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Are you interested in the best cheap tropical vacations with white sand beaches, breathtaking natural scenery, warm sunshine, and clear blue water?
It’s true that tropical holidays have a reputation for being expensive, but that’s not always the case if you plan ahead.
There are some fantastic, cheap tropical vacations to be had all around the globe. Getting where you need to be at the appropriate moment is of the utmost importance.
If you’re flexible with your trip dates and spend time organizing, you may get incredible savings on vacations everywhere, from the Mayan Riviera to the glistening beaches of Puerto Rico and Thailand. If you’re looking for the best cheap tropical vacations, our top picks will help you decide where to go.
1. Puerto Rico
There are plenty of pocket-friendly ways to explore Puerto Rico, with its lush beaches, crystal-clear waters, excellent food, and historic cities. The weather is warm almost all year round, and if you’re wondering where to stay in Puerto Rico, hotels outside of the best hotels in San Juan Puerto Rico are better for those on a budget. Puerto Rico all-inclusive resorts may also help you save money on eating out.
The cheapest option to explore the island is by renting a car. Public beaches are free to use, and there’s plenty of inexpensive, delicious food options to choose from. Be sure to check out the best beaches in Puerto Rico
>> Check the best deals for tropical vacations in Puerto Rico
2. Cozumel, Mexico
Cozumel is a great destination for the best cheap tropical vacations, with its beautiful white sand beaches and clear, turquoise sea.
Cozumel is more expensive from December to March due to high demand, but you can still have a great time there at a much more reasonable cost and with many more opportunities to save money the rest of the year.
If you’re looking for cheap tropical vacations, visit between late March and early June to avoid the storm season (July through October). There will be pleasant weather and price reductions.
Cozumel’s public beaches are always free, so you can soak in the rays without breaking the bank, and it may be ideal if you’re traveling with your dog. The coral reefs at Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park are the second biggest globally. It’s cheap and effective for scuba diving.
>> Find the best deals for vacations in Cozumel
3. Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic’s peak season is not typically the most cost-effective time to visit, but the months of April, May, and June combine the best of both worlds: pleasant temperatures, plenty of sunny days, and huge savings on hotels and flights (sometimes as much as 50 percent off).
June marks the beginning of the rainy and hurricane season, but storms are relatively uncommon this month, making it an excellent time to take advantage of the best cheap tropical vacations.
Hotels in popular tourist spots like Santo Domingo and Punta Cana are more expensive than in less popular ones like Samana and Bahia de las Águilas.
Eating out may grow pricey because of the 16 percent government tax applied to meals and the 10 percent service fee levied by many eateries. This is why all-inclusive resorts can be a cost-effective option for the best cheap tropical vacations in the US and many other countries.
You can also benefit from insurance companies, such as Pennsylvania travel insurance companies, to help you with expenses.
>> Check the best deals for vacations to the Dominican Republic
4. Palawan, Philippines
Most of the Philippines’ biodiversity may be found on the island of Palawan. Limestone cliffs, pristine seas, and a wealth of hidden spots await you in the Philippine archipelago of Palawan, not to mention the incredible Puerto Princesa Subterranean River.
Palawan is home to some of the world’s best beaches with a coastline of nearly 1200 km. The diving there is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Storms tend to be more intense after September. Thus, arriving earlier in the season is preferable. Cheap tropical vacations may be found at hotels and airlines during this period, with discounts of up to 80 percent off standard pricing.
There is a great variety of low-cost hotels in Palawan, so you can get the most out of your vacation without breaking the bank. If you’re looking for cheap tropical vacations, you may avoid the crowds by traveling between June and November, which is also the monsoon season.
It’s not raining constantly, even during the wetter months. Many establishments, including hotels and airlines, offer steep discounts during this period. The cost of the best cheap tropical vacations has been reduced by as much as 80%, giving you a chance to save a lot of money.
In addition to the natural pools at Estrella Falls and the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center, all of Palawan’s beaches are open and available to guests at no cost.
>> Check the best deals for vacations to the Philippines
5. Bali, Indonesia
Bali is the perfect destination for cheap tropical vacations for people all over the globe. It’s great for vacations with active volcanoes, peaceful temples, exciting nightlife, relaxing spas, and delicious rice paddles.
Located in Indonesia, this beautiful island provides everything for vacationers of all tastes.
Visiting Bali can be a great way to enjoy cheap tropical vacations, but it pays to plan your visit at the right time to get the best deals. Everything is twice the price in the southern parts of the island, where the most popular tourist spots are.
Plan your trip during the shoulder months of March–May. May is a wonderful month with abundant sunshine, in contrast to the often wet months of March and April. There is no cost to enjoy a day at the beach in Bali since all of the beaches are public and open to the public.
Cheap tropical vacations may be had on the island with visits to the numerous temples, palaces, and rice fields without spending a dime.
6. Luang Prabang, Laos
For many years, backpackers have been flocking to Laos, a sure sign that this tropical Southeast Asian country offers great value for the money. Street vendors sell fast, delicious meals for $2 or less, while four-star hotels around the edge of the city cost about a third of what they would in Europe.
The peak tourist season is between December and January, when the weather is dry and pleasant and averages in the mid-20s Celsius. If you’re looking for cheap tropical vacations, planning your visit at a less popular period may save you even more money.
The ancient city of Luang Prabang, now a UNESCO World Heritage site, is one of the most popular travel sites in Laos.
Temples, such as the Wat Xieng Thong temple from the 16th century, which has elaborate wooden carvings and mosaic patterns, and wildlife are all free to explore in Luang Prabang, a city with a mix of French colonial architecture and traditional wooden dwellings. The scenery makes it one of the best cheap tropical vacations.
Hikers and sunset watchers will both enjoy the nearby Mount Phu Si. The capital of Vientiane is known for its delicious street cuisine and free attractions, including the Great Stupa temple and a sculpture park filled with massive Buddha sculptures.
>> Find the best deals for vacations in Laos
7. Koh Rong, Cambodia
Angkor Wat, Cambodia’s historic temple complex, is one of the cheapest tropical vacations for tourists, but the nation also offers plenty of outdoor activities for those seeking adventure. Cambodia is home to verdant highlands, dense forests, and pristine beaches.
Cambodia’s unspoiled and rocky shores make it a great destination for the cheapest tropical vacations since they are less developed and less crowded than those in neighboring Thailand.
Koh Rong is one of the cheapest tropical vacations around, and it is the most populous island in Cambodia. It is a paradise of sandy coves and underwater reefs where visitors can relax and watch a breathtaking sunset or take a speedboat cruise over the crystal clear seas. Making these dream vacation spots the best exotic places to travel.
Koh Rong is one of the cheapest tropical vacations you can take, yet it still offers many of the same attractions as a trip to Thailand or Malaysia.
Here, you can rent everything you need for snorkeling, eat lunch at a local restaurant for three days straight, and still spend less than you would at the movies back home. Because of the budget, it’s the best cheap tropical vacation.
>> Check the best deals for Cambodia vacations
8. Costa Rica
Sometimes, a trip to Costa Rica is not seen as an inexpensive tropical escape. It’s going to be different depending on the time of year that you go. But if you schedule it correctly, you may save a lot of cash, and you might get yourself the cheapest tropical vacation.
May to around the middle of December is considered the “off-season” in Costa Rica. Even though there will be a lot of rain and overcast forest, you shouldn’t allow that to deter you from heading to the beach as there will be plenty of sunny days and mild weather.
One of the cheapest tropical vacations you can take is to go trekking in Volcano Arenal in Costa Rica. The only expense you will have is the park’s admission charge.
While admission to most national parks in the country does require money, it is rather inexpensive, considering that you may spend a whole day there exploring, kayaking, checking out hot springs, and even horseback riding. These incidents make you take cheap tropical vacations around the country.
If you want to save money on lodging, it’s advisable to avoid popular destinations like San Jose and Arenal.
>> Find the best deals for vacations to Costa Rica
9. Koh Samui, Thailand
Many people know that Thailand has some of the world’s most reasonably priced tropical islands. You don’t have to sacrifice comfort for the cost to get the cheapest tropical vacation in this country.
Koh Samui is widely regarded as one of Thailand’s finest beach resorts. The months of October through around the middle of December are off-peak. While October and November are known for their afternoon showers, December is known for its gorgeous sunshine and lack of precipitation. Generally speaking, the finest hotel and airfare bargains may be found throughout these three months.
If you want to avoid the crowds yet have a decent chance of seeing whale sharks along the shore, the best time to visit is the shoulder season (March to May).
Booking your travel to Thailand at least a month in advance is your best bet for getting the best price, and once you’re there, you’ll find that almost every expense is ridiculously low.
>> Check the best deals for Thailand vacations
10. Hoi An, Vietnam
If you’re looking for a tropical honeymoon destination without breaking the bank, the picturesque town of Hoi An is a fantastic option for many reasons.
It’s far enough from major tourist hubs that you won’t have to deal with crowds, it’s cheap and quiet enough for a romantic getaway, and it’s only a short drive from the pristine beaches of Da Nang.
Hoi An, among cheap tropical places to visit, is a walkable medieval port town straight out of a storybook that’s listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Da Nang, which is just a short drive away, is home to both high-end resorts and more reasonably priced beach hotels.
The months of September through March are considered the off-season for both Hoi An and Da Nang. During typhoon season, the region experiences brief but intense downpours in the afternoon. Travel during this time, and you may save up to 50 percent on an airline, hotel stays, and vacation packages.
>> Find the best deals for Vietnam vacations
11. Langkawi, Malaysia
Trekking through lush rainforests, discovering hidden caves, and never-ending shopping in bustling cities are just a few of the activities available in Malaysia. While it is known for its bustling culture, Malaysia also has beautiful diving spots, golden beaches, and clean waterways.
If you’re looking for cheap tropical vacations all-inclusive, Langkawi is the perfect destination. This cluster of 99 islands in the middle of the Andaman Sea offers an affordable getaway.
It’s a year-round destination with much to do, miles of beach, and cheap lodging.
Rainy September and October are the best months to go since prices drop by half across the board.
The seven pools of Telaga Tujuh, the Sky Bridge (660 meters above sea level above the dense rainforest), and trekking through the mangrove woods of Kilim Geoforest Park are all open and free of charge during this period, making it the best time to visit the island.
>> Check the best deals for vacations in Malaysia
Aruba might sound like a destination for the rich and famous, but this island in the southern Caribbean Sea can be great for budget beach vacations, too.
Choosing the right time to visit Aruba is essential for saving money: As the trade winds on Aruba die down in September and October, the island’s temperatures rise, typically remaining over 90 degrees Fahrenheit day and night, making travel during these months a great deal.
Great deals may be found if you don’t mind the scorching weather and intend to spend most of your days in the water. Room discounts of 50 percent or more are common at hotels, and diving boats typically offer packages with further savings.
When compared to the hottest months, June through August are more bearable and still provide significant savings, although at a reduced rate. Grocery shopping in Aruba is convenient since the island has several large stores stocked with food and drinks.
Restaurants near the beach tend to be more expensive than those away from it, and even seemingly little expenses (like renting beach towels) may quickly add up.
Oranjestad’s historic district, the California Dunes, and the Balashi ruins (the site of an ancient gold smelter) are all worth seeing if you want to take a break from the beach.
>> Find the best Aruba vacation deals
13. Riviera Maya, Mexico
The Riviera Maya is a popular tourist destination on the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, renowned for its stunning scenery, clear seas, and delectable cuisine. Experience the local culture, go snorkeling or scuba diving, visit the nearby towns, and spend long, relaxing days on the beach.
Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, and Cozumel are just a few of the well-known tourist spots along the Riviera Maya, but there are also quieter areas like Puerto Morelos.
The Riviera Maya’s variety means that it can accommodate vacationers with a wide range of priorities, from splurging to keeping costs to a minimum.
>> Check the best deals for vacations in Mexico
14. Trinidad & Tobago
Tobago is a tranquil destination with beautiful beaches, fantastic bird life, and plenty of time to unwind. On the other side, Trinidad abounds with carnivals, shopping, and cultural activities. One seldom hears the term “bored” on any of these two Caribbean islands.
Try some Creole food, learn about the island’s history at Fort George, unwind on the shores of Store Bay, and explore the Asa Wright Nature Centre while in Trinidad and Tobago.
>> Find the best deals for visiting Trinidad and Tobago
Belize, a country on the Caribbean coast of Central America, is known for its welcoming locals and awe-inspiring natural and cultural attractions.
There are many things to do in Belize, such as scuba diving or taking a helicopter tour over the Great Blue Hole, kayaking along Glover’s Reef Atoll, sunbathing on Caye Caulker, and seeing the Mayan ruins at Lamanai.
Even though it’s a tiny nation, Belize packs a lot of punch, so be sure you schedule some downtime as well as sightseeing. Flights from the United States are quite cheap, and the cost of living here is low once you arrive here.
>> Check the best deals for vacations in Belize
16. Negril, Jamaica
Located in western Jamaica, the town of Negril is a great place to unwind or go out and explore the island. You won’t regret trying any of the delicious jerk chicken options, and Seven Mile Beach is often considered to be among the world’s most stunning coastlines.
Only an hour and a half from Negril, YS Falls makes for a fantastic day trip. There are bathing pools, a swinging rope, and a zip line above these waterfalls.
>> Find the best deals for tropical vacations in Jamaica
17. Little Corn Island, Nicaragua
Little Corn Island is just 50 miles from the Nicaraguan mainland and is only 1.5 square miles in size, yet it is one of the country’s most attractive and well-known tourist sites. Farmers’ markets, baseball games, world-class snorkeling, and sailing trips are all part of life on this car-free island.
Little Corn is also a wonderful spot to visit if you want to do some yoga, relax with a massage, or pamper yourself with a facial.
>> Check the best deals for Nicaragua vacations
If you’re looking for the best beaches in the world on a budget, cheap tropical destinations are your best bet. From resorts in Puerto Rico to Asian islands, there is something for everyone on this list. No matter where you choose as the best tropical vacation spots, you will find plenty of activities to keep you entertained.
This story was originally published March 1, 2023, 11:30 AM.