Before summer began, you chose wisely not to plan any summer trips because you figured that between summer classes and the summer internship you desperately wanted to take, scarcity of time seemed struggling. However, time flew by in the blink of an eye with summer classes, internships, jobs and other summer stuff. Now, you find yourself in a bout of overwhelming boredom looking at your calendar and contemplating that school starts sooner than you expected. Keep your hopes up. You still have time to visit these top ten budget-friendly places. So, don’t think too much about it, pack your bags and take the plane that will take you to your best summer vacays.
Read on for these top 10 budget-friendly places to visit for a last-minute summer trip:
1. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
People usually travel to Cabo during winter break, trying to escape from the cold weather in their hometowns. Therefore, the off-season of summer tourism in Cabo provides the perfect tanning and swimming environment, where all you need to worry about deals with emptying your cup of fresh Pina Colada. Plus, you can find really cheap flight tickets and places to stay from $135 on average a night.
If you wonder what else you can do at Cabo besides a relaxing day at the beach, you can find plenty of options that you will definitely enjoy. Pick among the different hiking trails at Costa Azul Canyon, take a $10 roundtrip taxi boat to the popular Lover’s Beach, walk through the Cabo Marina and take the Art Walk in San Jose del Cabo. Not necessarily and sorry for the single, heartbroken readers here, but Cabo lists as the top romantic destination for couples. Call your loved one or surprise them and book a summer trip to Cabo San Lucas.
2. Cancun, Mexico
A true beach paradise, Cancun ranks as one of the top tourist destinations during winter. Because again, people want to, for at least a few days, forget about scarfs, gloves and super heavy coats. So, during the summer, this destination turns into a budget-friendly one, offering plenty of cheap places to stay.
On this Caribbean side of Mexico, the turquoise crystal-clear waters and the friendly Mexican locals make this destination a remarkable and unforgettable adventure. Summer calls for baby sea turtle releases, which turned into a quite exciting activity for the little ones of the family along with the perfect sunset view.
3. Naxos, Greece
Forget about the most popular Greek archipelagos like Santorini or Mykonos. Of course, you might want to visit those islands because their popularity and beauty can’t stop people from talking about them. Even I dream of going there and living the life that as a 22-year-old, I think I deserve. In Naxos, you can do practically the same thing and much better, because, with no tourists around, you might feel that you have the island only for yourself. Naxos, beyond its tranquility, offers one of the very best white sand beaches in Greece.
Additionally, Naxos gave birth to Zeus, king of the Gods, so you’ll find plenty of ancient ruins and history there. Visit Portara, the Old Town, the Kastro ruins and the natural reserve Alyko, and don’t even hesitate to tan and rest on the island’s different beaches like Agios Prokopios Beach and Plaka Beach. They will definitely take your breath away (at least on Google it looks like so). Okay now, I think that Naxos offers way too much than the famous archipelagos everyone talks about.
4. San Jose, Costa Rica
A sanctuary in Central America and the cosmopolitan capital of Costa Rica, San Jose offers family-friendly activities for a summer trip. You can find flight tickets as cheap as $140 (although it depends on where you fly) and places to stay from $50 a night. If you don’t know what to do in the city, let me give you some recommendations. People usually compare Costa Rica to a jungle. Exploring its green vegetation, wildlife and infinite landscapes allow tourists to find hiking trails without taking too much effort.
Visit the Catarata del Toro (an extraordinary waterfall), the Poas Volcano, the Tres Cruces hiking trail and the Carara Biological Reserve, home to numerous different species like monkeys, crocodiles, sloths and more. Other things to do in Costa Rica include visiting different museums like the Jade Museum, the Golden Museum or the Children Museum for the kids of the family. Go to the Municipal Craft Market and to the Central Market of San Jose to appreciate closely the culture of the country and buy some souvenirs that will forever make you remember this wholesome summer trip. Also, don’t miss walking around the National Theater, considered the architectural gem of the city (and the whole country).
5. Chicago, Illinois
If you live in the U.S., you can then find cheap options to travel around the country. Depending on the city you live in, you can do a road trip that will help you save a lot of money. Chicago will leave you in awe and completely astonished at what you look at. Talking from my own experience, I couldn’t believe my eyes when my parents took my sisters and me to the Willis Tower, one of the tallest buildings in the whole country with 108 floors (pretty impressive, right?). The crystal cubicles that literally stand out of the building and allow you to see the whole city while giving you some type of extreme vertigo, list top on my list of my most exciting experiences as a child. Other tourist attractions include visiting the Cloud Gate, walking at the Riverwalk, having picnics at Millennium Park, Lakefront Trail and more. I truly remember Chicago as a dreamy summer trip family destination.
6. Panama City, Panama
Consider one of the most important baking cities in the western hemisphere, Panama City, not just offers great flight tickets deals (especially if you fly from Florida, you can find tickets from $250), but great plans and activities for the whole family as well. If you don’t maximize your profits well, you might spend a lot of money in this city. Follow these recommendations for a great and budget-friendly summer vacation in Panama.
Explore Casco Viejo, the colonial part of the city where you’ll find great history and architectural beautifulness. You can walk along Cinta Costera or the Amador Causeway. Then go to Panama Viejo to learn more about the history of Panama and visit the Artisan Market to interact with the local people and get closer to the Panama culture.
If you come to Panama with a more extensive budget, take a 45-minute flight to Boca del Toro Island, a Caribbean paradise with the most outstanding beaches. Besides enjoying the turquoise waters of the island, you can go to the Dolphin Bay Preserve, bike along Isla Colon, go on a hike in Bocas del Drago and watch the sunset over the bay. It can’t get better than this, right?
7. Medellin, Colombia
Foreigners find Medellin a pretty affordable place to go, not only because it really offers budget-friendly things to do, but also the low cost of living in this city. The perfect weather in Medellin allows tourists to spend most of their time outdoors, visiting different parks and little towns, where foreigners connect to the country’s culture and learn more about the history of this outstanding city.
You might think of Medellin as a dangerous place to visit, because in fact, not too long ago, Medellin ranked as the #1 dangerous city in the world. Today, the crime rate in Medellin decreased by about 80%, and only particular zones, far away from the center of the city where tourists don’t tend to go, run a higher crime rate.
Looking at pictures of Medellin gives me instant memories of Caracas, the city where I was born, and I know the green and gigantic mountains take part of the blame. Wherever you go in Medellin, as in Caracas, the mountains follow you. You can’t escape them, but you don’t want to either. If you wonder what you can do in Medellin, aka Medallo, the designated name by Latin music artists, locals and almost every Hispanic young soul, follow these great recommendations.
Visit Plaza Botero where you’ll find over 20 different sculptures around the square, and where you might encounter plenty of artists and performers showcasing their art. In Parque Lleras, artists also do perform and sell their work while the public dances and drinks. The Botanic Garden offers a huge collection of orchids and a butterfly garden. You’ll find an array of light sculptures at Parque Las Luces, and you can also take a free walking tour to get a closer view of the streets and the people in Medallo.
8. Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., home to every American President during their administration, offers many things to do for free. In fact, you can take a walking tour and visit every corner and hidden place in the city. Looking for great and cheap things to do in Washington, D.C.? You can go to every museum and park for free. Visit the museums on the National Mall, which include the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, National Museum of Natural History, National Museum of American History and more, to learn everything you need to know about history, art, nature and space.
Other things you can do for free include walking through Georgetown to take a glimpse of the beautiful architecture, doing some shopping and eating at delicious restaurants (and of course trying the best cupcakes in the whole world). You can also visit the National Zoo, especially if you take children with you for this summer destination. In this city everything turns around history, go to as many memorials and monuments as possible, and don’t miss free tours to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Capitol and the White House. Plus, you can also find plenty of parks to go for a walk or have a picnic with your loved ones.
9. Madrid, Spain
From historical ruins to rooftops, bars and delicacies restaurants, everything in Madrid will leave you open-mouthed during your whole trip. Explore the culture of the city through el Museo del Prado, el Palacio Real and Museo de la Reina Sofia. You can’t miss the Parque de Buen Retiro, the second largest park in the city that provides literally the best place to relax and hang out with friends and family.
You can also visit the beautiful rose garden La Roselada and other places like Plaza Mayor, the Almudena Cathedral, The Cibeles Palace, Quinta de Los Molinos Park, the Casa de Campo, walk through the Gran Via and go antique hunting in El Rastro Flea Market. If you wonder how to finish a great day in Madrid, watch the sunset at Temple of Debod, eat delicious paella and chocolate churros, and party on a rooftop from where you can admire the whole city and a sky full of stars.
10. Lima, Peru
Lima, known as the City of Kings, offers the best choices for tourists. From natural picturesque landscapes to architectural and historical buildings and extremely good cuisine, Lima lists top on the list of cheap and insanely majestic places to visit. Did you know that you can find two top ten of the world’s 50 best restaurants in Lima? You can’t go to Peru without eating Ceviche, Lomo Saltado, Causa and Yuca Fries and drinking the famous Pisco Sour, a cocktail made with Pisco as the base liquor with squeezed lemon juice, syrup, ice and egg white (yes, egg).
Some of the things you can do when in Lima include walking the city to get to know stunning streets, interacting with the local Peruvians, and meeting vibrant districts like Chorillos and Miraflores. You can also visit the Kennedy Park, go to the president’s residence place to admire the changing of the guard, go to plenty of different artisanal markets and Lima’s street art, and try the most famous Peruvian liquor (Pisco) for free.