13 Stunning Cheap Islands to Visit Around the World

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The world is full of spectacular islands, and the draw of white sands, blue ocean, and tropical islands never fail to excite the imagination.

But while many islands might be the domain of the rich and the wealthy, there are plenty more cheap islands to visit, from the Pacific to the Atlantic Oceans and everywhere else in between. 

An island getaway doesn’t necessarily have to be an expensive trip, because countries like the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and even Tanzania, offer beautiful cheap islands to visit. 

We put together this list of our favorite cheap islands to visit, to help you to find that perfect holiday destination without breaking the bank. 

13 Stunning Cheap Islands to Visit

1. Sri Lanka 

Arugam Bay Beach in Sri Lanka
Arugam Bay is undoubtedly one of the best surf spots in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka is one of the best cheap islands to visit because travel is remarkably great value across the country.

The island nation is located off the coast of India, and it makes for a wonderfully encompassing destination.

You’ll find a long coastline, with white sand beaches, rustic fishing villages and a laid back lifestyle that will have you relaxing for days on end.

But the coastline is just the beginning, and Sri Lanka is known for its diverse culture, fascinating history and for the huge range of wildlife that calls the island home.

Visit Mirissa to see whales and dolphins in the Indian Ocean, go on safari in Yala National Park, where you might be lucky enough to spot elephants, leopards or sloths.

You can also head into the mountains near Ella, where you can hike through tea plantations and discover the ruins of ancient Sri Lankan civilizations

There’s so much to do in Sri Lanka, and if you travel like the locals, you’ll pay just a few dollars a day for transport and for excellent Sri Lankan street food, while accommodation is fantastic value too. 

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2. Busuanga, Philippines 

Busuanga Philippines beachs
If you are a beach lover you need to check out the Philippines.

The Philippines is a nation of over 7000 islands, so there’s plenty of choices when it comes to picking your island getaway in this huge archipelago.

One of the best cheap islands to visit in the Philippines is Busuanga because the island is your gateway to Coron. 

Coron is one of the most jaw-dropping, and stunning collections of islands in the country, and you’ll find freshwater lakes surrounded by towering limestone karsts and some of the clearest waters imaginable. 

It’s fantastic value too, and you can find incredibly cheap hotels and resorts overlooking islands and beaches, and offering fiery sunsets and great food and drink.

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3. Bohol, Philippines 

Chocolate Hills in the Philippines
Bohol is just one of the many places worth visiting in the Philippines.

Another of the best cheap islands to visit in the Philippines is Bohol, which is just a short ferry ride away from the Visayan hub of Cebu. 

Bohol has it all, and it makes for a complete holiday or travel destination in the Philippines.

You can visit the white sand beaches of Panglao Island, from where you can go island hopping, visit turtle sanctuaries and sand bars, or spend your days snorkeling or diving.

Inland, there are historic churches, Tarsier Sanctuaries, waterfalls and hanging bridges to visit, and of course, the iconic Chocolate Hills. The best part is, it’s all cheap to visit too!

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4. Cuba 

Classic Cars in Havana Cuba
Havana easily won a place on our list of favorite cities in the World.

It can be harder to find a cheap island to visit in the Caribbean, given the never-ending popularity of resorts and cruises in the region, but Cuba still remains a standout, value destination.

With increasing tourism though, this could soon change, but in Cuba, you can still find some of the cheapest Caribbean resorts. 

Head to Varadero if you’re looking for a traditional beach holiday at a low price, but remember that there’s so much more to the country.

You can travel independently for a low cost, and there’s much to explore from the colonial climes of Havana to the verdant scenery of Vinales.

You can even find some of the cheapest diving in the Caribbean at the Bay of Pigs. 

The colonial intact city of Trinidad is also a place that should be on every itinerary in Cuba.

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5. Dominica 

Sunset on a beach in Dominica - cheap islands to visit
Dominica is known to be one of the most beautiful of the Caribbean Islands.

Dominica is also one of the best cheap islands to visit in the Caribbean, offering great value and the chance to have an adventure.

The small island nation is known for its volcanic landscapes, beautiful natural scenery, and its merger of English, French, African and Caribbean cultures. 

It’s a diverse island to visit, and you can hike volcanoes, marvel at the sight of geysers, relax in hot springs, or snorkel off the coast.

In the evenings, after a hard day of exploring and activities, you can watch fiery sunsets while sipping on rum cocktails.

6. Zanzibar, Tanzania 

Lina Stock of Divergent Travelers on a beach in Tanzania.
Zanzibar has some of the best beaches in the world.

The East African nation of Tanzania is home to one of the most famous islands in the Indian Ocean, Zanzibar.

Zanzibar is a tropical paradise, and you’ll find long stretches of white sand fringed by swaying palms.

The water is wonderfully clear in the dry season, and the ocean is full of marine life, making this a great snorkeling destination.

Start your journey in Stone Town, the colorful island capital that’s been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its unique history and culture.

Then head off to visit beaches, to island-hop, or to hike through the national parks. 

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7. Penang, Malaysia 

Lina Stock of the Divergent Travelers swimming at monkey beach
You must go jungle trekking in the Taman Negara National Park to visit Monkey Beach

Malaysia is highly regarded when it comes to the local culinary scene, and if you’re a real foodie, then the island of Penang should be your first destination. 

Penang is found on the northwest coast, just a short ferry ride from the mainland, and Georgetown, the main city on the island, is street food heaven. 

You can dine on a huge range of food, and it’s easy to have Malaysian food for breakfast, Chinese food for lunch and then Indian food for dinner, given the island’s multicultural makeup. 

The best part is, all that food and eating won’t break the bank, because it’s the cheap market stalls and food courts that sell the best food in Penang. 

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8. Redang, Malaysia 

David Stock Jr of Divergent Travelers on a beach in Redang Malaysia.
Redang, Malaysia has lush tropical wilderness with palm-fringed beaches and beautiful coral reefs waiting to be explored.

Off the east coast of Malaysia, Redang is also one of the best cheap islands to visit, especially if you’re looking to get off the beaten track in Southeast Asia. 

Redang is a tropical idyll, where you can find crystal clear waters and white sand beaches.

Compared to many other island getaways in the region – especially Thailand to the north – the area is relatively untouched when it comes to tourism. 

Accommodation is rustic but great value, but the island is only open during the dry season, and becomes almost cut off during the fierce monsoon season, so time your visit carefully. 

9. Koh Phangan, Thailand 

Resort in Koh Phangan Thailand.
Koh Phangan has many great cheap resorts at are as nice as some five-star resorts in the USA.

An island that’s definitely not odd the beaten track, is the Thai island of Koh Phangan, which for many backpackers is best known for its Full Moon Parties and bars.

But despite its notoriety, and despite how busy Koh Phangan can be, it still remains one of the best cheap islands to visit in Southeast Asia. 

It’s great value, and if you are looking to escape the crowds, then simply stay away from the Full Moon beach, and visit the lesser-known sides of the Koh Phangan where you can still find more authenticity and tradition. 

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10. Bali, Indonesia 

Lina Stock of Divergent Travelers on a beach in Bali
Bali has many great beaches.

The famed Indonesian island of Bali is also a destination that’s firmly on the travel trail, but despite its surging popularity it still remains an exceptionally good value place to visit.

Bali is known as the Island of the Gods, and here you can find everything from beaches and volcanoes to nightlife and culture. 

You can visit Balinese temples and learn about the local customs and traditions while finding your inner self in Ubud.

You can party the night away in Kuta or Seminyak, or you can lounge on the chilled beaches of Canggu.

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11. Lombok, Indonesia 

Lombok Beach
Adventure lovers, there’s lots to be had in Lombok from surfing, scuba diving, and hiking.

If Bali is a little bit too busy for your liking, then just a short boat ride or even shorter flight away is Lombok, which is even cheaper to visit than its neighbor. 

This is one of the best cheap islands to visit in the country because it’s easy to travel around using local transport or by hiring cheap scooters.

You can visit the quiet beaches of Kuta, explore the bustling capital of Mataram, or take the long trek to the summit of Mount Rinjani, the iconic volcano which towers over Lombok. 

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12. Borneo 

Jungle waters of Sarawak
Borneo is a wildlife lovers paradise.

Borneo is the huge island that’s split between three separate nations, and no matter which part you choose to visit, you’ll find that it’s one of the cheapest destinations in Southeast Asia.

You can explore the jungles of Sarawak, as you head into the rainforest and stay with local Iban tribes that once used to headhunt.

Or you can head to Sabah, where you can climb Mount Kinabalu, the tallest mountain in Southeast Asia. 

Tiny Brunei is an Islamic state that’s worth seeing for a day or two, while the large southern portion of Borneo, Kalimantan, is a part of Indonesia that’s relatively unexplored by travelers. 

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13. Ilha Grande, Brazil 

Lina Stock of Divergent Travelers at Ilha Grande in Brazil - Cheap Islands to Visit
Ilha Grande has some of the best beaches in Brazil.

Ilha Grande is a beautiful, tropical island that’s located off the coast of Brazil.

This is one of the best cheap islands to visit in South America, because not only is it easily accessible from Rio de Janeiro, but it’s great value too.

You can lounge on the beaches, sip cocktails as the sun starts to set and enjoy the laid back and slow pace of life that’s found on Ilha Grande.

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13 Stunning Cheap Islands to Visit Around the World


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About Lina Stock

Lina is an award-winning photographer and writer that has been exploring the world since 2001. She has traveled to 100 countries on all 7 continents. Member: SATW, NATJA, ATTA, ITWA

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