Best place in the world to spend August at $100/day?
January 10, 2010 2:54 AM   Subscribe

I have the month of August between jobs and my girlfriend and I would like to find somewhere we can spend a chunk of my generous signing bonus - budget of $100/day. We both prefer getting to know a relatively small place (island, area, city) to traveling, and we both prefer relaxing/low key places to big cities. Any thoughts?

Other potentially helpful pieces of information:
-Some examples of past trips I loved are 3 weeks wandering around Lamu, Kenya and a month on Sifnos, a tiny Greek island, so ideally something along those lines.
-We have simple tastes so doesn't need to be too fancy. And pretty simple in terms of activities - we like cooking, eating, reading, swimming, exploring.
-Bonus points for any answer involving small sailboats, mopeds, amazing food, French/Spanish/Swahili language.
-Budget is $3000 or so for the month, including lodging but not including airfare, and would prefer to rent a place rather than stay in a hotel.
posted by oqrothsc to Travel & Transportation (16 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Where are you coming from?
posted by mdonley at 2:57 AM on January 10, 2010

I've always wanted to go to La Gomera. Sounds like it would fit your criteria. I can't offer any recommendations or anything as I've never actually got there. But it does sound lovely.
posted by handee at 3:03 AM on January 10, 2010

Traverse City, Michigan! The lake will be warm that time of year, and it is a really beautiful color of blue. It has a fabulous art scene and an up and coming goodies paradise. Both Michael Moore and Mario Batali have homes here. Tom cruise did, too, fwiw.
posted by eggerspretty at 4:10 AM on January 10, 2010

EXUMA island bahamas. ignore all other suggestions!(haha) this 100% perfectly matches your description, low key, isolatied, lots of exploring and for 3K you can easily stay a couple weeks to a month, rent a jeep for off roading, find deserted beaches eat at the navy yard fish fries. tons of REALLY nice house to rent. nice groceries on the island. ive been there many times including recently. use home away to find a place.

feel free to email me direct if you'd like to to know more or for any more help.
posted by chasles at 4:24 AM on January 10, 2010 [4 favorites]

La Réunion is high on my list: beaches, vulcanoes, nature...
posted by eau79 at 4:48 AM on January 10, 2010

Traverse City is August is pretty dang busy. Were I looking for access to water and woods, I'd head to Michigan's upper peninsula. Eagle Harbor, Copper Harbor, Painted Rocks, etc.

Is very, very cheap.
posted by paanta at 8:03 AM on January 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

2nd-ing the UP in August. If you don't mind the bugs, the UP is super cheap and amazingly beautiful in August. Painted Rocks, Big Bay, tours of old copper mines, boat tours on Lake Superior, Tequamenon Falls, Mackinaw City (a bit touristy). If you're at all into outdoorsy stuff, you'll have a blast. Biking. Canoeing, Hiking, Swimming. Hike up Sugarloaf Mountain outside Marquette. Explore the Dead River hiking trails. Run around Presque Isle.

Sure do miss the UP sometimes.
posted by at 8:24 AM on January 10, 2010

One of my favourite vacations ever was when my family chartered a bareboat in St. Martin/St. Martaan... we lived aboard a beautiful Nonsuch34 for 2 weeks, and pretty much explored the whole island.
posted by kaudio at 8:56 AM on January 10, 2010

Charleston, SC. It's big enough and has enough history to be interesting without being, but small enough to be relaxing, especially if you get a beachfront hotel. Great seafood.

We only spent a couple of days there when my family went, but there was definitely plenty more to see.
posted by JDHarper at 9:25 AM on January 10, 2010

Tanzania. Oh, wait, that's where I'd go. But you might want to as well!
posted by bluedaisy at 11:22 AM on January 10, 2010

You could spend all that time getting to know the big island of Hawai'i. Condo rentals about and it's hot and steamy at that time of year (okay, it's hot and steamy most of the year). Rent a Jeep and explore. I thought Hawai'i would all be lying on beautiful beaches drinking umbrella drinks, but the big island has volcanoes, extremely high mountains, great hiking...and beautiful beaches with abundant umbrella drinks.
posted by crinklebat at 1:34 PM on January 10, 2010

I spent nearly a month in Cuzco, Peru and loved it. Food was great, I learned a little Spanish that I soon forgot and really enjoyed just browsing around the city. Another suggestion would be Zanzibar if you are flying from Europe. Stone town and the surrounding countryside are fantastic.
posted by troll on a pony at 2:15 PM on January 10, 2010

Best answer: Sounds like you might enjoy San Pedro on Lake Atitlán in Guatemala. Kayaking (to private beaches, if that's your thing), swimming, lots of walking through tiny gardens on twisty paths, volcano hiking, solar-heated "hot tubs," hammocks, etc. Close to a couple of other lakeside towns (San Marcos, Panajachel) if you want to explore. A backpacker community that's nice if you're bored but easy to avoid if you're not.

Boyfriend and I went to Guatemala last summer and ended up wishing we had spent our whole time in San Pedro.
posted by rebekah at 3:10 PM on January 10, 2010

It doesn't fit the language requirement, but what about the glorious island of Rügen? It is Germany's largest island (haha, I know, they only have like three....) in the Baltic Sea. It is a well-loved destination for Germans, but not as well known internationally, so it has the benefit of having lots of places to rent bikes, sailboats, amenities for visitors, etc., but it isn't crammed with world tourists, so it retains a lot of its national character. There are many places to stay outside of fancy hotels on the beach. There are many smaller cottages and houses (even some with thatched roofs!) where you can rent anything from a room B&B style, to small apartments so you can cook your own meals. Rügen has astoundingly beautiful chalk cliffs and nature preserves. It is small enough to explore the whole place. And you could take a ferry to Sweden or Denmark for the day! Click on the word MEHR to see photos!
I'm hoping to wrap-up a summer in Germany by visiting Rügen in August -- smallest Mefi Meetup ever?!
posted by missmary6 at 4:29 PM on January 10, 2010

It's not tropical and doesn't really fit your requirements, but I'm putting in a plug for southcentral Alaska anyway! Alaska is probably something not everyone thinks about - but it has a unique culture and a lot to offer. Due to the geography here, you generally stay within a four-hour driving radius and can do anything from dining out to fishing to mountain climbing to sea kayaking, etc. All of this surrounded by breathtaking scenery. You didn't mention how fit you may be, but there is a booming tourist industry and you don't have to be an outdoorsman to enjoy all the splendor. August will be beautiful and slowly starting to fade into fall, but still warm and with plenty to do. It could just be my cabin fever talking, but I don't know of anyplace more beautiful than Alaska in late summer, so I'm putting in my vote!
posted by keribear at 10:05 PM on January 10, 2010

Best answer: This is coming three weeks late; I don't know whence cometh thou, but if you haven't made up your mind, and you are checking this thread, might I suggest Puerto Rico, especially Ponce & the Southern half?

The Southern half of PR is less touristed with waddling creatures left off the cruise ship. True it is the rainy season, but it is generally drier being in some sort of rain shadow (although it will still rain a bit in summer). As a matter of fact, an hour west of Ponce there is the Guanica dry forest, which has unique cacti, and other xeric flora. It is the largest and best preserved example of rain shadow dry forest on any Caribbean island.

Great uncrowded beaches on the south side of PR. Ponce is interesting, uncrowded Spanish colonial town, second largest city in PR, good art museum, and some of the towns on the Southern half of PR, are interesting, less touristed, and definitely have a more authentic Latin feel.
San German, Arroyo (where I literally walked into a procession for some saint) are great.
posted by xetere at 9:54 AM on February 2, 2010

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