Dollar-Friendly Destinations 2008
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The place: Barbados
It's a poor man's: Hawaii
The financial analysis: Barbados has its share of upscale resorts like Sandy Lane (burn, money, burn!), but that's only half the story. Head to the east side of the island, where the beaches are wilder, the front yards less manicured, and the rates a whole lot less expensive. See, wild is the way.
Price of a beer: $4 for a local Banks beer
What to do: If you're a die-hard surfer, want to learn how to surf, or—let's be honest—think you might look really good holding a surfboard, head to Surfer's Point on the south coast. Zed of Zed's Surfing Adventures has the easygoing demeanor and shaggy hair that come with being a really good surfer—and instructor. Group lessons are $80 per person, including board rental.
Hotel: Sea U is a guesthouse in the village of Bathsheba, with doubles from $136. Rooms are tidy and unpretentious but include convenient amenities like coffeemakers, mini-fridges, big bathrooms, and mosquito netting. The vibe is friendly and trusting: Most nights, a chef cooks dinner for guests seated at communal tables in the semi-outdoor patio, and you grab your own rum punch from the honor bar.
Cheap eats: Dina's, the local beach restaurant, is right out of an '80s Tom Cruise movie (minus the flying bottles and cheesy soundtrack). It's a cheery wooden house with cute waiters; a lively outdoor deck; lots of icy beer; and a menu stocked with fresh seafood (flying fish is the local favorite), chicken, and goat dishes. Whatever you order, top it off with the local Bajan hot sauce.
How to get there: American Airlines and Air Jamaica often have good deals from Miami, New York, and Atlanta. Just plan in advance, and expect to pay around $400.
Zed's Surfing Adventures
Tel: 246 428 7873
Tel: 246 433 9450
Tel: 246 433 9726