5 Virgin Gorda: The Wheel House
Even on Virgin Gorda, in the British Virgin Islands - where accommodations are often aimed at well-heeled travelers - there is hope. It comes in the form of The Wheel House - 12 clean, neat rooms located in Spanish Town, directly across from the Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour. Long a favorite of yachties who possess panache but want to save some cash, this hotel also has a restaurant serving equally affordable fresh seafood and West Indian cuisine. (284-495-5230, www.bviguide.com/stay.html)

6 Dominica: Beau Rive
Located on the lush and wild Atlantic side of Dominica, Beau Rive is still a secret - it just opened in 2003. If you are looking for a beach vacation, look elsewhere (the Atlantic shore is rough and rocky, though the island has 300-plus rivers to swim in). If you are looking for the charming, unspoiled Caribbean, come here. Six suites share a breathtaking panorama (Beau Rive sits more than 200 feet above the sea). Englishman and chef Mark Steele owns the place; after dinner his mom, Josie, often plays the piano. (767-445-8992, www.beaurive.com)

7 Puerto Rico: Hacienda GripiÑas
Paradores are country inns, and Hacienda Gripiñas, near the town of Jayuya in the central mountains, is the real deal; a restored 19th-century coffee plantation and a simple, hospitable home where you might converse on the breezy veranda, absorb a drumming tropical rain, or revel in the sounds of Caribbean countryside. At night you might want to use earplugs - the tiny Puerto Rican tree frog sings through the night. (787-828-1717, www.haciendagripinas.com)

8 St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands: Maho Bay
St. John is a mecca for tropical campers, and Maho Bay Camps is renowned for its environmental bent. Imagine Swiss Family Robinson — lush jungle, a latticework of connecting wood walkways, and 16 x 16 canvas tent cottages on platforms, each with a private deck. Public bathhouses have pull-chain showers, but you are doing your part for the environment. Want to go a bit more upscale, but still stay under $100? Try (off-season) Maho’s cousin. Concordia’s Eco-Tents have more elaborate kitchen facilities and their own showers. (800-392-9004, www.maho.org)

9 Trinidad: Coblentz Inn
Small (16 rooms), colorful (billed as Trinidad’s first boutique hotel), and located right in the capital Port of Spain, the Coblentz Inn was once a hospital, then a nursing home, and now a quiet, nearly unknown escape, complete with an intimate 15-table gourmet restaurant. (868-621-0541, www.coblentzinn.com)

10 Puerto Rico: Playa de PÁjaros or Playa Sardinera
To really get away, go camping on Isla de Mona. Roughly 45 miles off Puerto Rico’s west coast, this uninhabited nature reserve may be the wildest island left in the Car­ibbean. You’ll get dropped off by boat and left to explore the island. Factoring in the transport cost ($100 to $135 round trip per person), it’s still a bargain — camping (you bring your own food and gear to one of two lovely beaches) is $10 per person a night. (For transport, call Mona Aquatics, 787-851-2185. For camping permits, call the Department of Natural Environment/Resources in San Juan, 787-724-8774.)

Ken McAlpine is a frequent contributor to American Way, and also writes for Sports Illustrated and Outside magazines.