort is located 20 minutes from port; take a taxi.
What's Included: The Hilton Barbados is situated on the Needham's Point peninsula, near Bridgetown. From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., day pass holders receive access to two white-sand beaches (including towels, lounge chairs and umbrellas), nonmotorized water sports and use of the facilities, including two pools and a Jacuzzi. The day pass costs $55 for adults (or $27.50 for kids, ages 5 to 12) with lunch and a soft drink at the poolside bar, or $40 for adults ($20 for kids) without lunch; children ages 4 and under are free.
How to Get There: The resort is less than a 15-minute ride by taxi from the cruise port.
Dominican Republic (La Romana)
Casa de Campo Resort and Villas
A day pass at this resort in Casa de Campo offers beach access; towels; use of chairs, nonmotorized water sports and resort facilities; and entrance to Altos de Chavon, a 16th-century replica of a Mediterranean village. The day pass costs $25 per adult and $12 per child, for visits between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Meals and drinks are not included.
How to Get There: The resort is located five minutes from port; take a taxi.
Hilton La Romana
What's Included: Passes here are valid for pool and beach access, food and drinks, and nonmotorized water sports between 10:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. The day pass costs $65 for adults, children 2 to 11 are 50 percent off, and children under 2 are free.
How to Get There: Because this resort is 20 minutes from port, you'll need to take a taxi.
Grand Cayman. While many resort restaurants and spas are open to the public, their beach access is typically reserved for overnight guests. There are a few public beaches and private beach clubs (like Royal Palms Beach Club), however, as an alternative route.
Mayan Princess Beach & Dive Resort
What's Included: Mayan Princess offers two primary day pass options. The San Simon Beach Club Day Pass includes beach access via the resort's San Simon Beach Club, access to resort facilities (including pool areas, lounges, showers and changing rooms), use of beach chairs and umbrellas, and transportation for $35 per person (ages 13 and up; $15 for kids ages 5 to 12 or $10 for those under 5).
The San Simon Beach Club All-Inclusive Getaways Pass, also for the resort beach club, includes everything in the day pass above, along with regular open bar and buffet lunch for $75 per person (ages 13 and up; $35 for kids ages 5 to 12 or $10 for ages 4 and younger). Passes can be upgraded to include activities like snorkeling, diving and ziplining, too.
How to Get There: This resort is a 25-minute ride from the cruise port; round trip transportation is included.
Foster's West Bay Resort
What's Included: The reef-fronted beach outside of Foster's is accessible to day use guests. For just $5 per adult/child (kids under 5 are free), cruise passengers can access the resort facilities, including its shaded palapas; beach chair rentals are an additional $5 each. Or, parties of four or more can upgrade to a day pass that's inclusive of beach chairs, plus round trip ground transfers to the port, for $35 (from Coxen Hole cruise port) or $40 (from Mahogany Bay cruise port) per adult, or $25/$30 for kids under 12; children under age 5 are free.
Add on a grilled lobster lunch to all of those listed inclusions for another day pass package that costs $50 (from Coxen Hole) or $55 (from Mahogany Bay) per adult, or $40/$45 for kids under 12. Snorkeling gear and activities like diving, fishing and horseback riding can be arranged for an additional fee.
How to Get There: It's about a 20-minute ride from the Coxen Hole port, or 40 minutes from Mahogany Bay.
Jamaica (Montego Bay)
Sandals Montego Bay
What's Included: Three types of passes are available: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. for $90, 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. for $105 and 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. (full-day pass) for $195. Rates include all on-property entertainment, meals and drinks. Sandals is a couples' resort only open to 18 and older; no kids are permitted.
How to Get There: Sandals Montego Bay is a 30-minute drive from port; take a taxi.
Sunscape Splash Montego Bay
What's Included: Passes include access to resort pools, water slides, white-sand beaches, activities and games, and nonmotorized water sports. All meals and drinks are also included in the price, which is $80 per adult and $60 per child ages 3 to 12.
How to Get There: Transfers are available for an additional fee. Sunscape Splash Montego Bay is just a five-minute drive from the main port by taxi.
Jamaica (Ocho Rios)
Beaches Ocho Rios
What's Included: Passes include access to resort pools and beach, entertainment, and water and land sports from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. All meals, snacks and drinks are also included in the price, which is $105 per adult and $50 per child (ages 15 and under). A full-day pass (from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.) is available for $210 per adult and $50 per child.
How to Get There: The ride from the Ocho Rios cruise port to the resort takes about 20 minutes by taxi.
Sandals Ochi Beach Resort
What's Included: Three categories of passes are available, providing access from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. for $90, 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. for $105 and a full-day pass (10 a.m. to 2 a.m.) for $195. No kids' rates are available since Sandals is an adults-only couples resort. Rates include access to all on-property entertainment, meals and drinks.
How to Get There: The resort is a 15-minute taxi ride from the cruise port.
El Cid La Ceiba Beach
What's Included: For $48 a person, you get everything an overnight resort guest would, aside from the room. This includes access to the Cozumel resort's beach and pool facilities, plus umbrellas, towels, hammocks, nonmotorized water sports equipment, and unlimited food and beverage for up to six hours. (You may start the pass at any time, though note that beach waiter service concludes at 6 p.m.) For children ages 7 to 11, the pass costs $27, while children 6 and under are free.
How to Get There: El Cid La Ceiba Beach is a mere five minutes from port by taxi.
Hotel Cozumel & Resort
What's Included: Passes here include all food (including snacks) and beverages, and access to the resort's beach and its amenities (including lounge chairs and Wi-Fi), along with use of snorkeling gear and nonmotorized water sports. The pass costs $40 per adult and $20 per child ages 4 to 12 (or $35 per adult through 2019, if you print out and present this Cruise Critic article).
How to Get There: Take a taxi, or walk the 1-mile distance from port.
Puerto Rico (San Juan)
San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino
What's Included: Passes cost $60 per person during the month of September and $80 per person during all other months; kids' rates (ages 4 to 12) are $30 year-round, or free for children ages 3 and under. Passes include access to the fitness center, pool area, lounge chairs and showers. Pass holders also get a $20 food and beverage credit.
How to Get There: A taxi ride from San Juan's cruise port takes just five minutes.
InterContinental San Juan
What's Included: Special spa-focused day passes here cost $80 per adult and include a 50-minute Swedish massage treatment and access to steam rooms, sauna, lockers, showers and relaxation area (serving fruits and teas). Pass holders can also access the pool and the beach, and utilize the chairs. Kids (ages 3 to 14) can also get passes, minus all of the spa inclusions, for $40 apiece. Meals, drinks and transportation to and from the port are not included.
How to Get There: Take a taxi for the 15-minute ride from the port.
St. Kitts Marriott Resort & the Royal Beach Casino
What's Included: Conveniently, this resort offers with-room and without-room options. The cost of daytime use of accommodations varies based on season and availability; rates start at $125 for up to four people (two adults and two kids). Without a room, pay $35 per person; children under 12 get free access with a paying adult.
Either way, pass holders are entitled to use of the resort's beachfront, three pools, lounge chairs and cabanas. Meals, drinks and spa treatments cost extra, but pass holders get a 15 percent discount at the spa, 10 percent discount at the gift shop and a 10 percent discount at the various resort eateries and its beach bar.
How to Get There: From the St. Kitts port, this resort is just 15 minutes by taxi.
Timothy Beach Resort
What's Included: Timothy offers two packages, available from mid-July through November. The standard package, for $36, includes use of the pool, beach chairs and towels, and one entree salad from the lunch menu along with a rum punch, fruit punch, soft drink or local beer. The deluxe pass, for $60, offers all of the above, plus a welcome rum or fruit punch, an appetizer with lunch and two additional drinks from the beach or restaurant bar. Children ages 4 to 12 are admitted for half the price with both packages.
How to Get There: Timothy Beach is located just 3 miles from the cruise port; a taxi will get you there.
What's Included: Holland House offers a package for $25 (it's priced for two guests, or families with small children) that includes four beverages (water, soda or beer) and use of two beach chairs with an umbrella, outdoor showers and Wi-Fi.
How to Get There: It's about a 15-minute walk from the cruise port, or you can take a water taxi to a pier that's about a five-minute stroll away.
Editor's note: Due to 2017's hurricanes, many resorts that formerly offered day passes remain closed for renovations; expect more day pass offerings to become available further into 2019.
Editor's note: Many St. Thomas resorts are still closed and under renovation post hurricanes; look for new day pass information to become available as resorts start to reopen throughout 2019.