Is it possible to travel cheap in Montreal? Can you get that almost-in-Europe-without-going-to-Europe feeling without dropping a ton of coin? For sure, dude! And if you’re American, the exchange rate is verrrrry much in your favor.
Today, Montréalais Mariko tells us where to find $3 sandwiches, free museums, and $30-a-night apartment rentals!
Looking for a travel guide to Nicaragua – the safest country in Central America? And that it’s one of the cheapest travel options in Latin America? On Airbnb, entire homes are renting for $35 USD right now! In the capital city! WHAT. YES. LET’S ALL GO THERE RIGHT NOW.
Today, expat Celine is giving us all the travel tips for Nicaragua – what to do, where to go, what to eat, and how to avoid cultural blunders!(more…)
Is it possible to travel cheap in San Francisco? Welp, it’s almost impossible to live cheap in San Francisco (one bedroom apartments rent for $3,000+) so that’s a very good question. I don’t have the answer, so I brought in a local! Read on for Jaime’s tips on cheap travel in San Francisco – where to stay, what to do, and what to eat!
Sure, it costs a bit to fly to Cape Town, South Africa but once you get there? The exchange rate is ever in your favor. Today, South African Sarah tells us about boutique hostels for $15 a night, breakfast for $1.25 (!!!) and wine tasting for $2 per winery. I have never been so tempted!
Hi! I’m (another) Sarah, and a born and bred Capetonian. Although I spend a fair amount of time travelling to other places, Cape Town is still my favorite destination ever – and yes, I am completely and unashamedly biased!
The weakness of the South African Rand (you’ll currently get over R15.00 for every US dollar you spend) is great for visitors. World-class dining, lovely accommodation and easy transport on the cheap really mean that the only significant cost you’re likely to pay is your flight.
Also, Cape Town is the perfect place to experience things you may have long dreamed about – lazy lunches in vineyards, winding coastal roads or white beaches and palm trees – all in one place and without breaking the piggy bank.
Cheap lodgings in Cape Town
Air Bnb – from $20 The way in which Air Bnb has disrupted the accommodation space has meant a wide range of well-appointed accommodation options for visitors to Cape Town – especially if you’re travelling in a group. This gorgeous apartment has sea views, and this one a view of Table Mountain and the Cape Town harbour.
P.S. If you’ve never used Airbnb before, use this link to get $40 off your first booking!
91 Loop – from $14 This recently-opened boutique hostel is one example in a movement of upscale hostels and backpackers that are changing the way we view budget accommodation. Bright and airy, serving great coffee and cheap breakfasts at its in-house restaurant, The Honey Badger, 91 Loop is spotlessly clean and very comfortable.
Once in Cape Town – from $15 Another funky hostel in Cape Town’s city centre, Once in Cape Town is right upstairs from one of the most on-trend places to hang out – Yours Truly – which serves craft beer, coffee and light meals on Kloof Street.
Cheap Things to Eat in Cape Town
Ristorante Posticino – large pizza from about $5 This family-owned Italian with two branches (one in Hout Bay, with fantastic views, the other on vibey Sea Point Main Road) serves some of Cape Town’s most authentic Italian food and delicious wine (at almost cost price) with warmth and humor. This is the restaurant my husband and I visit most often, and we haven’t been disappointed yet.
Arnold’s – breakfast from $1.25 Arnold’s – an owner-managed joint on Kloof Street – was a student favourite that managed to grow up us, and kept its low prices. If you’d like a (really) cheap, no-frills bacon and eggs with all the trimmings or a quick city lunch or dinner, then this is the place to go.
Visit his experimental food lab, Naturalis. The menu changes daily and is offered on a range of wooden platters, paired with delicious South African wine.
Bay Harbour Market – free; food from 75c For us, weekend mornings often start at the Bay Harbour Market, a community-centred market in the fishing village of Hout Bay that serves fantastic homemade food (as well as vintage jewelry, fresh flowers, crafts and clothing).
I’ve become adept at skimming around people to reach the panini’s at Taste of Tunisa, the dim sum opposite and poring over the astounding array baked goods (look for them behind the coffee stand). Live music, a central bar and a boggling variety of food choices make it the perfect place to meet friends and share a delicious brunch.
La Boheme – two courses for $5.70, three for $7 If you happen to be in search of a romantic bistro and wine bar with an upmarket feel, seasonal menu and delicious French food with a South African twist, La Boheme hits all the spots. The independent bistro is a local’s local and feels perennially happy.
Mzoli’s – from $2 Mzoli’s sells and serves a single ingredient in the heart of Cape Town’s historical township Gugulethu: meat. The butchery, meeting place and outdoor restaurant is always buzzing in the summer, with people from all over the city flocking to the communal braai (BBQ).
Bring your own drinks and paper napkins and be ready to meet new people, listen to the live djs playing South African house music, and feast on meat off the fire.
Fish on the Rocks – hake and chips for $3.50 Why pay a fortune for fresh fish when you can eat it (with delicious chips) outside and with a view of the ocean? Fish on the Rocks at the Hout Bay harbour (or alternatively, Kalky’s at Kalk Bay) serves fresh fish made a variety of ways – where you want to eat it is up to you.
Cheap Things to Do in Cape Town
Lie on the beach – free; about $4 for a day’s use of an umbrella Cape Town’s beaches are one of its biggest draw cards, and, like most cities, they have a bit of a code. If you’re feeling like a family day out or a vintage-inspired day with friends, catch a train to Fish Hoek or Simon’s Town (where the sand isn’t white but the towns are pretty and the sea is warm).
To mingle with the beautiful, rich and famous, visit Clifton fourth beach, which is the city’s most sheltered, and if you’re beautiful, rich and famous but don’t care about your image, carry on past Camps Bay (lovely when it’s not windy, and close to bars and restaurants), to Llandudno.
To swim with penguins and walk amongst a colony, head to Boulder’s Beach (it’s protected, so you’ll need to pay about $4 entry to get in, but you can look over the fence for free).
Take a hike – free Although the revolving cable car (about $8 for a one-way ticket) is a great way to reach the top of the city’s most iconic landmark – Table Mountain – hiking means you get an even better view (and it’s free!).
However, if you want a view of Table Mountain (and a 360’C view) hike up the local’s favourite, Lion’s Head.
Spend a day at the V&A Waterfront – free The city’s Waterfront (named after Queen Victoria and Prince Alfred, her son) has had a long and vibrant history and remains a fascinating place today – in part because it is still very much a working harbour.
The waterfront not only serves as the city’s central meeting place for locals and tourists alike, but it also offers a food market, an upscale design market, a luxury mall and plenty of restaurants. The best thing you can pay for at the V&A Waterfront is a sunset cruise – preferably with sparkling wine included!
Go wine-tasting – free to $2 per wine farm While many wine farms now charge a nominal fee for wine tasting if you don’t buy a bottle (especially in the older, more popular Paarl and Stellenbosch wine routes) there are plenty that are happy to fill your glasses for free. The Route 62 wine route is quieter, less touristy, and offers great wines at good prices.
Visit a museum – from free to $4 Especially good for wet days, or when you’ve had too much time on the beach, Cape Town’s museums are largely well taken care off, easy to move around and free (or very cheap) to enter.
People watch on the promenade – free Young, old, rich, poor, the city’s promenade walk is a great leveller. The beautiful stretch of coastline from the city, through Green Point and Sea Point, to Camps Bay, has been matched with wide paving, public pools, large stretches of grass, art installations and open-air gyms.
If you prefer to be on wheels, rent a bicycle from the concession stands outside the Sea Point pool (entry $1.30), or play a round of put-put next to the Green Point Lighthouse. Sotano makes for a post-walk tapas spot that stays lively late into the evening.
Chapman’s Peak Drive – free for runners or cyclists, $2.50 per car Pretend that you’re Bond, James Bond, as you wind around the mountain on this cliff road that could be somewhere on the French Riviera. One of the most beautiful drives in the world, Chapman’s Peak takes you from Noordhoek to Hout Bay and is best done just before sunset. Drive slowly and stop at the designated viewpoints along the way for photos.
City Sightseeing Bus – one-day ticket from $10 Although this is more expensive than the usual budget activity, the bus not only provides you with a narrated tour around the city, but its hop-on, hop-off nature means that it includes all your transport cost for the day.
If you’re pressed for time and you’d like to visit Camps Bay Beach, the V&A Waterfront, Table Mountain, the Constantia Wine Route and several museums all in one day, these topless buses will take you there (with a view, and some history).
Enjoy your trip! To maximise your experience, download the free Cape Town Travel app before you arrive.
I’m sure we have a few other South African readers. What would you add?
Did you know that Tijuana, Mexico is only 35 minutes south of San Diego? And you can take a trolley from San Diego to the border and then walk over?! Today, lifelong Tijuana resident Nicté Trujillo is telling us about $24 hotels, $4 tlayuda (aka ‘Mexican pizza’), and free art exhibits!
Hey there, I’m Nicté Trujillo, a graphic arts nerd and photographer born and raised in one of the most visited borders of the world and I’m so happy to show you my beloved city! I love Tijuana and take any opportunity available to share the wonders it has to offer to the world.
Because we are so close to the United States, we’ve developed a cross-border culture you’d be amazed to see live, and although Tijuana is very young city we have internationally renowned dishes and landscapes, bespoke shoes, polka music, great weather all year long and so much more!
Cheap lodging in Tijuana
If you’ve ever wanted to give Couchsurfing a go, this is the city to do it! We have an awesome community and are always eager to show people around but if staying with strangers (potential best friends forever) is not your thing, these are some of the options you can try:
This is the only hostel in the city and it has a whole floor dedicated to art exhibitions, a restaurant featuring locally-grown ingredients, concerts on a constant basis, and it’s right in the heart of downtown.
There are plenty of affordable, highly-reviewed private room options in Tijuana, like this room that’s a 10-minute walk from the beach, this room in a stylishly minimalist home, or a tiny cottage with a sleeping loft for $28 a night!
We take food very seriously in the city and have our very own style where we mix the Mediterranean recipes with local flavors and even our tacos have a very unique touch. You can find taco stands almost every corner and delicious coffee shops are now abundant too, so even if you just take a stroll down the main streets you surely will find something delicious.
You might not know this but the Caesar salad was invented in a hotel in Downtown and you can still visit the place where they created it. They will prepare right by your table and the flavor will amaze you!
Plaza Fiesta – $3 for a Craft Beer
In the last few years, lots of entrepreneurs have looked at craft beer as an opportunity to experiment and create amazing stuff, for and by the locals. Nowadays many breweries have established in Plaza Fiesta and offer a special (cheaper!) price on Tap Tuesdays so this an amazing opportunity for you to try different craft beers and even try some snacks.
The best way to explain this dish is to call it a Mexican pizza. This is a traditional Oaxaca, dish and it’s one of my favorite things to eat in town. It’s a huge tostada (toasted tortilla) with beans, meat and vegetables – perfect for sharing!
This restaurant has amazing interpretations of Mexican dishes that mix flavors and textures so all the items on the menu are amazing! If you should only try one thing, try this salad; it mixes the traditional and the modern.
If you want to experience the warmth and flavor locals love, visit El Mazateño for their wide arrange of seafood tacos. My favorite is the “camarón enchilado;” it’s a spicy shrimp taco that comes in a crispy tortilla with melted cheese. Yum!
Humo is part of one of the most popular food trucks park of the city and it probably has the best hot dogs of Tijuana. With a homemade sausage and bread and a corn cob on the side, you have got to give it a go if you are a meatlover.
This market is an amazing sample of the colors, flavors, and tastes of Mexico. You can find spices, crafts, exotic fruit, piñatas, and so many chilies. Walk among the vendors, grab a cup of fruit with chili powder or drink from a fresh coconut and you’ll be in paradise in the middle of the city!
Picture with a Burro Zebra – $5
Take a picture with our traditional donkey dressed up as a zebra!
Since 1939, photographers have been decorating a wheelbarrow with Mexican paraphernalia, like sombreros, zarapes, etc., and visitors could pose with the donkey. Since the pictures were black and white back then, the donkey wouldn’t show much so someone decided to fix this by painting the animal! Since has become a tradition and you will find these zebra/donkeys on different corners of Revolucion Avenue.
CECUT has a few different options if art and history are your thing. On the weekdays, you need to get a ticket (the price range is $3-$5) for most of their art exhibits but on Sundays, all the exhibitions are free. You can visit the contemporary art building, El Cubo, walk around their botanical garden or check any of their temporary art exhibits, where you can find both local, national or international artists creations.
You feel that you are right inside the movie…just be careful if you get motion sick easily.
Tianguis – free
If you love treasure hunting, looking for antiques or second-hand trinkets you will love our “sobreruedas” or “tianguis.” These are open air markets, where you can find food, clothes, furniture, and many other things. They are very common around the city. You’ll find them on a weekly basis and some of the biggest ones are in La Villa or by the Border in Otay Mesa. Ask a local to point you to the closest and have a walk among the fruit vendors and grab some hand-churned ice cream for less than a dollar!
Our sunsets are best viewed on the beach! If you’re lucky, you might even see some dolphins riding the waves along the surfers. You will also see our binational garden, which grows edible plants on both sides of the fence that divides Mexico and The United States.
This space and organization was created to promote creative thinking and aid in decreasing violence through workshops and events that promote collaboration and communication.
The building has won multiple architectural awards. Casa de la Ideas frequently hosts events that are free/cheap and open to the public, including reading by well-known actors and even yoga.
Walking tour Tijuana – free
A couple of couchsufing hosts host a free, weekly walking tour! You will be able to walk around the art corridors inside downtown, have a taste of locally brewed beers or even attend art exhibits, make great friends and just have a great time with locals.
As you can see, there is something for everyone in the city and if you have time to spare, you could drive south of the city to see more of our amazing state, like the new wine route, the Ensenada Pier or even see where the famous Tecate beer is made!
Thanks so much for sharing your insights, Nicté! Have any of you guys been to Tijuana? If you have, I’d love to hear your favorite cheap tips!
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