Caribbean Islands You Can Visit Without A Passport

Experiencing a Caribbean Island is exciting, relaxing and filled with adventure. Getting to the Caribbean destination can be a big hassle, especially international travel which also requires a passport. Luckily, there are awesome Caribbean Islands that Americans can visit without a passport.

Americans can go to these islands without a passport:

  1. U.S. Virgin Islands
  2. Puerto Rico
  3. Florida Keys (yes – Florida Keys are part of the Caribbean!)

There are literally thousands of islands in the Caribbean – each of them with gorgeous settings and dynamite weather so why limit yourself to just the popular islands like Jamaica and The Dominican Republic? Let’s explore the places we can go to without a passport.

Note: The information contained in this article pertains to U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (also known as green-card holders) adults 18 and older.

Starfish laying on beach beside foamy water
Starfish laying on beach beside foamy water

Exactly where in the Caribbean can Americans visit without a passport?

Americans can go anywhere in the US without a passport – this includes US territories. Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands are indeed US territories.

You don’t need a passport, but you do need a valid government-issued photo ID when flying to Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands – just as you would any other US destination.

Government Issued ID

According to the TSA , below are valid forms of government-issued identification:

  • Driver’s licenses or other state photo identity cards issued by Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent)
  • Passport Card 
  • DHS trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
  • U.S. Department of Defense ID, including IDs issued to dependents
  • Permanent resident card
  • Border crossing card
  • DHS-designated enhanced driver’s license
  • Federally recognized, tribal-issued photo ID
  • HSPD-12 PIV card
  • Foreign government-issued passport
  • Canadian provincial driver’s license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada card
  • Transportation worker identification credential
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment Authorization Card (I-766)
  • U.S. Merchant Mariner Credential

Be sure that your ID is valid, meaning it’s not expired or doesn’t expire at least six months before you travel.

Puerto Rico

No passport needed for Puerto Rico – Here are things you should know

Puerto Rico Key Information
Airport • San Juan Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU)
• Mercedita Airport (PSE)
• Rafael Hernandez Airport (BQN)
Archipelago Puerto Rican
Best Beaches • Flamenco Beach
• La Monserrate
• Aurora’s Key (Gilligan’s Island) Crash Boat

For Surfing:
• Rincón Aviones Punta Borinquen
Capital San Juan
Cell Service & Internet In Puerto Rico, there is 4GLTE network. 
Remote areas have spotty coverage.
Climate Warm and tropical 70° – 80° degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year In the central mountainous area, it can go down to about 60 degrees during the months of December and January.
Country United States 
Currency US Dollar
Getting Around Bus & Walking in San Juan, are your best bets.
Rent a Car: Driving cars is not advised, especially outside the city as roads can be treacherous. If you do venture out, take change for the occasional toll.
Taxi: White “turístico” taxies charge fixed rates. Others are metered, that is only if they chose to turn the meter on 🙂
Islands 143 Islands
4 largest islands include:
• Puerto Rico 
• Vieques
• Culebra
• Islet of Old San Juan
Island Group Greater Antilles
Known for • Rum
• Invented piña colada
Language Spanish and English
Legal Alcohol Age 18
Official Website
Passport No
Popular Attractions • Old San Juan – 500 years of history
• El Yunque Rainforest – 28,000 acres of gorgeous waterfall, rivers, and outdoor activities
• Pinones, Loiza –  San Turce, San Juan – art district
• La Parguera, Lajas – local food, shopping, snorkeling, scuba diving, hiking and bird watching • Vieques and Culebra – 2 islands with gorgeous beaches
• Guavate, Cayay to experience food like the locals
• Surfing in Rincón
Safety Travel Advisory 1 (same as US mainland)
Timezone Atlantic Standard Time
US Ambassador N/A
St. John, US Virgin Islands
St. John, US Virgin Islands

No Passport Needed For US Virgin Islands – Here Are Things You Should Know

US Virgin Islands Key Information
Airport • Henry E. Rohlsen Airport (STX) in Christiansted, St. Croix
• Cyril E. King Airport (STT), St. Thomas
Best Beaches • Trunk Bay, St. John
• The Baths, Virgin Gorda
• Magens Bay Beach, St. Thomas 
• Cinnamon Bay Beach, St. John
• Salt John Beach, St. John
• Honeymoon Bay Beach, St. John
• Hull Bay Beach, St. John
• Jack’s Bay Beach, St. Croix
• Sandy Point Beach, St. Croix
Capital Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas
Cell Service & Internet Most carriers do not offer service on the islands
Climate Average winter temp: 77°
Average Summer temp: 82°
Country United States
Currency US Dollar
Getting Around Rent a Car: Drive on the left side of the road, text/driving is illegal.
Islands 54 Total Islands
4 largest islands include:
• St. Croix
• St. Thomas
• St. John
• Water Island
Island Group Lesser Antilles
Known for Tourism & Rum
Language English (official) and Spanish
Legal Alcohol Age 18
Official Website
Passport No
Popular Attractions • Virgin Island National Park, St. John
• Underwater Snorkel Trail, St. John
• Buck Island Reff National Monument, St. Croix
• Cruz Bay, St. John for shopping, dining, sight-seeing
• Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas – boutiques, jewelry, restaurants, entertainment
• Coral World Ocean Park, St. Thomas
• Heritage Trail, St. Croix – historical
• Blackbeard’s Castle, St. Thomas – historical
• 99 Steps, St. Thomas – amazing staircase
Safety Travel Advisory 1 (same as US mainland)
Timezone Atlantic Standard Time
US Ambassador N/A
Florida Keys shorline with yachts and large pier
Florida Keys, Florida

Don’t forget – no passport is needed to visit the Florida Keys! 

The Florida Keys is a part of the US so no passport is needed to visit there. But did you know the Florida Keys are also part of the Caribbean? You can fly, drive, take a ferry or a shuttle to the Florida Keys which makes this island especially easy to travel to.

Fly to Miami

Many travelers like to fly to Miami, rent a car and drive across the Seven Mile Bridge on the Overseas Highway to the Florida Keys. The trip from Miami to Key West is about 125 miles long and takes about 4 hours to the southernmost part of the US – Key West.

Fly to Key West

If you’re like me and just want to get there – you can fly directly to Key West International Airport. It takes about 5 minutes to deplane, claim your luggage and hop in your awaiting transportation (taxi, Uber or trusty friend).

There’s also the Florida Keys/Marathon International Airport in Marathon but it’s primarily personal and charter flights.

7 Mile Bridge from Miami to the Florida Keys

Fly to a Florida Mainland Airport & Take a Shuttle

Another option is to fly to Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and take a Keys Shuttle to the Florida Keys.

Visiting Foreign Caribbean Islands from a Cruise Ship? Take your passport!

When you take a cruise that departs from a US port then travels to a US or US territory port of call (port cities that a cruise ship visits) there is no need for a passport.

When that ship travels to a non-US port of call, you still don’t NEED a passport, but most travel agents will strongly recommend that you have one especially if you plan to leave the ship and sightsee or partake in some excursions. Here’s why…

In the land of rainbows and unicorns, a passport serves no purpose when you’re cruising from a US port. You know, when everything goes right and nothing goes sideways. 

But what happens if the ship leaves without you? It’s not common, but it does happen. Consider any of these scenarios:

  • You lose track of time or your excursion takes longer
  • You get sick while visiting the island, get rushed to the hospital
  • You get lost exploring the island on your own

In any of the above scenarios, you need to find an alternative way home. Most likely, you’ll need to fly off the island to get home. You won’t be able to fly off the island without a passport. 

Yes, you can get a passport from the island but it takes time and more money than getting the passport before you leave since you’ll be paying for expedited processing fees and costs to stay on the island until your passport arrives. So much for a “quick getaway”.

Visiting other Non-US islands? Take your passport!

Once you’re on the islands of Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands or the Florida Keys you may decide to travel to another Caribbean island. Assuming you plan to visit one of the non-US islands, you will need a passport to gain entry to the island.

For example, if you travel from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Puerto Rico, you don’t need a passport. If you travel from Puerto Rico to Jamaica, you do need a passport.

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