The idea of staying on a paradise island when you’re on a budget can sometimes seem that it will only ever be one of those things you would love to do … one day. That isn’t necessarily so!
No matter where you live in the world, or where else you travel, there is often a beautiful island within easy reach. Here are 20 of them to enjoy.
20. Zanzibar, Tanzania, Africa
Zanzibar or Ungula is an island with accommodation for all budgets. It lies in the Indian Ocean, off Tanzania on the east coast of Africa. Also known as the “The Spice Islands”, Zanzibar has a history of trade in cloves, cinnamon, and other spices. There is plenty you can see and do at very little cost on Zanzibar. You can explore the maze of the Old Stone Town and eat at local markets. The beaches and the Dhows in the water during sunrise and sunset on the coast are sublime.
19. Magnet Island, Australia
Magnet Island is an affordable place if you want to on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. It’s only eight kilometers of the coast of Townsville in Queensland and is also a commuter. This means you’ll mix of permanent residents and fellow travelers. There’s a bird sanctuary, walking tracks, and coral reefs to explore, and yes, you’ll even see a koala or two!
18. Rarotonga – The Cook Islands
Rarotonga is one of the Cook Islands in the South Pacific Ocean. A volcanic island, the island has an area of just 26 square kilometers. Most of the activities and population on the island are around the coastal regions. Many hire motor scooters to explore every one of the sandy beaches and reef around the coastline.
17. Koh Tonsay, Cambodia
Koh Tonsay or Rabbit Island is a few kilometers from southern Cambodia, in the Gulf of Thailand. This very laid-back little island offers basic budget rustic accommodation and facilities. You can explore the one square mile island on foot – there are no roads. And, of course, swim, snorkel, and simply lie back and relax under the leaves of trees.
16. The Pearl Islands, Panama
The Pearl Islands in the Gulf of Panama used to be a getaway that only the relatively wealthy could afford. Not so nowadays! Contadora Island is the main island, and where you will find more of the higher end resorts. To get more affordable you can look to some of the other islands such as Saboga Island, and whale watch along the way.
15. Hainan Island-China
Another island that caters to all budgets, Hainan Island is the most southern area of China you can visit. It’s not small with a land area of 35,000 square kilometers but this means you have plenty within reach. There are historical sites, beaches and tropical forests all on the island.
14. Bali, Indonesia
People often think of Bali in relation to sand and surf, but there is so much more. Just eight degrees south of the equator, the island is a province of Indonesia. Head inland and to the north of Bali and you will find mountains, rice terraces, temples, music, arts, and more.
13. Saint Martin/Sint Maarten, Carribean
Saint Martin or Sint Martin is in the northeast Carribean Sea. This is the island with the infamous incoming flight path directly over the beach. Divided into two regions, French in the north and Dutch in the south, aside from beaches, the island has nature walks, and nightlife to enjoy.
12. Komodo Islands, Indonesia
Home to the Komodo Dragon, a large lizard named in its honor, Komodo Island is in Indonesia in South East Asia. Referred to as the real-life Jurassic Park, Komodo is an island for getting back to basics. Activities include trekking, diving, and, of course, beaches. One of which has sand that is pink – and is one of only seven pink sand beaches in the world.
11. Mo’orea, French Polynesia
Yes, there are islands in French Polynesia that are more affordable for those on a budget! Moorea is one of the islands of Tahiti where you can stay at a Tahitian Guesthouse or bungalow at good rates. The interior of this heart-shaped island has volcanoes, jungles, and vanilla crops. The shores are surrounded by white coral sand.
10. Yasawa Islands, Fiji
Yasawa Islands make up some of the many islands of the Fiji Islands in the South Pacific Ocean. Situated in the northwest, tourism wasn’t allowed on the island until the 1950s. These days there is a mix of accommodation ranging from basic backpackers to lodges, to resorts. The rest of the island is all natural – it’s about sun, sea, sand, and snorkeling!
9. Karthopos, Greece
A stay on a Greek Island is on many people’s wish list to do at some point. Karthopos has everything you would expect on a Greek Island, but without some of the cost. Steeped in ancient history, it’s a mountainous island, with around 50 beaches in the Aegean Sea. The island has modern towns and traditional villages, and plenty of tavernas for enjoying local cuisine.
8. Hvar, Croatia
Love the smell of lavender and pine? The aromas blend with olives, grapes and other fruit cultivated on the island of Hvar. Off the south coast of Croatia, Hvar has four small towns and a long history of Mediterranean trade. You can enjoy wine tasting, caving, and snorkeling on this 28-kilometer long island.
7. Great Barrier Island, New Zealand
Great Barrier Island in the Hauraki Gulf of New Zealand might not a typical tropical island destination – but it is paradise. Much of the 285 square hectares of the island is a protected nature reserve. It is also an International Dark Sky Sanctuary to star gaze. During the day, there’s sandy beaches, forests, thermal hot springs, and waterfalls.
6. Phillip Island, Australia
You can easily get to Phillip Island on Australia’s south coast from the city of Melbourne. The island is popular for surfing, viewing penguins, and seals. It’s a conservation area for koalas, birds and endemic species. For those who think paradise is by a dashboard light it’s also a destination for motorsports!
5. Si Phan Don, Laos
Si Phan Don or Four Thousand Islands is an island setting with a difference! They are in the middle of a river in a landlocked country! The islands are on the Mekong River in Laos. Accommodation is often found on the island of Don Dhet – houses are on bamboo stilts and you get around by riverboat.
4. Caye Caulker, Belize
Caye Caulker is a tiny relaxed reggae loving island off Belize in the Carribean. The island is about five miles long, and the town itself a mile long. There are underwater limestone caves to explore under the island, scuba diving, and snorkeling. You’ll enjoy great food and good people.
3. Phu Quoc, Vietnam
If you want to enjoy one of the 20 unspoiled beaches on Phu Quoc Island, south of Vietnam, there is a mix of accommodation. Half the island is a national park with rainforests and waterfalls. The main town has a cafe scene and night markets.
2. Culebra, Puerto Rico
Culebra Island and it’s Flamenco Beach are a secret paradise in Puerto Rico. This picturesque part of the world prides itself on not being too touristy or ruined by resorts. You can hike, snorkel, and explore other secluded beaches that you may just have to yourself.
1. Utila Island, Honduras
If you’re an underwater lover, Utila Island tops the list for cheap places for scuba diving and learning how to do so. Just off the coast of Honduras, the island has around 70 diving sites. The island itself is small – transport is by your feet, bikes, and golf buggies!