Welcome to Zanzibar, the jewel of the Indian Ocean! If you’re dreaming of exotic beaches, vibrant culture, and rich history without breaking the bank, you’re in the right place. Zanzibar, with its stunning landscapes and diverse cultural heritage, offers travelers an unforgettable experience. And the best part? You don’t need a lavish budget to enjoy it. In this guide, we’ll explore the best budget accommodations in Zanzibar, ensuring you have an unforgettable trip while keeping your wallet happy. Whether you’re a backpacker, a family on a budget, or simply looking to make the most of your travel funds, Zanzibar has something for everyone.

Understanding Zanzibar’s Appeal

Affordable Stays Budget Accommodations in Zanzibar



  • Exotic Beaches: Zanzibar boasts some of the world’s most stunning beaches, where powdery white sands meet the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. Picture yourself lounging under swaying palm trees, the soft sand between your toes, and the sound of gentle waves lapping the shore. From the popular Nungwi Beach, known for its vibrant nightlife and water sports, to the serene and less crowded Kendwa Beach, there’s a stretch of sand for every type of traveler. These beaches are not only visually spectacular but also offer a range of activities from snorkeling and diving to kite surfing. The underwater world around Zanzibar is just as mesmerizing, with coral reefs teeming with colorful marine life.
  • Rich Culture and History: Zanzibar is steeped in history and culture, a melting pot of African, Arab, Indian, and European influences. Wandering through the labyrinthine streets of Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, feels like stepping back in time. The architecture here tells a story, with grand Omani palaces, ancient Persian baths, and vibrant Indian bazaars. Visit the House of Wonders, the former palace of the Sultan of Zanzibar, or explore the former slave market site for a poignant reminder of the island’s past. Zanzibar’s rich history is also reflected in its music, dance, and cuisine, making it a fascinating destination for those who love to delve into local culture.
  • Unique Wildlife: From playful dolphins frolicking in the ocean to the elusive Zanzibar red colobus monkey found only on the island, Zanzibar offers unique wildlife experiences. A visit to Jozani Forest is a must for nature lovers. This lush forest is home to these rare monkeys as well as a variety of bird species and butterflies. For marine enthusiasts, a boat trip to Menai Bay Conservation Area offers the chance to spot dolphins, sea turtles, and even humpback whales during their migration season. The island’s unique biodiversity makes it an exciting destination for eco-tourists and wildlife enthusiasts alike.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Budget Accommodations

  • Location: Location is key when choosing your stay in Zanzibar. Decide whether you want to be in the heart of the action in Stone Town, close to the lively markets and historical sites, or if you prefer the tranquility of a beachside retreat. Staying near beaches like Paje or Jambiani gives you easy access to the ocean and water activities, while Stone Town offers a more cultural and historical experience. Each location has its charm and advantages, so think about what kind of experience you want from your trip.
  • Amenities: Even on a budget, you don’t have to sacrifice comfort. Look for accommodations that offer essential amenities like free Wi-Fi, breakfast, and clean, comfortable rooms. Some budget places even have pools, organized tours, and communal kitchens where you can prepare your meals to save on dining costs. Consider what amenities are important to you, such as air conditioning, hot water, or a safe for your valuables. Reading descriptions and reviews can help ensure you find a place that meets your needs without overspending.
  • Reviews and Ratings: Checking online reviews and ratings is crucial when selecting budget accommodations. Previous guests’ experiences can give you valuable insights into the quality and reliability of the accommodation. Look for consistent comments about cleanliness, safety, and the friendliness of the staff. Websites like TripAdvisor, Booking.com, and Hostelworld offer detailed reviews and ratings from fellow travelers, which can help you make an informed decision. Don’t just look at the overall rating; read through a few reviews to get a better sense of what to expect.

Top Budget Hotels in Zanzibar

Affordable Stays Budget Accommodations in Zanzibar



  • Names and Highlights
  1. Hotel Verde Zanzibar: Known for its eco-friendly practices and modern amenities, Hotel Verde offers a unique blend of comfort and sustainability. The hotel features solar panels, rainwater harvesting systems, and energy-efficient lighting. Rooms are spacious and well-appointed, with prices starting at around $70 per night. The hotel also offers a rooftop terrace with stunning views, a gym, and a restaurant serving local and international cuisine.
  2. Zanzibar Serena Hotel: Located in the heart of Stone Town, Zanzibar Serena Hotel provides a blend of luxury and affordability. It’s set in two historic buildings that have been lovingly restored. Guests can enjoy beautiful ocean views, a tranquil garden, and a swimming pool. Rooms are tastefully decorated with traditional Swahili touches, and rates start at approximately $60 per night.
  3. Tembo House Hotel: Situated on the seafront in Stone Town, Tembo House Hotel offers a charming and affordable stay with a historic touch. The hotel is housed in a former American Consulate building, featuring antique furniture and decor. Guests can relax by the pool, enjoy a meal at the beachfront restaurant, or explore the nearby attractions of Stone Town. Room rates begin at around $50 per night.
  • Price Range: Expect to pay between $30 and $70 per night for a comfortable stay in these budget-friendly hotels. Prices can vary depending on the season and availability, so booking in advance can often secure better rates.
  • Special Features: Many budget hotels offer unique features such as rooftop terraces, free breakfast, and organized tours. These can enhance your stay without adding extra costs. Some hotels also offer complimentary airport transfers, guided tours, and evening entertainment, providing excellent value for money.

Affordable Hostels for Backpackers

  • Vibrant Atmosphere: Hostels in Zanzibar are perfect for backpackers looking to meet fellow travelers and enjoy a vibrant, social atmosphere. Hostels like New Teddy’s Place in Paje and Lost & Found Zanzibar in Stone Town offer communal areas where guests can socialize, share travel tips, and plan activities together. These hostels often organize events like barbecues, game nights, and guided tours, making it easy to make new friends and immerse yourself in the local culture.
  • Community Experience: Staying in a hostel provides a sense of community and a chance to engage with like-minded travelers. Hostels like Ten to Ten Stone Town create a welcoming environment where guests can relax, cook meals together in shared kitchens, and join in on group excursions. This community experience can be especially valuable for solo travelers looking for companionship and camaraderie.
  • Price Points: Dormitory beds in hostels typically range from $10 to $25 per night, making them an excellent option for budget travelers. Private rooms are also available at higher rates but still generally cheaper than hotels. This affordability allows you to extend your stay or allocate more of your budget to activities and experiences.

Guesthouses: A Home Away from Home

Affordable Stays Budget Accommodations in Zanzibar



  • Local Experience: Staying in a guesthouse gives you a more local experience, often providing insights into the daily life and culture of Zanzibar. Guesthouse owners can recommend local attractions, hidden gems, and the best places to eat, giving you an insider’s perspective that you might not get from a hotel.
  • Personal Touch: Guesthouses like Bwejuu Beach Palm Villa and Mangrove Lodge offer a personalized touch, with hosts who are eager to make your stay as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. These guesthouses often serve homemade breakfasts, provide beach gear, and offer guided tours. The personal attention you receive can make your stay feel more like a home away from home.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: With prices ranging from $20 to $50 per night, guesthouses offer a great balance between cost and comfort. They often include breakfast in the room rate, adding to the overall value. The intimate setting and personalized service make guesthouses an excellent choice for budget-conscious travelers seeking a more authentic experience.

Unique and Affordable Stays

  • Eco-Lodges: Eco-lodges like Fumba Beach Lodge offer sustainable stays that connect you with nature. These accommodations focus on environmental responsibility, often using solar power, rainwater collection, and eco-friendly building materials. Staying in an eco-lodge not only reduces your carbon footprint but also allows you to enjoy the natural beauty of Zanzibar in a more immersive way. These lodges often feature open-air rooms, organic gardens, and activities like nature walks and bird watching.
  • Treehouses: For a unique experience, try staying in a treehouse. Chumbe Island Coral Park offers eco-friendly treehouse bungalows that provide an unparalleled connection to nature. Perched among the treetops, these accommodations offer stunning views of the surrounding forest and ocean. The treehouses are designed to blend seamlessly with their environment, using sustainable materials and practices. Staying in a treehouse is an adventure in itself, making your trip to Zanzibar even more memorable.
  • Beach Bungalows: Beach bungalows offer a charming and affordable alternative to traditional hotels. Sunshine Marine Lodge and Pongwe Beach Hotel provide cozy, beachfront bungalows with stunning ocean views. These bungalows often feature private patios, hammocks, and direct access to the beach. Falling asleep to the sound of the waves and waking up to the sunrise over the ocean adds a magical touch to your stay. Prices for beach bungalows typically range from $40 to $80 per night, depending on the location and amenities.

Saving Money on Food and Dining

Affordable Stays Budget Accommodations in Zanzibar



  • Local Eateries: One of the best ways to save money on food in Zanzibar is to eat where the locals eat. Local eateries, known as “Swahili kitchens,” offer delicious and affordable meals. Dishes like pilau (spiced rice), ugali (cornmeal porridge), and various curries are both tasty and budget-friendly. Places like Lukmaan Restaurant in Stone Town are popular at reasonable prices for authentic Zanzibari cuisine.
  • Street Food: Zanzibar’s street food scene is vibrant and diverse. From grilled seafood and samosas to fresh fruit and sugarcane juice, street food offers a delicious and affordable way to experience the local flavors. Forodhani Gardens in Stone Town is a hotspot for street food vendors, especially in the evening. Trying out different street foods can be an exciting culinary adventure that doesn’t hurt your budget.
  • Markets: Markets are another great way to save money on food while immersing yourself in the local culture. The Darajani Market in Stone Town is a bustling hub where you can buy fresh produce, spices, and snacks at low prices. Shopping at markets allows you to prepare your meals if you can access a kitchen, further cutting down on dining expenses.

Exploring Zanzibar on a Budget

  • Free and Low-Cost Activities: There are plenty of free and low-cost activities to enjoy in Zanzibar. Take a stroll through the historic streets of Stone Town, visit the local markets, or relax on the beautiful beaches. Many cultural sites, like the Old Fort and the Peace Memorial Museum, have low entrance fees. Exploring the natural beauty of Zanzibar, from its pristine beaches to its lush forests, often comes at no cost.
  • Affordable Tours: Affordable tours and excursions can enhance your experience without breaking the bank. Consider joining a spice tour to learn about Zanzibar’s famous spices and their uses. Dolphin tours, snorkeling trips, and visits to Jozani Forest are also reasonably priced. Booking group tours can further reduce costs, and negotiating with local tour operators can sometimes result in discounts.
  • Self-Guided Adventures: For the adventurous, self-guided tours can be a great way to explore Zanzibar on a budget. Rent a bicycle or scooter and explore the island at your own pace. Maps and travel guides are available at many accommodations, providing you with all the information you need to plan your itinerary. This approach not only saves money but also allows you to experience Zanzibar more intimately and at your own pace.

Transportation Tips for Budget Travelers

Affordable Stays Budget Accommodations in Zanzibar



  • Public Transport: Using public transport is an economical way to get around Zanzibar. Dala-dalas, the local minibusses, are a cheap and efficient mode of transport for getting between towns and villages. Although they can be crowded and sometimes uncomfortable, they offer a genuine local experience. Fares are low, typically less than a dollar for short trips, making them a budget-friendly option.
  • Bicycle Rentals: Renting a bicycle is another affordable and eco-friendly way to explore Zanzibar. Many guesthouses and hostels offer bicycle rentals at reasonable rates. Cycling allows you to discover hidden gems off the beaten path and enjoy the island’s scenic beauty at your own pace. Just be sure to carry water and sun protection, as the tropical sun can be intense.
  • Walking Tours: Walking is not only free but also a fantastic way to see Zanzibar up close. Stone Town, with its narrow alleys and historic buildings, is best explored on foot. Many accommodations offer free walking tours or provide maps and suggestions for self-guided walks. Walking tours allow you to take in the sights, sounds, and smells of the island, providing a rich sensory experience.

Booking Strategies for the Best Deals

  • Off-Season Travel: Traveling during the off-season is one of the best ways to find great deals on accommodations. Zanzibar’s off-season, from March to May and November, sees fewer tourists and lower prices. Hotels and tours often offer discounts during these times, and you’ll enjoy a more relaxed and less crowded experience.
  • Last-Minute Deals: Sometimes, booking at the last minute can lead to significant savings. Many hotels and hostels offer reduced rates to fill their rooms. Websites and apps that specialize in last-minute bookings can help you find these deals. However, this strategy can be risky during peak season when accommodations are in high demand.
  • Booking Platforms: Using booking platforms like Booking.com, Hostelworld, and Airbnb can help you compare prices and find the best deals. These platforms often have special promotions and discounts for early bookings or longer stays. Reading reviews and checking ratings on these sites can also ensure you’re getting good value for your money.

Safety Tips for Budget Travelers in Zanzibar

  • Staying Safe in Budget Accommodations: While budget accommodations can be great, it’s important to stay vigilant about safety. Choose places with good reviews regarding security. Look for accommodations that have secure locks, provide safes for valuables, and have staff available 24/7. It’s also a good idea to keep your valuables out of sight and to use any provided lockers or safes.
  • Health Precautions: Health precautions are essential when traveling to Zanzibar. Make sure to drink bottled water, avoid ice in drinks, and eat at places that appear clean and well-maintained. It’s wise to have travel insurance that covers medical expenses. Vaccinations for hepatitis A, typhoid, and yellow fever may also be recommended, so consult your doctor before traveling.
  • Local Laws and Customs: Respecting local laws and customs is crucial for a safe and enjoyable trip. Zanzibar is a predominantly Muslim region, so dressing modestly, especially in Stone Town and other non-beach areas, is respectful and appreciated. Public displays of affection should be minimized, and it’s important to be aware of local customs and practices.

Making the Most of Your Stay

  • Cultural Etiquette: Understanding and respecting cultural etiquette will enhance your experience in Zanzibar. Learn a few basic Swahili phrases; locals appreciate the effort and it can help you connect more deeply. Be polite, greet people with a friendly “Jambo” (hello), and ask for permission before taking photos of people.
  • Engaging with Locals: Engaging with locals can provide a richer and more rewarding travel experience. Visit local markets, attend cultural festivals, and take part in community activities. Many locals are happy to share stories about their culture and history, providing insights that you won’t find in guidebooks.
  • Respecting the Environment: Respecting the environment is vital, especially in a place as naturally beautiful as Zanzibar. Avoid single-use plastics, participate in beach clean-ups if available, and follow guidelines for interacting with wildlife. Eco-friendly practices help preserve the island’s beauty for future generations.


Zanzibar is a dream destination that doesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag. With its stunning beaches, rich cultural heritage, and unique wildlife, the island offers an array of affordable accommodations and activities for budget travelers. By considering factors like location, amenities, and reviews, you can find the perfect place to stay without breaking the bank. Whether you choose a budget hotel, a lively hostel, a cozy guesthouse, or a unique eco-lodge, Zanzibar has something to offer every type of traveler. Plan your trip carefully, explore wisely, and you’ll discover that paradise can indeed be affordable.


Best Time to Visit Zanzibar on a Budget?

The best time to visit Zanzibar on a budget is during the off-season, which is from March to May and November. During these months, prices for accommodations and flights are generally lower, and the island is less crowded.

Is Zanzibar Safe for Budget Travelers?

Yes, Zanzibar is generally safe for budget travelers. However, it’s important to take usual precautions such as keeping your valuables secure, avoiding isolated areas at night, and staying informed about local conditions.

What to Pack for a Budget Trip to Zanzibar?

Pack lightweight, breathable clothing, comfortable walking shoes, swimwear, sunscreen, insect repellent, and a reusable water bottle. Don’t forget essentials like travel insurance, any necessary medications, and a basic first aid kit.

How to Find the Best Local Food?

To find the best local food, visit popular local eateries and street food vendors. Ask locals for recommendations and try dishes like pilau, ugali, and various seafood delicacies. Exploring local markets like Darajani Market is also a great way to discover authentic flavors.

Are Budget Accommodations Family-Friendly?

Many budget accommodations in Zanzibar are family-friendly, offering amenities like family rooms, playgrounds, and swimming pools. It’s always best to check the accommodation’s facilities and policies regarding families and children before booking.


For detailed information on Tanzania’s top national parks and game reserves, explore the following topics on our page:

Ruaha National Park
Selous Game Reserve
Serengeti National Park
Ngorongoro Crater
Kilimanjaro National Park
Mikumi National Park
Tarangire National Park

Discover everything you need to know to plan and enjoy your visit to these stunning natural wonders.