10 Tropical Vacations You Can Actually Maybe Afford
Friendship + sun + cocktails = YESSS.
There is nothing quite like escaping the US for a sweet, sweet tropical getaway with your girlfriends.
Sun, beach, coffee mornings, all-day cocktails, exploring a new culture ... it's all so good. The only question is: Where, exactly, should you go?
I asked some top travel bloggers and writers for their favorite budget-friendly spots for bachelorettes and friendcations outside the US — and here are their recommendations. They're all around the Caribbean/Mexico area, since plane tickets to get there aren't astronomically expensive, and, perhaps more importantly, they're all pretty dope — so you can't really go wrong.
1. Playa Grande, Costa Rica
"It's a super chill surf town in Costa Rica. The hotels are simple and reasonably priced (we loved La Marejada) but there also a ton of cheap beachfront Airbnbs. Bring some beers down to the beach every night at sunset to watch the surfers, and eat the delicious cheap tacos at Taco Star.
Bonus: it's not too far from party-central Tamarindo (an hour walk on the beach + a water taxi for a dollar or so, or a 45-minute taxi ride) if you do want to do at least one big night out. You can also book an all-drinks-included snorkel sail from Tamarindo for a fun activity!" —Christine Amorose, C'est Christine
2. Little Corn Island, Nicaragua
"I came here because I wanted to see a side of the Caribbean that was still a bit undeveloped, away from being a collection of resorts and vacation rentals. Little Corn certainly fits that bill, from its isolation to its rugged interior to its sheer beauty. The only thing is that it's a challenge to get to and the Wi-Fi is limited, which is enough to keep people away — but I'd go now. The island is changing so quickly, and it's not going to be this low-key for long." —Kate McCulley, Adventurous Kate
More info on Little Corn Island here.
3. Roatan Island, Honduras
"The media doesn't typically paint Honduras as the most tourist-friendly destination in the world, but I thought Roatan Island was welcoming. My accommodation, Posada Las Orquídeas, was about $30 per night, and was a budget-friendly paradise with giant waterfront balconies showcasing tables and hammocks.
My friends and I occupied a bunch of rooms in a row, so we essentially had one connected mega balcony. There's also so much to do on the island: helping the environment through your palate by eating invasive lionfish at Cannibal Cafe,
going snorkeling or diving (Roatan has over 150 sites), dancing at El Bosque West End, and chilling out on West Bay Beach. One awesome find on the beach: the Mayan Princess Beach Resort, which has $6 frozen margaritas and free cabanas (though they're less than squeaky clean, but still fun). So awesome for a girls' getaway!" —Jessie Festa, Jessie On A Journey
More info on Roatan Island here.
4. San Juan, Puerto Rico
"I think San Juan is seriously underrated as an easy long-weekend getaway for visitors from the east coast of the US. Old San Juan oozes charm, and if you stay within the old city's two-square-mile radius, you won't need a car for great restaurants, sightseeing and shopping (and, of course, no one needs a passport for Puerto Rico). Hotel Casa Blanca and Villa Herencia are my two fave boutiques there—stylish and affordable." —Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon, Caribbean travel expert
More info on San Juan here.
5. Negril, Jamaica
"Located one and a half hours from the Montego Bay airport, Negril is great for a chill, relaxing getaway with girlfriends. As far as hotels, I love the Rockhouse Hotel on the cliffs. It's away from everything happening on Seven Mile Beach, but still close enough that you can go there if you want. There's also Rick's Cafe nearby, in case you want to jump off the cliffs. Rockhouse has a spa, a pool, a restaurant, does occasional yoga classes, and is pretty reasonably priced.
Outside of hotels, Negril has several villas. I stayed with family at Villas Sur Mer, which is also on the cliffs of Negril. They have one-bedroom options all the way up to their private six-bedroom villa. If you have 12 people to fit into the six-bedroom villa, it's absolutely worth it!" —Tausha Cowan, The Globe Getter
More info on Negril here.
6. Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica
7. San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
“Nicaragua (or Nica as people like to call it) is a new favorite for millennial bachelorette parties. San Juan del Sur is particularly bachelorette-friendly. There are beaches lined with expat bars, surfing and yoga, all in the cute, walkable town. You can also go horseback riding with Rancho Chilamate and end up on a deserted beach, then hang there for sunset. It’s fun and beautiful.” —Leah Ginsberg, Travel Writer
More info on San Juan del Sur here.
8. Tulum, Mexico
"This is the quintessential boho beach town, and the strip is lined with small affordable hotels. I've stayed at Nueva Vida De Ramiro and loved it. Flights into Cancun are plentiful and inexpensive, and Tulum is SO casual and laidback—pack your swimsuit, flip-flops and a sarong and you're good to go! (Bonus: If you're into yoga, there are a ton of studios.)" —Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon, Caribbean travel expert
More info on Tulum here.
9. Caye Caulker, Belize
"I love Caye Caulker in Belize for my more adventurous girlfriends. It's easy to fly there from the states, it's not hideously expensive, and it still has that local charm. Some say it's couple-y, but I went with my friends and we scuba dived all the time, and had rum punches with locals and ate fresh fish when we weren't underwater. It's got something for everyone and I'll probably never get over that gorgeous, clear blue Caribbean water!" —Kristin Addis, Be My Travel Muse
More info on Caye Caulker here.