With most U.S. students looking to party hard in the coming weeks on very limited budgets, 10 cheap places to go for spring break are in high demand. The following list offers a glimpse into some of the world's little-known vacation destinations, where less money can mean a lot more fun.
- Costa Rica. Costa Rica's government has gone to great lengths to preserve its natural environment, and it shows. From sleepy surfer towns like Dominical nestled among primary-growth rainforests to the more upscale and desirable beaches of Mal Pais & Santa Theresa on the northwestern peninsula, Costa Rica has a bustling nightlife to match its natural beauty.
- Nicaragua. With massive volcanos, charming colonial towns, and a lovely Pacific coast around places like San Juan del Sur all within easy reach, Nicaragua has a little something for everyone. Especially for the short-term traveler, from Granada you can easily see all of the above in the space of a week.
- Guatemala. Though flanked by both the Gulf Coast and the Pacific Ocean, Guatemala isn't very well-known for its beaches. The black sands of Monterrico offer beach-bum style R&R at rock-bottom prices, but the real value of this Central America gem is in its heritage. The Mayan culture continues to thrive here, and between its volcanos, lively markets, and ancient ruins, Guatemala offers up an entirely different kind of cheap spring break travel experience.
- Ecuador. The coast of Ecuador has a wide variety of beaches to satisfy almost any desire and budget. From Salinas & Puerto Lopez at the high-end, where you can take advantage of almost every water-sport known to man during the day and swing your hips to salsa beats at night, to Mompiche's black sands, excellent surfing, and cheap stays, you're sure to find whatever it is you're looking for.
- Vietnam. Between the stunning emerald islands of Halong Bay, the gorgeous beaches of Na Trang, and the wild & crazy nightlife of Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam is a cheap travel extravaganza with something for everyone. Also, drop in on a little town called Hoi An for some four-star quality food at South Asian prices¹.
- Cambodia. As one of the least-visited countries in South Asia, Cambodia has an entirely different experience to offer the savvy traveler. With a noticeable lack of Western influence, most of the country-especially the beaches-remains in the same condition it has for centuries: pristine. Beautiful white sands and crystal-clear waters await the cheap spring break vacationer in Sihanoukville, Kep, and Koh Kong, along with lazy rivers and ancient temples further inland.
- Thailand. Probably the most-visited country in South Asia, when you arrive you'll easily be able to see why. Between the endless nightlife of Bangkok, lively mountain towns like Chiang Mai, world-famous diving & beaches of Koh Tao, and the full moon parties on Koh Pha Ngan, you'll be planning your next trip there before you even leave.
- Nepal. If you're looking for something other than beautiful coastlines, this might be the place for you. One of the best cheap spring break destinations in the world, Nepal boasts an impressive list of outdoor activities for the more adventurous traveler, including "canyoning" (rappelling down cliffs & waterfalls), white-water rafting, and Himalayan mountain treks, as well as more than a dozen nature reserves, all accessible from Katmandu.
- India. As diverse a country as you could imagine, the travel opportunities in India are almost limitless for any budget. Most cheap spring break travelers though will want to head straight for Goa. Attracting vacationers from around the world, Goa combines a thriving nightlife with cheap accommodations and one of the world's most scenic coastlines, from stunning Palolem beach in the south to the wild parties of Arambol in the north, the experience will be unforgettable.
- Sri Lanka. As an island-nation, Sir Lanka is blessed with beautiful beaches on all sides, and boasts some pretty spectacular diving & snorkeling, including the famed coral gardens of Hikkaduwa. It's also small enough that getting around is easy, and there's ample opportunity for inland hikes overflowing with exotic wildlife.