If you’ve known me for five minutes, you know that I absolutely love the ocean and the sea. For me, the best place to view the ocean’s grandeur is not on a boat or above from a plane, but on a beach. I can just stare out into the distance for hours and contemplate what’s on the other side, what’s deep within those dark blue waters and how small I am in comparison to it. I also love to watch people as they come to relax and enjoy one of God’s inexpensive and natural gifts to all of mankind.
That being said, some beaches are better than others. I’ve put together this guide to share with you what I feel are some of the best beaches to be found on this big, blue planet.
I came up with this list based on some basic criteria.
1.) Naturally occurring coastline alongside an ocean or sea. This means no manmade islands in Dubai or artificially-created lakes need apply. Also, no indoor beaches in the center of large metropolises. As nice and interesting as some of these places may be, I’m focused here on natural beauty and the way that God made the earth.
2.) Natural beauty of the beach. This may be a bit subjective, but I think many of us can agree as to what is truly naturally beautiful and what is overly commercialized and ugly. The surrounding manmade structures should be able to blend effortlessly with the beach’s natural surroundings or at least preserve a scenario that is aesthetically pleasing to the eye. This means that excessively crowded beaches such as Fujiazhuang Beach in Dalian, China (I swear, half the population of Asia hangs out here) or Mumbai’s polluted Chowpatty Beach will not be on this list. The beach should give one a sense of serenity and peace.
3.) The people and vibe. The beach goers are also an important part of the beach experience. One should feel welcome when they visit a particular beach. Go to nearly any beach in Brazil or Hawaii and most likely you’ll feel extremely welcome by the locals. The same in my experience cannot be said of certain beaches in the Hamptons.
The Best Beaches in the World
Anse Source d’Argent (the Seychelles)
When you take a look at one of those beach calendars or some poster hanging up in some travel agency, there’s a good chance that you’re looking Anse Source d’Argent. Located on the island of La Digue in the Seychelles archipelago, Anse Source d’Argent is one of the most photographed beaches in the world, and for good reason. The sand is spectacularly white, the water immaculately clear and the small cliffs stunning from just about any angle. The beach is also close to the Verve Nature Reserve, one of the last refuges of the black paradise flycatcher bird.
Praia de Lopes Mendes (Ilha Grande, Brazil)
Located on the Brazilian island of Ilha Grande, Praia de Lopes Mendes is a virtually untouched, crescent-shaped beach that is beautiful not only because of its white sand and the immaculate clarity of its water, but also due to the lush green rainforest that hugs its perimeter. To get here though you’ll have to take a special ferry as motor vehicles are not allowed anywhere near the beach. The forests on the island contain many species of plants and animals, some of which like the brown howler monkey and the red-ruffled fruit crow, are considered endangered species.
Seven Mile Beach (Negrin, Jamaica)
Located by the chill Jamaican town of Negril, Seven Mile Beach is one long stretch white-sandy beach with calm, crystal clear waters and plenty of swallow bays to wade in, and that’s just in the day time. At night, especially the area known as Long Bay, becomes one of the most happening spots in the Caribbean with its many fine restaurants, bars and beachside clubs.
El Castillo (Tulum, Mexico)
As an avid historian/amateur wannabe archaeologist, Tulum’s El Castillo is in my top 5 for best beaches in the world. Where else can you have white sandy beaches, crystal clear Caribbean water, all-around fun and friendly people, great tacos and Mayan ruins all within a 100-foot radius? Probably nowhere. You owe it to yourself to visit this magical and mysterious Mayan wonderland before it becomes over commercialized.
Grace Bay (Turks and Caicos)
You really can’t go wrong with any beach amongst the Turks and Caicos islands. However, if you had to pick just one beach here, it might as well be Grace Bay. Along with turquoise-blue waters and some of the best snorkeling in the Caribbean, Grace Bay is home to some of the region’s best resorts. This is they place for fun and relaxation in the T and C.
Playa Coson (Dominican Republic)
Some of the best beaches are the ones that most have never even heard of. That’s the case for the Dominican Republic’s Playa Coson, or Coson Beach, located near the sleepy little fishing village of Las Terrenas. If you want to avoid the millions of beachgoers that flock to the DR’s other (and more commercial) sandy spots, you really can’t get more beautiful, or isolated, than this.
Varadero is strip of 10-mile beach to have kept not only its sandy beaches sparklingly white and waters crystal clear, but it’s also one of the few Caribbean resort areas that has been spared from mass commercialization. This is perhaps one thing you can thank the Castro government (and the US embargo) for. Varadero is a place that few outside of Cuba have been to but in the coming years, many outsiders will venture too. Go now before the multitudes of tourists and spring-breakers spoil this paradise for good.
Imagine what the Bahamas would be like without the Atlantis mega-resorts, casinos and flocks of tourists? That’s what you’ll get if you visit the beaches around the islands known as the Exumas. Instead of scores of people, you’ll get to meet the islands’ native inhabitants such as the famous swimming pigs, various species of tropical birds iguanas.
And no, this is not part of a Pink Floyd show.
Maya Bay (Thailand)
Located in Thailand’s Ko Phi Phi Lee archipelago in the Andaman Sea, Maya Bay is the picturesque paradise that was used as the backdrop in the cult classic The Beach. Due to it’s shallow waters and plethora of coral, the beach of Maya Bay actually can’t be accessed from the sea but instead by walking through the nearby jungle and rocks. Though strikingly beautiful, Maya Beach has become very crowded with speedboats during the day thanks to the swarms of tourists paying locals boat companies top dollar (or bhat) to catch a glimpse of this beach paradise. Thus, it’s best to visit during the off season or even towards the end of the day when the crowds subside.
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