Vacations on a Dime

Danielle Robb 1

Photo credit A Place in the Sun

Danielle Robb is the executive producer and host of A Place in the Sun, an eclectic lifestyle, property, and travel show on Discovery’s Velocity Network.A Place in the Sun is dedicated to helping home buyers break boundaries in their own lives, while searching for affordable property around the world either for relocation, as an investment property, or as a vacation home. A travel expert, Danielle has very kindly agreed to share her latest and greatest picks for Weekend Vacations on a Dime with us here at The 21st Century Housewife. Although obviously geared to readers in North America as weekend destinations, they would still make great vacation destinations for those of us based further away – we would just need to allow a little more time!

You can learn more about A Place in the Sun, and Danielle’s other projectson her website. And now, over to Danielle!

For a quick getaway, especially when looking to take advantage of a long weekend, think of heading north or south of the US border.

Canada is quick, easy and a four-season destination. One of my favorite cities is Vancouver. Recognized as one of the world’s most livable cities, and host of the 2010 Winter Games, Vancouver offers a diverse mix of people and it has just enough hustle and bustle to satisfy the city girl in me.

One of my favorite areas is the old industrial district of Yaletown, now a hip trendy spot filled with cute boutiques and restaurants. I suggest having a bite to eat at the Cactus Club or Yaletown Brewing Company where you can hop on the free trolley service after to catch a sporting event or concert at either the BC Center or Rogers Arena. Rounding out your weekend getaway could mean taking a ferry to Victoria Island or heading up to Whistler for a ski day.

If you want warm beaches, sun, and sand this time of year, then head south of our border – but go to Central America. If you’re willing to travel just about an hour longer than a flight to Mexico would take, you can enjoy the less touristy destinations of Belize and Nicaragua. Both are great values for the money and offer beautiful beaches amidst lush tropical foliage.

San Juan del Sur is a great destination in Nicaragua. It still retains its small fishing village feel, but offers cozy casitas by the water, delicious seafood and plenty to do if you need more action than a hammock provides. There is everything from hostels and cheap B and Bs (that cater to the surf crowd) to eco-resorts.

Spend a weekend sport fishing, surfing or sunning- and at the end of each day make sure you watch the sun sink into the Pacific with a cold drink in hand and your toes in the sand. It’s hard to pick just one favorite spot in San Juan del Sur, the beach is dotted with open air restaurants with amazingly fresh food and tropical libations- easily under $10. A good choice is Pau Hanawhich actually features Hawaiian and Mexican food. It’s right on the beach and you get a million dollar view for two for less than $20, including cervezas.

I always tell Americans to check out Belize. It shares a coastline and a great barrier reef (second only to The Great Barrier Reef in Australia) with Mexico and is just a short flight from Cancun airport. As an English- speaking country, there is no language barrier and they use the US dollar as currency. Belize also has a rich cultural history sharing traditions with not only Mexico but also the various Caribbean people who settled there and the British (it was called British Honduras before gaining independence in 1981). In Belize, you can stay on the mainland part of the country near the coast or in the jungle parts of the interior. Or head to one of the many cayes (islands) – Ambergris Caye being the largest. I love the town of San Pedro on Ambergris Caye because it has a distinct Caribbean vibe and a laid-back attitude. Accommodations range from cheap (but clean) mom and pop hotels to fancy dive resorts and everything in between. With plenty of bars and some hip nightclubs with a lounge vibe, this place is great if you need nightlife on your vacation. You can eat for under $5 in San Pedro. There are small cafes that line the main street where you can get fresh fish tacos for $1. If you want to treat yourself you can have a gourmet meal for under $25 typically. The best Indian food  ever ate was actually in Belize at Brahma Blue Resort. It’s a five minute water taxi ride in a boat to get there from San Pedro, but well worth it. Some friends I was with don’t even like Indian food and they loved this place!

So the next time you can block out four days on your calendar, think Canada or Central America. Great deals on airfares mean it could be cheaper than staying in the states and it’s always good to get another stamp in your passport.

Thank you so much to Danielle for sharing some of her wonderful vacation destinations with us. For more great travel information, don’t forget to check out A Place in the Sun on Discovery’s Velocity Network.

Shared with The Gallery of Favorites.

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Article by April Harris

April has written 1255 great articles for us.
April is a food, lifestyle and travel writer who lives in Berkshire, England. She shares inspiration, tips and trends for anyone who loves food, cooking, entertaining, fashion, travel and the finer things in life at her blog, AprilJHarris.com.
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