Everyone loves a tropical holiday. But with over-water bungalows in the Maldives and Tahiti seeming to be reserved for the 1%, we’re left with a dilemma of sorts: pay the rip-off prices, or buckle down for yet another summer by the backyard inflatable kiddie pool. But it doesn’t have to be this way: there’s a host of affordable beach holidays across the globe, minus the inflated room rentals.
Here’s a few to kick that wanderlust into overdrive.[related_articles]18297,19561,36911,27216[/related_articles] [listicle]
Parque Tayrona, Colombia
Parque Tayrona in Colombia has every base covered: nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, this park is a protected rainforest and a haven of biodiversity. It touches the crystal blue Caribbean with a line of palm-fringed lagoons and beaches, and if you’re looking for an adventure, you can hike into the heart of the park to find the architectural ruins of the Tayrona civilisation.
A smattering of eco lodges and smaller hotels throughout the region make for extremely affordable beach holidays, or you can even hire a hammocks for the night for an extremely modest fee. Be aware, you can only reach the beaches by boat or by foot.
Algarve coast, Portugal
The stunning beaches in Portugal have been popping up all over Instagram lately, and for those seeking an affordable getaway, the Algarve region is waiting with plenty of low-cost areas. It does get busy with holidaying Europeans in summer, but with about 200 kilometres of options along the mostly sandy coastline, you can always find a spot to roll out your towel.
Image: Chrismatos / Flickr
Jamaica is a good option in the blue isles of the Caribbean, but you’ll have to look a little harder for a deal here. Montego Bay is a good option for affordable all-inclusive resorts, but Negril wins out for laidback bungalow vibes and cheap eats.
It’s even cheaper as you move away from the cities, too. Shop around for a deal – especially for local tours – as everything is quoted in US dollars.
Image: Rick’s Cafe
Fraser Island, Australia
Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island, was recently named Australia’s cheapest beachside destination, and with pristine beaches, freshwater lakes perfect for swimming, 4WD tracks galore, and untouched spans of wilderness, it doesn’t get much better for domestic beach holidays.
There are two options for accommodation: choose from a selection of eco resorts on the island (around $120 a night), hang out at affordable Hervey Bay and hop across to the island on the ferry, or you can camp on one of the numerous beach sites on Fraser where you can wake up to incredible beach views right in front of you. It’s gotta be Australia’s ultimate beachside holiday for those on a budget.
Image: Taryn Stenvei
Krabi is a great option for experiencing Thailand away from the busy crowds of Phuket. While Krabi town itself isn’t as striking as other Thai shores, it’s the island hopping that will take your breath away. Wade through the shallow waters of the stunning Tup Island and snorkel at night amongst bioluminescent plankton off the coast, with tours taking in up to seven island stops all for under $50. Fresh Thai food is cheap as chips, and there’s a wide range of really affordable accommodation as well.
Image: babeltravel / Flickr
Gili Islands, Indonesia
You may have seen those Instagram photos of the sunset swings on Lombok’s Gili Trawangan, but the Gili Islands are more than just a cheap travel snap. Three islands offer three different kinds of getaways: Trawangan for a laid back party vibe, Meno for some seriously great snorkelling, and Air for those looking to forget about the rest of the world for a while.
Accommodation is incredibly affordable on Trawangan especially, considering you can nab a beach bungalow stepping out into crystal blue waters for under $100.
Image: Jorge Lascar / Flickr
With 300 sunny days a year (!), some of the cleanest water in the Mediterranean, and over 7000 years of history, Malta ticks all of the boxes for a holiday. It has some great hostel offerings for as little as $20 a night and five star resorts clocking in at only $120 per night, with great snorkelling and amazing swimming spots like The Blue Lagoon on offer too.
It’s also cheap to get around, with a weekly bus pass costing around €12 (AU$19) and a ferry ticket going for just €3 (AU$5) return.
Ningaloo Reef, Australia
Ningaloo nabbed a spot on that cheapest beach destinations in Australia list too, but you might not know too much about this marine park in the north-west of Western Australia. Home of the famous Ningaloo Reef and whale shark migration between April and July, this World Heritage–listed coast is home to some of Australia’s best snorkelling and diving. It’s among the best nature beach holidays. The area is surprisingly cheap too, coming in at an average of $112 per night.
Image: Sharon McKeller / Flickr [/listicle]
(Lead image: Parque Tayrona, Taavi Randmaa / Flickr)