Are you ready to get out of the house and go somewhere but short on funds? We’ve scoured travel sites to find some truly inexpensive stunning sunny surf and turf trips that won’t break the bank. So, without further adieu, here are the 11 best cheap tropical vacations.
1. Cozumel, Mexico
If you like good weather and great prices, the best time to visit is between late March and June. You can spend all day on a Cozumel beach for free. If you’d rather swim in a pool, buy a day pass at a local luxury resort. You can use the pool and sun chairs and don’t have to pay to sleep there. You can pick up a cheap souvenir and a bite to eat at the local mercado – a little market in the local plaza.
2. Dominican Republic
Visit the Dominican Republic from April through June and enjoy warm weather and discounted rates of up to 50 percent on flights and accommodations. Avoid Punta Cana and Santo Domingo. Instead, avoid the beaten path and stay in Bahia de las Aguilas or Samana. In a lot of places, staying at an all-inclusive resort will save you money because there’s a 16 percent government tax and even a 10 percent service charge added to the check at many of the local restaurants.
3. Palawan, Philippines
June to November is the off-peak/monsoon season. Which means that some afternoons there are heavy but short downpours. If you visit before October, you’ll miss the heavier storms.
The hotels and airlines offer discounts as much as 80 percent. El Nido and Puerto Princesa are right on the coast too. The bungalows are low on luxury amenities but the beaches are free. You can also explore the Tabon Caves and swim in the natural pool at the popular Estrella Falls for free too.
4. Bali, Indonesia
Avoid such southern locations as Seminyak, Ubud, and Kuta. Stay in the central hills or somewhere up north where you’ll pay much less. If you visit in the off-season though, you’ll save money wherever you stay.
While it can be a bit rainy in March and April, you can get great deals on accommodations and airfares from October to April. Veteran visitors confirm you’ll still have “plenty of sunshine” during your stay. You can explore the beaches, mountains, palaces, rice paddies, and temples for free.
5. Luang Prabang, Laos
In Laos, you can grab a quick meal from a street stall for $2.00 or less. Outside of Vientiane, even four-star accommodations will cost you roughly a third less than what you’d pay in Europe. Visit from February through November and you’ll find lowers prices and smaller crowds.
Visit the temples in Luang Prabang for free. Hike nearby Mount Phu Si. You can see the national monuments, the Great Stupa Temple, and the garden of Buddha statues in Vientiane for free too.
6. Koh Rong, Cambodia
The ancient temples in Angkor Wat are famous but if you want an inexpensive tropical vacation, head to Koh Rong. Resort prices here are cheaper than those in nearby Thailand or even Malaysia. If you want to do more than kick back on the beach, fret not. For what you’d spend for a night at the movies, here you can take a full-day boat tour, eat lunch in a local restaurant for an entire weekend, or even rent everything needed for a day of snorkeling.
7. Costa Rica
The best time to save money in Costa Rica is from May to mid-December during the rainy “green season.” The truth is there are still enough sunny days to relax on the beach. Stay outside of the tourist towns–Arenal and San Jose. Most of the national parks charge a low entrance fee but you can spend the day hiking at the Volcano Arenal. Avoid the guided hikes and simply follow the signs. You can also go canoeing, horseback riding, or relax in the hot springs.
8. Koh Samui, Thailand
This popular beach destination experiences its low season from October through mid-December. Avoid rainy afternoons by visiting in early December when it’s drier and sunnier. You can get great prices on both airline tickets and hotels. If you want to go scuba diving or snorkeling off the neighboring isle of Koh Tao visit from March to May (the shoulder season) when prices are great, you will avoid the rough seas and still be able to spot whale sharks close to the coast.
9. Hoi An, Vietnam
This private, romantic ancient trading port is perfect for an affordable tropical honeymoon location. You can explore the entire old town on foot too. It’s mere minutes away from the white sands and turquoise water of Da Nang too. The low season here is between September and March (during typhoon season) so expect heavy but short afternoon rains. You can save 50 percent or more on vacation packages and the beach hotels offer numerous amenities and are especially budget-friendly.
10. Langkawi, Malaysia
This is a 99-isle tropical archipelago in the Andaman Sea. The accommodations here are quite affordable all year. If you visit during the rainy months of September or October, you can save 50 percent. This is actually the best time to go shopping, explore the local caves, check out the stunning seven pools of Telaga Tujuh, stroll the awesome Sky Bridge 660 meters above the verdant rainforest, or hike through the lush mangrove forests of Kilim Geoforest Park all for free.
11. Aruba, Caribbean Sea
The cheapest months to visit this tropical location are September and October when the trade winds are down and the temperature rises. If you don’t mind sweltering heat and spend a lot of time in the water, you can get discounts of 50 percent or more on rooms. Bring your own beach towel and stock up on snacks at the local supermarkets to cut down on costs. Stroll across the California Dunes, explore the famous Balashi ruins, and ride the free tourist trolley through Oranjestad town too.