VIDEO: A Day in the DR for Under $100? Here's How We Did It

This super-cool Dominican beach town is a budget traveler's dream come true

Share This
Rooms & Guests×

As penny-pinching beach lovers know, a hundred bucks doesn't go very far in most tropical destinations. In fact, that amount would barely cover the cost of dinner and drinks in certain super-luxe Caribbean islands (we're looking at you, St. Bart's.)

But in the Dominican Republic — especially in lesser-known beach towns like Boca Chica and Juan Dolio — your hard-earned dollar stretches surprisingly far. How far, exactly? On a recent trip, I was able to cover a hotel stay, plus all my meals, drinks and snacks for a 24-hour period, for under the $100 price point.

Watch the video to see why Boca Chica, located less than an hour east of the capital city of Santo Domingo, might be the best budget beach destination in the DR. And read below to see a breakdown of costs for the trip (shown converted to American dollars).

Meals = $25.70

Aromas of pescado frito (fried fish) and tostones (fried yellow plantains) waft through the streets in Boca Chica, where rows of ramshackle frituras serve sizzling plates known to draw residents all the way from the capital. Vegetarians will find an affordable feast at the beachfront Boathouse, the only overtly American bar in town. Order a plate of tostones, red beans and white rice for just $5.30.

Once the sun sets, most visitors flock to Duarte Street, just behind the beachfront. By then, the busy avenue has transitioned into a twinkling pedestrian thoroughfare, where locals and travelers dine alfresco-style between a row of Italian restaurants and Dominican cafes. For a more sophisticated vibe, walk east on Duarte Street until you reach a small grouping of upscale overwater restaurants. Enjoy a dinner of spinach and ricotta ravioli at Neptuno's Club Restaurant, which also serves seafood dishes, sliders, steak and lobster. The decadent plate, smothered in cheeses and bathed in a garlicky red sauce, will only set you back $16.

For breakfast in the morning, find your way to Pequeña Suiza's street-facing back window, lined with a few bar stools. Order toast and jam and a cappuccino, a steal at just $4.40 total.

 Boca Chica is the closest tourist beach to Santo Domingo. Photo: Theresa Boehl

Snacks= $1.70

Snacks are a must on any beach trip — they keep you fueled for hours lying supine under the Caribbean sun or splashing around in the water. Refresh your palate with a plate of freshly sliced, super juicy mango for just $1, or sample yaniqueque, fried dough discs ubiquitous in Dominican beach towns, for just $.50. Allay your sweet tooth with a sugary coconut pop, just $.20.

Drinks = $10.00

You'd be remiss to forgo a Presidente beer while on a trip to the DR — it's an essential part of the experience. Get an ice-cold bottle of the crisp, lager-style local brew for $4 and enjoy the sweeping sea views at El Pelicano, one of the overwater restaurants mentioned above. Or seek shade under the thatched-roof bar at Village on the Beach, just steps from the water, where a generously sized piña colada ($5) is sure to bring your temperature down. Later, rehydrate with a fresh coconut water ($1), sliced open with a machete on the spot.

Hotel = $42.00/

Budget hotels abound in Boca Chica. In fact, ritzy accommodations are almost non-existent here. Prices will be slightly higher for beachfront digs, but so will noise levels. For a quieter option, book a room at tucked-away Hotel Mango ($42 per night) on verdant Valenzuela Street, just a few blocks north of Duarte Street. This cheery hotel features simple rooms overlooking a tropical garden and a small lagoon pool, plus a lobby bar and a play area for kids.

Grand Total = $79.40

Ready to plan your own budget beach escape? See deals to the Dominican Republic or sign up for fare alerts when you do a flight search to get money-saving deals right in your inbox.

4 Cheap Caribbean Vacations to Take in 2019

The only thing more stressful than forgoing vacation is taking one you can't afford. These destinations let you have the fabulous beach break you need while keeping your finances in line.

4 Fabulous Family Vacations Under $1000

Check out these suggested itineraries for family fun in some of America's best beach towns.

The Best Affordable Beach Vacations

If you're as pumped as we are about throwing caution to the wind and heading to the beach, rest assured that you have many excellent budget choices in Mexico and the Caribbean.

Super Cheap Vacations for Two Travelers: Best Budget Options by Region

Though it may seem too good to be true, vacations under $500 for two travelers do exist — if you head to nearby shores and keep travel and accommodations costs low.

7 All-Inclusive Resorts in the Dominican Republic That You Can Actually Afford

Don't let a slim wallet deter you from setting out for one of the Caribbean's most dynamic destinations. These all-inclusive resorts in the Dominican Republic can accommodate tight budgets.

Every Room at This Ixtapa Resort Has Its Own Bay-View Terrace — Stay for Just $80/Night

Each guest room at Las Brisas offers its own oversized private terrace with hammocks and sun loungers, perfect for hours of uninterrupted ocean-view bliss.