For many travelers, a tropical island paradise is the ultimate vacation. There’s nothing quite like spending a few days or a week relaxing on a beach while listening to the waves roll in and watching the palm trees sway in the breeze. Warm, sunny days, sand, and surf are all components of the perfectly dreamy trips that so many of us think about while sitting at our desks working, or waiting in line at the store.
Unfortunately, most island vacations can be rather expensive, so most people don’t get to experience them as often as they would like. The majority of travelers only dive into an island getaway once every few years, if that. And, many of them end up going to busy, touristy islands that charge premium prices to visitors they know will pay them.
It doesn’t have to be that way, though. Believe it or not, there are a lot of surprisingly cheap island destinations that you can visit on your next trip. We all know that there’s only one thing better than a vacation, and that’s an affordable vacation, so you can travel again sooner and more often.
Read on to learn about some of the most affordable islands in the world, so you can enjoy tropical beauty on a more regular basis. If you’re looking for the cheapest island to visit in any part of the world, we have suggestions for you that you’ll love.
- Best Beaches: Koh Rong, Cambodia & Antigua
- Best Nightlife: Tenerife, Canary Islands
- Best Food: Penang, Malaysia & Varadero, Cuba
- Best Historical Sites: Puerto Rico, & Sardinia, Italy
- Best Snorkeling and Scuba Diving: Caye Caulker, Belize & Utila, Honduras
Affordable Islands in North America, Central America, & The Caribbean
1. Key West, Florida, USA
Believe it or not, you can enjoy a tropical island paradise without even leaving the continental United States. Key West is the southernmost point in Florida and it’s been a popular vacation destination for decades. The great thing about Key West is that it’s a popular cruise ship port, it has its own airport, and it’s accessible via the Overseas Highway from the mainland, so you can get there any way that you choose.
The population of Key West is just 26,000, so it’s small enough that it feels like a getaway but it’s large enough that it has a bit of everything. You’ll love the colorful architecture and the lively, plethora of eateries, and the friendly bar scene if you’re into that sort of thing. You’ll also be amazed by the beauty of the surrounding water. Key West is known for its incredible coral reefs, so don’t skip out on snorkeling or scuba diving during your visit. This 3-Hour Coral Reef Snorkeling Tour ought to do the trick.
You may not think that Key West is a cheap island to visit, but it is; although it’s quite popular, hotels and resorts are reasonably priced much of the year. For example, the NYAH Key West is an affordable, well-rated, adults-only hotel that many like, and it won’t break the bank.
See Related: Key West Day Trip: The Florida Keys in a Day
2. Caye Caulker, Belize
Not long ago, no one outside of Belize had heard much about Caye Caulker, but this tiny island is becoming more popular all the time. Still, it’s mostly under the radar and that means you can get affordable accommodations on this island and get the getaway that you crave.
Caye Caulker is only about five miles long and one mile wide, and it’s accessible from mainland Belize by high-speed water taxi or small plane. About 2,000 people live on the island, and about fifty hotels have popped up all over it in recent years.
This island is in the middle of the world’s second-largest barrier reef and the undersea life is plentiful and diverse. Most Caye Caulker excursions involve swimming with sting rays or even sharks and provide snorkel equipment so you can check out the world below the waterline. This Hol Chan Full-Day Bucket List Snorkeling and Marine Life Tour is a fun and eco-friendly way to do it all.
You’ll be impressed by all the cheap hotel options on this island, too. You might consider Seaside Villas, which offers beachfront villas with kitchens, or Barefoot Caye Caulker Hotel, not far from the water, for two well-rated options to get you started on your daydreaming.
See Related: Belize’s Stunning Great Blue Hole is Life-Changing
3. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
More and more people are going to the Dominican Republic for vacation these days – so many, in fact, that it’s the number one tourist destination in the Caribbean today. This nation shares an island with Haiti and has a population of almost eleven million people, but since it’s also the second-largest country in the Caribbean after Cuba, most of it isn’t very crowded at all.
Most people who visit the Dominican Republic go to Punta Cana, a resort town on the nation and the island’s eastern end. It’s known for white sand beaches, turquoise blue waters, and great weather, and the local folks are friendly and welcoming, too.
You can easily fly into nearby Puna Cana International Airport and can be on the beach mere minutes after passing through customs. There are lots of all-inclusive mega-resorts in Punta Cana that are quite expensive, but don’t let that fool you – there are plenty of cheaper accommodations as well, like the Ducassi Suites Beach Club and Spa for one example, or Aventura Studios for another.
There’s plenty to do in the Punta Cana area. To enjoy as much of it as possible, you might consider going on a Horseback Riding-Zipline-Jungle Buggy Tour which covers a whole lot in just eight hours.
See Related: Puerto Rico vs Dominican Republic: What is Better to Visit?
4. Varadero, Cuba
If you’re looking for a unique beach vacation that hardly anyone you know has experienced before you, then you should visit Varadero, Cuba. Cuba is a gigantic island that may not even feel like an island because it’s so huge, but a trip to Cuba certainly qualifies as a tropical island getaway. And, you’ll be happy to know, it’s one of the cheapest island destinations there is!
It takes a little extra effort for Americans to visit Cuba, but you’re sure to find that it’s absolutely worth it. You can’t fly to Cuba from the United States strictly for tourism in the same way that you would a free country, but there are ways to get there if you do some research, or if you fly there from somewhere else. Just make sure that if traveling from the U.S. to Cuba, follow the government’s guidance on travel to Cuba.
Varadero is a beach town that covers the island’s narrow, 12-mile-long Hicacos Peninsula, about two hours east of Havana. It’s unique in that there are beach resorts on both sides of the peninsula, and you’ll be amazed at the beauty of the beaches here; they often win international Best Beach awards.
This is an extremely affordable vacation destination, with few hotels charging much more than $100 a night, including those with very high ratings and all-inclusive resorts. As for activities, in addition to lying on the beach all day, you might enjoy a visit to the peninsula’s nature preserve, Reserva Ecologica Varahicacos, where you can hike the trails and check out some of Cuba’s incredible wildlife.
See Related: Best Dutch Caribbean Islands to Visit
5. Utila, Honduras
When people talk about going on an island vacation to Honduras, most talk about going to Roatán. Roatán has been a popular destination for many years and it’s a popular stopping point for cruise ships. It’s still quite lovely, but if you’re looking for a quiet island paradise, you should consider Utila. It’s the smallest of Honduras’ three major bay islands to visit, and it’s only recently starting to get attention from tourists.
This small island only has a population of about 4,000. The water around it is usually very calm, and it has a reputation as one of the best scuba diving locations in the world thanks to its coral reefs. Divers regularly report seeing marine life of all kinds including fish, sea turtles, eels, sea horses, and even elusive whale sharks.
Visitors who aren’t scuba divers can still enjoy the incredible wildlife and natural beauty of this island doing things like kayaking and snorkeling. This 2 Day Private Tour of Utila Island and Oyster Bed Lagoon includes a kayak tour through the mangrove canal that crosses the island, a guided snorkeling experience, hotel accommodations, ferry tickets, and an island tour, and will give you a great overview of the island.
If you wish to visit the island independently, you’ll find plenty of hotels and resorts that are close to the beaches and that are under $100 a night, like Coral View Beach Resort or Mango Inn Resort for two examples.
See Related: Best Overwater Bungalows in the Caribbean
Antigua’s popularity with tourists rises and falls over the years for no other reason than the fact that sometimes other places are hyped and people forget about Antigua. Then, a few years later, everyone’s talking about it again. It’s hard to say if it’s better to visit this Caribbean island when it’s popular or when it’s not, but either way, you’re sure to get some great deals on this lovely little island, and you will surely have a cheap island vacation that you’ll never forget.
Antigua is only 108 square miles in size and has a population of under 100,000. Once a territory of Great Britain, it became an independent state in 1981. It’s small and friendly and easy to get around.
The main thing to do in Antigua is to go to the beach. Antigua has fifty-four miles of coastline and it’s mostly lined with gorgeous white sand beaches that will take your breath away. This is one of those tropical islands that comes to you in your dreams. To really take it all in, consider taking the a Circumnavigation Boat Tour. You’ll spend a day cruising through turquoise waters and you’ll really get to see all of the island.
As for accommodations, there are lots of expensive resorts in Antigua, but your best bet for a cheap island vacation is to get a vacation rental here. There are lots of great properties all over this island. With an Antigua vacation rental, you can truly get away from it all while still being close to everything thanks to Antigua’s small size.
For vacation rentals, you might consider this Oceanfront, Serene Beach Home that sleeps five in three bedrooms, or if it’s just you and your partner, this Delightful Garden Hideaway with Lovely Views Over the Bay may be just what you want and need.
See Related: Best Islands to Visit Around the World
7. Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is a wonderful place to vacation at any time of year, and not only is it a great spot for people who love cheap island vacations, but it’s also affordable to get there, too. It’s easy to find reasonably priced flights to this Caribbean island from anywhere in the United States, especially if you don’t mind a layover in Miami. And, best of all, you don’t even need a passport to go there. As you surely know, Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory!
This island is inviting in so many ways and for so many reasons. If you like history, you’ll love staying in San Juan and taking time to explore that area; there are beaches right in the city so you can truly have the best of both worlds there.
You could take a San Juan Food Tour to get a feel for the local cuisine or an Old San Juan Walking Tour to learn about this city’s interesting past. At night, you can rest your head at an affordable, clean hotel in Old San Juan like the Decanter Hotel or La Terraza de San Juan.
If you’d rather get away from the city, head west to Isabela. This part of Puerto Rico may be more of the tropical island paradise you’re seeking. Here, it’s quiet and you can relax on the beach or in a hammock all day while you stare out at the Atlantic Ocean. You can maybe opt for a Horseback Riding Tour Through Secluded Beaches and Tropical Forests before you retire for the evening at an inexpensive property like the Bella Surf Inn.
See Related: When is the Best Time to Travel to Puerto Rico?
Affordable Islands in Europe
8. Mallorca, Spain
If you’re looking for the perfect Mediterranean island vacation, Mallorca, Spain is a beautiful island that you should not miss. It’s a big island with a population of about a million people and an area of about 1,400 square miles, with plenty to see and do, but also lots of quiet spaces to sit back, relax, and enjoy it all.
There are resorts, coves, mountains, historical buildings, and citrus groves all over this stunning island, and you’ll find it to be everything that you might imagine a Mediterranean island to be. Great food, friendly folks, and sunny days await you in Mallorca. This Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour will give you the opportunity to see a lot of the island’s capital city, Palma, without breaking the bank.
You’ll be happy to know that all of this comes at a very affordable price. There are plenty of very nice almost luxury hotels that charge around $150 a night, like Monnaber Nou Finca Hotel & Spa or the even more expensive S’Hort de Son Caulelles – both are well-rated and have pools and spas on site. You can save even more with a vacation rental – this Charming Country House that sleeps four in two bedrooms also has a pool and is under $100/avg per night.
See Related: Best Party Cities in Europe | Top Nightlife Destinations
9. Sardinia, Italy
Lots of people go to Sicily, but not as many go to Sardinia, Italy – but they should. This island is known for its mountains, blue waters, and beaches, and you won’t have to fight the crowds to enjoy it all. Although it’s an autonomous part of Italy, it’s quite different from mainland Italy, and it’s rather different from neighboring Spain as well. Sardinia has its own personality and culture, and you’ll love it.
Visitors to Sardinia are often amazed at the deep blue color of the water and the striking white of the beaches’ sand. The interior of the island is full of unique rock formations and fun but challenging hiking trails. You’ll also find Bronze Age ruins here; there are over 7,000 ancient towers and building remains on the island. The food is different and excellent. The people are friendly and welcoming.
Best of all, it’s a very affordable destination. You get all of the above without spending your life’s savings. Take an All-Day Cruise on the Andrea Jensen Traditional Sailing Ship with lunch and wine, or explore the island’s Mountains and Beaches by 4×4. Take your pick of affordable hotels all over the island like Hotel Libyssonis in Porto Torres, Regina Margherita Hotel in the Marina District, or Montiruju Hotel in Santa Maria Coghinas. The possibilities are endless in Sardinia.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Sorrento, Italy
10. Sifnos, Greece
If you’re looking for cheap islands to visit in the Greek Islands, there are quite a few of them, but one of the very best is Sifnos. This island is known as a mecca for people who like to eat and drink. Sifnos is full of excellent seafood restaurants, pleasant beach bars, white-washed houses, friendly locals, and quaint little pottery shops. When it comes to Greek Islands, this one is just about perfect for an island getaway.
The ferry ride to Sifnos from Athens is about three to five hours depending on the conditions and the vessel, but it’s worth the effort to get there. Although some people have been visiting Sifnos for years, it’s just starting to become popular with tourists from outside Greece.
Your best bet to save money on accommodations on Sifnos is to go for a vacation rental; there are quite a few affordable options including numerous entire homes within easy walking distance to the beach like Villa Thori at Poulati Sifnos Upper House, for one example, which offers incredible views.
As for things to do on Sifnos, your days will mostly be spent eating some of the best food that the Greek Islands have to offer and relaxing on the Mediterranean. At night, there’s quite a bit of nightlife on this tiny island if you are the type who sometimes hears parties calling your name.
See Related: Best Things to Do in Santorini, Greece
11. Vis, Croatia
Vis is an island on the Adriatic Sea off the coast of southern Croatia, and you are going to fall in love with it as soon as you get there. Not only is this island absolutely beautiful, but it’s cheap, too. Plus, it’s easy to get to – you can take a ferry from Split in about two hours.
This island is a summer destination, but you can save even more money by visiting during the off-season. No matter when you decide to go, get ready to be dazzled by the beaches, caves, harbors, ancient ruins, and the public bath. You’ll want to take a boat tour around the island and you can’t miss the incredible Blue Cave; this Blue Cave & Vis Island Speedboat Tour includes both.
Vis was home to a Yugoslavian military base that was closed to visitors until 1991. As a result, even now, people are just beginning to discover it – and that’s a good thing. This place is a tourist paradise without being touristy at all, and it’s not like anywhere else that you’ve ever been.
However, because of the relative “newness” of this place, there aren’t a lot of places to stay on Vis. Your best bet for a cheap island vacation here is to book a vacation rental – far in advance is wise – like this One-Bedroom Apartment near Vis Beach; it sleeps four.
See Related: Best Things To Do On Brač Island, Croatia
Affordable Islands in Africa
12. Madeira, Portugal
Although Maderia is part of Portugal, it’s definitely off the coast of Africa. Maderia is made up of four islands – Madeira, Porto Santo, Desertas, and Selvagens, but only two are inhabited, and the main island, Madeira, is where you want to go.
This is one of those cheap islands that no one thinks is affordable when it’s really one of the cheapest island destinations in the region. Everyone should make an effort to visit Madeira once or more in their lifetime. If you’re looking for a cheap island vacation that has a bit of everything, then Madeira is it. It will take your breath away.
There are a lot of things to do on this incredible island, like taking hikes to waterfalls or mountaintops, checking out traditional Portuguese homes from the 1400s, taking a boat tour to go dolphin and whale watching, or visiting the Monte Palace botanical gardens – one of the best in the world. If you’d rather just relax, you can do so at the black sand beach at Seixal, or go snorkeling at Garajau Nature Reserve. There’s something for everyone here, and you can do almost all of it on this Two Day Around the Island Tour.
It’s hard to believe that all of this will be available to you AND that there are affordable accommodations options here, but it’s true. There are so many well-rated hotels on Madeira and so many are affordable for budget travelers. For starters, you might consider Solar de Boaventura in São Vincente, Casa do Ribeiro Frio in Ribeiro Frio, or Hotel Solar do Bom Jesus in Santa Cruz – all are well under $100 a night.
See Related: Best Digital Nomad Destinations in the World
13. Tenerife, Canary Islands
Also off the coast of Africa, about 300 miles south of Madeira, is another affordable island that belongs to a European country. Tenerife in the Canary Islands is the largest island of Spain’s Canary Islands, and it’s the home to Mount Teide, a dormant volcano that is Spain’s tallest mountain.
This island is a bit remote, but it’s well-known for its resorts and its annual pre-Lent Carnaval de Santa Cruz. The population is close to one million residents here, so it’s not as quiet as some of the other cheap islands to visit on this list, but it’s perfect for people who seek cheap island vacations with some action.
There are lots of things to do in Tenerife. The nightlife is the draw for many; there are bars and clubs all over the island where you can party until the sun comes up if you’d like. During the day, you can visit water parks, animal parks, nature parks, beaches, botanical gardens, and more. If you want to see it all, this Complete Island Tour with Masca might be a good choice.
As for accommodations, there are luxury resorts on this island, but you can find very cheap accommodations as well. If you want to see how to locals live, you might like Casa Rural Finca Paraiso for one option, or if you’re looking for something a bit more beachy, Sol Costa Atlantis Tenerife may be more your style.
See Related: Things to do in Costa del Sol, Spain
14. Zanzibar, Tanzania
Zanzibar sounds so mysterious and exotic; many don’t even know where it is – except maybe Tenacious D. However, many people who love cheap vacations know exactly where it is. It’s off the coast of Tanzania, and it’s a fantastic place to visit!
Zanzibar is actually an archipelago of four main islands plus numerous small, uninhabited islands, but most people mean the main island of Unguja when referring to Zanzibar. Stone Town is the main city on this island, and it’s full of Swahili and Islamic influences that make it both interesting and unique.
Stone Town is a great home base for your visit to Zanzibar; it has a population of about 17,000, plus historical sites, great restaurants, rich culture, beaches, and beautiful architecture. From there, you can explore the rest of the island.
If you like animals, you like the Cheetah’s Rock animal sanctuary, Nakupenda Beach Nature Reserve, or Prison Island, which was once a prison but which is now a nature reserve for giant turtles. If you’re interested in the interesting history of this African island, you can learn a lot on this Zanzibar Stone Town Walking Tour. Or, you can just relax on one of the island’s many beaches.
There are lots of inexpensive hotels to choose from in Stone Town. Sunny Palms Beach Bungalows are beachfront and breakfast is included; if you’d rather stay in the city, Kholle House is an excellent option.
See Related: Amazing Resorts & Hotels With Animals On-Site
Affordable Islands in Asia
15. Maafushi Island, Maldives
Many people dream of visiting the Maldives but most think it’s a very expensive destination. Depending on where you go, it certainly can be; this archipelago in the Indian Ocean is very remote and it’s home to more than a few luxury resorts – some of which you’ve likely seen on social media. However, it doesn’t have to be that way; the Maldives can be expensive to get to but can be very affordable once you arrive if you play your cards right.
Maafushi Island is the tiniest island on our list. It’s less than a mile long and less than a quarter of a mile wide, and its population is around 3,000, including foreigners. However, you’ll be surprised to learn that there are actually dozens of affordable accommodations on this itty bitty island.
Many are even beachfront – although you’re only steps from the beach no matter where you are on Maafushi! Hotels like Rehendhi Villa and Triton Beach Hotel & Spa are well-rated options that even include breakfast, for two affordable examples.
Believe it or not, there are also quite a few things to do on Maafushi also. This beautiful island is a great spot for snorkeling, scuba diving, kite surfing, wakeboarding, and ocean fishing, plus, of course, lounging on the beach.
Many visitors to Maldives use Maafushi as a home base to explore other nearby islands, and there are plenty of tours offering guided excursions to them. For example, you might enjoy this Gulhi Island Full-Day Tour or alternatively this Fihalhohi Island Resort Day Trip.
See Related: Places Similar to the Maldives to Visit
16. Koh Rong, Cambodia
If you’re looking for a cheap tropical vacation, then Cambodia is a fantastic option. This country, in general, is full of interesting history and culture, kind people, and great food. There are several islands off its coast that are worth visiting, but none is more beautiful than Koh Rong. This is one of those tropical islands that becomes a part of you and stays with you for the rest of your life once you visit.
This island is mostly undeveloped and the interior is a thick jungle; there’s also little infrastructure in general. Further, there’s not much to do on Koh Rong other than relax on the beach, swim, snorkel, eat, and drink, but for many – all of the above describes the perfect vacation, indeed. This is one place where you can truly disappear for a few days and can fully get away from everything.
There aren’t a lot of hotels on Koh Rong and there are even fewer vacation rentals, but those that do exist are very affordable. As a result, lots of visitors to this island end up extending their stays for longer than they initially intended. The hospitality on Koh Rong is top-notch, so most of the hotels – even the cheapest ones – are very well-rated. You might try The Secret Garden Koh Rong, Golden Beach Resort, or BeachWalk Koh Rong; all three are beachfront and include breakfast with your stay.
See Related: Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia: the Largest Religious Monument in the World
17. Phu Quoc, Vietnam
Cambodia’s next-door neighbor, Vietnam, also has numerous affordable islands to visit, and you’ll find some of the cheapest islands in southeast Asia along its coast. Phu Quoc is a large island at the base of Vietnam; it’s actually almost more off the coast of Cambodia as a result. It’s Vietnam’s largest island at 222 square miles, and it has a population of about 179,000.
Phu Quoc has only recently begun to grow as a tourist destination, but it has had much success in that realm so far. The rapid influx of tourism dollars has given the island the opportunity to improve infrastructure and add hotels, restaurants, attractions, and activities that will draw even more tourists in the future.
The biggest attraction in Phu Quoc is the beaches. Star Beach, in particular, has won awards for being one of the world’s most beautiful. But, besides relaxing and swimming, there are plenty of other things to do, too, like visiting Suoi Tranh Waterfall or the traditional fishing village of Ham Ninh or taking a tour like this South Phu Quoc Discovery Tour in old US Army Jeeps. In the evening, visit the night market and watch the sunset over the Gulf of Thailand.
There are lots of hotels in Phu Quoc and many of them are quite nice since they’re rather new, but you can really get the best deal by staying in a vacation rental here. To give you an idea of the deals here, this Mermaid Guesthouse with Private Beach Resort Access sleeps four averages around $60 per night, and the Y Thu Guesthouse, although a distance from the beach, sleeps eight for just $14 nightly.
See Related: Visiting Halong Bay, Vietnam: Things to Do & See
18. Koh Chang, Thailand
If you like cheap, tropical islands, then you’re going to love Thailand. There are more incredible islands to visit in Thailand than you could possibly see in one or even ten trips; Koh Chang is a good place to start.
This island is one of the largest in the Gulf of Thailand at 83 square miles. It’s full of mountains, jungles, waterfalls, coral reefs, beaches, and charming villages. Mu Ko Chang National Park is packed with wildlife and inviting hiking trails. The touristy areas are full of great restaurants, shops, and bars, and there’s quite a bit of nightlife here if that’s something that you seek.
The white sand beaches on this island will win your heart and once you arrive, you’ll never want to leave. It helps that accommodations here are within everyone’s budget. You’ll find plenty of nice places under $50 per night, like Elephant Bay Resort, Cookies Hotel, and Ba Na White Sand Beach to name a few.
As for tours, they’re quite affordable also, and there’s something for every taste and desire here. This Snorkeling Trip, this Full-Day Tour, and this Coral Propagation Workshop will help you create memories that you’ll never forget without breaking the bank.
See Related: How to Plan a Trip to Thailand and Build an Itinerary
Affordable Islands in Oceania
19. Boracay, Philippines
Boracay in the Phillippines may be a destination that you’ve never heard of before, but it’s one that is loved by many and that you’ll likely want to return to more than once. This beautiful island is made for vacationing and it’s full of palm trees, bars, restaurants, resorts, and coral reefs. It’s pretty small at just under 4 square miles in size, and it has a population of about 12,000.
The Philippines is an island nation so many of its 7,641 islands are islands worth visiting, and many of them are quite affordable. However, Boracay is a great place to start when choosing islands to visit in this area, as it’s considered one of the nation’s most beautiful. The water is blue, the flora is a lush green, the people are friendly, and there’s plenty to do – but not so much that you’ll be overwhelmed with the options.
This island caters to tourists, so you’ll find many of the types of activities you might expect to find on an island like this, such as cliff diving, ziplining, snorkeling, boating, parasailing, shopping, spas, and so on. Tours like this Island and Beach-Hopping Boat Tour will allow you to see a lot of the island in a short time. There is also an active nightlife scene on Boracay with plenty of restaurants and bars to support it.
As for accommodations on Boracay, there are quite a few high-end hotels on this little island, but fortunately, for those of us looking for the cheapest islands to visit, there are lots of inexpensive options too, like Red Coconut Beach Hotel or Fairways and Bluewater Boracay, both in Balabag.
See Related: Best Beaches in Bacolod to Visit
20. Penang Island, Malaysia
Penang Island, Malaysia is another one of those cheap islands to visit that a lot of people don’t even know exists, but it’s certainly one that you should consider if you’re looking for a lovely tropical vacation with lots of things to do. This island is just off the Malay Peninsula and it’s even connected to the mainland by the nation’s two longest bridges, so you can even drive there from Kuala Lumpur if you’d like.
Penang Island is a large island at over 6,000 square miles in size and its population is over 700,000. Its main town, George Town, is the capital of the state and is a bustling metropolis, but don’t let that fool you – there are plenty of places on this island that are perfect for a beach vacation, too.
Still, you might want to make George Town your home base anyway, as there is so much to do in town – between food tours, riding the funicular, Little India, touring Cheong Fatt Tze’s mansion, bike tours, mosques, and temples, you’ll never run out of sights to see there.
However, if it’s beaches you crave, Penang Island delivers – there are many great beaches on this island including Batu Ferrenghi Beach, Monkey Beach, and the beaches in Penang National Park, to name a few. You’ll have plenty of places to relax and watch the tide roll in, on Penang Island, if that’s what you seek.
There are lots of tour providers on Penang Island who will allow you to customize your own tours with them based on your interests. These are a great way to see a lot of the island on your own terms. This Penang Flexible 6-Hour Tour is a great option for this type of tour.
Penang Island is one of the cheapest islands to visit all around. Accommodations on this island are very inexpensive. Well-rated spots like Bagan Suites in Butterworth, the ET Budget Guest House in Batu Ferringhi Beach, and the We Love Guesthouse in George Town are all options that are well under $50 per night.
See Related: Langkawi Sky Bridge – Taking Malaysia to New Heights
21. Belitung Island, Indonesia
Belitung Island in Indonesia is just east of Sumatra and north of Jakarta. Its known for its swimmable, turquoise beaches and its interesting stone formations found both along the coast and inland. This island covers about 1,800 square miles and has about 300,000 residents. It has an airport, but it can also be accessed by ferry.
The beaches on all of the islands in this post are excellent, but the beaches on Belitung are especially so. Tanjung Tinggi Beach, Lengkuas Beach, Tanjung Kelayang Beach, Penyabong Beach, and Bukit Berahu Beach are all spectacular and each is worth visiting.
It’s likely that you’ll want to spend most of your time on Belitung exploring as many of these incredible beaches as you can, but if you’re looking for more things to do during your stay, you can enjoy boat trips to other islands, visits to temples, natural and wildlife areas, and water sports. Everything in Belitung is pretty low-key, but that may be just what you seek.
Hotels in Belitung are limited but are very affordable; excepting a few high-end properties, most are well under $50 per night. You won’t find many vacation rentals here, either, so be sure to book your accommodations far in advance if you plan to visit this island to be sure you’ll have somewhere to lay your head after a long day at the beach.
See Related: Visiting Borobudur Temple in Indonesia
The state of Tasmania is 150 miles south of the Australian mainland and is a group of islands that are home to about 600,00 people. Because it’s separate from the majority of Australia, it has its own personality and vibe. People love Tasmania because of its beautiful coastline, wildlife, and national parks. Furthermore, this island is home to four UNESCO World Heritage Sites – their area covers 23% of the island.
The largest of these islands, Tasmania itself, is the 26th-largest island in the world. This 26,000-square-mile island is a wonderful place for a cheap tropical vacation.
Australia isn’t the cheapest country to live in, and many people think that this translates to Australia being a very expensive vacation destination. Many parts of it are, such as Sydney. But Tasmania is quite affordable, and the average cost of just about everything is about half of what you can expect to pay in Sydney.
You can find great deals at unique properties like the Barrington Church B&B in Barrington, Argyle Accommodation in Hobart, or Cottage on Main in Franklin – all are under $80 per night.
And, there’s much to do in Tazzy. Between visiting the capital city of Hobart and exploring it, taking wine tours of Tamar Valley, going to the top of Mount Wellington, and taking boat tours around the island, you’ll love visiting this part of the world.
See Related: Best Beaches on the East Coast of Australia (that Aren’t Islands)
Wow! These islands all sound amazing! How do I decide?
That’s a great question! The best one for you is, well, the best one for you. We can’t decide for you! However, there are a lot of factors you can consider when making your choice. Your budget is a big one – even though all of these are cheap islands to visit, getting to many of them can be expensive, so look into flights first. Then, you’ll also want to consider things like language, cuisine, how much time you have for your trip, whether or not an island has nightlife or not, the weather during the time of year you’ll be visiting, and so on. Make a list of your needs and wants for your island vacation, and then see which ones check the most boxes on your list. Good luck!
Which of the above islands has the cheapest accommodations?
Although all of the islands on our list of islands to visit qualify as affordable, you’ll find the cheapest of the cheap in Southeast Asia. Between inexpensive accommodations and cheap activities and food, it’s the cheapest part of the world to visit!
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Use Skyscanner to find flight deals. As my personal favorite flight search engine, Skyscanner scours websites and airlines across the globe, leaving no stone unturned to help you find the best deal possible. And if you really want to take your savings to new heights, pair Skyscanner with Going (Formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights). With access to exclusive mistake fares delivered straight to your inbox, you’ll be packing your bags and jetting off on your next adventure before you know it.
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In order to capture the widest selection of properties and the best price, use Booking.com as they have the cheapest rates for guesthouses, hotels, luxury condos, B&Bs and so much more.
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