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Although it might not be everyone's cup of thea, beaches almost always live up to the imagination. Some people like jungles or deserts, others like cities, but don't we all love a fantastic, scenic and preferably secluded beach in the tropics? It doesn't even have to be a tropical beach, there are quite a few deserted or otherwise beautiful beaches in other parts of the world, even in the (sub)polar regions of our planet. Basically, the list is long and below is just a small selection of one of the most famous, but maybe not always the most beautiful or quiet ones! It's up to you, the traveller, to explore the world and included one of those hidden gems...unless you want to keep it a secret of course.
The list below doesn't necessarily include just one beach. Also and island or (part of) a country can be listed, with an overview of possible choice regarding beaches.
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Boulders Beach is a sheltered sandy beach with large granite boulders that forms part of the Table Mountain National Park near Cape Town, South Africa. The real pulling point however is the population of penguins that wander the beach and paths. The sea is a bit cool even in summer, but it's worth donning some goggles and jumping in for the opportunity of seeing these graceful swimmers in their natural environment.
Gambia is a very popular gettaway for package tourists from Europe, escaping the European winters. Although it only has a short coastline and only a handful of really good hotels, these fill up quickly. The Atlantic beaches are long white and sandy areas fringed with palms and some fine swimming.
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The Seychelles contain many uninhabited islands which cost a fortune to visit, if at all possible. Of the main islands Mahé, Praslin and La Digue, the latter one is probably the best one to visit, as it is the quietest. La Digue also is home to the famous Anse Source d'Argent, the picture perfect image of emerald waters, white palm fringed beaches and the very special round granite rocks.
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Many people visiting Mauritius go here just to enjoy the wonderful climate at one of the beaches, or at one of the swimming pools of their hotels. Mauritius boasts a high density of very exclusive hotels and is more affordable than for example the Seychelles or Maldives. White sanded palm fringed beaches and excellent diving and snorkelling all belong to the possibilities here.
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Zanzibar is the collective name for two islands in the Indian Ocean: Unguja (the main island) and Pemba Island. Zanzibar is known for its fantastic white beaches, turquoise waters and great snorkelling and diving. On top of that, it has some nice cultural highlights as well, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site Stone Town. Kendwa, on the north coast, is a quiet and beautiful beach town. The beaches are white sand. The Indian Ocean water is blue, calm and perfect for swimming. Nungwi is also on the north coast and close to Kendwa.
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One reason to visit Goa, India, is its beaches. About 125 kilometres of the coast line is dotted with beaches. These beaches are divided into North Goa and South Goa Beaches. The further north or south you go, the more isolated the beaches get. However, if one is looking for people, then a visit to some of the more popular beaches like Baga and Anjuna would provide. These beaches are lined with shacks that provide fresh sea food and drinks.
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It's difficult to name just one beach in Thailand as the most famous. There are hundreds or even thousands and more and more are getting intensely popular, maybe even a bit too much, like Patong Beach and Pattaya.
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Anguilla has made a name for itself as a fashionable, luxurious Caribbean destination. Fantastic snorkelling, diving and swimming opportunities, offered by some of the Caribbean's finest beaches, are Anguilla's prime attractions. Captain’s Bay is located in the northeast of Anguilla. It is a quiet beach to relax and compared to many other beaches there are not so many tourists here. You will find an abundance of tropical fish though. Another popular one is Shoal Bay East, a picture perfect beach, great for snorkelling and with fantastic turquoise waters.
Of course Aruba is famous for its beaches and there is a wide choice for everyone. From very crowded touristy beaches to some more secluded beaches which are best reached with your own wheels. Some examples include Malmok Beach, Hadikurari Beach, Palm Beach, Eagle Beach, San Nicolaas Beach and Baby Beach. Eagle Beach is particulary beautiful while Palm Beach, althoug busier, is nice as well.
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The Dominican Republic has more then a thousand miles of white sand beaches with clear blue water. If you're looking for super high end resorts with pools and gold course then some beaches are perfect for you. If you're looking for something more off the beaten track with no people, that is also easy to find! The beaches surround the entire country and all of them are great in different ways. The beaches are amazing and are a great place to relax.
Grace Bay Beach has been voted one of the best and most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean and even in on Earth! The beach is located on the main island of the Turks and Caicos Islands, Providenciales, and stretches about 20 kilometres where you will find white sandy beaches which are absolutely stunning. Snorkeling Grace Bay is fabulous because of its crystal-clear waters and beautiful reef. The sunsets are one of a kind as well and although it is by far the most popular beach on the Turks and Caicos Islands, it's at least less developed than for example many of the Bahamas islands.
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There are several beaches with pink sand on the Bahamas island of Eleuthera and its neighbouring islands like Harbour Island. On this latter island is the famous Pink Sand Beach, a 5-kilometre stretch of beach on featuring pink sand and clear waters which has often been cited by various travel magazines as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. At least it is one of the most popular ones of the Bahamas and Harbour Island, unlike its big brother Eleuthera, is more crowded and developed. Still, it is quite an experience and sight and something different again from the ubiquitos white sand beaches.
Saint Barthélemy has some of the best beaches in the entire Caribbean and compared to other islands, some of them are surprisinly quiet and secluded. Grand Saline Beach is nice if you like to sunbath nude. For the ones that would like their bikini or shorts on, the Colombier beach in the north of the island is very beautiful and relaxed. You can go hiking, swimming and enjoy the natural setting with some yachts, perfect! Anse des Flamands, Shell beach and Anse du Gouverneur are other examples. Saint Jean beach is probably the most popular.
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Seven Mile Beach is located on the island of Grand Cayman and is a coral-sand beach on the western shore of the island. In fact, it is not 7 miles long, but 'only' 5.5 miles (almost 9 kilometres). It's a public beach just north of George Town, the capital. Although beauty is always in the eyy of the beholder, this beach has won a few prizes, including one for the best beach in the Caribbean. It is also the most popular one on the Cayman Islands, and during peak holiday periods, it can feel a little busy. Also, loads of resorts and hotels mean it rarely is deserted. Your best bet might be to visit here during the off season months of August and September and hope there is no hurricane spoiling your beach break! Several good shallow reefs mean that snorkelling is a popular activity as well, next to swimming and sunbathing of course.
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Although there are quite a few beaches on both the US Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands, one of the most popular ones is on the British island of Virgin Gorda, called The Baths. Basically, The Baths is not only a beach but refers to a collection of giant boulders at the seaside. They are located near the island's southwest corner. They form a national park and are probably the most popular tourist attraction of the British Virgin Islands. The rocks form a series of small caves that flood with seawater, although there is no safety concern. A bigger concern is the fact that The Baths are usually just very crowded with tourists so come very early or late during the day to have some secluded spots for yourself. Still, the small beaches and snorkelling definately is worthwhile the trip to this beautiful island.
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Belize is most famous for its fantastic beaches, islands and all sorts of activities you can do while based on one of these islands or beaches. Although the mainland beaches are ok, most people go and visit the Cayes just offshore. The most popular ones are Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye] but there are hundreds to visit and from here you can do numerous day trips, mainly to go out snorkelling and diving. Belize is famous for its 'Blue Hole' near Ambergris Caye. For more information about both, visit the Ambergriscaye website.
It's hard to choose just one beach, as there are dozens of options and there is a beach for everyone.
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The beaches in El Salvador are a great spot to relax, enjoy the local atmosphere but above all the coastline of El Salvador is gaining a reputation of having some of the best surfing in the world.
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Barcelona is listed number one in the top 10 list of beach cities, according to National Geographic. Barcelona has no less than seven beaches, totalling 4.5 kilometres.
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Jumeirah Beach is the famous beach resort area about 15 kilometres south of the centre of Dubai. The Burj al Arab is located here, as well as the Jumeirah Beach hotel and the waterpark 'Wild Wadi'. There is also the Jumeirah Mosque, one of only a few mosques which is open for non-Islamic tourists, which has regular morning tours. In 2009, the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup was held here as well.
Tel Aviv is known for some of the country's best beaches. Its western border is contoured by Mediterranean sand, making kilometres-long beaches. The sunsets are spectacular to watch on these beaches. Tel Baruch Beach at Namir Road and Propes Street is popular among families, thanks to the lawns and boardwalk. Aviv Beach at Hayakon Street is frequented by singles.
The beaches at Hatzuk and Herzliya charge entrance fees. Most beaches are equipped with public amenities, including bathrooms and changing rooms.
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Although Santa Monica is a city itself rather than part of the city of Los Angeles, it basically is the playground for the beach bums in the LA. Most of the action in Santa Monica is centred around the Santa Monica Pier, where the official end of Route 66 is located.
The pier, with its activities like rollercoasters and all sorts of shops, splits the beach into two halfs. The northern one is less attractive and most parking takes place there.
The southern half, towards Venice Beach, is more attractive, with cycle- and foothpaths and palmtrees. The water here is pretty cold like most of the Californian coast, and watch out for riptides or strong currents at times. There are lifeguards patrolling around the waters, but better safe than sorry!
While Santa Monica Beach is more of a family style beach, Venice Beach is more the beach for the young and the ones that like to see and to be seen. Apart from the beach, there is also lots of sport grounds, including the famous Muscle Beach, where you'll find the big guys pumping their iron.
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If this exotic name doesn't ring a bell, you must have lived under a rock for the last decades. It's the most famous beach on the island chain of Hawaii and is located on the island of Oahu, more specifically right at the capital Honolulu, another exotic name. Unfortunately, the exotic names are not translated into quiteness. The 2-mile stretch of white-sand beach at Waikiki Beach can keep you occupied for days with watersports, soaking up the sun, enjoy some snorkelling or if you get there early enough, enjoy a peaceful stroll.
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Although Mexican beaches can be found along all of the Pacific coast (like Acapulco, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas), the ones in Yucatan are the most beautiful, with fantastic white powdery sand and a Caribbean atmosphere and charm. Some of the best known include Cancun and Playa del Carmen, but the gem of this part of the country definately is Tulum, on the Yucatan Peninsula, approximately 130 kilometres south of Cancún and also home to some amazing ruins. The beaches are white and the sea is blue. This is the Caribbean Sea as you imagine it to be. It is a lot more quiet than the other beachtowns in Quintana Roo and the combination of a relatively low-key resort town, old ruins and beaches is just amazing!
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Bondi Beach is approximately 9 kilometres from the city centre of Sydney and generally one of the busiest and most popular in and around the city. Originally known as "Boondi" by the local aboriginals, it is probably the most famous beach in Australia, though not the best. The beach itself is just a large strip of sand - the main attraction is the matching strip of pubs, restaurants and shops, and its lively nightlife. Best reached by bus from Bondi Junction train station. For families, quieter beaches with parklands such as Coogee, Bronte, Neilsen Park or Manly are likely to be more appealing.
Say Bora Bora and most travellers think of paradise immediately. Unfortunately, although still beautiful, many travellers go here, including top end package tourists.
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Copacabana is also called Princesinha do Mar (Princess of the Sea) and is one of the reasons Rio is so famous. The wide sand strip makes it a very popular beach for sports and sunbathing. At the far end by the hill is the Leme Beach, an extension of Copacabana but very family-oriented. More than a beach, Copacabana is a melting pot where many different people gather in various events all year round. Bands often use Copacabana as a stage for concerts. International volleyball and soccer championships are held in arenas built for the occasions. Above all, there is absolutely nothing like New Year’s Eve at the Copacabana Beach. Tons of fireworks light the skies for half an hour while 2 million people dressed in white go crazy. Something to experience at least once in a lifetime!
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