Still, looking for a budget travel destination? If part one didn’t get your travel mojo moving, then hopefully Glamorous Central & Latin America will!
There are plenty of budget travel destinations where you can get a lot more for your money! And these incredible countries offer not just great value but also unforgettable sights and experiences. The trick is knowing where to go, and spend your money wisely.
From Cuba to Colombia, here is part 2 of the Top 20 budget travel destinations around the world that offer the essentials – accommodation, transportation, and food without breaking the bank.
Glamorous Central & Latin America
Did you know that Cuba is also one of the inexpensive destinations in the Americas? There’s rarely been a better time to visit Cuba. Private enterprise is displaying the first buds of a creative spring, while the big-name brands from that well-known frenemy in the north have yet to dilute the cultural magic.
Why would you go to Cuba?
The vast majority of Cuba’s tourists gravitate to the attractive arcs of white sand that pepper the country’s north coast and offshore islands. But, explore beyond the beaches and you’re in a different domain, a land of fecund forests and crocodile-infested swamps, abandoned coffee plantations and rugged mountains as famous for their revolutionary folklore as their endemic species.
Havana can be explored in 2-3 days, ideally covering Old Havana, taking a classic car tour, drinking mojitos and learning all about their history from their museums. And you don’t have to break the bank.
For sightseeing, there are so many tourist spots that are actually FREE in Havana (leaving the museums). If you wish to take a classic car ride, you can rent one for 4 – 5 hours, for USD 20!!!
Meals: USD 10 – 15 per day (Meal in a government-run restaurant)
Accommodation: USD 50 – 100 per night (Mid-range hotel). Check out the rates in Havana.
Transportation: USD 25 per day (Bus travel)
Visa: Anyone who wants to visit Cuba as a tourist and will be traveling via US airport must apply for a USA Tourist Card also known as a pink card. The Tourist Card allows you to enter Cuba for leisure or recreational purposes for up to 30 days. The card solely depends on where you are coming from and not nationality
Here’s a set of things you could do
With the second largest barrier reef on the planet, the second largest rainforest in the Americas, 470 miles of Caribbean coastline Honduras is a gorgeous and ecologically diverse nation.
After a decade in which the country spiraled into a whirlwind of terrible violence, Honduras has very definitely begun the journey back from the abyss. While the challenges ahead are still significant and travel here still means bumpy roads with no seatbelts, things haven’t looked this positive for years.
Is it safe to visit Honduras?
It’s important to take care in the cities and the country is certainly not for the fainthearted, but other than that, Honduras is back open for business and just waiting to be discovered.
The recommended advice to those looking to travel Honduras is to stick to tourist-friendly locations like the Bay Islands, Trujillo, La Ceiba, Utila, and a handful of others. To explore the country outside of established “safe” areas, it’s recommended to hire a guide.
Meals: USD 3 – 5 per day (Simple meal)
Accommodation: USD 30 – 35 per night (Double room in a midrange hotel)
Transportation: USD 5 – 10 per day (Bus Trip)
Visa: Lucky for you, Honduras’s visa policy, 84 countries, and jurisdictions are visa-exempt, which means their citizens can enter the country visa-free and stay for up to 90 days. The rest of the world will need to obtain a visa to enter at their nearest Honduras embassy or diplomatic mission. Click here to see if you need a visa.
If you find out that you need a visa to travel to Honduras, you must make inquiries about your nationality’s specific requirements. You may be able to do that online, but we advise you to you call the issuing authority itself since it is always the most reliable source of information. Websites are not always updated, potentially leading to critical mistakes in the application process. Just give the embassy a call or email
Here’s a set of things you could do.
El Salvador is a great country to visit when you are on a budget. This tiny country has lots to offer: volcanos, lakes, beaches and Mayan ruins, traditional cities, all waiting to be explored here.
Traveling inside the country is very easy, as there are a lot of local buses that connect the cities. Because the country is so small, the journeys are quite fast as well. The capital, however, does get the rush hour traffic when nothing seems to move, so avoid traveling at those times.
Is El Salvador a poor country?
Food in El Salvador is extremely cheap. Pupusas, the national dish of the country only costs between $0.50 cents and $1. This delicious tortilla filled with cheese, refried beans and many other combinations of ingredients is served with a cabbage slaw and tomato sauce. It’s the perfect food to have when going out, over a glass of local beer.
Hotels in El Salvador are budget-friendly as well, and there are plenty of different ones you can choose from. There are boutique hotels, local B&Bs, even chains such as Barcelo, which you can book for so much less than you would in any other country.
Meals: USD 12 – 20 per meal (for two in a restaurant)
Accommodation: USD 20 – 60 per night (Room with double bed). You can check availability here
Transportation: USD 5 – 10 per trip (Short taxi ride)
Visa: There are 86 countries and jurisdictions whose citizens can enter El Salvador and remain there for up to 90 days. The rest of the nationalities must visit the nearest Salvadorean embassy or diplomatic mission to submit a visa application. One thing that is worth mentioning is that nearly all visitors who arrive in El Salvador must purchase a Tourist Card for 10 USD. Click here to see if you need a visa.
Here’s a set of things you could do.
Nicaragua has been nicknamed as the next Costa Rica because of the tourism industry in on the up. Currently, it is one of the cheapest Central American Destinations to visit, so I suggest you visit before the rates go up
Is Nicaragua cheap to visit?
Food and accommodation are comparatively cheap and that is partly due to the political unrest over the years. Nicaragua is a real paradise for backpackers who will have plenty of things to do to keep entertained and who will hardly have to worry about managing their budget.
This beautiful country is perfect for outdoor lovers – surfing, volcano hiking, and diving. Yet at the same time, you can still enjoy a relaxing holiday in the colonial cities and on the gorgeous beaches.
If you are planning to visit Central America, make sure to add Nicaragua to your bucket list!
Meals: USD 10 – 12 per meal in a decent local restaurant
Accommodation: USD 20 – 45 per night (Double room in midrange hotel). Book your stay here.
Transportation: USD 2 – 3 per ride (Taxi)
Visa: The citizens of 91 countries and jurisdictions can enter Nicaragua without a visa, and they can stay for up to 90 days. That does not mean you do not have to pay the Tourist Card. It costs $10, and you can get it on arrival. Visas on arrival are also available for the citizens of 73 countries and territories. All the other nationalities must obtain a consular visa at the nearest Nicaraguan diplomatic mission. Click here to see if you need a visa.
Here’s a set of things you could do.
Emerging from its dark past of drugs and violence, Colombia is fast becoming a popular budget travel destination. It has something for everyone!
With accommodation, transportation, and food being so affordable, you will have room for some occasional splurges – consider booking a luxurious villa for a night or two, you won’t get a deal this great anywhere else in this part of the world!
What is Colombia’s most famous for?
History geeks will love the museums and historical sites in Bogota and the Lost City. Nature lovers can disappear into the Amazon for a few days or weeks (if you get lost – yikes!). Rather stay somewhere more familiar and laidback? Head over to the beaches in Cartegna and make sure you take your snorkeling gear!
Like most countries in South America, Colombia is an absolutely amazing country and a great budget destination too! You get to see the world’s largest palm trees, tropical beaches, charming colonial towns, glorious mountains, ancient cultures and we can go on and on!
Meals: USD 6 – 9 per meal in a decent local restaurant
Accommodation: USD 25 – 36 per night (Double room in midrange hotel)
Transportation: USD 0.30 – 5 per ride (Bus and Taxi)
Visa: There are many countries whose citizens can enter its territory without a visa for up to 90 days – a little over 100 states and jurisdictions, to be more precise. Also, note that most South American citizens can go to Colombia with just an ID card. And while electronic visas are available, they are not available for all nationalities. Click here to see if you need a visa.
Here’s a set of things you could do.
Did you find Central & Latin America to your liking?
Yes, some of these countries may sound scary because of the news and politics. But don’t let that stop you as they do have safe sections that you can visit on a budget.
Come back after the New Year Celebration for Part 3 of Top 20 Budget Travel Destinations in 2020 – Alluring Africa!
Let me help you plan your next budget travel destination trip.
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P.S. As someone who spent close to 20 years working in insurance, I strongly recommend buying travel insurance if you are going on holiday. It costs a fraction of your holiday but covers the potential risk of the entire holiday. You can read my post on why you need travel insurance.
You may also want to read Top 10 Must-visit Travel Destinations for 2020
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20 thoughts on “Top 20 Budget Travel Destinations in 2020 – The Americas”
Great list! And oh my I’ve always wanted to visit Cuba. Sounds so vibrant. And such incredible colours!
Visiting Cuba is like traveling back in time and definitely worth the visit!
I’m glad you included Nicaragua! One of my favourite Central American countries that’s completely underrated!
Yeah, unfortunately, it’s image has been tainted since the drug war from the 90’s but its been close to 20 years and the country has moved on and developed.
There are so many amazing destinations we would like to visit especially in South America and Central America. But since many of these places are not very safe, we wonder if traveling those on a budget won’t make it a bit harsh?
even though most of these countries may seem dangerous there are still places travelers can go and visit. I find it best to always ask a local as soon as I check-in into the room for some guidelines about moving within the city and they tend to know the dos and donts.
Absolutely agree. We do the same and rely on local advice for safety tips and also to find some non-touristic and real restaurants. That is another great thing about these countries, food is going to be good for sure.
an epic trip is never complete without good food! lol
Love these suggestions! Just got back from Colombia and it can definitely be done on a budget 🙂
how was the trip? got any tips you wanna share with my readers?
It was great! The north coast is definitely a highlight. Cartagena is beautiful and so is a stunning beach nearby called Playa Blanca.
thanks, Alex for sharing that info! it’s great when readers share tips on posts – just adds more value to other readers!
My husband and I were just talking about where to go next..and Central and South America is definitely a hot topic for us. These are great suggestions for us.
glad my post was helpful! if you do go to any of these countries, do let me know how it goes! Always love to hear back from my readers if my posts were helpful on their trip!
Wow! Those are very reasonable places to travel. I have only been to Costa Rica, but I’ll need to plan another trip to Latin America.
one can spend a lifetime in Latin America and still not complete experiencing the culture!
Central America has always called my name, but I haven’t really visited. I definitely have wanderlust right now!
Maybe it should call louder! lol…you should go! it’s a great mix of north and south American cultures!
Love love the suggestions of Cuba with Colombia as a close runner up!
it’s hard to compare these places because they all are so unique and have so many different things to offer!