This June, the World Cup will draw thousands of soccer fans to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. For soccer fans, the host city is the ultimate summer destination.
For the rest of us, however, this is an excellent time not to go to Rio. A trip to the Brazilian city for the World Cup from June 14-21, including roundtrip airfare from New York and a six-night hotel stay, will cost about $3,800 per person, according to travel booking site Priceline.com.
Rio is a popular tourist destination even when it isn’t hosting the biggest sports tournament in the world, and the World Cup has increased demand for flights by 222% and demand for hotels by 306%, according to Kayak.com.
If you’re looking for a cheaper summer trip, here are 10 alternatives that offer all the sun and sand without the crowds. (Listed rates are based on packages listed on Priceline.com the week of April 21, 2014. Prices are per person and include airfare from New York City.)
1. Cape Town, South Africa
Veneto Hotel Package: $922
Cape Town has mountains, beaches, amazing vineyards and a somber yet inspiring history.
Robben Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, offers a glimpse into South Africa’s past. Buildings on the island were used as prisons and hospitals for those deemed socially undesirable. The island represents “the triumph of the human spirit, of freedom and of democracy over oppression,” according to UNESCO.
2. Costa Rica
Barcelo Tambor Beach Hotel Package: $1,070
Not much needs to be said about Costa Rica, which has been a popular destination for years. There are beaches, there are zip lines through tropical forests, there are turtles … You’ll forget all about Rio as soon as you arrive.
The popularity of this Central American country has made it a prime destination for scoring travel deals.
3. Panama City, Panama
Panama Marriott Package: $1,187
This summer marks the 100th anniversary of the Panama Canal. What better way to mark the centennial than by visiting one of Central America’s most cosmopolitan cities?
In addition to the canal, the city has a rich cultural heritage. (And the beaches aren’t bad, either.)
4. Cozumel, Mexico
Presidente Intercontinental Cozumel Package: $1,200
The island of Cozumel has snorkeling, sunbathing and the kind of beaches you’ve been daydreaming about.
Located off the eastern coast of the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, Cozumel gets its name from the Mayan “Ah Cuzamil Peten,” which translates as the “Island of Swallows.”
5. Cartagena, Colombia
Radisson Cartagena Ocean Pavilion Package: $1,421
Beautiful architecture and vivid colors are abundant in the city, and the food scene has taken off in recent years, giving tourists a wide variety of culinary experiences to choose from.
6. Phuket, Thailand
JW Marriott Phuket Package: $1,970
Phuket is Thailand’s largest island, offering beaches, deep-sea diving and luxurious resorts.
There are some great surfing spots around the island, and with average temperatures between 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, you won’t want to get out of the water.
7. Dubrovnik, Croatia
Radisson Blu Resort & Spa Package: $2,400
The city of Dubrovnik in Croatia has a wall around it that dates back to medieval times. Not only is it historic, it’s gorgeous, too.
8. Sydney, Australia
Holiday Inn Darling Harbour Package: $2,507
Sydney is home to the famous Bondi and Manly Beaches, among others. The iconic Sydney Opera House is also a must-see.
9. Marbella, Costa del Sol, Spain
Puente Romano Hotel Package: $2,686
Marbella has long been a choice destination among celebrities and aristocrats, and it’s easy to see why.
This Spanish city is situated on the idyllic Mediterranean, between Málaga and Gibraltar. There are more than 20 beaches and summer festivals keep the party going all night long.
10. Cairns, Australia
Hilton Cairns Package: $2,777
Activities in Cairns are all about enjoying what nature has to offer.
After you go scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef and hang out with koalas in the Cairns Wildlife Dome, soccer will be the last thing on your mind.