This Lesser-known Caribbean Destination Is a ‘Travel Dupe’ for a More Popular Island — With Fewer Crowds and Better Prices

Curaçao is a diving hotspot with historic architecture.

<p>elvirkin/Getty Images</p>

elvirkin/Getty Images

You've probably heard of dupes (short for duplicates) for beauty, fashion, and home decor items — dupes are more affordable yet very similar alternatives to pricey cult-favorite items. But what about travel destination dupes?

Some vacation hotspots are undoubtedly more expensive than others, between airfare, hotel prices, and general expenses like dining out and attractions. And some are definitely more overtouristed than others. According to Expedia's newest trend report,  that's why travelers are getting in on dupes, picking more affordable, less-visited destinations that have similar vibes to the originals.

"In the Expedia Trends in Travel report, dupes are destinations that are a little unexpected, sometimes more affordable, but every bit as delightful as the tried-and-true places travelers love,” Melanie Fish, chief trend tracker for Expedia Brands, said in a statement obtained by Travel + Leisure.

Expedia did a little digging into the data and discovered several popular travel dupes, not least among which was the Caribbean island of Curaçao as an alternative to St. Martin (or St. Maarten). Per Expedia, searches for flights to Curaçao are up 228 percent.

Both islands are known for their pristine beaches, turquoise waters, European-style architecture, and Euro-Afro-Carib cuisine. (While St. Martin is half-French and half-Dutch, Curaçao has Dutch heritage.)

Curaçao, in particular, is also noted for its spectacular dive sites. In terms of differences, Curaçao is a much larger island with fewer visitors, so it doesn't feel quite as touristy as St. Martin. Thus, if you're interested in visiting St. Martin but would prefer fewer crowds, Curaçao is a solid option for your next Caribbean vacation.

Expedia's other dupes include Taipei for Seoul, which share a tech-forward culture with vibrant culinary and nightlife scenes; Memphis for Nashville as music-centric destinations in the U.S.; and Québec City for Geneva, similar for their cobblestoned stress, multilingual culture, and proximity to mountains.

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