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Cheap & Chic Getaways


 
Cheap & Chic Getaways

The beaches of Panama
The beaches of Panama

We’ve scoured the globe to find the top five 2008 cheap & chic getaways where you can travel like a king—on a pauper’s budget. No backpacks, no packed lunches and definitely no hostels required. Want to hear more? With some good ol’ fashioned digging we found five fabulous highfalutin destinations that will stretch your dollar farther than you thought possible. All the while not compromising your distinctive taste in style and design. We promise! Think gourmet meals that cost mere dollars and chic resorts that won’t break the bank, or even your slim wallet for that matter. Because traveling in high-style shouldn’t be for the select few. We’ll be waiting for your postcards…



 



 



 



 



 

Hoi An Little Corn Island Panama Yala Village Yelapa

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Victoria’s seaside pool
Victoria’s seaside pool

Hoi An, Vietnam
The price of a plane ticket may set you back a few but once you arrive you’ll be able dine and stay in sheer luxury—on a strict budget. A UNESCO World Heritage site, this charming beachside locale in Southeast Asia is as much a treasure as it promises to be. From its white sandy beaches, to talented tailors—who will whip you up pretty much any fashionable frock you can dream of—to it’s friendly gentle locales, this historical city is poised to please in so many ways. At the outdoor restaurant Balle Well, you will able to dine for two for a mere $5. Yes, you read that correctly! Feast on nem nuong—chicken, fresh greens and sprouts rolled in a thin sheet of rice paper—and swing back a Bia Hoi beer or two for 60 cents a piece. We suggest you start saving your pennies. If you can afford the $135/night room cost for The Victoria Hoi An Beach Resort & Spa try a stay there. The resort replicates a traditional fishing village with small streets and water ponds. The occasional elephant or two has also been known to wonder the resort. victoriahotels-asia.com

 


 

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Tropical hut on Little Corn Island
Tropical hut on Little Corn Island

Little Corn Island, Nicaragua
Tiny, tropical and secluded this idyllic Caribbean jewel boasts an impressive barrier reef for dive addicts—at a mere fraction of the cost of its neighboring islands (only $35/dive). Not certified? No problem. The island is certified-ready and in just three days you too can drop 100 feet below sea level and enjoy sharks, barracuda and the prettiest tropical fish until it’s time to trade in your tank. At Casa Iguana you can relax for a mere $35/night for two in one of their many jewel-coloured bungalows. Not bad, huh? If blue blood runs in your veins—and whose doesn’t it once in a while—then head to most expensive resort on the island, the InterContinental, where even during high-season costs less than $150/night. No kidding. casaiguana.net

 
 
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Panama’s national dish sancocho
Panama’s national dish sancocho

Panama
With over 1,500 miles or gorgeous coastline, this small country not only boasts rainforests, mountains and beaches but also your choice of the Caribbean or Pacific. We said cheap and chic, not choice-less! While its next-door neighbour Costa Rica draws packs of ecotourists, the quieter untapped Panama actually is home to more animal species and preserved natural terrain. For 50 cents you can take a plunge in the Pozos Termales, a hot-water springs that rival the experience of any city-spa. For $1.50 you can dine on the country’s national dish sancocho—a hearty stew made of chicken, yucca and avocado. Accommodations range from thatched roof huts from about $16/night to $79/night for a stay at the Royal Decamerón Playa Blanca located on the Pacific coast where the price of your night’s stay also includes all meals. Not bad digging if we do say so ourselves.

 
 
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Suite Julian at Yala Village
Suite Julian at Yala Village

Yala Village, Sri Lanka
The Maldives have long been attached to high-end luxury and rock-bottom prices. Sri Lanka however—its lesser known neighbour may not be as polished on the gilded surface but can carry its own weight in exotic scenery. Think white-sand beaches, crystal-clear blue waters, untamed jungle and stylish boutique hotels. Having recovered from the 2004 tsunami, Sri Lanka is on the upswing; however it’s best to check it out now before everyone gets in on the action. At the chic Yala Village hotel, guests can enjoy a true authentic Sri Lankan experience. Bordering the Yala Wildlife Sanctuary and the Indian Ocean, this resort stretches across 10 acres of jungle and beach. It’s not unusual to find an elephant walking by your luxury chalet or to see a leopard sunning itself close by. Prices start at $80/night with dinner as little as $10/meal. http://64.78.23.35/yalavillage/

 
 
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Seaside room at Lagunita
Seaside room at Lagunita

Yelapa, Mexico
Found 20 miles southwest of Puerto Vallarta, this charming fishing village on the Pacific was once the hideout of legendary singer Bob Dylan. Still preserved in its hippie glory, Yelapa’s prices reflect its chill attitude. Home to $2 cervezas and fresh coconut pies sold to you on its sun-kissed beaches by smiling locals, you won’t find any condos, steep-priced vodka martini’s or sprawling label-branding resorts here. Check, check and check. This artsy, idyllic village is practically roadless and its landscape and is dominated by mountains and waterfalls. The small 32-room Hotel Lagunita offers a peaceful post for a good night’s sleep under its beautiful thatched roof. You’ll sleep so soundly in this quaint village that you’ll hardly notice you’re saving a bundle. Rooms start a $60/night. hotel-lagunita.com

 
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