Rincón de Guayabitos, Mexico
As the solar was setting on my first day in Rincón de Guayabitos, I used to be shocked to see humpback whales surfacing to clear their blowholes nearby of the shore. Like the whales, I come again yearly, drawn by Guayabitos’s excellent seafood and its heat and delicate waters.
A small city midway up Mexico’s Pacific coast, Guayabitos is an affordable, genuine and energetic vacation spot that pulls many home vacationers however comparatively few overseas guests. Mariachis and indigenous Huichol musicians roam the sands, providing to serenade sunbathers for a modest payment, whereas passing distributors promote ceviche, coconuts and tropical fruits. Others supply beautiful skewers of freshly caught tuna, or prawns grilled in a smoky marinade and doused with scorching sauce and lime juice – don’t go away with out making an attempt them.
The greatest place to remain is Cabañas del Capitán, a vibrant beachside lodge with two swimming pools, an out of doors jacuzzi and immaculate palm-lined gardens (doubles from £35 an evening, household suites from £50). Tour operators will take guests to discover close by islands and see the whales up shut (solely in winter months), however those that simply need to sit again and laze can crack open a chilly Pacífico lager and admire the pelicans diving into the surf.
Fly to Puerto Vallarta with Tui from £758. Bus switch to Rincón de Guayabitos 1hr 45min
Flight time 12hr 15min
Time distinction -6hrs
Hiriketiya Bay, Sri Lanka
I used to swim at “Hiri” lengthy earlier than you can eat or sleep at this deep, horseshoe-shaped bay close to Dickwella, on Sri Lanka’s southern coast. Set sufficient of a distance off the principle Matara to Tangalle coastal street to be largely off-radar, it has Crusoe-like palm-shaded strands and delicate cobalt surf that guarantees year-round swimming. It remained a secret for years, besides amongst in-the-know surfers (it’s acquired an important left-point break) and the native fishing neighborhood.
Over the previous couple of years, hipsters, yogis, surfers and households in search of a quieter and extra genuine different to the overblown seashores of Unawatuna and Mirissa have sought Hiri’s still-rustic allure, picture-postcard setting and delicate surf, although this hasn’t but tipped the steadiness. Most lodging is about properly again from the seashore, hidden beneath coconut palms, and is inexpensive, starting from fundamental dorm beds to personal villas with swimming pools.
Soulful Salt House, a convivial guesthouse a couple of minutes’ stroll from the seashore, is a superb place to remain (rooms from £60, together with breakfast, yoga and surfboard rent). Its eight jungle- or garden-view rooms (together with a two-bedroom household condominium) are easy but fashionable, its cafe serves nutritious home-cooked meals (assume wholesome salads, superfood smoothies, seafood and gelato), and there’s every day yoga.
Fly to Colombo from £777 with Sri Lankan Airways. Bus switch to Dickwella 2hr 53min
Flight time 10hr 30min
Time distinction +5hr 30min
Keurboomstrand, South Africa
Somewhere on the planet there could be a extra stunning seashore than Keurboomstrand, 10km east of Plettenberg Bay on the Western Cape, however I’ve visited a couple of stunning seashores in my time and am but to be satisfied.
Plettenberg Bay is South Africa’s reply to the Hamptons, and Keurbooms is seemingly limitless, wild and pristine – it feels misplaced in time.
I’m an inveterate strandloper (beachcomber) and like to seek for pansy shells and uncommon paper nautiluses alongside its shore. Even throughout excessive season, I’ve solely ever shared the seashore with the occasional canine walker, fisherman or oystercatcher. Almost each time I’ve wandered alongside the sand, I’ve seen pods of about 100 bottlenose dolphins leaping by the crystal clear waves. Bryde’s whales are in residence all year long, whereas humpback and southern proper whales carry their calves to play throughout winter. On one event, I counted eight pairs of moms and infants, from the highest of the dune, as I drank my morning espresso.
The Plett River Lodge, on the banks of the river that reaches the ocean by way of the lagoon, is relaxed and extremely rated (doubles from £62).
Keurbooms’ single flaw is its infamous rip present – this isn’t a swimming seashore. But the lagoon behind the seashore is as secure and heat as any within the Caribbean or Indian Ocean. For youngsters, or those that desire a delicate wallow, the lagoon seashore at Pootjie (Little Paw) is perfection.
When uninterested in the ocean, take a ship tour up the river to Whiskey Creek. There, early birds can declare white, sandy seashores for a picnic, and there are rocky cliffs from which daring youngsters and adults can leap into the copper-coloured water that offers the creek its title.
The bijou Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve boasts the Big Five, and is 10 minutes’ drive up the Wittedrift street. There’s an honest, 18-hole Gary Player-designed golf course at Goose Valley. Also within the bay, Ristorante Enrico serves contemporary seafood caught every day off the proprietor’s boat and affords a jaw-dropping view of the bay at sundown. I additionally love Emily Moon for its glamorous meals, scrumptious grapefruit, gin and tonics, and romantic views of the Bitou river. Thyme & Again is the neighbourhood’s iconic roadside farm stall: it has a wonderful deli, a salad dressing famend throughout the nation, an informal restaurant and complex collection of cheese and wines.
Fly to Port Elizabeth by way of Jo’burg with South African Airways from £644. Transfer to Plettenburg 2hr 45min
Flight time 11hr 10min
Time distinction +2hr
Quy Nho’n, Vietnam
Sitting between the busy coastal hotspots of Nha Trang and Hoi An, Quy Nho’n is a comparatively unknown, quiet seashore city. The intense resort growth seen within the nation’s extra well-liked seaside places has but to succeed in this area, making for a laidback environment and the right place for a relaxed getaway.
Despite its humble trendy look, for hundreds of years the realm round Quy Nho’n was as soon as the centre of the Cham empire, which dominated what’s in the present day southern Vietnam. The most seen reminders of this era are the Thap Doi towers, in a small park within the metropolis, that are properly price a go to.
Quy Nho’n’s residential and industrial areas run proper as much as the lengthy, broad, sandy seashore, which curves round a bay, with low hills seen to the north. A serious avenue separates the seashore from the city, and there are a couple of cafes and bars proper on the sand.
About 15km south of Quy Nho’n is Bai Xep, reachable by bus, taxi or motorcycle. This tiny city is home to an up-and-coming travel neighborhood that slows the tempo down even additional. There are few higher methods to take pleasure in a seashore in Vietnam than whiling away the times with contemporary seafood and an ice-cold beer beside the waves right here. The eateries in Bai Xep’s fishing village supply related menus – a complete grilled fish is at all times a sensible choice.
My most well-liked place to remain is Haven Guesthouse (B&B doubles from £24 an evening), which affords easy, pleasant lodging proper on the seashore. It affords snorkelling journeys to close by islands (£four every, minimal 4 individuals) the place the water is clearer and you may see all types of vibrant fish and sea creatures. Don’t anticipate the large coral formations of the Philippines or Indonesia, however that is nice snorkelling for Vietnam.
Fly to Ho Chi Minh from £460 with Vietnam Airlines. Transfer 12hr by bus or 1hr 10min flight
Flight time 12hr
Time distinction +7hr
Rosario Islands, Cartagena, Colombia
Bendita Beach is the type of powder-white, paradise seashore you normally solely see in adverts and desires. It takes up most of tiny, uninhabited Isla Arena, with a couple of palm bushes giving some shade on the coronary heart of the island.
My mum and I – she was visiting from England – toasted our nice discover with mojitos from a freshly hewn coconut on the makeshift seashore bar, which is the one construction on the island, other than the few tables that make up the restaurant.
It’s one of many 30 Rosario Islands round 20 miles west of Cartagena (a one-hour boat experience). They’re an important alternative for a peaceable escape. Despite their magnificence, they appeal to far fewer vacationers than nearer mainland seashores, akin to Playa Blanca, and islands nearer to the town, akin to Tierra Bomba.
It’s not attainable to remain on Isla Arena, however it’s an important day-trip from Hotel San Pedro de Majagua on Isla Grande, a 15-minute boat experience away.
The lodge affords tranquility and well-equipped cabana-rooms overlooking the ocean, with thatched roofs and marble loos. It has two small, sandy seashores and is a good base to discover the island (doubles/triples from £160, however it’s price a name as they provide good reductions, together with the worth of the hour-long boat journey from Cartagena).
There are considerably cheaper eco-hotel choices on the identical island, within the Paraiso Secreto lodge neighbourhood, such because the colonial-style Fulano Secret Paradise (dorm beds from £18, doubles from £40).
Isla Grande is sufficiently small to stroll the entire approach round in a few hours; attempt to go to the lagoon at sundown. Private or shared boats ferry guests to the islands from Cartagena’s vacationer wharf.
Fly to Cartagena by way of Bogota from £770 with Avianca
Flight time 14hr
Time distinction -5hr
Grande-Anse seashore, Guadeloupe
We stumbled throughout the majestic Grand-Anse seashore by chance, having taken a mistaken flip off Guadeloupe’s predominant west-coast street on the Basse-Terre half of the island. Though we realised our mistake inside a couple of minutes of selecting our approach alongside a rutted street with coconut bushes and sea-grape bushes urgent in on us, we continued and have been rewarded with a 1km, crescent-shaped expanse of magnificent positive sand and tranquil, crystal-clear water.
As we got here to find, there are simpler methods to succeed in Grand-Anse. At the opposite finish of the seashore, there are cafes, eating places and meals vehicles serving a mix of mouth-watering French and Guadeloupian delicacies. A must-try is the nationwide favorite, bokit: freshly fried dough, sliced open and full of fish, meat, hen or greens, topped with salad and smothered in a do-it-yourself sauce that ranges from gentle to extraordinarily scorching. Those who try the recent sauce can cool the style buds down with one other native favorite – creamy coconut ice-cream, hand-churned on the spot.
Tucked away on a hillside, surrounded by lush vegetation, Habitation Grande Anse is 5 minutes’ stroll from the seashore and is a good place to remain (tropically styled studio residences for 2 to seven, from £110). Breakfast is accessible, and the on-site restaurant opens for lunch and dinner. For Death in Paradise followers, the charming village of Deshaies, the place the present is shot, is only a 20-minute stroll away.
Beyond the village, there’s the Jardin Botanique de Deshaies, with its dazzling tropical wildlife. And a couple of kilometres additional down the coast is La Maison du Cacao, a small cocoa farm and museum the place guests find out how cocoa is became chocolate, and pattern chocolate merchandise – and its liqueur is to die for.
Guadelouple made a swift restoration after Hurricane Maria and all seashores and motels are open. See guadeloupe-islands.com for extra info.
Fly to Guadeloupe by way of Paris from £610 with Air France
Flight time 11hr 30min
Time distinction -4hr
Kirra, Gold Coast, Australia
Queensland’s Gold Coast typically conjures glitzy and over-the-top scenes within the celebration strip of Surfers Paradise, however 25km away, on the southern tip, the azure waters are lined by quieter suburbs which have the texture of a lazy seashore city however with the perks of a metropolis.
Kirra is my favorite place in Australia, because of a mix of excellent old style sentimentality and real gorgeousness. The beachside suburb was the primary place I lived, eight years in the past, with my then-boyfriend, now-husband. We would spend mornings soaking within the ocean earlier than work and college, at instances recognizing dolphins frolicking simply metres away.
Now after I go to (annually on the very least) we keep in Kirra Beach Apartments, which has massive balconies and breezy rooms (from A$130 an evening for a one-bedroom condominium). It’s across the nook from a implausible bakery and a few cafes, with the seashore only a five-minute stroll away.
We sink schooners at Kirra Surf Club, overlooking the ocean, and stroll across the hill to the buzzing restaurant strip of Coolangatta, which is bursting with Mexican, Japanese, burger and pizza locations, and our favorite – the Greek Xenia Grill.
After dinner there are pubs to spherical off the night time – I like to recommend the Cooly – and the Rattle Snake nightclub, or a cinema, earlier than doing the entire lazy routine once more the following day.
Fly to Brisbane from £518 with Air China by way of Beijing
Flight time 35hr 30min
Time distinction +10hr
Bang Saen, Thailand
I’m a metropolis boy at coronary heart, however generally the warmth, site visitors and normal mayhem of Bangkok can take their toll. The excellent antidote is Bang Saen, about two hours’ drive south-east of the town. Most travellers shoot straight previous it on their approach to glitzier, seedier Pattaya however, fortunately for me, after I arrived in Thailand 4 years in the past, buddies within the know launched me to the low-key charms of this sleepy college city.
Foreigners are few and much between, save for a small neighborhood of retired Scandinavians who jokingly check with themselves because the Vikings. On weekends, the place comes alive with Thai households who play on the lengthy, sandy seashores, lounge in cosy cafes and gorge on plentiful contemporary seafood. Personally, I desire weekday getaways, after I can stroll alongside the coast and fake to have the place to myself.
My first cease is Wangmook Seafood Restaurant (65 Thanon Saensook, +66 38 191 818), which has been serving scrumptious lonpu (coconut crab dip), orsuan (tender oyster omelette) and gaeng pa plahedkhon (native whiting in curry soup) for nearly 30 years.
No journey to Bang Saen could be full with no go to to the Buddhist monastery of Wang Saen Suk, also referred to as Hell Garden, the most important of its variety in Thailand (+66 89 690 3914). Luridly graphic statues labelled with useful indicators in Thai and English pair up sins akin to intoxication and blasphemy with the suitable punishment within the subsequent world. Eternal evisceration and dismemberment are among the many extra lenient sentences depicted.
With a full stomach and the roster of my worldly sins to ponder, I lay my head down on the Coco Beach Resort, which opened in 2015 (doubles from £34 B&B). Rooms are trendy (learn: no disagreeable surprises), beds are cozy, and its spot reverse the seashore is prime.
Fly to Bangkok from £500 with Thai Airways
Flight time 11hr 30min
Time distinction +7hr
Tanjung Rhu, Langkawi, Malaysia
When I first visited the Langkawi archipelago there have been simply coconut bushes, sandy seashores, paddy fields and barely a lodge in sight. Today, of all of the resorts alongside Malaysia’s shoreline, nonetheless nothing compares to those 99 islets within the Andaman Sea that sit simply off Penang.
The predominant island (additionally known as Langkawi) has clearly modified and been developed; the energetic Pantai Cenang seashore is full of backpacker and price range stays, seafood eating places and funky bars, whereas there may be loads of alternative for these with more money to splash, such because the award-winning Bonton Resort (doubles from £150 B&B). But one seashore stays idyllic, peaceable and unspoilt: the three-mile white sand of Tanjung Rhu, searching on jungle-clad limestone pinnacles that stand up out of the water.
Visiting once more just lately, I found Sunset Bay Cottage (doubles from £30 room solely). Khairul Fadzin has constructed three cottages within the backyard of his household’s home, with minimalist rooms on the seashore with air con and free wifi. For breakfast, there are native stalls close by promoting specialities akin to nasi lemak (spicy coconut rice) and roti canai (flatbread).
Tanjung Rhu can be a wonderful base for water sports activities and boat journeys to snorkel, scuba dive, island hop or discover Langkawi’s distinctive mangrove ecostructure. And, accompanied by an ice-cold Tiger beer, the seashore sundown is breathtaking.
Fly to Langkawi by way of Kuala Lumpur from £520 with Malaysia Airlines.
Flight time 16hr
Time distinction +8hr
Velas, Maharashtra, India
Stretching 450 miles south from Mumbai, west India’s Konkan coast is dotted with unspoilt seashores and fortified cities, providing a really totally different expertise to the celebration seashores of Goa at Konkan’s southern tip.
One such seashore is Velas, famed for its conservation of endangered olive ridley turtles, which lay their eggs on the seashore in November and December. Overseen by the NGO Sahyadri Nisarga Mitra in collaboration with villagers, the turtles are intently protected throughout egg laying and hatching. When I visited, a crowd of 100 cheered because the little hatchlings emerged from the golden-black sand and began their journey in direction of the Arabian Sea.
Velas is so small it has no motels or visitor homes however a homestay will be organized by Sahyadri Nisarga Mitra from £6-£12 – an effective way to get a style of native village life. Buses run from Mumbai and take about six hours.
Alternatively, guests can take the Konkan railway, one in all India’s nice feats of engineering, which runs inland throughout rivers, previous paddy fields and thru mountains, on its approach between Mumbai and Kerala by way of Goa. The nearest railway station is Mangaon, 50 miles away. From there you may take a taxi (2hr 30min, about £18).
Fly to Mumbai from £485 with BA
Flight time 9hr 30min
Time distinction +5hr 30min