What makes for not just a good beach holiday but an unforgettable beach holiday? The sand, the sea, the location, the presence of crowds for people watching or the lack of crowds for privacy, the most out there destination or a vibrant nightlife scene with world class surfing?
We have come up with some unique beach destinations that pretty much cover all of the above.
You love to people watch
If you are a people watcher then Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro is the perfect choice. Arguably the most famous beach in the world, Copacabana Beach is a 2.5 mile stretch of white sand jammed pack with Brazilians and tourists alike soaking up the sun, playing beach volleyball and living the good life. So you don’t scream tourist when you head to the beach use a sarong not a towel – lighter to carry and your wear it from your hotel to the beach and then use it as a towel. Then pick up a pair of Havaianas (Brazilian version of flip flops and worn by everyone) at one of the big department stores – there are many and they are cheaper than the boutiques on the way to the beach. If you need shade you can rent an umbrella. The beach is full of vendors who sell snacks and cold drinks, once you have your spot established these guys become your personal waiter so to speak (no credit cards, just bring a little cash in small denominations!)
Unique Pink Sands
For those that love a pristine beach with perfect sand then the pale pink sands of Anse Source d’Argent in the Seychelles are going to impress. The sands sparkle against a backdrop of gigantic granite boulders, worn by weather and time making for unique rock formations. The cerulean water is shallow and protected from the ocean’s waves by a reef making it perfect to stroll in the shallow waters, or wander out further to snorkel. Long considered one of the best beaches in the Seychelles making it a popular choice for both tourists and locals. Moira Smith, GM for Goway’s AFRICAExperts, has been lucky enough to visit the Seychelles 7 times. Her comment on Anse Source d’Argent…“One of my favourite things to do on La Digue is to hire a bicycle and ride to Anse Source d’Argent, then find a secluded spot and cool off in the ocean. This is truly one of the most spectacular beaches I’ve ever seen.”
It’s not a holiday without fantastic nightlife
You like to hit the beach for great surfing (or at least watch others surf), catch a nap in the afternoon and then party till the wee hours of the dawn? Then look no further than Kuta Beach in Bali. The first time I went to Bali there were a few hotels, a handful of huts selling sarongs and bootlegged cassette tapes and a small colony of Australian surfers seeking to ride the next big wave. Now there are hotels to suite every need and budget, more shops than you can count, restaurants offering the fresh catch of the day lining the beaches, loads of surf schools and an unparalleled nightlife scene.
It’s got to be private and you love luxury
Taha’a Island in French Polynesia is private. Accessible only by helicopter or launch the Le Taha’a Island Resort and Spa is one of only two hotels and has only 57 suites and villas guaranteeing both privacy and luxury. Taha’a is also known to locals as the Vanilla Island as 75% of the countries vanilla is grown here. The resort has 10 signature beach villas each allowing for private access to an idyllic white sand beach with gentle lapping turquoise sea and a view of the volcanic peak on Bora Bora. You can even split your time between an overwater bungalow with private deck and the beach villa. Each bungalow or villa is constructed so that you can’t see your neighbors for ultimate privacy.
Way out there – Nosy Be, Madagascar
Looking to go to a beach that none of your friends have ever heard of and visit one of the few places on earth that can boast 345 days a year of sunshine? Then Nosy Be is it (pronounced Nosy ‘Bay’). The waters are clear and warm and beaches ring the entire island. There are few resorts and to date no noisy jet skis. Although considered to be the most popular beach resort in Madagascar it certainly doesn’t attract Caribbean style crowds. There are numerous little restaurants serving up superb seafood and cold beer. A perfect end to an adventurous trip to Madagascar. “My husband is Malagasy so we often visit Madagascar to see family and enjoy the unique attractions of this special country. Nosy Be offers great snorkeling, sandy beaches and ideal conditions for swimming, I recommend a stay here wholeheartedly,” says Jervin, one of our Africa Experts.