Visiting Casinos in the Caribbean
Home to some of the most beautiful tropical islands known to man, the Caribbean is a major vacation destination.
Millions of people visit these island nations every year in pursuit of warm weather, clear blue waters, and sandy white beaches.
Yet another reason why people visit the Caribbean is because it's home to a large number of casinos. Of course, with so many casinos, common questions arise when choosing a gambling destination.
What are the best Caribbean casinos?
How should I plan for a Caribbean gambling trip?
Let's answer these questions and more by discussing popular Caribbean gambling nations, the top casinos, and some tips to remember before you depart.
Popular Caribbean Countries and Territories with Casinos
A small island nation in the West Indies, Antigua is known for their online gambling industry. In fact, they've butted heads with the United States over the latter's internet gambling laws.
Antigua also has several land based casinos within its 108 square miles. King's Casino is one of the most popular, and it's located in the Antiguan capital of St. Johns. This casino offers plenty of slot machines along with blackjack, Caribbean stud poker, and roulette.
Found in Jolly Harbour Township, Grand Princess is the largest casino on the island. It spans over 70,000 square feet, offers a sports book, over 200 slot machines, and more than 20 table games.
Smaller gambling establishments include Royal Antiguan Beach and Tennis Resort at Deep Bay, St. James Club at Mamora Bay, and Casino Rivera at Runaway Bay.
As the spot where stud poker originated, Aruba has an interesting gambling culture. It's also right near Curacao in case you'd like to gamble in both destinations.
One of the most popular casinos is Alhambra since it offers a wide range of table games. You'll find 3 card poker, blackjack, Caribbean stud, craps, double draw poker, Let It Ride, Mississippi stud, and roulette here.
Found in Oranjestad, Crystal Casino offers 420 slot machines along with almost two dozen tables. Another Oranjestad casino worth visiting is Seaport, which has 455 slot machines and nearly as many tables as Crystal Casino.
You'll find a cluster of smaller casinos along Palm Beach, which is on the northern side of Aruba.
The Bahamas is the Caribbean's biggest gambling destination, mainly thanks to the Atlantis Casino on Paradise Island. With over 1,800 slot machines and 800 table games, Atlantis would be well suited to compete in gambling capitals like Las Vegas and Macau.
Crystal Palace Casino, found on Cable Beach, is another large casino with 40 tables and 700 slot machines.
Located on Grand Bahama, the Bahamas Princess Resort and Casino offers more than 30 table games and 400 slot machines. Isle of Capri Casino is also found on Grand Bahama, and it features nearly the same number of tables and slots.
One more Bahaman casino worth mentioning is the Freeport based Crown Royal Oasis, which has over 500 slot machines and more than 40 tables.
Like Antigua, Curacao is another online gambling haven that boasts multiple land based casinos.
The largest casino is the Holiday Beach Hotel and Casino, which is found in Willemstad. It has 300 plus slot machines along with plenty of table games.
The Hill Rose Casino at Trupial Inn at Willemstad is a mid sized gambling establishment that features 100 slot machines, blackjack, poker, and roulette.
Smaller, more intimate casinos found in Willemstad include the Hilton Curacao, and Curacao Marriott Beach Resort & Emerald Casino.
Sharing an island with Haiti, the Dominican Republic features several promising casinos.
The Renaissance Jaragua Hotel and Casino at Santo Domingo not only houses a large amount of slots and table games, but also 5 restaurants. Another popular Santo Domingo casino is Hotel Hispaniola, which offers simulated horse races along with the traditional mix of tables and slots.
Hard Rock in Punta Cana can't be overlooked either since it features 400 plus slot machines and more than 40 table games.
Some of the smaller casinos that you'll find in Santo Domingo include the Barcelo Gran Hotel Lina Spa & Casino, Melia Santo Domingo Casino, and Occidental El Embajador.
While Jamaica is known more for its vacation offerings than gambling, it still has a solid casino scene.
Kingston's Acropolis Gaming and Entertainment Center offers blackjack, craps, roulette, and nearly 200 slot machines.
Other popular Jamaican casinos can be found at the Grand Lido Resort and Spa, Coral Cliff Hotel, and Sunset Jamaica Grand.
This U.S. territory has a dozen casinos, many of which are fine establishments that require a dress code. This includes the El San Juan Resort & Casino, which is one of the Caribbean's most lavish gambling venues.
Spanning 10,000 feet, the Inter Continental San Juan Resort and Casino has many different slot machines, blackjack, and roulette.
Other San Juan based casinos where you'll find slots and table games include the Condado Plaza Hotel, Hyatt Regency Cerromar, Ritz Carlton, San Juan Marriott, and the Wyndham.
Different casinos around the country include the Candelero Resort at Palmas Del Mar, Hilton Ponce Golf and Casino at Ponce, and the Wyndham El Conquistador Resort at Fajardo.
With just over 33,000 residents, this is one of the smaller islands in the Caribbean. Nevertheless, St. Maarten still has a few casinos worth checking out.
The Maho Beach Resort & Casino offers a nice mix of blackjack, craps, roulette, and slot machines. The Princess Casino features many of the same games with the addition of Caribbean stud.
The Atlantis Casino is a nice place for high rollers who want to enjoy VIP rooms.
One of the most unique casinos in the Caribbean is St. Maarten's Coliseum Casino, which lets you gamble in an ancient Roman atmosphere.
If you like betting on sports, head to Lightning Casino, where you'll not only find lines to wager on, but also food, drinks, and numerous TVs.
Top 5 Caribbean Casinos
Located on Paradise Island, Atlantis brings a touch of Vegas to the Caribbean in terms of size and aesthetics.
The casino floor features over 80 tables that offer classics like blackjack, baccarat, craps, and poker. Speaking of poker, Atlantis plays host to World Poker Tour events and the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure every year.
You can also look forward to over 1,800 slot and video poker machines, which is more than any other Caribbean casino.
Step off the main floor and you'll find two smaller gambling locations in The Cove and Sea Glass. You can even gamble online throughout the resort by downloading the Atlantis app on your tablet or smartphone.
The Vegas theme continues with all the different amenities offered at Atlantis. These include: convention space, a golf course, salon, bars, waterparks, marine habitats, over a dozen restaurants, and shopping.
The spa is particularly impressive because it offers 15 treatment rooms, an herbal steam and cedar wood sauna, outdoor whirlpool spa, tea lounges, and a wet table.
You can also check out live performances by famous acts in the Atlantis Ballroom.
Atlantis contains over 2,300 hotel rooms, more than half of which are in the Royal Towers. The Cove Atlantis contains almost 500 rooms, which are referred to as condos.
Artwork lines much of the hotel areas, including sculptures worth millions of dollars.
The views outside of the rooms are excellent, with Paradise Island being close to the Caribbean Sea at all angles.
Paradise Island is on the north side of New Providence, located less than a mile away from Nassau's city center. This gives visitors plenty of things to do away from the resort if they feel like crossing into Nassau.
The only drawback to Atlantis' location is that the airport is on the other side of New Providence.
This means that you have to go through Nassau and beyond to reach the airport. But on the bright side, New Providence is a small island and you won't have many miles to cover.
Despite sharing a name with the hit 2006 James Bond film, St. Maarten's Casino Royale isn't reminiscent of the sophisticated Bond flick.
Instead, it features a vibrant atmosphere that makes you feel as if you're in a Caribbean festival. This is apparent as you approach the casino and see a barrage of flashing lights that blend Vegas with Miami.
The eye catching, tourist appeal continues with the car giveaways, monthly contests, and free cabaret shows offered here.
The biggest treat of all for gamblers includes the 400 plus slot machines and 20 table games found inside Casino Royale.
Casino Royale is strictly a casino, so they don't offer the extensive number of amenities that other Caribbean casinos do.
Aside from a bar, snacks, and the cabaret shows, most of Casino Royale's entertainment comes from the games they offer.
If you're looking for exclusive resorts to stay at hear Casino Royale, Belmond La Samanna, Sonesta Maho Beach, and Sonesta Ocean Point are all quality hotels that offer plenty of amenities.
For those traveling on a budget, Commodore Suites, Flamingo Beach Resort, and Holland House Beach Hotel offer fairly cheap rates.
Casino Royale is located on the southwest side of St. Maarten, within walking distance of Maho Beach.
This casino is close to many of the nightclubs and resorts found in St. Maarten. Casino Royale is also less than one mile from the airport and the Mullet Bay Golf Course.
If you're looking for elegance above size, Puerto Rico's El San Juan Casino is a nice choice. Featuring chandeliers above each table, this venue has a Monte Carlo feel.
The table stakes will remind you of Monte Carlo too because they're higher than average. This will be viewed as a negative for some, but the stakes fit in with El San Juan's strive for refined clientele.
This isn't a casino for tourists who wear khaki shorts and tank tops, with a strict dress code that fits El San Juan's upscale crowd.
But the dress requirements shouldn't scare you away because El San Juan Casino has plenty to offer in terms of gambling and nightlife.
The well designed lobby bar and Brava nightclub are both Puerto Rico hotspots that are great for celebrating big wins.
Part of the Hilton brand, El San Juan Resort & Casino offers plenty of amenities for their wealthy clientele.
Amenities include: a beauty salon, clothing store, day spa, fitness center, gift shop, pool, pool side massages, sight seeing tours, and snorkeling.
The outdoor pool is most impressive because it offers nice views of the ocean, palm trees, and well maintained landscaping.
El San Juan seeks to blend "Miami trendy and classic elegance" with their hotel rooms and suites. We can see this in their rooms, but the hotel isn't as impressive as the casino.
The rooms have a plain feeling with only a touch of Caribbean flair separating them from your average Las Vegas resort room.
Regular rooms offer nice views of the ocean, free Wi Fi, an LCD television, air conditioning, iHome, and an in room safe. The suites have better ocean views and more space than regular rooms.
This resort is located at the northeast end of Puerto Rico, right by the Playa de Isla Verde beach. It's also just one mile from the airport, meaning you'll be at the resort almost immediately after landing.
El San Juan Resort & Casino is one instance where you might consider renting a car because you'll have miles of scenic coastline to travel down.
Like Casino Royale, Alhambra also isn't part of a resort. But it's still worth a visit because this Aruba based casino has over 450 slot machines and a large variety of table games.
Alhambra has a good comp program that sees you earn cashback on slots play, and free spins that can earn you up to $1,000.
As for the vibe of this casino, it's a mixture of elegance and Caribbean flash.
You'll see neon lights outside of the casino along with more lights on the floor. But you'll also find chandeliers, art, and stained glass windows throughout Alhambra too.
Despite being a casino first, Alhambra offers shopping, dining options, and golf.
You can shop at Aruba Aloe, Bijoux Terner Boutique, Shalom Body and Soul Spa, R Glass, The Lazy Lizard, and The Market.
Restaurants include Baskin Robbins, Dunkin Donuts, Juan Valdez Café, Hungry Piranha, TOF Twist of Flavors, Fusion Piano & Wine Bar, and Cioccolato.
Some of the resorts located near Alhambra are Divi Aruba Phoenix Resort, Divi Village Golf and Beach Resort, Divi Dutch Village Resort, and Divi Tamarlin Beach Resort.
The Tamarlin Beach Resort is nice if you love great ocean views and spending lots of time on the beach. Those looking for a private, more exclusive stay will appreciate the Divi Dutch Village Resort.
Alhambra is found on the northwest side of Aruba, just outside the city limits of Oranjestad. Given that this casino doesn't have a resort, it's nice that Alhambra is located in the heart of tourist country.
The coastline location also gives you easy access to many of Aruba's finest beaches, nightclubs, and restaurants.
While the Dominican Republic has many different casinos, none stand out like Hard Rock Punta Cana.
At 45,000 square feet, Hard Rock is far bigger than most Caribbean gambling venues. Within this space you'll find 40 table games and over 400 slot machines.
Texas holdem poker is very popular here, with the annual Punta Cana Poker Classic offering a guaranteed $500,000 prize pool.
This casino also offers a sportsbook, VIP rooms, and an extensive loyalty program.
Hard Rock Punta Cana features all of the amenities that you'd expect from a major casino resort—and then some— including golf, the Little Big Club, Music Lab, salon, shops, and spa.
The Music Lab is worth checking out if you've ever had fantasies about being a rock star.
The Little Big Club is a fun play area that's great for keeping your children entertained while you enjoy the casino's grown up offerings.
Hard Rock offers several different rooms, from the Junior Islander Suite to the Rock Star Suite.
The most basic of Hard Rock's rooms, the Junior Islander Suite offers a double hydro spa tub, balcony, liquor dispenser, minibar, and an LCD TV.
If you go with the top end Rock Star Suite, you'll also receive ironing service, a complimentary beach bag, shoe shine, aromatherapy, free couple's massage, and a Rock Royalty Personal Assistant.
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is found on the southwest side of the Dominican Republic, near the Playa del Arena Gordo beach.
This resort isn't located near any major cities, which is a plus for those looking for seclusion. But if you're hoping to visit other nearby attractions, you won't find much around Hard Rock outside of the resort.
7 Tips for Planning Your Caribbean Casino Trip
Have a Plan for When You Want to Vacation
Some people choose their Caribbean destination based solely based on the cheapest flight and hotel rates. While this is fine if you're on a serious budget, you should also consider other factors.
If you're from a colder climate, the winter is a good time to visit because the Caribbean offers an escape from the snow and ice. This is especially the case when considering that the average winter temperate throughout the Caribbean averages 79 F.
Of course, the winter is also the most popular time for tourists, which isn't favorable if you like peaceful walks on the beach and uncrowded beaches. In this case, you should consider the summer because there are fewer visitors during this season.
You'll also find cheaper rates on hotels and plane tickets in the summer, which is perfect if you want to go island hopping.
On the other hand, hurricane season runs from June to November and affects most of the casino islands, outside of Aruba and Curacao. If this bothers you, then we suggest looking into winter and spring trips.
Even if you plan on spending lots of time in the casino, you never know where a Caribbean adventure will take you. This being said, we highly recommend that you pack extra just in case.
Take extra swimsuits, athletic shoes, dress shoes, bug spray, and sunblock. Even a rain jacket can come in handy when considering the frequent passing storms in the Caribbean.
If you want to save money, pack snacks to take on the trip with you. Very few places in Caribbean resort towns are cheap, and you'll end up paying far more than you bargained for to get supplies and snacks.
Consider how an Island Matches Your Personality
When you're dreaming of big casino wins, sandy beaches, and warm waters, it doesn't seem like individual island vibes matter much. But remember that the Caribbean Sea extends over 1,700 miles, and each nation/territory has its own culture and activities.
If you want to stay active outside of the casino, Dominica and Grenada are good choices due to their rugged terrain.
If you're looking for vibrant nightlife after your gambling sessions, you can't do better than Aruba, the Bahamas, or Puerto Rico.
Research Casinos and Activities Ahead of Time
One thing that many Caribbean visitors aren't prepared for is all of the tourist traps they'll encounter along the way.
Whether it's restaurants or gifts stores, make sure that you're getting good value when visiting a Caribbean country. The best way to ensure that this happens is by doing your research ahead of the trip.
You can find a wide range of websites with helpful information on navigating through different Caribbean countries.
It's especially helpful when you find travel sites with comment sections, where you can read real experiences from others.
Consider Not Renting a Car
If you want to see other parts of an island during your casino trip, renting a car is always an option. But there are drawbacks that you need to consider beyond the car rental price.
First off, some of the islands have you drive on the left side of the road, which Americans aren't used to. Also consider that certain islands like Barbados and Grenada can be difficult to navigate in a car.
One more aspect worth noting is that some countries lack sufficient road signs. This might not be a problem for locals, but it makes the driving experience hectic for visiting gamblers.
See if you can cut costs and still get where you need to go by renting a bike or moped, or just taking taxis.
Don't Let Paradise Make You Burn through Your Bankroll
While you may have the perfect bankroll management plan and follow it to a T at your local casino, the Caribbean has a way of getting people to loosen up with money. This is especially the case if you've had a few cocktails prior to entering the casino.
Don't let the white sands, amazing weather, and delicious liquor convince you to drop your bankroll management plan. Set a budget and limit your access to funds, a.k.a. keep money / cards in your room safe, before you visit the casino.
Beyond gambling, don't let the Caribbean convince you to take up potentially dangerous activities that you've never tried before. Just because you're on an island doesn't mean you should suddenly rent a motorcycle or go hang gliding for the first time.
Choose Your Resort Accommodations Wisely
Don't just choose the first hotel room that you find online at a decent rate. Instead, consider yourself and what accommodations will suit your tastes.
If you get stressed easily on trips and/or are an inexperienced traveler, then an all-inclusive resort is a good way to ease the burden. These include drinks, meals, and extra activities for when you're not gambling.
If you're looking to enjoy the local culture outside of casinos, then choose a smaller independent hotel. The benefit is that you'll get a truly unique experience, while drawbacks are that you won't have as many (if any) food options and you're basically on your own.
When you're traveling with a group, villas can be a cost effective and convenient choice. You can find some villas for less than $1,000, which is a bargain when you're with multiple people and want to enjoy privacy.
If you want the ultimate convenience during your stay, consider one of the casino resorts that we discussed above so that you'll be close to all of the action.
When considering the beautiful scenery and plentiful beaches, you can't go wrong with a Caribbean casino trip no matter where you visit. But if you want to ensure yourself an excellent Caribbean vacation, then we recommend that you follow the 7 tips we've outlined above.
It's especially important to make sure that your destination matches your personality.
You don't want to visit the secluded Hard Rock Punta Cana if you'll be club hopping after gambling sessions. Likewise, don't visit Alhambra in Aruba if you're searching for a low key vacation getaway.
Refer to the 5 casino resorts above for a shortcut when picking your Caribbean casino resort.
Another tip worth reiterating is to not let the Caribbean influence you into blowing your casino bankroll. The tropical weather and vacation feel has a way of convincing gamblers to go past their budget, so don't let this be you.
As long as you stay close to the tips we covered and carefully plan out your trip, then you'll certainly be in for an excellent Caribbean gambling vacation.