Visit the most beautiful islands in the world… on a budget


first_imgThe Maldives, Bora Bora, the Seychelles – here’s our guide to navigating the most beautiful islands on earth – without the eye-watering price tag. As the setting of some of the world’s most extravagant resorts, these tropical islands have become synonymous with splashing the cash. But good news, budget travellers: there are certain hacks that mean you don’t have to be a celebrity to stay on an island paradise (although you might spot a few hanging around). Fly to Bali from £462 Where to stay? It’ll set you back around £65 per night at La Perle De Tahaa, where’ll you’ll also get sea views, beautifully fresh seafood meals, scuba diving and water sports activities. Find hotel dealsCheck-inCheck-outGuests12345678910Rooms12345Search hotels Fly to Bora Bora from £1,236 Search hotels in Maafushi Which island will you explore? Photo credit: Getty Photo credit: Getty Tourism in Palawan has grown exponentially in recent years, with a poll by Conde Nast Traveler naming it one of the Best Islands in the World in 2017. Word of its breathtaking beauty and UNESCO-protected sites has got out – and the destination’s often-hefty price tags reflect that. Download the Skyscanner app As always, eating local food is cheapest: mostly fish,curry, coconut and rice. One thing to be aware of is that outside of Westernresorts, you should dress modestly and you won’t find alcohol, as the Maldives arelargely Muslim. But that’s an easy way to keep your spending down, too. Where to stay? Keep costs down at Oceane Self Catering, in the north-westerly commune of La Passe, where you can rustle up your own meals in the bright, clean surrounds, and eat outside under the shade of coconut palms. From £70 a night. Find hotels in La Digue Rule number one when visiting the Maldives on a budget? Avoid the privately-owned islands, where resorts can cost hundreds of thousands of Maldivian rufiyaa per night. More modest guesthouses on public islands such as Maafushi, Fulidhoo or Garaidhoo will charge literally a hundred times less than the likes of Como Cocoa Island – and, happily, they still benefit from impossibly idyllic beaches. Plus, these three are an easy ferry ride from Malé, where the international airport is based – and public boat transport is affordable and easy to use (if taking a bit longer). If all else fails, you can always wangle a deal with a local speedboat owner. Search hotels in El Nido Fly to Malé from £500 All flight and prices mentioned in this article are estimates of the cheapest prices based on Skyscanner’s flight search tools. These are subject to change and were correct at time of writing on 25 March 2019. Photo credit: Brendan van Son Due to its remote location in the South Pacific, it takes some planning to visit Bora Bora on the cheap (and there’s no getting away from the hefty flight price). But once you’re there, you’ll be surprised at how budget-friendly Bora Bora is. Firstly, travel in low season – between January and March, when the weather sits around a perfect 29°C and hotels (which are usually steep) can be half the price. On the island, taxis are generally overpriced, but hire a bike for around £10 and cycle your way between its turquoise lagoons and sand-fringed islets. 5. Bora Bora, French Polynesia – fly from £1,236 1. Maafushi, Maldives – fly from £500center_img ReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map Fly to Mahé from £416 In the middle of the Indian Ocean, the Seychelles is a tropical haven of 115 islands lined by impossibly fine white-sand beaches and some of the most shockingly expensive resorts on earth. But you’ll be pleased to hear that it’s possible to visit on a shoestring – particularly if you choose La Digue, the Seychelles’ smallest and least-visited island, a 90-minute catamaran ride from Mahé (where the international airport is based). With a distinct absence of high-rise hotels and resorts, La Digue is instead home to family-run guesthouses and simple, Creole eateries where fresh-fish curry dinners are rounded off with shots of dark rum. It’s mostly car-free and bicycle hire abounds. Grab one and take your own tour of the island’s chain of dreamy, granite-bouldered coves – and if you do one thing, take a dip in the crystal waters of the Anse Source d’Argent beach and snorkel for tropical fish, sharks and rays. Where to stay? A night at the seafront Floresita’s Beach Resort in El Nido only costs a fiver and is great for any sociable backpacker on a budget: there’s a communal area with a TV and barbecue grills, and breakfast is included. Win. 4. Palawan, Philippines – fly from £289 Where to stay? Guest House Home 46 Bali might not have a very fancy name, but who cares when it costs £10 for a night’s stay there – pool and air con included. Find hotels in Bali Photo credit: Josh Withers on Unsplash 2. La Digue, Seychelles – fly from £416 Luckily, you don’t have to pay for the overwhelming beauty that awaits you on Bora Bora. It’s a spectacular hiking destination, dominated by the 727-metre-high Mount Otemanu. And while you can’t hike up its peak, countless trekking trails wind around its base and surrounding hills, providing endless views of the volcano’s different faces. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, dine at one of the luxury resorts as a guest and take a dip in their infinity pool, without committing to a room. Palawan is the definition of beach paradise: its pristinewhite sand coves, limestone cliffs, rolling mountains and rich coral reefsswarming with tropical wildlife all unfold before you. It would be the easiestthing in the world to spend a week here lounging on a different pristine beacheach day, snorkelling and spending your evenings in a backpacker bar with abeer. And that will hardly cost you a thing. Where to stay? Seven Guest House is down the road from the Maafushi harbour and reef, and costs as little as £16 a night. For that you’ll get air con, a minibar and a flat-screen TV, as well as complimentary water and access to the lush back garden. 3. Canggu, Bali – fly from £462 Search car hire Fly to the Philippines from £289 RelatedLove islands: are these the most romantic islands in the world?It’s only week two and although we promised ourselves it wouldn’t happen this year, we’ve done it again – we’ve fallen hook, line and sinker for Love Island. And while Majorca is the home of that villa, there are plenty of other destinations that will set hearts a flutter, and…Top 10 luxury honeymoon destinationsWhere to go and where to stay in 10 of the world’s best luxury honeymoon destinations, from Paris to the Seychelles.Sleeping with the fishes: the world’s best underwater hotelsFan of unusual hotels? Well, staying in a room with an under-the-sea view is no longer a sci-fi dream; get your snorkel gear on and take a peek at these crazy underwater hotels, from Dubai to the Maldives. Search hotels in Bora Bora Most people spend their days in Canggu flitting between its different cafés and lazily browsing in its boutique shops – but the village’s best activity comes for free. The sunsets from Batu Bolong beach are famous for being some of the most striking in the world. Grab a Bintang lager and the hand of the person you’re with, and settle down on a blanket on the shore. That said, savvy travellers can get around paying for expensive accommodation by sharing dorms, and cut travel costs by hopping in tuk tuks over taxis – and buses or multi-cabs for longer distances. The cheapest hostels are found in the towns of Puerto Princesa, El Nido and Coron, costing from around £4. In the southern tip of the Indonesian island, just above party district Kuta, is this up-and-coming hippie paradise – where digital nomads log onto the WiFi to do a day’s work to the crashing sound of turf, with a freshly-ground flat white and their toes in the sand. Here, it’s all about yoga, juice bars, surfing and a smattering of edgy street art. It’s been firmly on the hipster radar for a few years now – but is still one of the cheapest places to stay in Bali.last_img