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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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