Budget Friendly

2014’s Best Beaches on a Budget

After the holiday season has died down, you may find yourself in need of a sunny beach to cure those winter-time blues. While this may sound like a dream come true, if you’re anything like me, the aftermath of Christmas may have left your wallet a little on the light side. So what do you do? Well, with this list of best value beaches, you can truly have the beach and the Caribbean or Mexico for around $600! Don’t believe me? Then read on…

If you’re looking to get away without being too far from home, Cancun is a great place to thaw out without roasting your bank account. Although it’s traditionally known as a haven for spring breakers and party goers, Cancun is the perfect place to soak up some sun, sand and beautiful scenery while staying within your budget. With prices starting at $619, you can enjoy 5 days and 4 nights of Cancun’s finest beaches, clubs and adult-only fun at Barcelo Tucancun Beach Resort. With a convenient location and more than 650 ft. of white-sand beach, you’ll have plenty of space to decompress from the stress of the holidays. For a real treat, I recommend waking up early and enjoying breakfast on the beach. Not only will you have your spot saved for the day, but there is nothing better than sipping coffee to the sound of the waves crashing against the shore.

Best Value Beaches - Barcelo Tucancun Beach Resort - CheapCaribbean.com

If you want to go a little further south to soak up the cool vibes of Jamaica, I recommend heading over to Montego Bay, where you’ll find crystal-clear water, smiling faces and of course, the “spirit of Jamaica”—reggae! Although some of you may not consider yourselves “music lovers,” I know of a great deal in Montego Bay that will have you jammin’ in no time! Holiday Inn Sunspree is a great resort for budget-minded travelers in search of all-inclusive Caribbean fun. This beautiful, family-operated resort offers an exceptional level of service and amenities that will leave you and your wallet happy as prices start at $649 for 6 days and 5 nights. With clear water and its own little private island, Holiday Inn Sunspree is a wonderful value for the money.

Best Budget Resort in Jamaica - Holiday Inn Sunspree - CheapCaribbean.com

However, if you don’t have a passport, the thought of traveling to the beach may seem as distant as traveling to the moon. Well lucky for you, beach bums can travel anytime to Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands without a passport.

For the golf lovers, I recommend checking out Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Beach Resort in Puerto Rico. This beautiful, 4-Sun resort is located between El Yunque Rainforest and Fajardo’s bioluminescent bay and features two 18-hole, championship golf courses that will have you smiling all the way to the fairway. For as low as $579, you can enjoy this golfer’s paradise for 5 days and 4 nights—so this is definitely a deal you’ll want to swing at!

Puerto Rico Budget Friendly Resorts - Wyndham Grand Rio Mar - CheapCaribbean.com

If you want to see what USVI has to offer, check out Marriott Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Beach Resort, where you can take advantage of a half-mile stretch of beach, 4 pools and a modern spa for as low as $569! Although the cheaper packages aren’t all-inclusive, it’s still a great way to get the most miles for your buck!

USVI Budget Friendly Beach Resorts - Marriott Frenchman Resort - Cheap Caribbean

No matter where you’ll find your best value beach, be sure to book early as prices and packages change on a regular basis. So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and treat yourself—an affordable Caribbean or Mexico vacation is a great way to start the New Year off right!

#CheapCaribbean Presents: Beach on a Budget Twitter Party

We all dream about sinking our toes in white sand, breathing in the crisp, fresh air and sipping something fruity while vacationing on a beautiful Caribbean island. This month’s Twitter party is geared toward making your dream a reality, no matter your budget.

Join us this Tuesday, September 24th at 1pm CST to chat about budget-friendly travel to the Caribbean and Mexico. We’ve invited our friends Johnny from JohnnyJet.com and Andy Hayes of PlumDeluxe.com to answer your questions about vacationing on a budget and to share their money-saving tips.

#CheapCaribbean Twitter Party: Beach on a Budget

Here’s how to get in on the conversation:

  1. On Tuesday, September 24th from 1pm-2pm CST, log onto to Twitter and make sure you're following us at @cheapcaribbean.
  2. Join the Twitter party fun by answering our questions or asking your own, using the hashtag #CheapCaribbean.
  3. One lucky follower will win a free all-inclusive trip for two to Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort and Spa!

Budget Friendly Vacation - Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort & Spa - CheapCaribbean.com

We can’t wait to hear from you so please come prepared with questions and your own personal vacation-saving tips! Also, be sure to follower our guest bloggers @JohnnyJet and @PlumDeluxe!

The Best Beach for Your Budget

Believe it not, there’s a white sandy beach and empty chair with your name on it. There’s a hotel bartender longing to concoct his signature beverage just for you. And there’s even plenty of cool breezes and warm sunshine that’s just drying to wrap around you. So what are you waiting for? A trip to the beach is calling…and the good news is you’ve got plenty of options, no matter your budget. Here are a few suggestions of fabulous vacations that will accustom every pocketbook.

Quick Weekend Getaways Under $700

Sometimes the perfect vacations are ones that happen spur-of-the-moment and allow you jet set out of town for a few days. That’s what a great weekend getaway is all about. And you’d be surprised to find out that a lot of these fab getaways run under $700 per person.

The first favorite of ours is 4.5-star Now Sapphire Riviera Cancun in Riviera Maya. This luxury resort offers Unlimited-Luxury® all-inclusive, which includes in-pool lounges, adult-only pool access, premium-stoked bars and seven five-star gourmet restaurants. Don’t worry; this feature comes standard at this 496-guest room resort tucked perfectly on 5,000 feet of the whitest sands and bluest waters in Mexico. Even better, three-night getaways start at $519 per person.

Cheap Riviera Maya Vacations from CheapCaribbean.com

Another nice quick getaway option comes to you from sunny Montego Bay, Jamaica.  Holiday Inn Sunspree Montego Bay is THE place if you’re looking for somewhere to spend some good quality time together. Better yet, kids stay and eat free here. This all-inclusive beachfront property comes complete with a half-mile, sugar-sand beach, Kidspree Vacation Club, Sol Mer Spa and adults-only swim up bar. With something for everyone, five-night getaways start at $599 per person (not including the kiddos who stay and eat free).

Just the Vacation You Had in Mind Under $1000

Vacations are supposed to be just that – vacations. You shouldn’t have to stress over all the details. That’s why these recommendations have it all and include airfare, food & beverage, as well as accommodations. Any of these great getaways should run you around $1000 per person and make it even more of an excuse for you to get away…

Punta Cana is the premiere hot spot in the DR and that means it’s surely not lacking. That’s the case for the all-inclusive, adult-only Barcelo Bavaro Beach. Indulge in the scrumptious gourmet dining options, hang out at the Bohio pool bar during the day and head over to Disco Bavaro for dancing and entertainment or see a Las-Vegas inspired show at Gran Teatro Bavaro at night. Prices start at $819 per person for four nights. And one extra perk – you’ll have access to its’ sister property, Barcelo Bavaro Palace Deluxe, making it feel like two vacations in one.

Cheap Mexico Vacations from CheapCaribbean.com

In Mexico, the Iberostar Paraiso Maya is known for having it all. Located on the Playa Paraiso beach in Riviera Maya, this breathtaking resort is fully equipped with five pools, including one indoor pool and a Mayan palace-style wave pool, as well as a lazy river made perfect for floating.

Cheap Punta Cana Vacations from CheapCaribbean.com

There’s Lucy's Miniclub for the kids and there’s also a “dine around” program, which allows you to venture to all the sister hotels’ restaurants and bars for limitless all-inclusive options. Five magnificent nights here begin at $869 for August through October 2013 travel.

Go Ahead…The Vacation You Deserve Under $1500

There’s no denying you work hard and deserve a serious break. So why not take the ultimate break with a luxury, top-notch vacation? With a starting price point under $1500 per person, one of our luxury favorites will be the best escape you’ve had to date.

Le Blanc Spa Resort is the 2012 Conde Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice for a reason. It’s also been recognized as an esteemed AAA Five Diamond Resort for 2013, which is awarded based on service & staff. This resort lies along a 250-yeard beach of powdery white sand on Cancun Island’s eastern shore. Because you’re so deserving of a treat, stop by the spa which offers a full menu of treatments, 24 indoor and outdoor treatment rooms and five outdoor couples suites, making it the perfect indulgence for you and your sweetie.

Luxury Cancun Vacations on a Budget from CheapCaribbean.com

With ample gourmet dining options, evening entertainment and even better service, you’ll enter such a state of relaxation you might never want to leave. And with travel dates through August, prices start at $1499 per person.

If you still want to shop around for the right vacation for you, make sure you take advantage of our Beach Budget Finder, which can be found on the right-hand side of our homepage. It’s the perfect tool to build the vacation of your dreams.

And if you haven’t yet, be sure to help support CheapCaribbean.com in the Business Journals’ Social Madness Competition. The winning team will receive a $10,000 donation to the charity of their choice and we’re hoping to give that to Make-A-Wish. You can vote every day through June 17th here.

Prices may vary and price points are based on Ft. Lauderdale, FL departures. 

Beach on a Budget by Suddenly Frugal’s Leah Ingram

Beach on a Budget

By: Leah Ingram, Suddenly Frugal

You may not think that spending time on the beach in the Caribbean and saving money are two things that you can do at the same time. But there are a few things you can do to keep the beach in your budget. A key component to this can simply be knowing where to look for savings or how to stretch your buck.

 First and foremost, you're more likely to save money by booking a package deal through a service like Cheapcaribbean.com.

Even though an all-inclusive might seem more expensive upfront, in the end I believe they end up being cheaper because you don't have to lay out any cash for your food. I have stayed at all-inclusive resorts on St. Croix, St. Lucia and Jamaica, and I loved the ease of knowing where my next meal was coming from--and that I didn't have to pay extra to get it.

Another great benefit to booking all-inclusive travel is the options you have. Nearly all destinations in the Caribbean & Mexico offer all-inclusive resorts, which means there’s definitely something for everyone. If you’re looking for a romantic getaway you can search for all-inclusive hotels that cater to couples and honeymooners, or if a family vacation is in the works, there’s plenty of resorts that offer full family all-inclusive options. You may even want to check the price for younger children, as some of the resorts charge less or even offer free stays for young children.

When it comes time for souvenirs, I would recommend going off property. While you may save on meals at an all-inclusive, the same is not always true for items in the gift shop. If you are in a location with a chain supermarket or drugstore, stop in to look at your souvenir options. You are likely to see many of the same products from your hotel gift shop, but for a lot less money.

Another affordable souvenir option: local art works. I remember during a trip to Nassau, Bahamas, we visited an artists' collective on Paradise Island. There, painters, sculptors and other visual artists had booths set up as workstations and from which they sold their goods. We ended up purchasing two original watercolors for less than $40. My husband and I also brought artwork home as souvenirs from our trips to St. Lucia and St. Croix.

Years later, many of those prints are still hanging in our home. Every time I see them I remember our amazing trips to the Caribbean. The fact that we didn't spend a ton of cash while there helps to make those memories even better for this frugalista!

Leah Ingram is the founder of the Suddenly Frugal blog at www.suddenlyfrugal.com, and the author of 14 books, including Suddenly Frugal: How to Live Happier and Healthier for Less and Tie the Knot on a Shoestring.