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