6 of the Cheapest Islands to Visit Around the World
Mohammad Sajjad Khan, 26.07.19 Updated 13.10.20
If you haven’t yet discovered the hidden gems of the world and the vast array of paradise-like islands spread across the globe, well this is your time to do so. Soon you could be relaxing on a white sandy beach, looking at the stunning azure blue water in the distance whilst drinking from a coconut under the shade of palm trees from the lovely sunny weather. But, how do you experience this luxury on a budget? We at Alternative Airlines listed some of the cheapest island destinations around the world for you to visit. All prices are calculated in United States Dollars and at the time of writing in 2020.
Fun fact: Did you know that there are around two thousand islands in oceans in the world? That's not including islands in other water bodies such as lakes!
Travel to cheap islands around the world
Boracay Island, Philippines, Asia
Boracay Island is the most popular beach destination in the Philippines, and once you set foot on the island you can find that it’s quite cheap by international standards. While Boracay Island doesn’t really have any cultural sights, it's still a favourite place for budget travelers to visit because of its beautiful beaches and affordable prices.
In comparison to other islands in Asia such as Bali or Phuket, Boracay Island is more of a low to mid-range cost island destination. The demand for hotels in peak season (January to April) is high so even a basic hotel can charge up to $30 or higher, however, there are hostels which can knockdown the price considerably. The cheapest hotels and restaurants are in the Boat Station 3 area, while it can get expensive up north in Boat station 1 area with the top notch hotels.
There are a wide selection of fast-food restaurants and traditional Filipino restaurants where all the locals eat that are relatively cheap, however you may want to avoid restaurants on or near the beach as the price gets higher. Nevertheless, competition between restaurants is high so you can even find a buffet on the beach for a moderate price. You can enjoy fruit juices at fresh juice stands everywhere around the island and also there are many cheap bars where bottles of San Miguel beer can be very cheap on all-day happy hour deals.
Credit: Alexey Komarov
Boracay Island Factfile
Currency: Philippine peso
Accommodation: A nice mid-ranged hotel on the island will cost you around $60, whereas hostels are much cheaper at $12 a night.
Meals: At an all-you-can-eat buffet on the beach you may be looking to spend on average $6 which is not too pricey due to the high competition among restaurants.
Drinks: A 0.33 litre San Miguel Pale Lager can be found everywhere and can cost around $1.50, for less than $2 each you can buy a cocktail, a gin or a fizzy drink.
Attractions: A beach massage is around $7 and boat trip can cost nearly $10.
Transportation: A tuk-tuk around town costs upto $1. Most people here use a tuk-tuk however a taxi can also be taken for a higher fee.
Getting there by air: The nearest international airport to Boracay is Kalibo International Airport (KLA), which is located on Panay Island. It takes about 2 hours to get to the island from the airport, and requires a short boat ride. The following airlines that fly to this airport are Philippine Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and Asiana Airlines.
Zanzibar City, Tanzania, Africa
If you’re looking to visit the island of Zanzibar, off the coast of Tanzania, then you’ll most probably be spending time in the area known as Stone Town. This is one of Africa’s main tourist cities where visitors will have a wide range of choices when it comes to food and accommodation. The area is quite inexpensive for many visitors, so you won't need be to rushing around if you've come all this way for a visit. Almost everything is within walking distance, so you'll be able to save money from not using public transport or taxis.
There is a wide selection of mouthwatering food at different price ranges. As the island is the Indian Ocean, the seafood is fresh and succulent. However it can be a little costly (even at some of the local restaurants), so remember to shop around before choosing where to dine. Some restaurants and hotels won’t serve or allow alcohol due to the religious beliefs and culture of Zanzibar Archipelago people, but there are still hotels, shops and restaurants out there that do. If you want alcoholic drinks with dinner, you won’t have an issue in finding places that do serve or shops that sell it.
The more touristy the island becomes, the more the prices for hotels will be on the rise, which the island has seen in recent years. However, there has been a development of new and inexpensive hostels opening up in recent years and this has helped Zanzibar City become one of the cheapest islands destinations that we cover.
Zanzibar City Factfile
Currency: Tanzanian Shilling
Accommodation: A mid-ranged hotel in the city will cost you around $70, for hostels it’s around $20 a night.
Meals: A three-course meal for at a mid-ranged restaurant is around $8.
Drinks: A 0.5 litre beer from a supermarket costs around $1, and for less than $2 you can buy a fizzy drink or coffee.
Attractions: Museums and tourist attractions will set you back around $5.
Transportation: A taxi from the airport to the city centre can cost around $18 and catching a bus can cost less than 30 cents.
Getting there by air: There are many airlines that fly to Abeid Amani Karume International Airport (ZNZ) in Zanzibar including Emirates, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, and Turkish Airlines.
Cozumel, Mexico, South America
The island of Cozumel is a well-known resort destination and is popular with people who are passionate about diving and other types of water sports. It has its own airport, Cozumel International Airport (CZM), with direct flights from some major cities. However, most people cut costs by flying into the bigger airport nearby at the Cancun International Airport (CUN).
The island of Cozumel has nearly 100 hotels, around 300 restaurants, and there’s a lot of competition which helps keep prices down for most of the year. The winter months (December - March) is peak season and is when hotels fees are at their all time high, while the summer rainy season is when room rates get really low.
Hotel and restaurant prices vary. Mid-range hotel prices can start at around $75 per night in the low season and simple guesthouse prices start at around $40. Hostels, however, are a much cheaper option, averaging around $13 a night. Once you get to the island, you should be able to enjoy yourself on a low budget. Cozumel is full of things to do other than just sitting on the beach and shopping, such as visiting museums and ancient ruins, scuba diving, snorkeling and much more.
Cozumel Fact File
Currency: Mexican peso
Accommodation: The average room in Cozumel will cost you around $75, you can also choose an even cheaper option such as a hostel where you can look to spend only $13.
Meals: You can enjoy traditional Mexican dishes from tacos, enchiladas to Mayan pork and more. A local speciality dish would cost you just around $8. Most restaurants have open courtyards where you can eat and enjoy the amazing weather.
Drinks: Beer is served pretty much all day at most restaurants and you can buy them at around $2.
Attractions: Scuba diving and glass bottom boat tours can tend to cost a lot, around $50-$100 whereas snorkeling is relatively cheap; renting the equipment can cost only $7. Visiting museums and ancient ruins can cost less than $5.
Transportation: A 3 km taxi ride can cost around $2, you can also rent a bicycle to explore the island which can cost $20 a day.
Getting there by air: There are many airlines that flies to Cozumel International Airport (CZM), including domestic, and these are American Airlines, Iberia, Interjet and United Airlines.
Kos Island, Greece, Europe
Kos is a Greek island situated close to the coast of Turkey. It’s is a popular destination all year round, but most attractive in the summer months. The many long-stretched, sandy beaches and the lovely weather are Kos’ main attractions. But we can’t forget about the busy nightlife in Kos Town, or ancient Greek ruins such as the Askleipion and the Odeon.
Kos is fairly cheap for a large, well developed island. It attracts tourists due to the very cheap flights, but it's also popular with travellers from many European countries coming to the many all-inclusive hotels and large beach resorts. Look for flights in June or September, as you can find that the prices are considerably cheaper and the temperatures are still warm enough for the beach.
The hotels are nearly all affordable and offer good value due to strong competition, and the prices of food and alcohol are quite cheap. Greece welcomes tourists, and prices in many places have dropped so this could be a good choice in the coming years.
Keep your eyes peeled for all inclusive offers and deals with all-day snacks and water sport activities included for the best value! In addition, self-catering is also a great way to save some money. Cooking for yourself rather than going out for three course meals each day at a restaurant can definitely help you keep to a budget!
Kos Island Factfile
Accommodation: A mid-ranged hotel in the city will cost you around $45, for a much cheaper option such as hostels, it can cost around $20 a night.
Meals: An inexpensive restaurants food can be around $12, whereas a three-course meal at a mid-ranged restaurant can cost upto $44.
Drinks: A Mythos or Alpha beer can be around $3, whereas a domestic beer is half the price. Water is less than a $1 and fizzy drinks are just under $2.
Attractions: Ancient Greek ruins such as the Askleipion and the Odeon will set you back around less than $10.
Transportation: Get around the island with public transport costing you less than $2 one way. In addition, a 3km taxi around town ride can cost you $2.50.
Getting there by air: The airlines that fly to Kos International Airport (KGS) are Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and American Airlines.
The island of Aruba is technically part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. However, it is just off the northern coast of Venezuela so this means it is actually located in the southern Caribbean Sea. The island is mostly flat, with the exception of a striking volcano at its centre. The island has a well developed tourist infrastructure and a busy international airport with cheap flights from Europe and North America, so it's a popular island destination for northern Europeans, as well as Americans. Most hotels on Aruba are in the mid-range and upper end, however there are many affordable places that have good reviews.
There are up to fifty resorts and hotels on Aruba, nearly all of which are on the western and northern coast. There are some reasonably cheap hotels and resorts for a good price and can be better value compared to other islands in the Caribbean, but most of the larger places are in the upper price ranges. The all inclusive resorts on the island isn't the cheapest in the Carribean but can be great value in a package.
Currency: Arubian Florin
Accommodation: The starting range for a mid-range hotel is $80 a night.
Meals: A local dish can cost around $15. Their famous baked cheese dish and other local dishes can be found at most dining locations both in and out of the resorts. Drinks: Imported dutch beers are typical on the Arubian Island with most shops selling a wide variety which can cost you around $2.
Attractions: Jeep tours or scuba diving can cost anywhere around $80, whereas submarine expedition or snorkelling cruises can cost much more, at around $100.
Transportation: You can get around the island with public transport costing you less than $2. A taxi ride of 3km can be around $2.
Getting there by air: There are airlines that fly to Queen Beatrix International Airport (AUA) such as Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, United Airlines. There are also low-cost airlines such as JetBlue that offer cheaper flights to the airport.
Martinque is a Caribbean island and French territory. It has a pretty large volcano called Mount Pelée which is located north of the island. High number of towns and settlements are situated on both coasts, mostly in the centre and southern part of the island. Martinique is a great island choice for budget travelers since it has a large population of residents and therefore there are many options available for those not on a 5-star budget.
There are beautiful beaches on the island, mostly in the south near the resort areas. Martinique is also known for its cuisine, combining French cooking with the local Creole styles.
Flights to Martinique used to be quite expensive, until Norwegian Air started flying in from the United States. Immediately, Martinique became within reach of low to mid budget travelers.
Many travellers from America, Canada and Europe visit the island each year, Martinique has quite a high population without a lot of resorts, so this means it doesn't feel as touristy as many other islands. The island has around 30 hotels and resorts all with different price ranges. There are lower-cost hotels and bed and breakfasts, as well as larger and luxurious resorts. Prices range greatly, however it can be cheaper than most islands in the Caribbean.
Accommodation: The starting range for a mid-range hotel is around $127 per night.
Meals: The island has a range of cuisine made using the Creole style. Restaurants are spread across the island as well as on the beach.
Drinks: It’s quite surprising to see that imported beers costs around $5 and tend to be much cheaper than local beers.
Attractions: Watersports such as scuba diving can cost up to $60 and fishing in the ocean with a private hire can cost around $150.
Transportation: You can get around the island using public transport which can cost you less than $3 or you can choose to rent a scooter to explore the Island for 12 hours for around $50.
Best months to visit: January, February, March, April.
Getting there by air: The following airlines that fly to Martinique Aimé Césaire International Airport (FDF) are Delta Air Lines, Norwegian Air, United Airlines.
Be sure to check our other cheap guides:
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Cheapest Countries in South America
Cheapest Airlines in the World
Cheap Alterntive to the Most Popular & Expensive Destinations
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Cheapest Countries in Southeast Asia
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