You know how the surfers in the Endless Summer movies spent their days searching for the perfect wave? Well, I wish I had more time to travel the globe in search of the perfect beach.
Fortunately, I’ve already visited some pretty spectacular beaches over the past 28 years, so I am going to share with you a list of some of my favorites*. Hopefully the list will help the beach bums out there decide where to go on your honeymoon:
1) Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Islands, Australia
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Whitehaven Beach. Located in the Whitsunday Islands (which is FULL of incredible beaches), Whitehaven is quite aptly named because it has the softest, whitest sand that I’ve ever seen in the world. My friends and I were told that brushing our teeth with the sand acts as a whitener, but in retrospect that probably wasn’t the best idea for us to do. That aside, it is the most spectacular beach I’ve ever seen.
2) Cap Juluca, Anguilla
Popular with celebrities like Courteney Cox and Jennifer Aniston, the pristine beach at the Cap Juluca resort makes it a quintessential honeymoon destination. It’s also just a short boat ride away from nearby St. Maarten, so you can just check it out for a day if you don’t want to stay at the resort. Okay, okay, I know we all WANT to stay there, but it’s just really expensive, that’s all.
3) Playa Cristal, Colombia
I was blown away by Playa Cristal because of the clearness of the water and the beautiful backdrop of the lush jungle. You can hire a boat in Taganga to take you to the beach. Unfortunately I couldn’t bring a camera with me to the beach because our next stop was Playa Brava where we actually swam to shore, slept on the beach overnight, then hiked out of Parque Tayrona the next day and hitched a ride back to Santa Marta, so bringing electronics along was a no-no. You’ll just have to trust me that the beach was so wonderful that it made my list of top 3 beaches in the world.
4) Playa Blanca, Colombia
Yes, yes, another Colombian beach. I don’t know if I’ve expressed how much my husband and I love Colombia yet on the blog, but we highly recommend going there if you love beaches, friendly people, and good food. You can reach Playa Blanca from Cartagena in one of two ways: hire a private boat down by the fish market (just hold your nose while you’re there – it really stinks), or sign up for an “organized” day tour. It seems like the organized day tour is less than ideal though because it only brings you to the crowded part of the beach, so go with the private boat for a more relaxing experience.
For honeymooners who want to rough it, you can spend the night in hammocks at Hugo’s. My husband and I thought it was the greatest place ever because 1) it was BEAUTIFUL, 2) it was the first time we slept in hammocks during that trip so the novelty made it fun and not back-breaking yet, and 3) we woke up in the morning to a litter of beagle puppies that were born overnight. Beagle. Puppies. In. Paradise. Probably one of the best days of my life.
5) Lake Mckenzie, Fraser Island, Australia
The colors of Lake Mckenzie look totally fake, but I assure you, this is really, really what the lake looks like.
6) Lanikai, Oahu, Hawaii
A friend of mine who was living in Honolulu at the time took my husband and me to Lanikai, a beautiful beach that isn’t terribly overcrowded with tourists. Do yourself a favor and pick up some Leonard’s malasadas to eat when you get to the beach. A perfect combination.
7) Lamai, Koh Samui, Thailand
When my friend and I arrived on Koh Samui back in 2005, we took one look at our travel book and told our cab driver to take us to Lamai. We didn’t arrange lodging in advance, so we just walked along the beach with our backpacks in search of the cutest bungalow we could find with air-con. (Whatever, I don’t claim to be the most authentic backpacker on the planet. You’d want air-con, too.)
Why Lamai? It’s a stunning stretch of beach that isn’t as busy as some of the other beaches on the island, but it’s still close to the major restaurants and nightlife. If your goal on Koh Samui is major relaxation, I also recommend staying on Maenam Beach on the north side of the island.
8) Hon Tam, Nha Trang, Vietnam
My husband and I stayed on Hon Tam during our own honeymoon, and the resort’s private beach more than made up for any other shortcomings. The public beach of Nha Trang is probably pretty beautiful, but with all of the crowds, litter, and vendors, it is not a tranquil environment. However, a 20 minute ferry will take you to the island of Hon Tam where the beaches are completely different. There are two beaches: one that’s open to the public (i.e. boat tour groups), and one that’s private for the people staying at the resort. Both have soft sand, clear warm water, and watersport activities like parasailing and jet skiing. Just make sure to go back to the mainland for better restaurants.
9) Cancún, Mexico
Spring Break 2013! Woohoooooo! Say what you will about Cancún’s party!party!party! reputation, the beaches are really nice and the water is bright turquoise. Perfect for sleeping off a hangover.
10) Ponta Verde, Maceió, Brazil
When Aaron and I spent a few weeks backpacking down the coast of Brazil a few years ago, I think we just did a Google image search for “best beaches on Brazil” or something and that’s how we ended up going to Maceió. It’s not a tourist destination by any means, people weren’t particularly friendly, we spent way too much time trying to get my camera fixed in the local mall, but the beaches there were SO pretty. What made the beaches really stand out to me though was the fact that they were the public, city beaches, which are normally pretty gross in other big towns. This is another place where the water absolutely looks photoshopped, but that vibrant color is totally real.
* Limiting this list to just 10 of my favorite beaches was incredibly difficult, and I realize that there are some glaring omissions. For example, I’ve been to Tahiti – why didn’t any of those beaches make the list? While the beaches there were definitely nice, they were on the smaller side. Don’t get me wrong though, the water and the islands were spectacular and I certainly recommend going there on a honeymoon.
Another thing you may have noticed is that I didn’t include any European beaches on my top 10 list. To be completely honest, I can’t remember the names of the beaches in Paros, Greece that I loved so much, otherwise one of them probably would have made the list.
I also could have made a list of my top 10 favorite Australian beaches, but I limited my selection to 2. Now that I think of it, I think I will create an Australian Beaches list down the road. Stay tuned for that!