If you are thinking of a dreamy island getaway, the mind often drifts to the usual suspects like Bali, Hawaii or the Maldives. However, a whole world of hidden paradises is waiting to be discovered. Pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters and unique experiences await without breaking the bank. Below are seven affordable and lesser-known islands that offer an incredible escape from the crowds.

Koh Rong Samloem, Cambodia

Tucked away off the coast of Cambodia, Koh Rong Samloem is a true island paradise. With its sparkling turquoise waters, powdery white sand beaches and lush tropical jungles, this lesser known gem offers a serene and affordable escape. Spend your days snorkeling amidst vibrant coral reefs, lounging in beach hammocks, or embarking on a kayak expedition around the island’s untouched bays. Take advantage of the breathtaking sunsets at Saracen Bay, and for a unique experience, take a bioluminescent plankton tour after dark.

Gili Meno, Indonesia

Located off the coast of Lombok, Indonesia, Gili Meno is a tranquil paradise combining natural beauty and a laid-back atmosphere. This budget-friendly island offers pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters perfect for snorkeling and a chance to disconnect from the outside world. Stroll through the island’s saltwater lake, home to a diverse birdlife or dive to explore the vibrant marine life around the coral gardens. Indulge in fresh seafood feasts at night while enjoying the beautiful starry skies.

Utila, Honduras

Nestled in the Caribbean Sea, Utila is the smallest and most affordable of Honduras’ Bay Islands. This lesser known hidden gem offers world-class diving opportunities without the hefty price tag. Explore colorful coral reefs, swim with majestic whale sharks and discover hidden underwater caves. Above the surface, stroll through the island’s vibrant streets, sample local cuisine or relax on sandy beaches. For a memorable experience, join a bioluminescent night dive and witness the ocean come alive with glowing wonders.

Koh Lanta, Thailand

While Thailand has its fair share of famous islands, Koh Lanta remains a hidden sanctuary offering tranquility and affordability. With its long stretches of uncrowded beaches and lush tropical landscapes, this island is perfect for those seeking relaxation and natural beauty. Explore the island’s diverse marine life through snorkeling or scuba diving, visit the picturesque Old Town with its colorful wooden houses or venture to nearby Koh Rok for pristine coral reefs and stunning viewpoints. Koh Lanta’s charm lies in its simplicity and unspoiled atmosphere.

Zanzibar, Tanzania

Zanzibar, located off the coast of Tanzania, is a captivating island that combines stunning beaches with rich cultural heritage. While it’s gaining popularity, there are still affordable options to explore this magical destination. Stroll through the narrow streets of Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and immerse yourself in its vibrant history and architecture. Discover the spice plantations the island is famous for or snorkel in the clear waters of Mnemba Atoll.

Nusa Penida, Indonesia

Escape the crowds of Bali and venture to the island of Nusa Penida. With its rugged cliffs, dramatic landscapes and pristine beaches, this hidden gem offers a budget-friendly island getaway. Explore the mesmerizing Kelingking Beach, where a T-Rex-shaped cliff overlooks turquoise waters or visit the awe-inspiring Angel’s Billabong and Broken Beach. Snorkel alongside manta rays at Manta Point or dive into the crystal-clear waters of Crystal Bay. Nusa Penida’s unspoiled beauty and affordable accommodations make it a must-visit destination for travelers seeking an off-the-beaten-path adventure.

Koh Chang, Thailand

Koh Chang is an excellent choice for an affordable island retreat in Thailand. The “Elephant Island” offers a laid-back atmosphere, lush jungles and pristine beaches. Trek through the rainforest to discover hidden waterfalls, dip in crystal-clear lagoons or relax on the sandy shores of Lonely Beach. Explore the nearby Koh Rang National Marine Park, where you can snorkel among colorful coral reefs and encounter diverse marine life. With its budget-friendly accommodations and tranquil ambiance, Koh Chang offers a peaceful escape from the tourist crowds.