Beach Destinations that Offer the Most Bang for Your Buck
A relaxing day at the beach is the perfect vacation that a lot of people visualize when thinking about getting away from it all. It’s somehow even more enjoyable when a cocktail costs a mere fraction of what it would back home and a beach bungalow costs the same, or even less, than a cab fare you’d take just to visit a friend across town.
The following are six beach destinations that are so delightfully cheap, you’ll wonder why anyone so much as considers the crowded and expensive sands of Waikiki in Hawaii or Nice in France. Even better, you can visit them all for under $50 per day!
Vilanculos in Mozambique is perhaps the least known and visited on this list given the lack of attention this beautiful beach has been given. Google travel in Mozambique and you won’t find a ton of information online, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth checking out.
The town of Vilanculos is small and dedicated to fishing. All along the beach you can see fishermen out for most of the day, pulling up to the sand bars that show up when the tide is out, and bringing in their fresh catches by dusk. There is also one dive shop that can take you out to the Bazaruto Archipelago, the area’s claim to fame.There aren’t many other tourists, and it’s not big with the backpackers yet, so get there while it’s still under the radar. Access it by flying directly from Johannesburgto Vilanculos airport.
Just off the coast from Krabi, Thailand, which has its own airport and is easily accessible from elsewhere within the country, sits Railay Beach, famous with rock climbers and lovers of warm waters. It’s a tranquil beach framed by rocky mountains and offers up good diving as well.
Railay has a mixture of bamboo bungalows and more expensive hotel rooms with air conditioning to choose from. “Expensive” in Railay, by the way, is only about $35-50 per night. Finish off with a delicious Thai meal for only a few dollars and you’ll see why so many have fallen in love with this Thai beach. Take a long tail boat to from Krabi or Ao Nang to get there.
Just off the coast from the mainland of Tanzania, Zanzibar is an island with plenty of beaches to choose from as well as Stone Town, a nice fishing town with friendly residents where the ferry docks.
Zanzibar is famous for diving, swimming in the pristine waters, and as the birthplace of Freddie Mercury. Enjoy the day on a boat or on the sand while Masaai men peddle their wares and a lazy breeze ruffles the palm trees.
Hoi An, Vietnam
Hoi An is a great spot not only because of the beach nearby, but also the beautiful old town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, full of temples and pretty architecture. Better yet, the town is famous for its custom clothing, shoes, and bags that you can buy on the cheap. Just a few days is all it takes to walk away with brand new leather boots, a suit, or even a wedding dress.
Vietnamese food, especially from this region, is delicious and cheap as well. It only costs a few dollars to have a fantastic meal and a drink as well. Get there via train or bus from Da Nang, the closes airport to Hoi An.
Caye Caulker, Belize
Though a bit more expensive than the others on this list, it’s worth a slightly higher price tag to get a taste of Caye Caulker in Belize. The diving there is some of the best in the world, boasting the famous blue lagoon, a huge underwater sinkhole, and the second largest barrier reef in the world, right after Australia’s.
The food is all about rice and beans, cole slaw, local seafood for cheap, and fried plantains. For those not into diving, the swim-up bar, the Lazy Lizard, is great for lounging. Locals and tourists alike all hang out together there on Caye Caulker,where the motto is, “go slow.”
Sure, Boracay is a bit touristy, but it’s popular with tourists and locals for good reason –it can be really cheap, it’s absolutely gorgeous, and one can easily spend a month there without even noticing where the time went. Though busy at times, even during high season it feels relaxed. There is plenty of beach to go around and amazing seafood, to boot.
Hire a boat with a few friends and visit the surrounding islands for a relaxed day out, or just sit on the white sand and watch the tides go in and out. There is no wrong way to enjoy Boracay. Get there by flying into Catlican airport and taking a series of busses to your resort or guesthouse.
Each beach above, whether world-famous like Boracay or barely on the tourist radar like Vilanculos, is doable for budget travelers looking to spend less than $50 per day.Some of them are even doable on more like $25 per day, such as Railay and Hoi An. The quality doesn’t suffer, though, because each one has great accommodation options, great food, and a gorgeous beach to enjoy, which is free.
What are some of your favorite cheap and wonderful beaches in the world? What would you add?
Kristin Addis is the solo female traveler behind BeMyTravelMuse.com, a website for off the beaten path adventures! She is also the author of solo female traveler guidebook, Conquering Mountains and How to Solo Travel the World Fearlessly.