Country Side View in Spain

Country Side View in Spain The third favorite tourist destination worldwide, Spain attracts every year tens of thousands of visitors. Lots of things to do, snow-capped mountains, pristine lagoons, breathtaking beaches, cosmopolitan cities, a rich historical and cultural heritage, delicious sea food, bullfights, Flamenco shows, classical and gypsy guitar concerts, the land of Don Quixote… these are the images that come to anyone’s mind when the name of this country is evoked. Vacation Rental Homes | Vacation Rental Caribbean

15 Affordable Tropical Destinations for Every Budget

The idea of traveling to a beautiful tropical destination when you’re on a budget may seem like a pipe dream. However, depending on where you’re headed and what style of trip you plan to have, taking a sunny vacation can be a lot more affordable than you think. I’ve compiled some of my favorite tropical destinations (some I’ve visited multiple times), that are awesome for every budget.

Whether you’re a splurger or a penny-pincher, here are 15 budget-friendly tropical destinations!

15 Affordable Tropical Destinations for Every Budget


15 Affordable Tropical Destinations for Every Budget


Palawan, Philippines

The Philippines’ largest and most biodiverse island, the archipelago of Palawan is home to crystal clear waters, limestone cliffs, and tons of nooks and crannies to explore (including an underground river you can’t miss). The beaches here are some of the best in the world, there is over 1200 miles of coastline, the diving is bucket-list level, and you’ll find very friendly people everywhere you go.

Palawan features both land and sea nature reserves, and as it’s a UNESCO heritage site, is mostly an untouched spec of land. Plus, Palawan is a place you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck, with a wide selection of basic resorts and hotels that go easy on the wallet.


Where to Stay in Palawan, Philippines

Hotel Oasis Port Barton is an affordable option featuring an airport shuttle, air conditioning, and continental breakfast.

Hotel Centro is another budget option that is highly rated, and features a restaurant, outdoor pool, and bar.

Read more: The Ultimate Guide to El Nido, Philippines

15 Affordable Tropical Destinations for Every Budget


Riviera Maya, Mexico

Situated on the Yucatan Peninsula’s Caribbean coastline, the Riviera Maya is known for its beautiful beaches, turquoise waters, and delicious food. Here, explore the awe-inspiring Mayan ruins, go snorkeling or scuba diving, check out the towns and local culture, and spend long, lazy days chilling on the beach.

Riviera Maya features popular destinations such as Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, Tulum, and Cozumel, and more quiet places such as Puerto Morelos. Due to the diversity, the Riviera Maya truly has something for everyone, whether you’re looking to take a luxury vacation or stretch your pennies.


Where to Stay in Riviera Maya, Mexico

Hacienda Real del Caribe Hotel is four-star, yet affordable option right in Playa del Carmen. The hotel boasts a swimming pool, courtyard, and is close to shops and restaurants.

Ojo de Agua Beach Front Hotel is a highly rated budget hotel in Puerto Morelos. Situated just off the beach, the hotel has an on-site diving and snorkeling store and even a massage service.

Read more: Top 8 Reasons to Visit Riviera Maya, Mexico

15 Affordable Tropical Destinations for Every Budget


Dominican Republic

Whether you head to the common resort town of Punta Cana, wander around Santo Domingo, or spend your days hanging with the starfish on one of the many secluded beaches, the Dominican Republic has a vibe for you. This lush tropical oasis is home to Los Haitises National Park (full of caverns and forests to explore), whale watching opportunities, and awesome surf.

The second largest Caribbean country, the Dominican Republic is easily accessible from Miami, New York, and many European cities. Not to mention, dollars are usually very strong compared to the peso.


Where to Stay in the Dominican Republic

Tropical Princess Beach Resort & Spa is a great, yet affordable all-inclusive in Punta Cana that features two swimming pools, entertainment, and three restaurants.

If you want to stay in Santo Domingo, Barcelo Santo Domingo is a great choice. Not only is it located in the old quarter, it offers an outdoor pool, hot tub, and even a casino.

15 Affordable Tropical Destinations for Every Budget


Trinidad & Tobago

Tobago is serene, with pristine white beaches, excellent birdwatching, and ample opportunities for relaxation. Trinidad, on the other hand, is carnivals, shopping, and culture aplenty. No matter which of these two Caribbean islands you’re on, “bored” is not a word you hear too often.

In Trinidad & Tobago, try out the Creole cuisine, soak up some history at Fort George, relax on the beach in Store Bay, and visit the Asa Wright Nature Centre.


Where to Stay in Trinidad & Tobago

For a budget stay on Trinidad, check out Inn at 87. This cute inn near the Port of Spain is just minutes from Queen’s Park Savannah, and features air-conditioned rooms.

If you’d prefer to stay on Tobago, Half Moon Blue Hotel in Scarborough is a boutique option featuring an on-site restaurant and car rental service.

Read more: 10 Best Things To Do In Trinidad & Tobago


Kauai, Hawaii

While Hawaii doesn’t usually make the list for most affordable destinations, Kauai is a mostly-undeveloped haven that has options for all budgets. The fourth largest Hawaiian Island, Kauai is a nature-lover’s paradise with waterfalls, a jaw-dropping coastline, tropical rainforests, and so many activity options (definitely bring along some snorkel gear!)

In planning your budget trip to Kauai, I recommend avoiding holidays, and traveling during the relative off-seasons of September, October, April, and May.


Where to Stay on Kauai, Hawaii

Kauai Shores Hotel in Kapaa is an oceanfront option that features a private beach, 6-acre courtyard, and two outdoor pools.

Kauai Beach Resort is a slightly pricier option in Lihue. The property offers a free shuttle service to the airport, 4 bars and restaurants, and each room has its own private balcony.

Read more: How to Travel Kauai on a Budget

15 Affordable Tropical Destinations for Every Budget



A country on the eastern coast of Central America, Belize is a super friendly destination full of national parks, Mayan history, and beautiful coast. While there, I recommend taking a helicopter tour over the Great Blue Hole (or grab your mask and go scuba diving), relaxing on Caye Caulker, kayaking along Glover’s Reef Atoll, and exploring Lamanai, a Mayan archaeological site.

For such a small country, Belize packs a punch, so my recommendation is to plan time for an equal amount of relaxation and exploration!


Where to Stay in Belize

For an affordable stay on Caye Caulker, try out Blue Wave Guest House. This quaint property is just steps from the beach and offers free WiFi and a sun terrace.

Located in San Ignacio, Cahal Pech Village Resort is a rustic option with great views, an on-site restaurant, and lots of activity options.

Read more: 10 Budget-Friendly Honeymoon Destinations



A country as historic as it is modern and as urban as it is natural, Thailand is full of beautiful temples, awesome beaches, friendly people, and drool-worthy cuisine. Like many places in southeast Asia, a dollar will go a long way in Thailand, and you can easily find yourself spending just a few bucks a night on accommodation.

If you spend time in Thailand’s cities, such as Bangkok or Chiang Mai, expect a fast-paced experience with every amenity within arms reach. Or, if you want a slower, more nature filled experience, then head to one of Thailand’s many islands (Koh Tao, Koh Lipe, and Koh Phangan are all beautiful).


Where to Stay in Thailand

Located in Old Bangkok, Prince Palace Hotel is a 5-star option for a very affordable price. Overlooking Mahanak Canal, the hotel provides an outdoor pool, massage treatments, and a business center.

Castaway Resort in Koh Lipe is a tropical getaway featuring airy bungalows and a bar.

Read more: 10 Best Islands to Visit in Thailand

15 Affordable Tropical Destinations for Every Budget


Rincon, Puerto Rico

A town on Puerto Rico’s west coast, Rincon is most well-known for its beaches and great surf, and is also known as the surfing capital of the Caribbean. Generally uncrowded, expect Rincon to be a quiet, relaxing escape where you can spend your days surfing, scuba diving, hiking, and exploring Puerto Rican culture in the downtown center.


Where to Stay in Rincon, Puerto Rico

Casa Verde Hotel in Rincon is a highly rated hotel just steps from the beach and one of Rincon’s most famous surfing spots.

Serenity Rincon is another great hotel located on a hillside away from city life.


Negril, Jamaica

A town in western Jamaica, Negril is perfect for both relaxation and adventure alike. Seven Mile Beach is known as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, jumping off the cliffs at Rick’s Café is pretty much a rite of passage, and you won’t regret the many jerk chicken opportunities.

For a great day excursion, head out to Ys Falls, just an hour and a half out of Negril. These waterfalls feature swimming pools, a rope swing, and even a zip line overhead.


 Where to Stay in Negril, Jamaica

White Sands Negril is a popular hotel with a variety of accommodation options. The property also has a pool and game room.

Charela Inn is an elegant option with a French-Jamaican restaurant, live entertainment twice a week, and is just steps from downtown Negril.

15 Affordable Tropical Destinations for Every Budget


Roatan Island, Honduras

If you can picture orange sunsets, white sandy beaches, stunning coral reefs, lush jungle, and colorful Honduran culture, then you’ve got Roatan Island in a nutshell. At 31 miles long and 5 miles wide, Roatan is the largest of the Bay Islands, and is well-developed for tourism.

On Roatan, hang out with the sloths and monkeys, eat freshly-caught seafood, snorkel at starfish alley (just don’t lift them out of the water!), and shop for local handmade crafts.


Where to Stay on Roatan Island, Honduras

Paradise Beach Hotel is a popular option in West Bay. The resort has all the amenities and features two outdoor swimming pools.

A slightly more affordable option, Half Moon Resort in Half Moon Bay is surrounded by tropical vegetation, and all rooms come with a hammock.

15 Affordable Tropical Destinations for Every Budget


Little Corn Island, Nicaragua

One of Nicaragua’s most beautiful, and famous, destinations, Little Corn Island is just 50 miles off the mainland, and clocks in at just 1.5 square miles in size. On this car-free island, you can expect farmer’s market stalls, locals playing baseball, incredible snorkeling, and sailing excursions.

Not to mention, Little Corn is a great place to go if you want to practice yoga, or get a massage or facial!


Where to Stay on Little Corn Island

A very affordable, more rustic option, The Lighthouse is a chalet that has a restaurant and terraces.

Hotel Los Delfines is a beachfront property that’s very close to restaurants and shops.

Read more: The Ultimate Packing Guide for Travel Photographers



Panama, also known as the gateway to South America, is a diverse country full of historic cities and towns, lush jungles, and beautiful beaches. While most famous for the Panama Canal, I’d recommend checking out the charismatic Casco Viejo in Panama City, the San Blas Islands, a coffee plantation or two, hiking a volcano (with a guide), and exploring Bocas Del Toro.

Of course, these are only suggestions, get out and explore!


Where to Stay in Panama

An elegant option in Panama City, Plaza Paitilla Inn features a bar, outdoor pool, gym, and panoramic views of the city.

Oasis Bluff Beach is a 5-star, yet affordable option in Bocas Del Toro. The property features a bar and each room has either a garden or a sea view.

15 Affordable Tropical Destinations for Every Budget


Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam

Located in the south of Vietnam and easily reachable via plane from Ho Chi Minh City, Phu Quoc island is a serene escape that remains largely untouched. While the northern part of the island is largely a UNESCO-status national park, you’ll also find beach bars, cafes, traditional villages, and local markets to explore.


Where to Stay on Phu Quoc Island

Lahana Resort Phu Quoc is surrounded by lush greenery and is a great eco-friendly option in Duong Dong.

Phu Quoc Dragon Resort & Spa is right on Ong Lang Beach, has an on-site restaurants, and offers free use of bicycles to its guests.


St. Lucia

While somewhat remote, St. Lucia is a diverse nation that accommodates a variety of budgets (also, it’s one of my faves — I’ve been multiple times!) In St. Lucia, expect to explore old sugar plantations, visit Castries Market, hike around Pigeon Island National Park, get a mud bath at Sulfur Springs, and go snorkeling.

A good budget tip for St. Lucia is to book your visit in May and June, when you’ll get gorgeous temperatures yet miss the hustle and bustle of the December – April high season.

Read more: St. Lucia Travel Guide & Packing Tips


Where to Stay in St. Lucia

Bay Gardens Marina Haven is a highly rated property in Gros Islet. Located just steps from Rodney Bay Marino, the hotel features an outdoor swimming pool, and its own car rental.

Bay Gardens Hotel, also in Gros Islet, features a Creole-style rum shop, a restaurant, and a weekly cocktail party for guests.

15 Affordable Tropical Destinations for Every Budget


Bali, Indonesia

A popular escape full of temples, volcanoes, meditation retreats, nightlife spots, beach resorts, rice paddies, and quaint B&B’s, Bali is a beautiful island in Indonesia that has something for everyone. The food is varied, the atmosphere is welcoming, and the exploration opportunities are plentiful.

That said, Bali is the most popular destination in Indonesia, so if you’re looking for something similar but a bit more quiet, try out the Gili Islands, Nusa Penida, or Lombok.


Where to Stay on Bali

OYO 190 BSB Hotel is a highly affordable option in Blahbatu. This hotel features a garden and a terrace.

For something a little more upscale, but still budget-minded, check out Villa Puspa. The property features a hot tub, a pool, and a kitchen.

15 Affordable Tropical Destinations for Every Budget



The post 15 Affordable Tropical Destinations for Every Budget appeared first on Ordinary Traveler.

Ordinary Traveler

The Universal Edibility Test

Choosing which foods to eat in the wild can either make or break you.

The universal edibility test is a last resort, but it could save your life.

Eating even a tiny bite of a toxic plant can cause extreme gastrointestinal problems, or even death. Survival experts devised this test to determine a plant’s edibility. When in doubt, follow these steps before chowing down. It’s a slow process, but necessary. (Warning: This is for emergencies only. Plan A should always be to positively identify everything you eat.)

  1. Separate the plant into its various parts—roots, stems, leaves, buds, and flowers. Focus on only one piece of the plant at a time.
  2. Smell it. A strong, unpleasant odor is a bad sign.
  3. Test for contact poisoning by placing a piece of the plant on your inner elbow or wrist for a few minutes. If your skin burns, itches, feels numb, or breaks out in a rash, don’t eat the plant.
  4. If the plant passes the skin test, prepare a small portion the way you plan to eat it (boiling is always a good bet).
  5. Before taking a bite, touch the plant to your lips to test for burning or itching. If there’s no reaction after 15 minutes, take a small bite, chew it, and hold it in your mouth for 15 minutes. If the plant tastes very bitter or soapy, spit it out.
  6. If there’s no reaction in your mouth, swallow the bite and wait several hours. If there’s no ill effect, you can assume this part of the plant is edible. Repeat the test for other parts of the plant; some plants have both edible and inedible parts.

Become a survival expert: Sign up for AIM Adventure U’s Outdoor Survival 101 course today. Backpacker

The 5 Best Windshells for Hikers

These featherweight windshells ensure that the weather doesn’t blow your plans away.

Sometimes, a hardshell or a softshell is too bulky and overkill. For those days, a packable windshell is the just-enough layer you need. Keep the breeze and the chill out with these five lightweight wind jackets for hikers. Backpacker

The 7 Best Daypacks for Every Kind of Hike

From quick jaunts to the biggest days, these packs will keep you comfortable no matter how heavy (or light) your load.

A dayhike can be anything, from an after-work stroll to a grueling, dawn-to-midnight mission. However you hit the trail, one of these 7 daypacks is perfect for your done-in-a-day adventures. Backpacker

4 Ways to Pitch a Tarp That Every Backpacker Should Know

For versatility and affordability, nothing beats a tarp. With an 8-by-10-foot piece of nylon, some paracord, stakes, a trekking pole, and a little ingenuity, you can make a shelter to withstand any weather.

Body Bag

This configuration is similar to the classic A-frame, but trades a narrower interior for built-in groundcover.


One tree, one ridgeline, and three stakes: That’s a recipe for excellent wind protection.

Holden Tent

No tree, no problem. This floorless and breathable setup goes up in minutes on a single trekking pole.

The Jordy

Its construction is more complex, but this single-pole setup has a floor, vestibule, and a closeable door. Backpacker

Leave No Trace Confessional: I Killed a Skunk

We’re not going to lie to you: This is bad.

You have some atoning to do.

I was camping in Pennsylvania when a skunk nosed under my tarp. I bolted and it moved on, but it kept coming back. The fourth time, I threw some stones to scare it off—and landed a direct hit, severely maiming it. I knew it wouldn’t survive, so I did the only thing I could think of in the face of its suffering and performed the coup de grâce with a rock. I still feel terrible. What should I have done differently? –Bill Killed, Boulder, CO

Dear Bill,

Sorry, no sugarcoating for you: This is terrible. That skunk was associating you with food or salt; entering your shelter was like visiting a restaurant. This is common behavior for smaller mammals like skunks, raccoons, and marmots, and they can be persistent, as you well know. You weren’t wrong to try to scare her off, but that’s small consolation to the dead skunk. Keeping a clean camp is the first step to avoiding unwanted visitors. But if a critter still sniffs you out, try a non-lethal method, such as banging on your cookpot. If all else fails, a marine-grade air horn should do the trick. It may seem silly to carry something like that in the backcountry, but it’s lighter than regret.

Do The Right Thing

It seems like there was an element of bad luck at play, so we’ll go easy on you. Carry the air horn as penance, and clean up microtrash at every campsite you sleep in to help break the association between hikers and food. If the salty sweat in your shoulder straps, hiking pole handle, or boots will be irresistible, hang your gear in a tree.

Got an LNT confession? Email

For more information about reducing your impact, visit Backpacker

How To Start Your Own Backpacking Tradition

One backpacker shares her secret to maintaining a decades-long hiking streak.

When Dody Kois organized her first women’s backpacking trip in 1987, she had no idea that it would morph into a 33-year tradition—but then again, almost nothing about that disastrous hike seemed worth repeating.

Kois had planned an overambitious route across the Continental Divide in Rocky Mountain National Park, where lightning storms made the trek as frightening as it was fatiguing. One hiker accidentally dropped her sleeping bag down a couloir, which necessitated a torturous retrieval. Half the group got lost (and eventually found, after many unexpected miles of searching).

Yet the following year, Kois called for a do-over. And now, 33 years later, her annual women’s backpacking trip includes the founders’ daughters and granddaughters. “It’s fun to see the babies turn into mountain goats,” says Kois. Plus, campfire conversations run deep. “Marriage, faith, divorce, death, parenting—we’ve shared our hearts together, shared so much adventure together,” says Kois, who credits her outdoor tradition for cementing strong relationships.

Three generations of Kois women gathered on the 32nd annual trip. 

Here are six tips to start your own:

Accept amateurs.

“Don’t wait till everyone’s an expert at backpacking to kick off your tradition,” advises Kois. But do expect newbs to study up (Backpacker is loaded with good advice). She continues, “Don’t assume everyone knows what to bring and how to pack. You’ve got to have explicit conversations about that for each trip.”

Appoint a route designer. 

“I’m a map addict,” admits Kois, who plans out the mileage, trails and campsites for each trip—and by doing so, keeps the tradition alive. Other people can coordinate food and gear, says Karen Koutsoukos, a longtime participant, “But by being the route planner and organizing where we were going ever year, Dody was our rock.”

Stay put on Day Two. 

“Our first year, we made the mistake of trying to cover too much ground each day,” says Kois. Ever since, the group has remained at the first campsite for two nights. That system accommodates varying ability levels: Superfit hikers can climb a peak near camp, while tired participants can read, fish at a nearby lake, or savor the scenery from their camp chair.

The women rest and recreate at their campsite at Boulder Lake in preparation for the next leg of the trip. 

Don’t insist on unwavering participation. 

Even Kois herself had to miss out on a couple of girls’ trips (once when she was pregnant, and once when she was injured). Her mother no longer participates; her daughters join in when they can. “The key is not to pressure group members to honor the tradition no matter what,” says Kois. Flexibility allows each trip to be a fun treat rather than a weighty obligation.

Use each trip to plan for the next. 

“On each hike, the group discusses where to go next,” says Kois. That way, each destination feels like a collective choice, even if one person ends up researching and planning the particulars.

Honor milestones. 

The back of the 30th anniversary t-shirt lists the locations of each trip the group has taken together. 

Kois’s group made t-shirts to commemorate major anniversaries, like the group’s 30 trip. One participant volunteered her artwork for the front; the back listed all their trip locations. Then, says Kois, “We celebrate the tradition by wearing our shirts to the post-hike meal or hot spring.” Backpacker

3 Homemade Breakfast Bar Recipes for Hikers

Prepare the first meal of the day at home and you’ll start hiking sooner—and have on-the-go snacks.

You can skip the boiling water—the Barista breakfast bar packs a cup of Joe on the go.

The Elvis

Sweet, salty, and savory—this bar hits all the right notes. Makes 9 bars

  • 6 strips bacon
  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • ¼ cup peanuts, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup dates, roughly chopped

At home: Heat oven to 400°F. Arrange bacon in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet and cook until very crispy, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool on a paper towel-lined plate. Meanwhile, reduce oven heat to 350°F. Combine bananas, peanut butter, maple syrup, and salt in a mixing bowl and mash until smooth. Chop bacon and add to banana mixture along with the oats, peanuts, and dates, and mix well. Smooth mixture into a greased, 9-by-9-inch baking dish. Bake 30 minutes, then let cool at least 2 hours. Cut bars into nine squares and wrap individually. (Green tip: Swap out plastic wrap for eco-friendly beeswax food wrap. Carry in, carry out, reuse.)

Weight* 1.6 oz.
Protein 9 g

Calories 256

Molé Molé Bars

Upgrade your usual nuts-and-seeds bar with a kick from flavorful Ancho chiles. Makes 9 bars

  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 ½ cups rolled oats
  • ½ cup green pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • ¼ cup Mexican chocolate, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup agave syrup
  • 3 Tbsp. Ancho chile powder
  • ¼ cup coconut oil

At home: Heat oven to 350°F. Pulse almonds in a food processor until roughly chopped (or buy a 6-ounce bag of chopped nuts) and mix well with all other ingredients. Spoon into a greased, 9-by-9-inch baking dish and press down firmly with a spatula or the bottom of a smaller baking dish. Bake 30 minutes, then let cool at least 2 hours. Cut bars into nine squares and package separately.

Weight 2.5 oz.
Protein 7.5 g
Calories 406

The Barista

Each of these bars contains nearly as much caffeine as a cup of coffee—that’s multitasking at its finest. Makes 9 bars

  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1 ½ cups rolled oats
  • ½ cup honey
  • ¼ cup coarsely ground coffee
  • ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ¼ cup chocolate chips

At home: Heat oven to 350ºF. Pulse cashews in a food processor until roughly chopped and mix well with all other ingredients. Scoop into a greased, 9-by-9-inch baking dish and press down firmly. Bake 30 minutes, then let cool at least 2 hours. Cut bars into nine squares and wrap.

Weight 2.4 oz.
Protein 4.5 g
Calories 231 Backpacker