I don’t consider myself a huge beach person. Usually a day or two lying around is enough for me and then I’m ready to do something more active. I can appreciate a beautiful beach though and I have visited some stunning ones as well as ones that offer something a bit different. So here are my favourite, lesser-known beaches around the world.
Agiofarago Beach, Crete
This was a bit of an accidental discovery that we found while looking for hiking paths near where we were staying on Crete. We came across this walk through a gorge which ended up on a little beach. After a treacherous drive down a gravel road with thousands of pot holes we made it to the final car park and began our 'hike' through the gorge. It was late spring and the gorge was full of wild flowers and the odd mountain goat. There is also an old church along the way. After about 30mins we came to the bay which was almost empty and provided a picturesque little spot to have a cooling swim and enjoy the picnic we had packed.
Hot Water Beach, New Zealand
Located on the Coromandel Peninsula, this is a beach with a difference. Bring along a shovel and dig yourself a person-sized hole and watch as it fills with hot water. This happens because of the hot springs under the surface which come up through the sand 2 hours either side of low tide. Then sit back and enjoy the stunning scenery from your own personal spa bath!
Muri Beach, Cook Islands
This was my first ever snorkelling experience and as far as snorkelling goes this was not a bad place to start. For those of you not from that part of the world, the Cook Islands are a group of islands in the Pacific (kind of) near New Zealand, the largest of which is Rarotonga. This beautiful island is surrounded by a lagoon and has some gorgeous stretches of sand. One of the most popular is Muri beach as it is near the widest and deepest part of the lagoon. A perfect area for snorkelling, swimming, kayaking and reading in the sun. Definitely on my list of places to return.
This one is cheating a little as I never fully enjoyed it due to a hurricane that had hit a couple of days earlier. This beach is home to some Aztec ruins and on a nice day you can enjoy the beautiful turquoise waters as a stop off on your walk around the ruins. Unfortunately the beach was closed when I was there but the view was pretty amazing and had it been less windy I would have been in for a dip. Further up the coast Akumal beach is much busier but you can swim with hundreds of giant turtles that also enjoy the warm, clear waters.
Playa Jutias, Cuba
This beach was a bit of a mission to get to but well worth the trip. It was the first beach I visited in the Caribbean and it set a pretty high standard! The easiest way to get there is with a shared taxi from Vinales (aprox $15 return). It takes about an hour down some very bumpy roads but ends in beautiful white sand and clear turquoise waters. The first part of the beach has a restaurant and a small bar and can get pretty busy but the further along you go the more peaceful it gets. At one point the beach becomes covered with dried out mangrove trees which give it a more ‘deserted island’ feel and are fun to climb around on. There are umbrellas that you can pay for or just use the trees further along the beach for free.
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