Saturday, June 18, 2011

Choicest Beaches of the World!

The most common complaint you’ll hear from people who don’t like beach vacations is, “I get bored just laying around.” If you’re bored, you are going to the wrong beaches, my friend. There’s more to a day in the sand than lying about, double-fisting daiquiris and catching up on the latest, greatest best-seller. Here we feature shots of 10 legendary beaches that show just that -- from a kite surfer’s dream destination (where you can hit two continents and two oceans in one day and still have time for to catch a sunset ride on your board) to the sexiest beach in the world.


In the 1800s, this series of beaches was a vacation spot for Hawaiian royalty and it remains, if not quite so exclusive, quite expensive. The wetlands that were such a big part of the area’s charm early on were drained and redeveloped beginning in the 1920s, allowing it to become the epicenter of the Hawaiian tourist industry, renowned for its stunning sunsets, fine surfing and abundant photo ops.

Bondi Beach

There was a time when getting this shot almost became a problem. Originally privately owned, Bondi wasn't declared a public beach until 1982. Aptly named, Bondi allegedly means "water breaking over rocks" in the language of Australia’s aboriginal people. While it may not be the largest stretch of sand in the world, if you want big sky and reliable surf, Australia’s most famous beach is the spot for you.


The main island of Boracay is so beautiful that even those of you who find it virtually impossible to sit still will settle down for a bit to take it in. Regularly listed as one of the most beautiful beaches on Earth, Boracay is perfect for both diving and swimming. The main tourist area, White Beach, is on one side of island, but windsurfers should head across to the other side to Bulabog Beach. A visit to the local fish markets for fresh seafood is also a must. If you’re still looking for more real estate to explore, take the 30-minute boat ride to Laurel Island and snorkel the caves at Crystal Cove.

 Andaman Islands

Located on the Bay of Bengal in the Indian Ocean, the Andaman Islands were decimated by the 2004 tsunami. Owing to local historical knowledge, however, when the tide started rushing away from them, indigenous islanders beat it in the other direction, diminishing their losses to the waves. You’ll find high-end resorts here, but unlike some of our other entries, the preservation of the local indigenous inhabitants and environment still trumps tourism in some cases. The unparalleled beauty of the Andaman Islands is a naturalist’s dream; offering up a stunning mix of biological diversity and a twilight light show that’s beyond belief.


Renowned for miles of fine white sand, clear water and rugged cliffs, Negril -- originally dubbed Negrillo by the Spanish in the late 1400s -- was once a haven for pirates and warriors. Now rated as one of the best beaches in the world, it trades on a reputation for a laid-back vibe inspired by later, more peaceful explorers: hippies and travelers from America who first popularized the area in the 1960s and 1970s. Head to Rick’s Cafe to watch cliff divers and feel free to take a dive yourself, but beware: even some of the tamer jumps have caused serious injuries and claimed lives.


Sitting at southernmost point of continental Europe, at the intersection of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, Tarifa has all you could ask for and more: sun, sand, winds that a kite surfer dreams of, and great nightlife. Better yet, if you're tired of sitting around, riding your board or slamming back sangria on the beach or on a local patio, you can always catch the fast cat to Tangier, which sits just across the water in Morocco. After an afternoon in the souks you’ll still have time when you get back to get this shot or pose for it.

Maya Bay

Phi Phi, Thailand
Known for its starring role in The Beach, Maya Bay offers up white sand beaches, natural wonders like coral reefs for snorkeling and eye-popping cliffs some 330 feet high. Timing is key, depending on the shot you want to get. Some of the beaches tend to disappear around high tide and are absolutely rammed by people during high season. Plus, between November and April, the waves make entering the bay dangerous.


People who like people will love Cancun. Located on the Yucatan Peninsula in the Mexican Caribbean, it’s perhaps the top party destination on our list; featuring world-class resorts, perfect beaches and nightlife in abundance. There are also a number of Mayan archeological sites to explore on the Yucatan, including one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, Chichen Itza. People less fond of crowds should book outside of the winter/spring high season. Either way, getting a picture like this from above the beach will take patience if you want to cut your fellow partiers out of the shot.


Santorini, Greece
If you like calm waters and hot, hot sand, then a trip to Santorini’s famous black sand beaches are an absolute must. Essentially the remains of a now-submerged volcanic caldera, Santorini is located roughly 120 miles from the Greek mainland and is often associated with the legend of Atlantis. Perissa is one of the most famous beaches on the island and the surrounding area boasts a wealth of local tavernas and restaurants as well as a small but thriving wine industry. Beyond blazing hot sand, fine wine and startling sunsets, the volcanic island’s mountainous terrain keeps Perissa well protected from the summer winds coming in off the Aegean Sea, the "meltemia."

Ipanema Beach

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Made popular in part by the Antonio Carlos Jobim song "The Girl from Ipanema," this is quite possibly the sexiest beach in the world -- in recent years even eclipsing its neighbor, Copacabana, in terms of popularity with both tourists and locals alike. Pack light, because you won’t be wearing much (neither will anyone else). For killer shots of Rio with the Dois Irmaos mountains in the background, head down the beach to connecting Arpoador Beach before ending the day at Posto 9, the social hub of this unmatched stretch of golden sand.

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