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So the other day I was feeling the effects of all the cold and gloomy weather we’ve been having here in the Northern United States.  So I came up with the idea for a contest to get me somewhere warmer.  Naturally I was most interested in doing it for the cheapest possible, of course!

We’ve had a few good ideas for the best and cheapest way to go somewhere warm, and of course one fine soul who apparently missed the entire point of things and commented:

Do the job yourself lazy a******


One thing that I noticed however is that so many of these Caribbean locations also came with a ton of extra fees on top of the points I’d have to spend.  What good is going somewhere “for free” on a whim when I also have to pay over $200 in fees?!?!  Sure, I could use my Barclay Arrival card to pay for those fees, but I’m not a big fan of paying for things at all if I don’t have to, right?!!?

I noticed that the fees were different depending on where I went, so I thought I’d take a deep look at that to see if I could denote some sort of pattern

Comprehensive Guide to Airport Taxes and Fees

The methodology to determine the Caribbean airport taxes and fees

There actually seemed to be a couple of different ways to figure out the airport taxes and fees.  I used ITA Matrix, but because that’s a site that focuses on paid fares, it was hard to figure out the exact amount of the Caribbean airport taxes and fees.  In the end, I just picked American Airline’s website, put in a sample roundtrip flight from Miami to every Caribbean airport (and then some), clicked through (making sure to pick a non-stop flight as otherwise there can be an additional $5.60 US “9/11” fee), and wrote them down.

Here is my list of Caribbean airport taxes and fees –

CityCountryAirportTaxes and FeesComments
San JuanPuerto RicoSJU$11.20Only $5.60 US Security fee * 2 for roundtrip
Key WestFloridaEYW$11.20Only $5.60 US Security fee * 2 for roundtrip
St. CroixSTX$16.20US Virgin Islands - $11.20 Security fee + $5 US APHIS fee
St. ThomasSTT$16.20US Virgin Islands - $11.20 Security fee + $5 US APHIS fee
LiberiaCosta RicaLIR$46.92
San JoseCosta RicaSJO$47.43
Guatemala CityGuatemalaGUA$55.70
St. LuciaUVF$58.50
North EleutheraBahamasELH$59.10
Marsh HarbourBahamasMHH$59.10
San SalvadorEl SalvadorSAL$60.23
Roatan HondurasRTB$63.10$40 departure tax paid at the airport (not in the ticket, whose fees are only $23.10)
Port of SpainTrinidad and TobagoPOS$64.70
Panama CityPanamaPTY$65.60
St. Kitts and NevisSKB$70.10
St. MartenSXM$75.01
San Jose de CaboMexicoSJD$75.26
Grand CaymanGCM$87.75
Mexico CityMexicoMEX$89.95
Fort de FranceFDF$90.20
Punta CanaDominican RepublicPUJ$105.70
Santo DomingoDominican RepublicSDQ$105.70
Puerto PlataDominican RepublicPOP$105.70
Montego BayJamaicaMBJ$106.11

Difference between a one-way and a roundtrip

Interestingly, some airport taxes and fees are assessed only departing the US, and some are assessed only coming when you come BACK to the United States.  Naturally, if you make it a roundtrip, you tend to get the “best” of both worlds.

For example, here is the list of Caribbean airport taxes and fees for Guatemala City (GUA), which appears about halfway down the list

caribbean-airport-taxes-and-fees-guatemalaSome countries price things all on the return or all on the arrival.  For example, if you take a one-way from Miami to Guatemala City, you only get the $5.60 US “Security Fee”.  If you go from Guatemala back to Miami, that’s where you get the remaining $50.10 (as you might imagine from the fact that $30 of those airport taxes and fees are called “International Departure Tax”.  I guess the Guatemalans (and just about everywhere else) want you to COME to Guatemala, they just don’t want you to leave 🙂

In the Dominican Republic on the other hand, they get you coming AND going.  When going from Miami to Santo Domingo (SDQ) it’s $38.80

  • US Security fee – $5.60
  • Dominican Airport Infrastructure Fee – $16.30
  • Dominican Airport Authority Fee – $15.00

While on the return trip you get charged another $68.80

  • Dominican Airport Infrastructure Fee – $16.30
  • Dominican Airport Authority Fee – $15.00
  • Dominican Airport Departure Tax – $20.00
  • And the US APHIS User Fee, US Federal Inspection Fee and US Customs User Fee – $17.50 in all.


Cheapest airport taxes and fees

As you might imagine, the 2 cheapest airport taxes and fees I found were the two locations that weren’t really “international” – Key West Florida and San Juan, Puerto Rico.  There, you only have the $11.20 9/11 fee (you pay twice, once on the outbound and once on the return). Similarly, if you go to the US Virgin Islands (St. Croix and St. Thomas), you only pay those plus the US APHIS User Fee ($16.20 total).

It would seem that the bare minimum you could get it down to would be $23.10, which is the sum of all of the United States fees.  Unfortunately, there was only one airport (that I found) that didn’t charge any additional fees, that was Roatan, Honduras.  Miles4More has a great trip report of his trip to Roatan, and it is starting to sound tempting… 🙂 (EDIT: Kenny from Miles4More points out in the comments that there is a $40 additional “departure tax” that is paid at the airport and not part of the ticket)

Stay tuned for followup posts on the cheapest airport taxes and fees in other parts of the world!

If you're looking to travel somewhere warm on vacation, here are the best cheap Caribbean ports

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