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8 Cheap Retreats on the World’s Most Famously Beautiful Beaches


There’s either one issue or the other if you’re desperate to visit the world’s most beautiful beaches. You know, the stunning beaches that make every “top 10” list and are the select dozen or so that are the most photographed in the history of photography (and now, Instagram).

It’s either a) this beautiful beach is so beautiful thanks in large part to the fact that it’s also so isolated, and therefore nearly impossible to reach and/or find a place to stay that’s even somewhat nearby. Or it’s b) its beauty has been discovered and now extremely pricey, luxury hotels monopolize its shoreline. In short: good luck visiting this beach without forking over a month’s worth of wages.

But there are some circumstances that fall outside of these two options—and we found them. Here we bring you eight cheap retreats that sit right on the sand of eight of the world’s most renowned beaches.

Take a look and then let us know, did we miss any of your favorites?

Villas of the Galleon in Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman

Villas of the Galleon‘s stellar location on the best part of Seven Mile Beach is the selling point here. The stretch in front of the hotel is spacious, not crowded, and scenic with tropical clear water and white sand. The property offers one-, two-, and three-bedroom units with full kitchens, though decor is dated, particularly in the bedrooms. It may be worth comparing rates with Plantana Condominiums, where the condos tend to be more modern and a large ocean-view pool is on offer.

El Nido Cove Resort on El Nido Bay, Philippines

El Nido Cove Resort is a quiet mid-range property suited for those looking to spend a few semi-unplugged days by the beach. Well, specifically a beach that constantly makes “best of” lists thanks to powdery white sand and dramatic limestone formations on the horizion Its 20 rooms are clean and airy, with simple island decor and basic amenities, such as air-conditioning, eco-friendly toiletries, and ceiling fans.

Cinnamon Bay Campground on Cinnamon Bay, St. John

Cinnamon Bay Campground, is, like its name suggests, a campsite on Cinnamon Bay beach within the Virgin Islands National Park (which means it’s protected by pollution and more). Make no mistake, this is a campground, with bare-bones accommodations, communal bathrooms, cold showers, tons of bugs, and no air-conditioning or cell service. But for travelers willing to give up these creature comforts, Cinnamon Bay Campground offers some of St. John’s most affordable beachfront accommodations.

Praia Ipanema Hotel on Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro

The Praia Ipanema Hotel is a solid upper-middle-range option with an excellent location at Ipanema Beach, where visitors can find the beautiful waters the area is known for. Rooms include small balconies (a real rarity in Rio de Janeiro) and great views, which can also be enjoyed from the tiny rooftop pool or restaurant. Rates are reasonable compared to similar nearby hotels, but visitors may also want to consider the cheaper Mar Ipanema Hotel, which is just a five-minute walk from the sand.

Castle Kiahuna Plantation Beach Bungalows on Po’ipu Beach, Kauai

A 115-unit south shore condo fronting Kauai’s renowned Poipu Beach with limited service and varying decor, though plenty of open space, the Castle Kiahuna offers a similar experience to Outrigger Kiahuna, which is part of the same Kaihuna Plantation; both have access to the pool, golf, and tennis across the street, but service here doesn’t quite match that at the Outrigger.

Phi Phi Long Beach Resort & Villa on Long Beach, Thailand

This mid-range hotel sits on Ko Phi Phi’s Long Beach, one of the island’s most stunning stretches of sand. The resort has a small pool and restaurant, but the cost of trips by boat into Koh Phi Phi’s main town, Tonsai, will add up. Rooms and villas are spacious and include satellite TV and air-conditioning—plus many have spectacular views of and immediate access to the beach—and some villas come with a private outdoor plunge pool. Another cheap stay right on the beach that’s worth considering is Long Beach Chalet.

Sunrise Beach Clubs and Villas on Cabbage Beach, Bahamas

Smack dab between Atlantis Resort, Riu, and the One&Only Ocean Club on Paradise Island, this hidden gem offers 26 units ranging in size from one-, two-, three-, four and even five-bedroom options. Decor varies depending on the owner’s taste, but these spacious villas all have fully-equipped kitchens, coffeemakers, sofa beds, and patios at generally great prices. Guests can walk to the aforementioned neighboring resorts for restaurants and nightlife, or rent a car for more island freedom. Lounge chairs are never a problem at one of two pools, but do not miss out on having private access to Cabbage Beach; since the entire stretch of sand is completely public, guests can grab a beer from Archie’s stand and choose the party vibe in front or walk further down for near isolation.

Reef Residences on Grace Bay on Grace Bay, Turks and Caicos

This condo-hotel is a solid mid-range option on pricey Turks and Caicos, with 24 spacious—if slightly worn—suites featuring full kitchens, sofa beds, and sprawling patios. Features are sufficient for a small condo property that’s not too pricey—there’s a small pool, fitness center, and spa—and it’s only a 100-yard stroll to the beach, a beautiful spot that’s protected by a coral reef (with stunning marine life) just offshore.

—Jane Reynolds

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This article was originally published by Oyster under the headline 8 Cheap Retreats on the World’s Most Famously Beautiful Beaches. It is reprinted here with permission.


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