Worlds Best Beaches
El Nido, Palawan, Philippines
Shockingly, Palawan remains steadily under the radar, even though this is the one of the most highly rated beaches in the world. El Nido alone is home to around 50 white sand beaches—it’s impossible to choose just one—all of which are set around dramatic limestone formations and boast the finest and whitest sand you’ll ever see. The water is so blindingly blue it makes the Caribbean Sea look murky in comparison, and the sunsets? Well, they’ll ruin you for life.
Playa Sirena, Cayo largo, Cuba
The highlights on Cuba’s Cayo Largo are its two western beaches, Playa Sirena and Playa Paraiso, where warm shallow waters lap ribbons of pale, downy sand. Sirena Beach is more geared up to tourism, with a café and water sports, while Paraiso is quieter and more private.
Glass Beach, Forth Bragg, Northern California
Forth Bragg sea glass beach is located in Northern California a few hours north of San Francisco. For many years, up until 1967, the city of Fort Bragg dumped trash over the bluffs right onto its beaches in three places. The discarded glass eventually was transformed into small, smooth, coloured gems. The pieces you’ll find are mostly clear, brown and green. Go after a storm, and you might score some rare sea glass colours.
Patnem Beach, Goa, India
Patnem beach known as the quieter alternative to its more party-focused neighbour, Palolem. At the far north end of the beach is harmonic, an eco-friendly retreat offering daily yoga, pilates and thai massage classes. you’ll have to dodge the slumbering cows to get there, though.
Honokalani Beach, Wai'anapanapa State Park, Maui, Hawaii
Who needs white beaches? Honokalani Beach famous for its jet-black shore, jungle-like foliage, Honokalani Beach is a photographer’s dream. Besides lying lazily on the “sand”—actually made up of tiny lava pebbles—there’s plenty to do: you’ll find seaside lava tubes and sea caves carved into the lava cliffs along the shore.
Pansy Island, Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique
A group of six islands in which Only four are inhabited, with Pansy Island being but a sandbar on which resorts like the Anantara can arrange for private lunch excursions. Known collectively as "The Pearl of the Indian Ocean" Bazaruto is most easily reached by air from Johannesburg to Vilanculos, and then onward by small aircraft or boat.
Koh Phangan, Thailand
Koh Phangan– and more specifically, sunrise beach, on the island’s peninsula Haad Rin – has become globally notorious for its raucous drink- and drug-fuelled full moon parties, which take place on the night of a full moon each month, but it’s not all fun and games, off peak the beaches are stunning and worth a look.
Rainbow Beach, Queensland
Enormous rainbow beach, in southeastern Queensland, gets its name from its surrounding colourful sand dunes – a mixture of browns, blacks, oranges, yellows and reds – that are said to have been formed by a rainbow-coloured spirit plunging into the cliffs following a battle with a wicked tribesman.
Aharen Beach, Tokashiki Island, Japan
Although most of the islands in the Okinawa chain, south of the Japanese mainland, have magnificent beaches, Aharen is particularly special for its extraordinarily clear waters sheltering a rich marine life, including over 400 types of coral, majestic humpback whales, manta rays, five types of sea turtles and huge army of colourful tropical fish.
Kuta Beach, Bali
Kuta Beach stretches for 8km, from the balinese towns of Tuban to Petitenget, its huge and powerful waves thrashing onto its glorious white sand. Surfers are drawn here for the sport, while evenings are slightly more serene.
Half Moonbay, Jamaica
With its net hammocks strung between palm trees and curve of perfect, caramel-coloured sand, half moon bay is an intimate and idyllic little beach on Jamaica’s northern coast.
Worlds Best Beaches