Vacation Where the Dollar is Still Strong
Check out these 7 places where the greenback is worth a lot more than the paper it's printed on
Why spend thousands in France when you can find the same vibe here? Buenos Aires (a.k.a.
the Paris of South America) has embarked on a dramatic turnaround since the 2001
collapse of the Argentine peso — but the place is still amazingly cheap.
Chic hotel rooms, nights out dancing and fabulous food and wine cost half what they
do across the Atlantic. A huge thick-cut steak dinner? Rarely more than $25.
With the dollar holding steady against the Indonesian rupiah over the past year, Bali
has become one of the best island values in Asia.
Luxury bungalows nestled in lush hillsides can be had for $100 to $200 a night. At
countless stone temples you can often see shadow-puppet performances for free or a small
donation. And half-hour massages typically cost less than $15.
Incredibly, Americans now have about a third more buying power in this natural
wonderland than they did five years ago — a dollar equals around 500 Costa Rican colones
today vs. 360 then.
You can explore beaches good for surfing, then go snorkeling in coral reef-filled
bays.Don't miss the rainforests, which teem with wildlife — including rare quetzals with
With the peso/dollar exchange rate steady over the past couple of years, Mexico remains
a prime bargain destination.
The hottest area now is arguably Mexico City, booming with new museums, a historical
architectural revival, and a vibrant music and arts scene. Entry to the city's huge
Museum of Modern Art, where you can see works by Frieda Kahlo and Diego Rivera, costs
Though the Moroccan dirham has strengthened a bit against the dollar in the past year,
in the ancient cities of Casablanca, Fez and Marrakech many café meals still cost less
Classic budget hotels in atmospheric narrow streets, such as the Hotel El Muniria in
Tangier, where Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac stayed, cost around $30 a night. Plenty
of luxury hotels are available too.
This small country boasts mountains, rainforests, 1,500 miles of coast (your pick of the
Caribbean or Pacific) and — of course — the magnificent canal, where you can gawk at
giant supertankers being raised and lowered through the locks.
Forget exchange rates: Panama's currency, the balboa, is pegged at parity with the U.S.
dollar, and the dollar itself is accepted virtually everywhere.
There's never been a better time to visit one of Asia's most fascinating countries, with
pristine beaches and unique crafts: The dollar goes further against the Vietnamese dong
than it did three years ago.
You may have enough left to splurge on a fivestar hotel, such as the new Park Hyatt
in Ho Chi Minh City ($290 a night vs. up to $675 for a comparable room in Chicago).