Wave Goodbye to the Cold & Visit One of These 5 Affordable Beach Getaways
Winter may not have officially begun just yet, but I’d guess that hasn’t stopped you from thinking about heading to warmer pastures. Unless you’re a complete winter fanatic — and props to you if so — those of us who live in places that experience all four seasons throughout the year tend to wish the cold weather wouldn’t stick around so long.
When it inevitably does, we find ourselves daydreaming about the carefree days of summer when we could sit at the beach, scantly dressed, and soak up those magnificent rays. Of course, in some parts of the world summer never really ends. Should we have the necessary financial resources, it is always in reach.
But even when we don’t, there are still beach getaways out there that don’t break the bank. After scouring the Internets and reading several articles from reputable sources, here are five such destinations that you might want to consider if a cure for the winter blues is what you seek:
1. San Juan, Puerto Rico
Besides being known for a mayor who is no stranger to sparring with a certain American president, San Juan is also a pretty popular beach destination which just happens to be one of the most affordable options in the Caribbean. The Puerto Rican capital prides itself on having “all the excitement of a vibrant city with the allure of tropical beaches” — and they ain’t lyin’ when they say that. From Playa Peña to Ocean Park Beach, you’ll be sure to find a spot in the sand fit to meet your needs. Tip: JetBlue usually has good flight deals.
2. Tulum, Mexico
When it comes to the Yucatán, most people seem to have their eyes set on Cancún, the seemingly eternal destination of spring breakers everywhere. But just over 80 miles to the south of the perpetual party city is Tulum, a bohemian-chic beach town featuring ancient Mayan ruins and miles of soft white sand.
“Mexico has long been known as an affordable paradise for escaping the chill of winter, and in Tulum, you’ll find as much, or as little, to do as you like,” says Trips to Discover. The travel site recommends Freedom Paradise, a boutique hotel located on a secluded stretch of sand, if you’re looking for affordable accommodations.
3. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Located on the easternmost point of the island of Hispaniola — the home of both Haiti and the Dominican Republic — Punta Cana is a resort town known for the beautiful, clean, sandy stretches of beach all along its 20-mile Coconut Coast. Incorporated only a dozen years ago, this Dominican paradise could never be accused of shorting travelers on all-inclusive hotel deals, including options under $200 a night. Travel + Leisure recommends visiting in January to avoid the holiday crowds and the Carnival revelers that February brings.
One of the three ABC islands that sit just north of Venezuela in the Caribbean Sea, Curaçao has recently become popular with American travelers thanks to major airlines offering regular flights. The Dutch island’s friendliness toward English speakers doesn’t hurt either.
While the island features historic settlements and rugged landscapes, U.S. News & World Report says the real draw is the beach: “Picture-perfect bays and coves flank the island, their turquoise waters lapping gently against powdery white sand.” Winter may not be the best time to visit, however, as airfare and hotel rates are often much cheaper from May to November.
5. Cartagena, Colombia
I hadn’t really been thinking of South America when I set out to write this post, but it is often possible to find cheap airfare to Colombia and Cartagena certainly wouldn’t be the worst option if your intention is to sit back and relax on the beach. Situated along the northern coast of the country, the city features impressive mangroves, powdery beaches, and stunning coral reefs, in addition to an historic old town surrounded by the city wall.
Fly with JetBlue (out of New York or Fort Lauderdale, preferably) and plan your trip sometime between mid-January and the end of February when the already-affordable hotel rates are even less expensive.