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The World’s Most Beautiful Beach Cities Where You Can Live for Dirt Cheap

6 minute read

By Alannah Koene

Waking up to crashing ocean waves and strolling along white-sand beaches is a dream for many people, but living in a beach city paradise is more accessible than you may think.

Beach cities all around the world, such as Cartagena and Hoi An, provide fulfilling and enriching lifestyles for a surprisingly low cost of living. Check out some of the world’s most beautiful beach cities below to find your own tropical haven.

Hoi An, Vietnam

Located in Vietnam’s Quang Nam Province, Hoi An lies between lush mountainous terrain and empty stretches of sandy beach. The city’s historic district represents well-preserved Southeast Asian trading ports from the 15th to 19th centuries. It has a blend of indigenous and foreign influences and, as such, is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The cost of living in Hoi An starts around $450 per month. Locals can enjoy diverse and affordable cuisine such as crispy pancakes, pho and beef noodle salad, and long-term accommodation costs approximately $300 per month.

Hieu VO / Shutterstock

Saint George’s, Grenada

Grenada is a 134.6-square-mile island in the West Indies of the Caribbean Sea. Its capital, Saint George’s, is located on a historic harbor and surrounded by a volcanic crater, resulting in a tropical paradise of beautiful beaches, cliffs, cascading waterfalls and lush forests.

After a day of hiking or swimming, you can enjoy live calypso bands and soca music as well as buzzing outdoor marketplaces. The town is known for its lively, friendly inhabitants, and easygoing entertainment is usually only a block away.

Monthly rent costs in Grenada start around $461.

Pawel Kazmierczak / Shutterstock

Algarve, Portugal

Located in southernmost Portugal, the Algarve coastline includes cosmopolitan areas such as Portimao and Albufeira that contrast with Tavira and other low-key towns that have strong Arabic histories and traditional architecture.

Because rents start at about $610 per month, locals and visitors can find affordable apartments, inexpensive, delicious wines and fresh seafood. In addition to sunbathing and surfing at the region’s many sandy beaches, other popular activities include hiking, boating, golf and horseback riding.

Pawel Kazmierczak / Shutterstock

Pedasi, Panama

The town of Pedasi is located on the southeast tip of the Azuero Peninsula in the Los Santos Province of Panama. You can often get the beach and surf breaks mostly to yourself in this fishing village with a small population. Despite its sleepy, laid-back reputation, Pedasi has a rich culture and comes alive for carnivals and evening events.

Living in Pedasi is affordable, with rent starting at $430 per month, although prices may fluctuate according to tourist seasons. Local produce and seafood are inexpensive, as are local restaurants and food services.

Mabelin Santos / Shutterstock

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain

Located about 93 miles off the Moroccan coast, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is the largest city in Spain’s Canary Islands and combines a hot North African desert climate with a Mediterranean feel. This capital city has a diverse, cosmopolitan population and is popular for its long sandy beaches as well as its colonial and modernist architecture, art galleries and fine dining.

Despite its upscale culture, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria has a low cost of living at $592 per month. Rent for one-bedroom apartments averages around $600.

Philip Lange / Shutterstock

Split, Croatia

Split, the second-largest city in Croatia, is an idyllic modern city with pieces of Croatian history scattered throughout. You’ll find the Roman emperor Diocletian’s palace, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, at the center of the city with a myriad of historic homes and charming alleys. These areas tend to be busy with tourists, but the Zjnan and Firule neighborhoods are quieter and closer to beaches.

Although dining in Split can be expensive, bakeries, bars and cafes along the Riva waterfront boulevard provide cheap culinary and social experiences. Expect to pay at least $340 per month in rent and $576 in other living costs.

Anton_Ivanov / Shutterstock

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro is an exciting city stocked with golden beaches, outdoor parties and beautiful architecture. This cultural hub is home to many successful football teams and is a global leader in film, hosting the Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival annually since 1990. Known also as one of the world’s biggest party cities, Rio de Janeiro features a diverse nightlife where you can sip on caipirinhas and let your hair down.

Rent is relatively cheap in Rio de Janeiro, with city center prices starting around $379 per month. Expect to pay at least an additional $547 per month for costs such as dining, groceries, utilities and recreation.

Aleksandar Todorovic / Shutterstock

Ao Nang, Thailand

Despite being a fast-growing town located near more developed areas such as Krabi, Ao Nang has dense tropical forests and white sandy beaches for locals to explore. The beaches are framed by limestone headlands, and you can tour the area’s back roads by renting or buying a scooter. You can easily access other nearby islands by water taxi.

While hanging out in town, pick up a full meal and drink for only a few dollars. Newly built apartments look out over the beaches and rent for about $222 per month. Throughout Thailand, the estimated monthly cost of living is $498 before rent.

Fotos593 / Shutterstock

Cartagena, Colombia

Located in northern Colombia along the shores of the Caribbean Sea, Cartagena is a tropical paradise. Cartagena has an important historic role as a major colonial trade port and the site of the Battle of Cartagena de Indias in 1741, which is reflected in its colonial architecture and romantic cobble-stoned streets.

Sunbathing, snorkeling and scuba diving are regular activities along Cartagena’s beautiful beaches, and the inexpensive food scene includes ceviche, obleas and cocadas. Apartment rentals start at around $500 per month, and a single person can expect about $423 in monthly expenses for other basic and recreational costs.

Jess Kraft / Shutterstock

Taghazout, Morocco

A small laidback fishing village, Taghzaout is known for its premier surf culture and gorgeous sandy beaches. Just north of the city of Agadir, Taghazout is popular with digital nomads for its laid-back atmosphere, stunning murals and picturesque white-washed buildings and colorful doorways.

Aside from surfing world-class waves, the typical lifestyle in Taghazout involves sipping on a nous nous coffee at a quiet cafe, exploring the culinary scene and checking out gorges and waterfalls along the Ankrim River.

Taghazout is still relatively unknown as a global destination, so rental prices start low at about $280 per month. You can expect to pay about $385 in other costs, bringing the total monthly cost of living for a single person to $665.

zodyakuz / Shutterstock

Diani Beach, Kenya

Life in Kenya may typically invoke safari and wildlife images, but Diani Beach along the east coast is a paradise of white-sand beaches and warm Indian Ocean waters. Located approximately 20 miles from Mombasa, Diani Beach is a major destination to see reef sharks and endangered Green and Hawksbill turtles.

Spend your days snorkeling, kayaking, kitesurfing and jet skiing, then relax at home with rent in the Mombasa area starting around $200. There’s endless exploring to do at Shimba Hills National Reserve and the Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary, where protected elephants can roam undisturbed.

Sopotnicki / Shutterstock

San Pancho, Mexico

Get the feel of a California surf town for a fraction of the cost in San Pancho, Mexico. Nestled along the Pacific coast in the Nayarit state, this small town provides easy access to other surf towns, including San Blas and Sayulita, as well as the larger city of Puerto Vallarta.

It has quiet charm and impressive waves, so you’ll be equally happy staying in town. When you’re finished with beach lounging and surfing for the day, stroll the streets to explore artisanal markets, affordable restaurants, socially-conscious communities and events such as the La Bodega de Teatro and San Pancho International Music Festival.Ren

Within the Puerto Vallarta area, you can expect to pay about $370 in rent and $500 in other monthly expenses.

Coco Molina / Shutterstock

Alannah Koene

Contributor

Alannah Koene is a content writer based in Victoria, British Columbia. Although she writes for a range of topics, her professional writing often focuses on business, health, and lifestyle. Spending much of her time exploring the outdoors through sport, Alannah aims to share her perspectives through writing and content. She’s happiest reading a book in her hammock with her dog napping nearby.

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