15 of the Most Beautiful Beaches in the World

What is the prettiest beach in the world?

Navagio Beach, Greece

Most Beautiful Beaches in the World

Whether they are found in remote islands or national parks, beaches are the ultimate vacation getaway to break free from the metropolis jungle and restore one’s mental health. It forces anyone to enjoy the great outdoors and experience what else the world has to offer. Come and escape to the tropical paradise of white sand shores and secret lagoons, and see some of the best beaches around the world, from Australasia to the Caribbean.

Tapuaetai, Cook Islands

Renowned as one of the best beaches in Australasia, Tapuaeta’i, or One Foot Island, is a beguiling islet filled with dense coconut forest and white sand shores located in Aitutaki atoll. Tapuaeta’i has the best view of the Aitutaki Lagoon, one of the world’s most beautiful lagoons, and when it’s low tide, visitors can walk on the sandbank near the island.

Best Beach in Cook Islands
Best Beach in the Cook Islands

The name of the island has had different interpretations; one of them was this. In ancient times, a M?ori Chief prohibited fishing in the Aitutaki Lagoon to preserve its marine life for future generations. One day, a poor fisherman set out to fish near the island with his son. The Chief spotted them and ordered his warriors to catch the two men. As the father saw the M?ori canoes approaching, he directed his son to run into the jungle and climb and hide in a coconut tree. The father followed his son’s trail and sought to leave only one pair of footprints. When the M?ori warriors arrived, they captured the father and decided it was only him on the island because of the lone set of footprints. The son only came down at sunset, found his father, and brought his remains home.

Chartered cruises on catamarans can take visitors windsurfing, kiteboarding, wakeboarding, spearfishing, island hopping, sightseeing, and whale watching. Once on Tapuaeta’i, visitors can get their passports stamped at one of the world’s smallest post offices. Swim, snorkel, and dive in the crystal waters of Aitutaki, and get up close with tropical fishes and sea turtles. Some organized cruises start the tour before sunrise and wait until the stars come out, where guests can stargaze from a water hammock.

The main international gateway of the Cook Islands is Rarotonga International Airport. From Rarotonga, visitors must board a 40-minute flight to Aitutaki before embarking on a boat from Tekopua to reach Tapuaeta’i.

Zlatni Rat, Croatia

Dubbed the most beautiful beach in Croatia, Zlatni Rat is a finely pebbled beach framed by dense pine forest and surrounded by clear blue waters. Meaning “golden horn,” the beach was named after the unique triangular shape of the beach, “horn,” and the bright white pebbles, “golden.” According to local history, fishermen would throw their nets near Zlatni Rat, and there would always be a good catch as if it were a gold mine for them, hence calling the beach “golden.”

Zlatni Rat Beach in Croatia
Zlatni Rat Beach in Croatia

Several photos of the beach, particularly aerial shots, make it seem like the beach is made of white sand. The beach is made of fine pebbles formed by depositing fine rocks from the Vidova Gora mountains. The unique shape of the beach, as well as its specific length, changes and, is getting longer over the years due to strong wind conditions. Because of this geomorphological wonder, the beach is protected by law as an important landscape.

Thanks to the steady westerly wind from the Adriatic Sea, wind, kitesurfing, and parasailing are popular activities in Zlatni Rat. The water that surrounds the beach is perfect for snorkeling and swimming because it is clear and free of seaweeds. An inflatable aqua park is set up every summer for children and families. Because of the shape of the beach, visitors have ample space for sunbathing. Sunbeds and sun umbrellas are available around the beach to find shelter from the sun. Other exciting activities are paddleboarding, kayaking, and jet skiing.

Among the pebbles of Zlatni Rat, a local legend says that a snail-shaped stone can be found if a person is lucky and persistent enough. If taken with them, happiness will follow them for life, for good.

To get to Zlatni Rat, travelers can take a 30-minute walk via the promenade under the shade of pine trees from Bol. Another option is to take the tourist train from Bol Center. Taxi boats are also available from Bol Center to Zlatni Rat, which will sail along the coast.

Ölüdeniz, Turkey

Turkey is home to some of the most attractive beaches in the world, and Ölüdeniz is one of them. A small beach resort, Ölüdeniz (eu-leu-den-eez) is a popular summer vacation destination backed by high mountains and thick woodlands along the half-moon bay of the Lycian Coast. Meaning “dead sea,” Ölüdeniz’s history and culture dating back more than 3000 years ago as part of the Lycian region of Turkey. The first settlers in Ölüdeniz were said to be Christians who set up churches in the mountains. The resort used to be a small fishing village where trading ships passed through the bay, but further development was hindered by earthquakes and pirates.

Oludeniz Beach in Turkey by Artem Bryzgalov via Unsplash
Oludeniz Beach in Turkey by Artem Bryzgalov via Unsplash

The iconic sandbank of the Blue Lagoon is why most people visit Ölüdeniz. Part of the Ölüdeniz National Park, the protected lagoon runs along a Mediterranean cove. The waters in the lagoon are calm due to high salt content, hence the beach’s name. These gentle waters are ideal for safe swimming with young children. Designated areas for picnicking and sunbathing are found around the lagoon. Visitors can use pedalos and paddleboards to enter the sandbank to tread its shallow waters.

The most popular way to experience and see the dramatic landscape of Ölüdeniz is through tandem paragliding. As one of the world’s top paragliding destinations, tandems can take advantage of the temperate weather conditions and Mount Baba Da?’s height to jump off and get panoramic views of the mountains before landing on the beach.

Boat trips and tours to small coves and islands around Ölüdeniz is another fun way to see the rugged and stunning scenery of the area. Most boat trips go around the coast and take travelers to Dalyan, Butterfly Valley, Yedi Burun, and St. Nicholas Island.

Ölüdeniz is best visited in the summer when more activities are available, but like most beach resorts, the high summer season is packed with local and international travelers. Thanks to the country’s Mediterranean climate and mild winter weather, the beach resort, and its identifying attractions can still be enjoyed during the low winter season. This also means the resort is less crowded, and there is more space to take in the natural charm of Ölüdeniz.

Arpoador, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro is one of the most visited cities in the largest country in South America. Known for the towering Cristo Redentor, its high-spirited carnivals, and surfing beaches, it’s not surprising how Rio has become one of the most popular destinations in the world. Tucked between the world-famous Ipanema Beach and Copacabana Beach, Arpoador Beach is regarded as the birthplace of the surfing culture in Rio de Janeiro.

Arpoador Beach by Paulo Freitas via Unsplash
Arpoador Beach by Paulo Freitas via Unsplash

Arpoador Beach is popular for its consistent left-hand beach break, which can swell up to 10 feet. The beach is easily accessible from Ipanema and Copacabana, which draws huge crowds, especially in the summer when surfers and surfers-in-training come to ride the waves. This can be avoided by surfing at night when stadium lights illuminate the boardwalk.

Fishing used to be the main livelihood of locals around Arpoador. The beach’s name, “fisherman who harpoons,” stems from the fishermen who spearfish passing whales from Pedra do Arpoador or The Rock. This rock is now a scenic spot with some of the best views in Rio de Janeiro. After trying the beach breaks of Arpoador, stay around and watch the sunset from The Rock together with the crowd.

Arpoador Beach is best visited from May to September when breaks are more consistent. Visitors from Ipanema can walk through Vieira Souto Avenue, while those coming from Copacabana can take Francisco Otaviano Street.

Navagio Beach, Greece

Greece is known to be the home of venerable ancient philosophers and historical archeological sites, but most travelers come for the islands. Zakynthos is Greece’s greenest island with underwater springs, off-limit turtle sanctuaries, and its famous landmark, Navagio Beach, also called the Shipwreck Beach. The glorious beach is one of the most photographed beaches in Greece and is constantly featured in travel magazines as the country’s most beautiful beach. Framed by massive limestone cliffs and electric blue waters of the Ionian Sea on the northeastern coast of Zakynthos Island, Navagio Beach is hidden in an isolated cove earning the moniker from a rusting ship on its shores.

Navagio Beach, Greece
Navagio Beach, Greece
Navagio Beach or Shipwreck Beach in Greece
Navagio Beach or Shipwreck Beach in Greece

The beach is only accessible by boat, which leaves from Agios Nikolaos, Zakynthos Town, Porto Vromi Maries, and Skinari. Most boat trips stay on the sand for only an hour, so visitors should plunge into the cold waters, marvel at the shipwreck’s remains, and enjoy the beach as much as possible. These boat trips can also include tours to nearby attractions like the Blue Caves and Xygia Sulfur Beach.

Most travelers come to the beach to see the shipwreck, MV Panayiotis, and the best vantage point to see it is from a viewing platform on the cliffs 200 meters above. Travelers taking photos from the viewpoint are cautioned as people have died after slipping, and rock falls have occurred throughout the years. Organized rope jumping, bungee jumping, and base jumping through temporary diving boards from the viewpoints have also occurred on several occasions.

Zakynthos Island is accessible by air and by sea. The island is served by Zakynthos International Airport and is connected to airports around Greece and international airports like Athens International Airport and Macedonia International Airport. Ships make sail to Zakynthos via the Kyllini – Zakynthos route from the Port of Kyllini in the Peloponnese peninsula.

The Baths, British Virgin Islands

Set in the Lesser Antilles, the British Virgin Islands is a picturesque destination made up of four main islands, Tortola, Anegada, Virgin Gorda, and Jost Van Dyke, and some 50 isles and cays. The Caribbean vacation destination has scenic hiking trails, exceptional sites for diving and snorkeling, and several boating and fishing opportunities. Chartered boat tours are common activities that give newcomers a glimpse of the stunning islands of the British Virgin Islands.

The Baths, British Virgin Islands by Lee Render via Flickr cc
The Baths, the British Virgin Islands by Lee Render via Flickr cc

Situated on the southern tip of Virgin Gorda are the dramatic views of gargantuan boulders, serene natural pools, and enchanting caves of The Baths National Park. The towering granite boulders result from molten rocks seeping into the existing volcanic rock layers and forming a hard granite layer when the molten rock does not reach the island’s surface. These boulders can be as small as an adult and as large as a three-story building.

Visitors can scale and clamber to the top of these boulders through a trail on the southern side of the beach or simply crawl between these boulders and marvel at the dazzling blue waters of the pool. After bouldering, head to the beach and further explore The Baths through snorkeling and swimming. There is a natural pool inside of a small cave called the Cathedral Room, where visitors can pause to take photos. The boulders surrounding the beach area make the waters and lagoons calm and safe for children to play in. From The Baths, visitors can head to other bays like the Devil’s Bay, led by stairs and rope handrails through the boulders. The Devil’s Bay is also a great snorkeling location teeming with diverse aquatic species.

Virgin Gorda is accessible by plane and has a local airport, Virgin Gorda Airport. Another option is to fly to Terrence B. Lettsome International Airport in Tortola or Cyril E. King Airport in St. Thomas and take a ferry to Virgin Gorda, anchors on the coast of Spanish Town, then head to The Baths via dinghy.

Trunk Bay, U.S. Virgin Islands

Famed as America’s Caribbean Paradise, the U.S. Virgin Islands comprises three main islands, St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John, which serve as ports for cruise ships and yachts, along with some 60 cays that offer remarkable diving and snorkeling sites. Despite the devastating impacts of Hurricane Irma and Maria in 2017, much of the islands have slowly recovered, becoming lush and green again.

Trunk Bay Beach, St. John, US Virgin Islands by Yogi Misir via Unsplash
Trunk Bay Beach, St. John, US Virgin Islands by Yogi Misir via Unsplash

Located on the island of St. John, within the Virgin Islands National Park is one of the territory’s most beautiful beaches and iconic attractions, Trunk Bay. The rolling landscape that meets the tranquil white sand beach lined with palm trees is the most famous and most photographed beach in the national park. Featured in postcards, travel magazines, and lists of beaches to visit in the world, Trunk Bay is the tropical paradise the islands are known for. The beach stretches for over a quarter mile and encases the half-moon shape of Trunk Bay’s waters.

One thing that makes Trunk Bay so unique is the Coral Reef Underwater Park Trail, a 600-feet long snorkeling trail ideal for beginners to snorkeling. The self-guided underwater trail has underwater plaques that give information about the island’s native marine life and warnings such as “Don’t Touch the Sea Turtles and Coral.” Visitors can either relax and sunbathe on the shores of the Bay or snorkel and swim in the warm blue waters of the Bay and spot sea turtles, stingrays, and hermit crabs. Kayaking and paddleboarding are not allowed in Trunk Bay. Near Trunk Bay is the historic Annaberg Sugar Plantation, with hiking trails that lead to factory ruins, slave quarters, and other plantation remains.

There are no airports in St. John, and the nearest airport is in St. Thomas, the Cyril E. King Airport. Once on St. Thomas, airport attendants can direct travelers to red multi-passenger taxis that will then head to Red Hook Ferry Dock. Then, ride a ferry from Red Hook to Cruz Bay, St. John. Trunk Bay is a short ride from Cruz Bay.

Cancún, Mexico

Located on the Yucatán Peninsula in the Mexican State of Quintana Roo, Cancún’s beaches are known for their exciting water activities like swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, windsurfing, and waterskiing. Before Cancún became the beach destination for adventure seekers today, the city used to be a cultural center and premier land for maritime trades. It was in the 1970s when the Mexican government financed the first few resorts hoping to turn the city into the next Caribbean travel destination.

Cancun Mexico
Cancun Mexico

There is an array of activities for adventure seekers, sea lovers, and history buffs in Cancún. Heritage sites across Cancún worth visiting include El Rey, which has tombs built by the Mayans, and Chichen Itza, the largest archeological site in Mexico. To learn more about Mayan history, travelers can visit the Cancún Mayan Museum, which has permanent exhibitions on Mayan culture, or join the Coba Mayan Experience Tour for a more immersive experience.

Underwater excursions are ideal for sea lovers. These can be snorkeling excursions that take guests from basic trips like swimming with turtles to diving through a shipwreck and snorkeling in Cenotes Sac Actún. These can also be deep-sea fishing excursions where a privately chartered boat will take travelers off the Mexican coast to catch a marlin or tuna. The Cancún Underwater Museum, the largest underwater museum featuring hundreds of art installations on the ocean floor, is another unique underwater attraction that can be explored through scuba diving, snorkeling, or glass-bottomed boat tours.

Alongside the dazzling beaches and clear waters of Cancún, visitors can see ecotourism attractions like the Punta Laguna Nature Reserve and its spider monkeys or the Isla Pájaros, where hundreds of different species of birds crowd the shoreline.

Most travelers fly directly to Cancún at the Cancún International Airport. To get around Cancún, shuttles, rental cars, taxis, and buses are widely available. The best months to visit Cancún is during the autumn and winter months of November and December, when the hurricane season has passed, while the peak tourist season is from January to April, when the weather is warm and a little chilly.

Maya Bay, Thailand

Situated on the Ko Phi Phi Le island of Ko Phi Phi archipelago and part of the Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park, Maya Bay was made famous by the Hollywood film The Beach, starred by Leonardo DiCaprio. Striking blue waters and silky white sands encircled by massive karst cliffs on three sides, the small bit of land is 15 meters wide and 250 meters long. And since the film’s release, an estimated number of 5,000 visitors enter the Bay every day.

Maya Bay, Thailand by Lucas Hemingway via Unsplash
Maya Bay, Thailand by Lucas Hemingway via Unsplash

This rise to fame of Maya Bay also proved to be a double-edged sword, and the beach became a victim of its own success. Mass tourism damaged plants, destroyed corals, drove animals away, and left the beach into a garbage dump. The Thai government inevitably closed the location in June 2018. Since reopening in January 2022, new rules and regulations have been implemented. Fewer visitors are allowed and can only stay for an hour from 10AM to 4PM at a maximum capacity of 300 visitors per shift. Boats are not allowed to enter the bay and will now drop visitors at a floating pier at the back of the island. Visitors are not allowed to swim or snorkel onshore and must stay within the permitted zone. After the 4 years that Maya Bay was closed, the paradise has seen improvements but is far from its original conditions.

Visitors are only allowed to take photographs and walk around the area. Within the permitted zone, blacktip reef sharks can be spotted. Some boat tours that stop at Maya Bay include trips to swimming and snorkeling locations on the other side of the Ko Phi Phi Le islands like Monkey Island, Khai Nok Island, Bamboo Island, Pi Leh Lagoon, and Viking Cave.

The best time to visit the Bay is from November to April when the main sea is calmer. The only way to reach Maya Bay is through speedboats and longtail boats coming from Phi Phi Don Island, Krabi, and Phuket International Airport. Vacationers hoping to see Maya Bay should stay updated for government announcements on Maya Bay’s availability. From August 01, 2022, to September 30, 2022, Maya Bay will be temporarily closed for the Bay’s ecosystem recovery.

Whitehaven Beach, Australia

The pristine Whitehaven Beach stretches for 7 kilometers in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef along Whitsunday Island. The gorgeous inlet is the largest beach in the chain that makes up Whitsunday Island, boasting dense rainforests and turquoise waters swirling the pure white and soft sands. Whitehaven Beach was discovered in 1879 and was used to be called “whispering sands” by the Ngaro Indigenous Tribe because of the sound the sands make under one’s feet when walking on.

Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays, Australia by Elena Emmy via Unsplash
Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays, Australia by Elena Emmy via Unsplash

The sands consisted of 98 percent pure silica, giving the sand its brilliant color among the purest in the world. Like most white sand beaches, the sands do not retain heat, making it comfortable to walk barefoot under the sun’s scorching heat.

There is no shortage of activities in Whitehaven Beach, from hiking to a lookout to get a breathtaking view of Hill Inlet, paddleboarding in its clear waters, hiring a bareboat to sail across the 74 islands of The Whitsundays, to joining an overnight sailing adventure to snorkel and dive the Great Barrier Reef. Staying on the beach is no boring activity either when sea turtles, monitor lizards, and sea eagles are wandering around the beach. Athletic types can join annual sporting events like the Hamilton Island Endurance Series, which tests the endurance of each participant in one of Australia’s most beautiful locations.

Departure points to Whitehaven Beach are from Airlie Beach, Hamilton Island, and Daydream Island via ferries and high-speed catamarans. Visitors can also take the scenic route from Hamilton Island in style via helicopter, seaplane, or privately chartered yacht. It’s best to visit Whitehaven Beach when the weather is dry from September to November or during the whale watching season between June and September.

Shoal Bay, Anguilla

Anguilla’s beaches are some of the best tourist attractions on the island, where swaying palm trees border the white sand beach and turquoise waters. Set in the Leeward Islands of the Lesser Antilles, Anguilla is the most northern island in all of the Caribbean Sea, with the closest island being St. Maarten. With two miles of powder-soft sands and glistening waters in a kaleidoscope of blues, of the 35 beaches on the island, the alluring Shoal Bay is the most popular. Despite this, travelers can enjoy a peaceful beach stroll in this picture-perfect beach destination that is seldom crowded.

Shoal Bay, Anguilla by Etolane via Flickr cc
Shoal Bay, Anguilla by Etolane via Flickr cc

The waters in Shoal Bay are calm and shallow enough for swimming and snorkeling. Schools of fish, corals, and sea fans on the outer edge of the beach can be explored. Resort guests can also take beach hopping tours to Little Bay and Sandy Island offered. Other popular water sports in Shoal Bay are kayaking, paddleboarding, and diving.

Shoal Bay can be reached through public transportation or a privately organized tour. Public transportation allows travelers to take an air transfer or sea shuttle from Princess Juliana International Airport in St. Maarten or a ferry from Marigot to the Blowing Point Ferry Terminal.

Boracay, Philippines

By far, the most popular beach destination in the Philippines is Boracay. The white sands like no other that glint under the sun, the plethora of exciting activities, and the famous Boracay sunset that mark the beginning of a vibrant nightlife are some of its iconic features. Boracay Island is located within Malay and Aklan and welcomes millions of local and international travelers each year.

Boracay White Sand Beach
Boracay White Sand Beach

Before Boracay became how it is known today, there were only 100 inhabitants from the Ati Tribe that relied on fishing, coconut farming, and trading with the neighboring island of Panay for their livelihood. It wasn’t until the late 1970s when a German writer named Jens Peter published a book about the Philippines and described Boracay as “paradise on earth,” introducing the idyllic island to the world and attracting international travelers. Since then, Boracay continues to be shaped by the increasing number of visitors, redeveloping and rehabilitating the island to be sustainable and tourist-friendly.

Adventure in Boracay is not complete without seeing and experiencing the activities the island offers. Travelers can join island hopping tours and walk along the shores of the famous White Beach, Diniwid Beach, and Puka Shell Beach. These island hopping tours can also take travelers to notable locations like Ariel’s Point and Magic Island for cliff diving, Ilig-Iligan Beach for snorkeling, and Crocodile Island for scuba diving. Exhilarating water activities like paraw sailing, banana boating, paddleboarding, and jet skiing, and high-altitude activities like parasailing, windsurfing, and kiteboarding await adventure seekers. To get a panoramic view of the beaches and the island, travelers can fly above Boracay in a helicopter, ride a zip line, or trek Boracay’s highest peak, Mount Luho.

Because Boracay is a major tourist destination, the island is accessible by air and ferry. The closest airport is Caticlan Airport, while Kalibo Airport has cheaper tickets. Boracay’s peak season is from March through May, as well as other national holidays like Christmas and the Holy Week, filling the bars with lively local and international travelers.

Maldives

The Maldives Archipelago sits on the Chagos–Laccadive Ridge. Rich in marine life, charming reefs, and serene beaches with pristine white sands, the Maldives has set its name as every couple’s honeymoon destination.

Maldives photo by Rayyu Maldives via Unsplash
Maldives photo by Rayyu Maldives via Unsplash

The Maldives is home to thousands of islands, 200 of which are inhabited, and more than 1,000 are uninhabited. Island hopping tours give visitors a chance to see these islands and try water activities like scuba diving on Biyadhoo Island, snorkeling on Maafushi Island, enjoying beach walks on Fulidhoo Island, and seeing the glowing shores on Vaadhoo Island. Some islands have only one resort each, like COMO Cocoa Island on Cocoa Island, One&Only Reethi Rah on Reethi Rah Island, and the Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa on Hadahaa Island. Instead of island hopping tours, visitors can tour multiple islands by staying at multiple resorts.

This one island, one resort concept of the Maldives came about in the 1970s, preceded by George Corbin, an Italian travel agent looking for an isolated vacation getaway for his clients, and Ahmed Naseem from the Maldives Embassy. Fifty years after the first island resort was established, foreign investments and tourism increased, positively influencing the lives of the Maldivian residents.

The Maldives receives consistent swells throughout the year with classic left and right point breaks, some more mellow with the occasional powerful waves during peak season. Surfers of all levels can ride these waves and choose which region of the Maldives to try out. The Southern Atolls, Central Atolls, and Malé Regions catch southwest and southeast swell. Glide through the air and watch the breathtaking views on an open parachute and parasail above the Maldives. If surfing and parasailing are too scary, try standup paddleboarding on clean swells while exploring lagoons.

After an entertaining day of island hopping, scuba diving, snorkeling, surfing, parasailing, and standup paddleboarding, try getting a spa treatment in one of the resorts. Maybe go for a romantic sunset dinner in Baros Maldives on Baros Island or an underwater dinner at the Ithaa Undersea Restaurant on Conrad Maldives Rangali Island.

The Maldives is served by Malé International Airport, locally referred to as Velena International Airport. Upon arrival, a resort representative will greet and escort the guest via a speedboat or seaplane. No public ferries nor water taxis are available at the airport, so travelers making a trip to the Maldives must book transfers ahead of time.

During the plankton high season, one of the best times to visit the Maldives is from mid-summer to mid-winter. This gives visitors a chance to see the shores light up at night by bioluminescent planktons. Although the Maldives is notorious for being an exclusive destination, affordable accommodations and public beaches are budget-friendly alternatives that is available when visiting the islands.

Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Located in the South Pacific Ocean within the French Polynesian archipelago is perhaps the most famous of the Society Islands, Bora Bora. With a reputation for romance, luxury, and extravagance, the small island enraptures its visitors with warm hospitality and beautiful views of Mount Otemanu. The iconic contour of the dormant volcano and the striking blue lagoon can be seen from the famous overwater bungalows.

Bora Bora in French Polynesia
Bora Bora in French Polynesia

Bora Bora was first called “Pora pora mai te pora,” meaning “created by the gods” in the Tahitian language. The shortened name was “Pora Pora” meaning “firstborn.” When explorers arrived on the island, the name was misinterpreted as “Bora Bora,” hence the island’s name today.

Staying in the luxurious overwater bungalows is one of the best ways to experience the grandeur of Bora Bora. The traditional villa has bedroom views of the ocean, a private deck that visitors can use to access the lagoon, and even a glass floor to watch schools of fish swim by. Water is a way of life in Bora Bora, and the azure waters of the lagoon can be explored via paddleboarding, kitesurfing, jet skiing, or riding a speedboat, yacht, or catamaran. Guests can also dive, snorkel in the colorful coral gardens, and get up close with sharks and stingrays.

Guests can join an excursion to Mount Otemanu with a Jeep Safari, take a guided hike to Mount Pahia or ride an ATV to Mount Popoti to learn the island’s local legends, spot local fauna, and see the historic American WWII cannons. Upon summiting, travelers can get astonishing views of Matira Beach, Maupiti Island, and Teavanui Pass. For a one-of-a-kind experience, take a sightseeing tour of the island on a helicopter or a seaplane, or even skydive from 10,000 feet above sea level.

Passengers headed to Bora Bora must fly from the Faa’a International Airport, the only international airport in The Islands of Tahiti, before taking another flight to Bora Bora Airport, also called Motu Mute Airport.

El Nido, Philippines

Captivating lagoons hiding behind towering limestone cliffs and white sand beaches lined with coconut trees; El Nido, Palawan is famed for its unspoiled beauty and postcard-like attractions located on the islets along Bacuit Bay. The paradisal destination attracts thousands of visitors annually, each drawn by its scenic beauty, lush vegetation, diverse marine life, vivid coral reefs, and peaceful remoteness. It’s difficult to imagine that this natural wonder almost collapsed due to illegal fishing activities in the 1980s and the 1990s and was seemingly saved when several locations opened to tourism in 2004. The impending demise of the coral reefs and fisheries were stopped, and locals and enforcement authorities have since worked together to protect their seas and improve El Nido’s tourism.

El Nido Palawan by Luca Calderone via Unsplash
El Nido Palawan by Luca Calderone via Unsplash
El Nido's Nacpan Beach among TripAdvisor's Top Beaches in Asia for 2021 photo via Depositphotos
El Nido’s Nacpan Beach among TripAdvisor’s Top Beaches in Asia for 2021 photo via Depositphotos

Island hopping tours are popular in El Nido, taking travelers to see the white sand shores, hidden lagoons, rugged rock formations, sandbar strips, waterfalls, and snorkeling sites. Some of the island attractions and activities include kayaking in Miniloc Island, spelunking in Cudugnon Cave and Cathedral Cave, snorkeling in Shimizu Island and Paradise Beach, and cliff diving in Ipil Beach. Other thrilling activities around El Nido include sunbathing, hiking, waterfalls climbing, surfing, scuba diving, hiking, and camping.

El Nido is relatively more developed than the other destinations in Palawan, with an array of budget and luxury accommodations and a great selection of restaurants to choose from. Its peak season is from January to April. Travelers can take a direct flight to El Nido Lio Airport from Metro Manila or take a direct flight to Puerto Princesa International Airport and then take a van or bus bound for El Nido. Travelers to other destinations in Palawan can take a van, bus, or ferry.

Whether traveling by group with friends or going solo, bringing everything needed and necessary is such an underrated aspect of beach trips and island vacations. It’s important to stay organized throughout the trip, and maybe keeping a checklist will help lessen that stress. Some of the basics include sun protection, like reef-safe sunscreen and sunhat, swimwear, footwear, personal toiletries, a basic first aid kit, and travel requirements like passports, travel visas, and booking confirmations.

Electronics to bring can be a phone charger, power bank, adapter, and camera. Be sure to have cash on hand because some islands may have little to no ATMs, and the ATMs available may not support your card. Optional items can be snorkeling gear and surfing equipment, although these can be rented from on-site rentals.

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