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Dreaming of an exotic getaway with your significant other but worried about the budget? You’re in the right place!
Exotic vacations don’t always have to come with a hefty price tag. There are plenty of stunning destinations around the globe where you can enjoy beautiful landscapes, rich cultures, and unforgettable experiences without draining your bank account.
From the azure waters of Southeast Asia to the historic streets of North Africa, the world is full of affordable gems that are perfect for couples.
I’ve been diving into the world of exotic travel destinations on this blog for over 7 years, curating lists and sharing insights that have helped countless travelers find their ideal getaway. My experience has taught me that with a little research and some savvy planning, you can enjoy the trip of a lifetime without breaking the bank.
Let’s explore some of the top picks for cheap exotic vacations that promise to be couple-friendly and wallet-friendly!
14 Cheap Exotic Vacations for Couples
Phuket, Thailand, is a tropical paradise that’s perfect for couples looking for an affordable getaway. Known for its stunning beaches and vibrant street life, it’s a place where you can soak up the sun without breaking the bank.
One of the best free activities is simply exploring the beach scenes. From the bustling Patong Beach to the more serene Kata Beach, you can enjoy the crystal-clear waters and golden sands without spending a dime. For a bit of adventure, take a hike to the Big Buddha. It’s not only free but offers breathtaking views of the island.
When it comes to eating, you’re in for a treat. Check out the local markets like Phuket Weekend Market or Banzaan Market. Here, you can indulge in delicious Thai street food that’s both cheap and authentic. Think mouth-watering pad Thai, fresh spring rolls, and exotic fruits that’ll tantalize your taste buds without emptying your wallet.
So, if you’re eyeing a budget-friendly escape with your other half, Phuket’s got you covered with its natural beauty, fun activities, and tasty eats.
San Pedro, Belize
San Pedro in Belize is a hidden gem for couples craving an exotic yet affordable escape. This charming island is famous for its spectacular Barrier Reef, offering some of the best snorkeling and diving spots in the world.
For a cost-effective day, hit the public beaches where the turquoise waters are your playground, and the views are free. Stroll down the San Pedro Beach Boardwalk, soaking in the vibrant local culture and breathtaking scenery without spending a penny.
Hungry? Dive into the local cuisine at El Fogon, known for its authentic Belizean flavors that won’t break the bank. Think savory stewed chicken with rice and beans, surrounded by a laid-back, island vibe.
San Pedro is all about savoring the simple pleasures of life, from its natural wonders to its tasty bites, making it an ideal spot for couples looking to stretch their dollars in paradise.
Tulum, Mexico, is a hidden gem that couples adore for its laid-back vibe and stunning natural beauty. Famous for its ancient Mayan ruins perched on cliffs overlooking the Caribbean Sea, it’s a spot where history and paradise meet.
One of the coolest and most affordable things to do is to hit the public beaches. Places like Playa Paraíso offer postcard-perfect views with powdery white sand and turquoise waters, all for free. If you’re up for a bit of exploration, take a bike ride to the cenotes nearby, like Gran Cenote or Cenote Calavera, for a small entrance fee. These natural swimming holes are magical spots for a refreshing dip.
When hunger strikes, head over to the Tulum town center. It’s a bit off the beach path but worth it for the authentic and budget-friendly eats. Check out spots like Antojitos La Chiapaneca for some of the best tacos al pastor you’ll ever have, without the tourist price tag.
Tulum is all about enjoying the simple pleasures in life, making it a perfect escape for couples looking for both relaxation and adventure on a budget.
San José, Costa Rica
San José, Costa Rica, is a vibrant city that’s a gateway to adventure for couples seeking an exotic yet affordable getaway. It’s known for its lively culture and proximity to some of Costa Rica’s most stunning natural landscapes.
A must-do that’s absolutely free is strolling through the Mercado Central. It’s a bustling market where you can soak up local vibes, sample Costa Rican coffee, and even snag some inexpensive souvenirs. For a dose of nature, head to Parque La Sabana, the city’s largest urban park. It’s perfect for a leisurely picnic or a scenic walk.
When it comes to eating, Barrio Escalante is the spot. This trendy neighborhood is packed with affordable eateries offering everything from traditional Costa Rican dishes to international cuisine. Soda Tapia, a long-standing local favorite, offers hearty and authentic meals without the hefty price tag.
San José combines urban charm with easy access to natural wonders, making it an ideal spot for couples wanting to explore without spending a fortune.
Negril, Jamaica, is all about laid-back vibes and stunning sunsets. It’s a paradise for couples looking for a chill spot to unwind without splurging too much.
One of the best things to do here is to lounge on the Seven Mile Beach. It’s a gorgeous stretch of white sand and clear blue waters that’s totally free to access. For a little adventure, head to the Negril Cliffs. You can watch daring cliff divers or enjoy the view for free. If you’re feeling brave, find a safe spot and dive into the crystal-clear waters below.
When you get hungry, West End Road is the place to be. This area is dotted with affordable eateries serving up delicious Jamaican fare. Check out Sweet Spice Restaurant for some authentic jerk chicken, curry goat, and other local specialties that won’t break the bank.
Negril is perfect for couples who want to soak up the sun, enjoy the sea, and indulge in tasty eats without spending a fortune.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
San Juan, Puerto Rico, is a city where historic charm meets beachside relaxation. It’s an ideal spot for couples looking to enjoy an exotic vacation without the hefty price tag.
Strolling through the cobblestone streets of Old San Juan is like stepping back in time, and it’s absolutely free. You’ll be surrounded by colorful buildings, historic forts, and vibrant plazas. Don’t miss the iconic El Morro, where you can explore the grounds without spending much. For beach lovers, Condado Beach offers a lovely spot to sunbathe and swim without any fees.
When it comes to dining, La Placita de Santurce is a lively market by day and a hotspot for local cuisine by night. Dive into affordable, mouth-watering dishes like mofongo and alcapurrias at spots like El Punto Vegano for those seeking plant-based options, or La Alcapurria Quemá for traditional bites.
San Juan blends cultural richness with natural beauty, making it a fantastic choice for couples eager to explore and indulge on a budget.
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam, is famed for its emerald waters and thousands of towering limestone islands topped with rainforests. It’s a dreamy escape for couples seeking adventure and relaxation in a stunning setting.
One of the most affordable ways to experience the bay’s beauty is by taking a traditional junk boat tour. While not entirely free, these tours offer incredible value, allowing you to explore hidden caves and secluded beaches. For a more active adventure, consider kayaking around the smaller islets. Many tours include this option, letting you paddle through tranquil waters at your own pace.
For dining, head back to the mainland and explore the Ha Long Night Market. Here, you can savor local delicacies like grilled squid and banh mi at very reasonable prices. Cua Vang Restaurant near the bay offers delicious seafood dishes without the tourist mark-up, perfect for a romantic yet budget-friendly meal.
Ha Long Bay is all about experiencing natural wonders and local flavors, making it an ideal spot for couples looking for an exotic retreat without overspending.
Roatán, Honduras, is a slice of paradise known for its stunning coral reefs and laid-back island vibe. It’s a fantastic choice for couples looking to dive into an underwater adventure without spending a fortune.
Snorkeling in Roatán is a must-do, and you can often find spots right off the beach where the reefs are teeming with marine life. West Bay Beach is perfect for this, and access to the beach is generally free or very affordable. For a change of scenery, take a stroll through Punta Gorda, the oldest Garifuna settlement, to experience vibrant cultural dances and music on Sundays at no cost.
When it comes to eating, you’re in for a treat with the island’s fresh seafood. Sundowners Beach Bar in West End offers not only delicious, budget-friendly meals but also a chance to enjoy your food with your toes in the sand, watching one of Roatán’s breathtaking sunsets.
Roatán combines natural beauty with cultural richness, making it an ideal getaway for couples seeking both relaxation and a bit of adventure on a budget.
Zanzibar, Tanzania, is a dreamy island known for its spice plantations, pristine beaches, and rich cultural heritage. It’s an idyllic spot for couples craving an exotic retreat without the hefty price tag.
Wandering through Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is like walking through a living museum, and it’s free. The narrow alleys, carved doors, and bustling bazaars tell tales of the island’s storied past. For beach lovers, the east coast offers endless stretches of sandy shores like Paje and Jambiani, where lounging under the sun costs nothing.
For an affordable yet memorable dining experience, head to Forodhani Gardens in the evening. This lively food market serves up local specialties like Zanzibar pizzas and fresh seafood skewers at street food prices.
Zanzibar is the perfect blend of adventure, relaxation, and cultural immersion, making it a fantastic choice for couples looking to explore and unwind in an enchanting setting.
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, is a paradise for couples with its endless white-sand beaches and crystal-clear waters. It’s a hotspot for those seeking sun, sea, and sand without spending a fortune.
One of the best free activities is to simply enjoy the beaches. Bavaro Beach, with its turquoise waters and palm-lined coast, is perfect for sunbathing or a romantic stroll. For a bit of adventure, explore the Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park, where a small entrance fee grants you access to stunning freshwater lagoons.
When it comes to dining, Punta Cana offers plenty of value. Head to local eateries away from the resort areas for authentic and affordable Dominican cuisine. Kat’s Corner is a cozy spot known for its friendly atmosphere and tasty dishes that won’t break the bank.
Punta Cana is all about enjoying the natural beauty and laid-back Caribbean lifestyle, making it an ideal escape for couples looking for a budget-friendly yet exotic vacation.
Ubud, Indonesia, is the cultural heart of Bali, known for its lush rice terraces, artistic heritage, and tranquil vibes. It’s a haven for couples seeking a serene yet affordable getaway.
Exploring the Ubud Monkey Forest is a must, where for a small fee, you can wander among ancient temples and lush forests teeming with monkeys. For a taste of local culture, visit the Ubud Art Market. Browsing is free, and you might find affordable, unique souvenirs. Don’t miss the chance to walk through the Tegallalang Rice Terraces; it’s free to admire the views, with a small donation expected if you walk through the fields.
For dining, Ubud has numerous warungs (local eateries) offering delicious Balinese dishes at low prices. Warung Biah Biah is a favorite for its authentic flavors and budget-friendly menu.
Ubud is the perfect mix of culture, nature, and romance, offering couples an exotic escape without the extravagant cost.
Bohol, Philippines, is a tropical haven famous for its Chocolate Hills, pristine beaches, and rich biodiversity. It’s an ideal destination for couples looking for an affordable yet romantic getaway.
A visit to the Chocolate Hills is a must, where for a minimal fee, you can marvel at over 1,000 symmetrical mounds that turn cocoa-brown in the dry season. Another budget-friendly activity is exploring the white sandy beaches of Panglao Island, where relaxation costs nothing. For a touch of adventure, take a dip in the Hinagdanan Cave, which has a small entrance fee.
When it comes to dining, Bohol’s local eateries, known as “turo-turo”, offer delicious Filipino dishes at very low prices. Buzzz Café by Bohol Bee Farm is a great spot for organic and healthy options without the hefty price tag, offering farm-to-table dishes in a cozy setting.
Bohol’s mix of natural wonders and local charm makes it a fantastic choice for couples seeking an exotic experience on a budget.
Marrakech, Morocco, is a city that captivates with its vibrant markets, intricate architecture, and lively street performances. It’s a magical destination for couples seeking an affordable exotic escape.
Wandering through the Medina of Marrakech, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is an experience in itself. The maze of markets (souks) offers endless exploration at no cost, though you might be tempted by affordable local crafts. The Jardin Majorelle, while not free, is a serene and relatively inexpensive oasis worth visiting for its stunning gardens and iconic blue accents.
For dining, immerse yourself in the local flavor at Jemaa el-Fnaa, the main square where affordable food stalls serve up delicious Moroccan specialties like tagine and couscous. For a cozy dining experience, try Café des Épices, a rooftop spot offering great food at reasonable prices with views over the spice market.
Marrakech is an enchanting mix of culture, history, and romance, perfect for couples looking to experience the allure of Morocco on a budget.
Koh Rong, Cambodia
Koh Rong, Cambodia, is an island paradise known for its pristine beaches and bioluminescent plankton. It’s a dreamy spot for couples seeking a budget-friendly yet exotic beach getaway.
Spending time on the beach is a given here, with several stretches of sand offering tranquil spots to relax and swim at no cost. At night, take a dip in the waters at Long Set Beach to experience the magical glow of bioluminescent plankton, a truly unique experience that’s also free. For a little adventure, hike to the Koh Rong Lighthouse for panoramic island views. The trail starts from the beach, and there’s no fee to enjoy the scenery.
When it comes to dining, the island’s local Khmer restaurants offer delicious and affordable meals. Coco’s Bungalow Resort has a restaurant with beachfront views, serving up fresh seafood and local dishes at prices that won’t break the bank.
Koh Rong is all about unspoiled natural beauty and laid-back vibes, making it an ideal escape for couples wanting to unwind and connect in a stunning setting.
Travel tips and tricks:
- Save big on flights with Skyscanner.com – This incredible tool lets you find the most affordable airfare to your dream destination. You’ll love their “Whole Month” feature, which displays the best prices for the entire month. If you’re flexible with travel dates, this is a game-changer for scoring the cheapest tickets.
- Stay in the heart of the action – I always find the perfect accommodation on Booking.com. Their map view lets me filter hotels by my budget and select ones that are right in the center of it all. Trust me, you won’t want to miss this easy way to book your ideal stay!
- Go beyond the resort – I’m all about making the most of my trips, and GetYourGuide.com has been a lifesaver for booking unforgettable tours and day trips. It’s the most hassle-free way to dive into the local culture and explore the hidden gems in every new place.
- Hit the road with DiscoverCars.com – There’s no better way to explore your destination than by car! Renting a vehicle has never been easier, and with their competitive prices, you’ll have the freedom to create your own adventures.
I highly recommend trying these tools for yourself – not only will you save money, but you’ll also create memories that last a lifetime. Happy travels!