Most of us dream of beach vacations complete with soft, white sand and turquoise waters, but lack the funds to get us there. Here are five places to find paradise without going broke:
Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
This gem is a must-see for anyone who loves snorkeling and diving, thanks to its incredible reefs, underwater caverns and diverse sea life. When you’re not being dazzled by the beauty of the Caribbean Sea, Playa Del Carmen offers opportunities to explore ancient Mayan ruins, interact with spider monkeys in nature parks, and—of course—the chance to experience exciting nightlife, boutique hotels and first-class dining. Here’s the best news: Playa Del Carmen is budget friendly, with flights from major U.S. cities to Cancun starting at around $400.
Recommended app: Airbnb. Use this to find the best rates for some of the most boutique lodging that Playa Del Carmen has to offer.Photo: Flickr
Playa Jaco, Costa Rica
Whether you’re looking for a prime spot for surfing, memorable excursions through Costa Rica’s rainforests, or just a little relaxation on a picturesque beach, Jaco has something for you. This beach is closest to San Jose, and its laid-back vibes and active nightlife make it the perfect getaway for any beach lover. With flights from major U.S. cities to neighboring San Jose starting at around $400, this is another affordable beach trip that you can’t miss.
Recommended app: TripIt. This will help you narrow down your excursions and set an itinerary for the trip of a lifetime.Photo: Flickr
Culebra, Puerto Rico
On the eastern side of the island, Culebra is a sleepy coastal town with a vibrant local culture and a beautiful tropical setting. the evenings, try soaking up Culebra culture, eat seafood with locals, dance to gentle guitar music, and enjoy the offbeat charm that this little town has to offer. Roundtrip flights from New York to San Juan hover around $350; from there, you can take a short flight to Culebra for $105 or drive 90 minutes from San Juan to take an inexpensive ferry to the island.
Recommended app: TripList. This will help you create the packing list that meets your needs based on the activities that you choose to do. Favorite part of the app: it syncs with TripIt to check for itinerary changes, and prompts you to create a new packing list if it finds a change.Photo Flickr
Key West, Florida
The “southernmost point” of the continental United States is full of history, serene beaches, free spirits, and quaint, quirky lodging and restaurants. You can also take a trip through history and visit Ernest Hemingway’s house, or grab a cold drink in a town where it’s “always” happy hour. A roundtrip ticket from New York to Key West ranges from about $300-$350, or you can add more adventure by making it a road trip.
Recommended app: GasBuddy. Use this app to find the cheapest gas prices in town and to understand why this is a necessity for anyone going on a road trip.Photo Flickr
Boston Bay Beach, Jamaica
Seemingly untouched by tourists and boasting the brightest blue waters that Jamaica has to offer, Boston Bay is the ideal vacation. Boston Bay is the birthplace of jerk cuisine, so visitors can also enjoy an authentic Jamaican meal during their stay. Flights to Jamaica from major U.S. cities start at around $400, making it the last—but certainly not the least—beautiful beach vacation on this list that won’t break the bank.
Recommended app: Hyperlapse. Instagram’s time lapse app is perfect for capturing a Caribbean sunset and making your friends at home jealous.Photo Flickr