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10 Cheap Tropical Getaways for 2017

SmarterTravel

You don’t have to fly to Fiji to experience the tropical vacation of your dreams. Sunny getaways are more affordable than ever in warm-weather locales like Hawaii, Mexico, and the Caribbean islands. Here are 10 tropical destinations that are a lot cheaper than you think.

Oahu, Hawaii

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The cost of an Oahu vacation is plummeting due to increasing airfare and hotel competition across the islands. For the ultimate urban-beach experience, stay in Waikiki. If you’re looking for a family getaway or resort-type stay, look to Ko Olina. And for a taste of nature, head to the island’s North Shore.

Book it: Get prices for Oahu hotels and vacation packages

Rosario Islands, Colombia

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The Rosario Islands, about an hour by ferry off the coast Cartagena, have long been popular with Colombians and other South American tourists for their Caribbean flair, crystal clear water, snorkeling spots, and famous Playa Blanca beach.

Now they are becoming affordable and accessible for American travelers, too, especially if you’re departing from New York, Washington, D.C., or Miami. Winter is the best time to visit this 30-island archipelago—one of Colombia’s Natural National Parks—because it offers the best weather of the year.

Book it: Get prices for Colombia hotels and vacation packages

Greater Cancun, Mexico

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Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Cozumel are always popular destinations in winter, but they’re not always affordable. This year the area is seeing lower-than-usual airfares, however, along with inexpensive hotel prices and a wider variety of all-inclusive resort packages. Cancun International Airport serves all three major destinations, each offering something a little different.

Book it: Get prices for Cancun hotels and vacation packages

Nicaragua

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The U.S. dollar is extremely strong against the Nicaragua Cordoba, and the country has one of the lowest costs of living in all of Central America. This translates to inexpensive food, accommodations, transportation, and drinks. And, right now, flights are inexpensive into the capital of Managua from popular U.S. hubs like Miami, Atlanta, and Houston.

For tropical beach destinations check out the Corn Islands, Popoyo, San Juan del Sur, and Tola. Many hotels are locally owned, so Nicaragua is a breath of fresh air if you’re looking for a non-touristy tropical destination.

Book it: Get prices for Nicaragua hotels and vacation packages

Belize

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Belize is one of the fastest growing countries for American travelers this year, and vacation costs are down by close to 9 percent compared to last year due to this surge. Many tour companies are offering affordable trips that showcase the country’s culture, and new airline routes are driving fares down due to competition.

Look at the areas of Caye Caulker, Placencia Peninsula, and Dangriga for lower hotel prices and food in comparison to San Pedro.

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Rincon, Puerto Rico

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If you want to avoid the crowds and higher hotel prices of San Juan but still go to Puerto Rico, head to Rincon, which is west of the capital. You can still fly into San Juan, which has direct and inexpensive flights from many U.S. hubs.

Rincon sits along the coast that spans from Aguadilla to Cabo Rojo, and is well known for big waves and surfing. In Rincon, you’ll find smaller hotels and laid-back bars and restaurants along the beach compared to more popular spots on the island. And, off the coast is Mona Island, which boasts a variety of wildlife that rivals the Galapagos.

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Negril, Jamaica

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In Negril, about an hour-and-a-half from Montego Bay, you’ll find super-cheap hotels and a mix of upscale, unique lodging. You’ll also find coral reefs and Seven Mile Beach. What you won’t find are the kind of over-crowded and expensive all-inclusives that make up Montego Bay. You’ll still want to fly into the main airport, however, as direct and inexpensive flights are easy to find from major U.S. hubs, because Montego Bay is one of the largest and busiest airports in the Caribbean.

Book it: Get prices for Jamaica hotels and vacation packages

Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

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Puerto Plata is located on the north shore of the Dominican Republic and offers some of the cheapest hotels and all-inclusives in the Caribbean. It’s about two hours from the Santiago Airport, so cheap direct flights from major U.S. hubs are an option. Puerto Plata also has a reputation for having inexpensive all-inclusive packages, especially when compared to Punta Cana luxury resorts. 

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Curacao

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This Dutch Island is located in the southern part of the Caribbean and is known as a hotspot for European and Canadian travelers, but now there are some inexpensive routes from U.S. hubs like New York City and Miami, too. Curacao is one of the best diving spots in the region, and has cheaper hotels than the other islands in this part of the Caribbean, such as Aruba.

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Roatan Island, Honduras

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The biggest island in the Bay Islands chain off the coast of Honduras, Roatan, is also one of the best destinations in the Caribbean for snorkeling and diving due to its location on a barrier reef system. There are direct flights into Roatan from major U.S. hubs like Houston, Atlanta, and New York City, making the island accessible while still relatively uncrowded. Roatan is a great budget destination because hotel, food, and drink prices remain very inexpensive compared to other Caribbean islands.

Book it: Get prices for Honduras hotels and vacation packages

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