7 Affordable beach holidays that aren’t the Gold Coast

You need a beach holiday, somewhere warm where you can relax, go snorkelling, read your book on the beach, and lie around getting a tan.

Image: Faleo’o beach fale, Manono Island, Samoa

Most New Zealanders head over the ditch to the Gold Coast, or maybe head further afield to Bail or Thailand. However, it can be cheaper to travel to other places- and enjoy a new and exciting destination!

Samoa

In NZ, we all know about Rarotonga and Fiji, but Samoa is just as beautiful. With beaches, rainforests, waterfalls and a whole lot of coconuts, there’s lots of fun to be had. There are two main islands, Upolu and Savai’i, and it has an average temperature of 26.5oC, with the best time to visit between May and October. While you’re there, try palusami, which is taro leaves baked in coconut cream, and oka, which is raw fish in coconut cream. Amazing. It’s also worth a visit to the final resting place of Robert Louis Stevenson – on a real-life treasure island.

Before you travel make sure you check out www.ami.co.nz for a range of travel insurance options.

India

Image: Cavelossim beach, Salcete

I hear you gasp in disbelief. Why would you go to India for a beach holiday? If you love pristine white beaches, cheap rum and beer and don’t mind sharing your beach with a few stray friendly cows and dogs, then India could be a viable destination. Goa is a state on the west coast that has multiple white sandy beaches. The north of Goa is great for partying, and the south is more relaxing and secluded. Goa had Portuguese settlers for many years and they left their mark on the food – try the layered bebinca dessert when you’re there. It’s cheap too, and family friendly. Check out Agonda or Palolem for quieter beaches with lots of food and accommodation options. Agonda also has turtles that nest on the beach in January/ February. The season to visit is from November to April.

New Caledonia

Image: View of Kuto Bay, Isle of Pines, New Caledonia.

If a Portuguese influence doesn’t interest you, maybe a French connection does. Although Captain Cook named it after Scotland, don’t be fooled! The beaches are sandy white, the island has lush tropical forest, and it is considerably warmer that Scotland, with temperatures generally between 20oC and 30oC. There are many unique plants and birds on New Caledonia, with the richest diversity per square meter in the world. This is due to the mountain range on Grande Terre. If you love taro, fish, and rice, then feast on a bougna- the New Caledonian version of a hangi.

Sri Lanka

Image: Negombo Beach, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has large areas of quiet beaches that have yet to be developed. With fantastic surfing, elephant parks (we recommend doing research to ensure the park is run ethically), and a whole host of beautiful beaches to relax on, you will love your time there. The climate is similar to India but can vary greatly across the island. Likewise the traditional food is similar to Indian cuisine but less spicy, with lots of delicious vegetarian options.

Hawaii

Image: Maui, Hawaii beach

A bit more expensive than other places on this list, but Hawaii opens up a host of other opportunities to travel. With a diverse history that includes the attack on Pearl Harbour, Hawaii is more than just a beach destination. With six main islands, a huge surfing culture, active volcanos, and some amazing food, it’s easy to see why so many Americans love it here. Enjoy the warmth and soak up the culture.

Mauritius

Image: Beach in Mauritius

Mauritius has Dutch, English and French colonial links, which has created a varied culture. The food has a heavy Creole influence, mixed with French, Chinese, and Indian cuisines. The country is incredibly beautiful with miles of stunning beaches to relax on, but also hills to hike, and flora and fauna to check out. If you’re really lucky, you may find a Dodo- Mauritius was the only habitat of this bird which is apparently extinct, but you never know…

The Philippines

Image: Boat on Boracay beach

The Philippines is comprised of more than 7000 islands, so you are spoiled for choice. The most popular islands are El Nido, Cebu, the southern Negros, Boracay, and the surf spot Siargao. The beaches here are incredible, and seemingly undiscovered by many tourists. With the Spanish, Indian, Americans and Japanese all having a hand in shaping the Philippines, there is an interesting and diverse history that will intrigue any visitor. The climate is hot and humid, perfect for beach lazing (or air-conditioned bars). Filipino cuisine is worth investigating too, with a huge variety of influences creating a distinct set of local dishes. Try halo-halo, a dessert with milk, ice, coconut, sago, and fruits.

 

 

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