Home BeachesMazatlán 10 Most Affordable Beach Destinations to Live in Around the World

10 Most Affordable Beach Destinations to Live in Around the World

Mazatlán, Mexico makes the list! Offering top-notch beach living on a budget.

by Brent May

Many dream of waking up to the soothing sound of crashing waves, but with inflation and real estate prices driving up the cost of living, few can afford to move to a beach town. However, this doesn’t mean you have to abandon your fantasy, as  plenty of oceanfront communities across the globe offer affordable housing and good-value living.

And while the cost of living also largely depends on your spending habits, the beach towns we’ve highlighted below guarantee your dollar will stretch much further without sacrificing the little pleasures like eating out, enjoying cultural activities and events, and taking advantage of everything the destination has to offer.

So, whether you’re planning your retirement or want to try the digital nomad lifestyle, we’ve found 10 budget-friendly places around the world — both small and large — where surf, sand, and sun are pretty much a given 365 days of the year.

To compile this list, we consulted experts from International Living, specializing in life overseas, as well as multiple reports on the cost of living in cities worldwide. And, of course, be sure to check the visa requirements for your beach destination of choice before packing up.

01 of 10 | George Town, Malaysia

The capital of Penang, an island off Malaysia’s west coast, is a vibrant city famous for its historic attractions and colonial architecture, which were recognized by UNESCO and included in the organization’s list of World Heritage Sites in 2008. The city is also known for its street art, vibrant nightlife, and diverse population, reflected in its eclectic dining scene that blends Malay, Chinese, and Indian influences.

According to data by International Living, a couple can live on a monthly budget of $1,760, whereas $2,500 will get you a place in a luxury high-rise with an ocean view and resort-like amenities.

02 of 10 | Valencia, Spain

Known as the birthplace of paella, Valencia offers a fantastic food scene, striking architecture, and affordable living, regularly placing it among the best beach destinations to live in Europe.

The city has several golden-sand beaches and is a short flight from the Balearic islands of Mallorca, Ibiza, and Menorca (or a five to seven-hour ferry ride).

A couple renting a two-bedroom apartment in downtown Valencia can live comfortably on a monthly budget of $2,635, according to International Living.

03 of 10 | Mazatlán, Mexico

Last year, this underrated beach destination ranked among the most affordable communities in Mexico for expats. GoBankingRates calculated a single person would need less than $1,300 per month to live comfortably here, and that number includes rent. The company also noted the average one-bedroom apartment in the city center costs about $620 per month.

The city, which already has a sizable expat community, is home to a beautiful historic area, more than 10 miles of beaches (including several on the three islands off its coast), and many music events throughout the year.

04 of 10 | Canggu, Bali, Indonesia

Bali’s picture-perfect beaches and laid-back lifestyle have attracted many expats, but if you’re looking for one of the most affordable destinations on the island, consider Canggu. This increasingly popular village on Bali’s south coast is close to some of the island’s most important temples, plus it’s surrounded by scenic rice paddies and banana plantations.

You can expect to spend under $1,500 per month here, of which $800 goes toward renting a two-bedroom villa, according to International Living.

05 of 10 | Hua Hin, Thailand

A former fishing village, Hua Hin is now the preferred seaside getaway for both locals and visitors, thanks to its picture-perfect beaches, golf courses, seafood restaurants, lively night market, and temples. And while the destination has many urban conveniences, if you miss the vibrancy of a big city, Bangkok is about a three-hour drive away and easy to visit for a weekend.

International Living points out couples in Hua Hin can live comfortably on a monthly budget of $2,000, which covers eating out a few times a week, groceries, entertainment, and renting a one- or two-bedroom apartment.

06 of 10 | Varna, Bulgaria

Located on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast, north of Greece and Turkey, Varna is a midsized city offering access to scenic beaches, museums, an aquarium, a lively garden, many resorts, and an international airport. The region is an up-and-coming luxury destination on the Balkan peninsula, with a presence from global hospitality brands like Meliá. Nobu recently announced plans to open a property in the area as well. And golf enthusiasts can practice their swing at one of the most scenic courses in the region at Thracian Cliffs, which overlooks the Black Sea.

According to local data, a furnished two-bedroom apartment in Varna costs around $655 monthly and about the same for other expenses. Bulgaria, overall, was named one of the best places to invest in real estate by Sothebys in 2023.

07 of 10 | Lagos, Portugal

The Algarve region of Portugal is a magnet for expats, thanks to its sun-drenched beaches, delicious cuisine, and many charming villages and small towns. Lagos, in particular, is a popular choice as it offers urban amenities with the laid-back lifestyle of a resort town, including a vibrant nightlife scene, excellent shopping, and a marina.

International Living experts estimate a couple will need a monthly budget of about $2,080, inclusive of rent.

08 of 10 | Toulon, France

This city along the Mediterranean may not be as well known as Marseille or Nice, which is precisely what makes it appealing as a home base. As the gateway to Provence, Toulon is an ideal destination for sampling the region’s delicious food and admiring its stunning scenery. Residents enjoy plenty of sunshine throughout the year, beautiful historic architecture, plenty of cafes and restaurants, and a thriving arts scene. With several beaches in and around the city, you’re never too far from a stretch of sand.

Capital.fr reports the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Toulon is $16 per square meter (or about $600 per month), plus approximately $150 for electricity and heating.

09 of 10 | Azores, Portugal

Island living in the middle of the Atlantic? Sign us up. The Azores is a much calmer, less crowded, and more affordable alternative to Portugal’s mainland. The nine islands comprising the archipelago boast dramatic landscapes with volcanoes, lagoons, thermal springs, and small towns where life moves at a slower pace.

Although certain goods may cost more because they’re imported, living in the Azores is generally less expensive than on the mainland, at around $1,500 per month. In the capital, Ponta Delgada on the island of São Miguel, monthly costs are about $1,200 if you’re single and $2,850 for a family of four, according to Expatistan.com.

10 of 10 | Puerto Morelos, Mexico

The Riviera Maya is a bustling vacation and second-home destination where housing isn’t exactly cheap these days, but if you’re searching for an affordable alternative in the area, the small fishing village of Puerto Morelos, located between Playa del Carmen and Cancun, is your best bet.

In contrast to its more famous neighbors, this Caribbean community is more laid-back and relaxed, offering plenty of opportunities to stay active. At the same time, thanks to its proximity to Cancun (the city is about a one-hour drive away), residents have access to quality health care and other urban amenities.

International Living notes a couple can live here on $1,700 a month, of which rent accounts for $500 to $700, depending on the apartment.

Repost: Travel + Leisure
By Dobrina Zhekova

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