Some of the cheapest Islands for vacations are Ios Island in Greece, Zanzibar in Tanzania, St Croix in the USA and in South America -Varadero(Cuba), Cozumel and Isla Mujeres(Mexico).
We have also considered these Islands because of their beautiful sandy beaches, warm climate and great scenery. While there are tons of Islands to choose from, we boiled down the choices to six to avoid confusion and ‘decision paralysis’, for our readers. We have also avoided Islands in Asia and most of Europe as the focus was on Islands most easily accessible from the United States. (This is not to be confused with renting a private island which would be leveling up.)
If you are dreaming of beaches, this is the right time to plan. The islands are opened up now for visitors provided they have the necessary vaccines and safety precautions taken. Before travel, you would need to check on specific requirements in each country as the travel regulations may get frequently updated.
These Islands are not only cheap but are popular destinations as well. You can bask in the sun among palm trees, drink mouth-watering juices and enjoy alluring scenery on a small budget. In this article, you will get a lowdown of the least expensive islands you can travel to and experience paradise on a budget.
1. Ios Island, Greece
One of the perfect destinations for budget travelers is Ios. Known for its throbbing nightlife and food cost way lower than Santorini, the island offers a plethora of affordable AirBnB accommodations, food and full night parties without spending much. It has over 22 beaches, trekking places, startling hiking that loop around the coast to explore at cheap prices. Diving is also welcomed there because of crystal clear water which happens around 45 USD while a two-tank dive on a boat is around 100 USD.
At around a kilometer away, is the town Chora which is within a walking distance. Moving up and down the little village while bar hopping is not only suitable but also a lot of fun and exciting as the by-lanes are a vehicle-free zone.
Things to do
2. Zanzibar, Tanzania
Commonly famous as the focal point for the archipelago, Zanzibar offers a mix of influences from India, Africa, Arabia and Europe. Unguja, the main island of Zanzibar is just 15 miles from Tanzania and can be reached by a couple of hours ferry which is quite affordable. One can just spend roughly 10-20 USD per night sleeping in a hostel or with no cost for as long as 3 months while working with children in a PDS school.
You can also spend time in Stone Town where tourists have a choice when it comes to entertainment, food and accommodation. Everything is within walking distance so the cost related to public transport or taxi is saved. Also if you have a keen interest in architecture, the place is historically significant. However, it is essential to choose the regions with care. Whatever it is, do not leave the place without a spice tour which is as low as 30 USD per person.
Things to do
3. St. Croix, USVI
The Caribbean Island offers vibrant ocean life, coral reefs, attractive scenery and a variety of attractions for its tourists. One can visit Fort Christiansvaern, a yellow Danish Fort which is also a national historic Fort, go breathtaking snorkeling at Jack and Isaac Bay to explore the coast or hike to the Carambola Tide Pools, where one can cool off in the water.
To make it more economical, one can have late night dinner which is comparatively cheap and book a cottage near the white sandy beach to chill under the warmth of the sun. Taxi charges are also low. Moreover, rental vehicles are also available which are inexpensive. The island is also thrilling to the hikers as it has hiking trails like Goat Hill Hiking, Hams Bluff Lighthouse, etc.
Things to do
4. Isla Mujeres, Mexico
From eye-catching sandy beaches to turquoise water which has free access, the island is small yet it is the perfect Caribbean Island getaway. One can explore the place on foot and taxis are also available at a minimal price. You can use the Puerto Juarez Terminal for the ferry to the island which is slightly cheap and costs around 6-10 USD for a one-way trip.
To keep its budget one can rent a scooter which costs around 26 USD a day to explore the island. From swimming and snorkeling to hiking in the lighthouse, from an underwater museum to a breath-taking view of the sea, the incredible island has a lot to offer to its tourists at an affordable price. One can also enjoy its natural beauty at the ocean, vibrant electric blues and its marine life.
Things to do
5. Cozumel, Mexico
Popular for people excited about diving and water sports, the island of Cozumel is perfect for tourists. It has so much to offer be it powdery sand or multi-colored coral reefs, Mayan ruins to fish tacos and wildlife in the mangroves.
It has hotels and accommodation at affordable prices as there is a lot of competition there, however one can also think of staying in the beach shack amidst the natural reserves. It is advisable to visit the place during the summer rainy season as the room prices are comparatively lower than other seasons wherein simple guesthouses can charge around 40 USD per night and hostels can charge around 13 USD per night.
Not only water sports but one can go shopping, climb to the top of Celarain Lighthouse, ride in buggies to take a tour of forests, explore museums and Mayan ruins of El Caracol by not worrying about putting a damper on your wallet.
Things to do
6. Varadero, Cuba
A resort town in Cuba, despite its popularity among tourists, is a budget-friendly getaway with crystal clear water, white sand beaches, and beautiful scenery. In a cluster of bars and restaurants, one can enjoy the delicacies of Cuba at an affordable price be it a complete meal for around 4-5 USD, a lobster at around 10 USD, or exploring underwater caves that have their own swimming holes.
One can stay in private rental which is comparatively less expensive or on a casa particular which is basically like a homestay costing around 75-365 USD, eat local fast food which costs around 0.10-0.25 USD, etc. One won't feel like they are missing out on anything with access to reasonably secluded and serene locations all along the beach.
Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when renting an Island
Identify the purpose- Do you want to go swimming or just lay on the beach? Do you want to go fishing? Maybe you are looking for activities such as snorkeling or diving? Once you have the clarity on what exactly you will be doing on the island check and ensure that they have the facilities and how the charges are.
Transportation- Most Islands will offer a boat service to get you to the island, some may have partnered with a service provider. Check how you will actually get to the island and in case of an emergency, how you will be able to leave. Based on the size of the group you may need to inform beforehand to ensure they have the right vessel.
Facilities- If you are going on a visit for more than 2 days check for the facilities that are offered such as internet connection, laundry services and vehicles available for transportation i=on the island.
Policies and permitted activities- You may have dreams of fishing or diving but do ensure that these activities are permitted on the island. You also need to check on the pet, policies, damage waivers, check-in and check-out policies and details on extra charges and taxes. Knowing these beforehand and help you avoid any dampers on your vacation plans once you have leased the island.
Your dream vacation is now within reach, so what are you waiting for? Pack up your bags and let the adventure being.