Turquoise waters, golden sands, secluded bays – a sun-drenched coastline is the instant route to nirvana and a well-deserved post-holiday-season holiday! If you’re looking for the ideal beach holiday, we’ve handpicked tropical Edens and magical islands for soaking up the winter sun.

Here’s how to find your own slice of seclusion for the most memorable beach holiday of your life.

Red Impala in Cuba

Image via Pixabay

Mojitos in Cuba

Cuba’s dreamy tropical beaches are said to be among the most beautiful in the world. The caves, vertical walls, tunnels, cliffs and channels, rich in marine life, are scuba diving heaven. More than 1000 ships have gone down in Cuba’s waters, including treasure-laden pirate ships and galleons, providing stunning artificial reefs. The Cuban archipelago comprises the Island of Cuba, Isla de la Juventud, and 4,195 cays and keys. So where to go?

cuba cayo la brujas

Cuba’s beaches as ranked as some of the most beautiful in the world. Photo: momo via Flickr

Cayo Levisa – home to one of the world’s largest coral reefs

Cayo Levisa, the island off Pinar del Rio’s coast and about 146 kms from sultry Havana, features 3 kms of glorious white-sand beach and a handful of atmospheric wooden cabañas. A dive haven, the coral reef is home to 500 species of fish, 200 species of sponges, mollusks, crustaceans, gorgonias, sea fans and more. Or you can simply swim, snorkel, relax with a mojito and get an enviable tan.

Cuba Diver in Coral Reef

Cuba is scuba diving heaven. Image via Pixabay

Spanish Galleons and Snorkelling in Maria La Gorda

Maria la Gorda, in Pinar del Río, is a water lover’s delight. Snorkel through coral gardens and canyons, see whale sharks and even dive to explore a Spanish galleon! Tropical forest, swaying palms, bird-watching – set within a protected nature reserve, Maria La Gorda is a dreamy getaway in the sun.

cuba beach

Image via Pixabay

Virgin rainforests in Cuba’s most remote region, Baracoa

Baracoa features an unspoilt colonial village, hidden beaches and virgin rainforest. Baracoa is also home to the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Cuchillas de Toa (The Ridges of river Toa), one of the world’s last untouched rainforests protecting a variety of endangered plant and animal species. Si, Cuba is easily one of the best beach destinations in the world.

Playa-Baracoa-Cuba

Playa Baracoa. Photo by Gradski via Wikimedia Commons

Rainforests and Turquoise Waters in Panama

Panama’s coast languorously unfurls itself over hundreds of kilometers along the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. The islands and beaches offer a stunning variety – calm inviting waters, swells for surfers, black sand beaches, silver beaches and more. The sea is a vast playground for a variety of water sports.

island caribbean

Photo: The Central American Tourism Agency

Sail with the bottlenose dolphins in Bocas del Toro

The archipelago, off the coast of Panama, has lush tropical vegetation and incredible biodiversity – a nature lover’s dream come true. For company, you have the endemic pygmy sloth, monkeys, sea turtles and the star resident – the bottlenose dolphin. Many of the playful dolphins can be spotted in Dolphin Bay as they feed, play, and raise their calves here. The serene bay is peppered with mangroves and surrounded by tropical forests. The islands offer brilliant snorkeling and diving spots in the shimmering waters. Add a private water bungalow on stilts to this picture – paradise, anyone?

Stay with the Kuna community in San Blas

The glorious palm-fringed tropical islands of San Blas off Panama’s northern coast are a must-visit. The collection of 365 islands are home to the Kuna community and you can stay in cabins managed and owned by the Kuna people. The best way to give back while you take away brilliant memories of this tropical paradise – it’s green travel at its purest.

san-blas-islands-panama

San Blas. Photo: Rickshaw Travel

Bohemian Bali

Is it possible to find your own sanctuary in Bali away from the many tourists who love this island? Insider tip for finding your own Shangri-la on this island situated between Java and Lambok: make room in your trip for a taste of traditional life, quaint fishing villages and sunsets. Our top picks in Bali…

Indonesia Blimbing at Bali

Rice terraces in Belimbing at Bali. Photo: Wonderful Indonesia

Car-free Gili Islands

About 35 kms from Bali and 14 kms from Lambok’s most beautiful beach Senggigi, Gili islands with their turquoise clear waters are mercifully car and motorbike-free. On this archipelago of three isles, you can find yourself swimming with sea turtles, brightly coloured clownfish and parrot fish, and other fascinating marine creatures in the extensive coral waters that surround them. Doesn’t get any better than this.

Indonesia gili Meno Lombok

Gili Meno. Photo: Wonderful Indonesia

A taste of the exotic on Cubadak Island

A boat trip from Sumatra takes you to the wee but stunning Cubadak island to explore its overland and underwater wildlife treats. Uninhabited except for a few isolated fishermen’s huts at the northern tip of the island, it is covered by native rainforest. Snorkel the colourful rainbow reefs that surround this 15 sq km island of volcanic origin, hike in the forest to meet pangolins, monkeys, wild boars, and other residents or just grab a snooze in the sun. This island, located in the Indian ocean, is a fabulous dive spot with mild currents, warm waters and vibrant, colourful marine life. That’s our idea of a tropical getaway!

beach holidays Cubadak island Indonesia

Cubadak island. Photo: Fabio Achilli via Flickr

Hammock happy in Vietnam

Apart from its rice terraces, delicious food and cultural riches, Vibrant Vietnam offers a heavenly coastline, stretching over 3400 kms. Perfect for snorkelling, swimming, sunbathing and sunsets!

Vietnam

Image via Pixabay

An encounter with whales on Palm Island

Only a couple of hours from Nha Trang, Palm Island is pristine snorkeling and diving territory, so it’s easy to grow fins here. Between April and July, whales and whale sharks arrive around the island – keep your fingers crossed for a sighting!

Palm island Vietnam

Photo: Rickshaw Travel

Tai Chi in Nha Trang

Located between Hoi An and Saigon, the coastal city of Nha Trang itself is ideal for R&R. Head a few miles along the coast for those sandy beaches. Feel Zen with a Tai Chi and Qigong lesson. What more could you possibly want? Oh wait, did we mention there’s a luxury spa too?

Nha_Trang vietnam

Photo: Bùi Thụy Đào Nguyên via Wikimedia Commons

Snorkelling in Phu Quoc, Vietnam’s Emerald Island

The heart-shaped Phu Quoc in the Gulf of Thailand is Vietnam’s largest island. Over half of the 574 sq km island is a protected National Park, featuring tropical jungle, rugged mountains, waterfalls and virgin beaches. This is protected marine environment, and the calm sea offers incredible diving, snorkeling and kayaking opportunities. Enjoy a snorkelling adventure among 15 tiny islets (An Thoi islets) that surround Phu Quoc Island. We won’t blame you if you don’t want to return home!

beach holidays phu-quoc-vietnam-island

Phu Quoc. Image via Pixabay

Relax and let Rickshaw Travel plan a beach holiday of a lifetime for you!

 

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