TOP paradise resort towns around the world: an incredible holiday for just $500
Despite the fact that prices for flights and accommodation around the world are rising, there are options for budget and quality holidays.
For just $500, you can get a full range of services in various parts of the world, Insider writes.
Paradise in the Gulf of Mexico
In Valladolid, located on the Mexican Yucatan Peninsula, you can book three nights in a decent hotel with breakfast and access to a swimming pool, jacuzzi and sun terrace for about $300. The hotel is located in the heart of the historic city.
Eating out doesn't have to be expensive, as there are many restaurants in Valladolid where a meal costs as little as $10 per person. There is a stunning underwater sinkhole with crystal clear water that was formed many centuries ago, which you can swim in.
After that, you can visit the archaeological sites of what was once a Mayan city, as well as attend a tequila tasting.
Incredible Venice in the heart of China
The Chinese metropolis of Suzhou is called the local Venice for its numerous ancient waterways, bridges and canals, and the city's classical gardens are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
For a total of around $150, you can stay for three nights at a local guesthouse, which also serves breakfast for $4.
Keep costs down with a free waterway walk along the historic 12th-century road with traditional architecture, original shops and teahouses. The Suzhou Museum is a short walk away, where you can see Chinese paintings, calligraphy and ancient artefacts for free. Inexpensive tours of ancient parks and palaces are also available.
As for restaurants, you can try Suzhou food on a gastronomic tour with a local guide. The three-and-a-half-hour experience costs $55 per person and participants will sample the full variety of Chinese cuisine.
Clean, free beaches near Barcelona
The Spanish coastal town of Sitges is known for its fresh seafood, amazing beaches, and art history. The famous Barcelona, which is about 40 minutes away.
For about $369 you can get two nights in a nice resort-style boutique hotel with an outdoor pool and free breakfast.
Many of the hotels are located within about a 10-minute walk of several of the city's 17 beaches, which are free to access, including several nudist beaches and a number of LGBT-friendly beaches.
A must-see for art lovers is the Museus de Sitges, a group of five art and sculpture museums located in connected buildings near the beach.
Gourmet paradise: the gastronomic capital of Italy
The Italian city of Parma, dubbed the "Creative City of Gastronomy" by UNESCO, is often called a gourmet haven. It produces famous cheeses, prosciutto, and balsamic vinegar.
Tidy boutique hotels in the historic heart of the city will cost around USD 110 per night. The highlight of course is the famous gastronomic tours, which cost around $150 for a full day and include a local guide and minibus transport. Stops include a dairy farm to see how Parmigiano Reggiano is made, a Parma ham factory in nearby Langirano to sample aged prosciutto, and a balsamic vinegar factory in Modena.
Don't miss a visit to the Teatro Regio di Parma, an opera house built in the 1820s, to catch an opera, ballet or musical performance. There is also a bookshop there and for around $7 you can take a guided tour of the theatre.
Hot springs in the middle of a Japanese winter
The town of Kinosaki in western Japan is world famous for its hot springs. This amazing town is located about two and a half hours by train from Kyoto.
Each spring is unique in its design, but they all have outdoor or indoor baths, or both, and some have saunas and garden areas. You can purchase individual one-day passes to the springs for around US$5-6 each.
The famous local Onsenji temple is considered the guardian temple of the onsen, and a visit was a traditional way to prepare for the hot springs and ask for a blessing to receive the supposed healing properties of the water.
The price of staying at a traditional Japanese inn includes a one-day pass to all the local hot springs where you are likely to spend most of your time.
For about $180 per night, you will be offered breakfast and dinner, a multi-course lunch with complex small dishes, which is a local speciality
Eco-friendly hotel and elephant farm in Thailand
In the north of Thailand, the city of Chiang Mai is located with lush greenery and ancient temples. For about $200, you can spend two nights in a boutique hotel near local villages and picturesque rice terraces.
Many of the hotels follow eco-friendly practices, such as using energy-efficient lighting and water-saving appliances, and have an infinity rooftop pool with scenic views.
The famous Thai massage costs approximately $10 to $40, depending on the duration and type of massage.
Experienced travellers advise avoiding companies that offer elephant rides or swimming, and instead visit an elephant rescue sanctuary.
For around $300, you can book a two-night overnight stay at the sanctuary, which includes accommodation, meals and transport. During your visit, you will go on guided hikes through the forest to find and observe elephants in their natural habitat.
Glaciers and black beaches of Iceland
The small Icelandic fishing town of Gebän, with a population of about 1800 people, is a great option for a holiday. It is located on the southeast coast and has beaches and nature trails.
A group of local small cottages offer two-night stays for $200. Guests have access to shared bathrooms and the cottages are located within walking distance of a heated community pool.
Activities include a trip to the Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon for a boat tour. The tour includes a boat ride between the massive glaciers and a chance to see seals. There is also a free car park where you can stop to see for yourself the unique black sand dotted with chunks of ice.
Local restaurants with Icelandic cuisine such as smoked Arctic char, lamb and lobster offer meals from $16 to $41.
Picturesque Australian corner on the shores of the Indian Ocean
Surrounded by the Australian outback and the Indian Ocean, the Australian city of Perth has a lot to offer.
The hotels offer overnight stays for around $130 per night. The rooms have kitchenettes with mini-fridges. Guests can enjoy the outdoor heated pool and gym.
For around $40 per person, you can take a scenic cruise around the Swan River. The trip includes a guide who shares information about the sights you'll see along the route.
To explore Perth at a leisurely pace, you can book a guided bus tour with pick-up and drop-off for around $30. The bus visits 12 places of interest.
You can also take a tour of the Perth Mint, a precious metals and coin manufacturer that has been in business since 1899. The 60-minute tour costs about $15.
Bright holiday in the heart of the Turkish Mediterranean
The Turkish resort of Bodrum has white sand beaches and a Mediterranean atmosphere. The weather is mostly mild all year round.
For around $49 per night you can stay at a hotel that includes breakfast and free parking. The hotel has a swimming pool and the beach is within walking distance.
In terms of Bodrum's must-sees, you can visit the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, an ancient tomb and archaeological site that costs less than a dollar to enter. There is also Bodrum Castle, a 15th century fortress with a museum of ancient artefacts found during excavations in the ocean.
As for a nature excursion, you can take a full-day tour to Pamukkale, a natural wonder and site of mineral springs that have created attractive white travertines over the centuries.
And if you want to try your hand at Aegean Turkish cuisine, you can take a cooking course for around $120 per person, which includes a trip to a local farmers' market. The meal you'll help prepare includes a traditional four-course meal of cold starters, a starter, a main course, and a dessert.
Safari with the five African animals in Kenya
The capital of Kenya, Nairobi, is the place where many people go to see the five big African animals: African savannah elephants and buffaloes, leopards, lions and rhinos.
A safari can be an expensive excursion with luxury options that can cost thousands of dollars per night, but with careful planning there are ways to do it on a tight budget.
You can stay at the modest but comfortable hotel for around US$75 per night, or US$100 to include a continental breakfast.
You can also visit Giraffe Manor's Giraffe Centre to get up close and personal with the animals. For about $11, you can feed rescued giraffes and learn about local conservation efforts.
There is also an hour of public visitation at Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, a wildlife sanctuary with elephants, rhinos and giraffes.Finish your trip with a demonstration of traditional Kenyan cuisine. For about $80, you can get a private lesson with a local chef and learn how to cook local dishes.
We would like to add that the budget is for one or two people and does not include airfare (calculated as of May 2023).