Beaches in the Americas
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Once a quiet fishing village, Trancoso has been transformed into a popular tourist destination but has managed to remain its beauty and charm. In the center of the village the old fisherman’s houses have been beautifully renovated into quaint shops and restaurants and at the end of the square sits the perfect white church that overlooks the beaches.
The beaches are long and not too crowded. You can go for long hikes on the beaches, go horseback riding or sip a beer or Caipirinha at a beach bar. If you are lucky you can catch a performance by the locals doing capoeira.
Wild West Coast
Tofino,Vancouver Island, British Columbia
If running off a list of 'beach holiday destinations', Canada would probably be near the bottom of the list. But with more coastline than any other country on Earth, it would be logical that Canada has some darn fine beaches. And they don't come much finer than those in Pacific Rim National Park on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. The village of Tofino was once, not long ago, a tiny rain-soaked fishing village at the end of the Trans-Canada Highway. But these days, the ultra-cool surfer hippie scene has taken over. The waves, along the seemingly endless stream of pristine beaches, are finally attracting world wide attention. Although the summer is the busiest season, a visit during the wintery rainy season can be cool too. And storm watchers are rewarded with some of the wildest weather conditions.
This small settelment is the laid back alternative to popular beach town of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. Here in Cahuita the Afro-Caribbean people still outnumber the expats and the parque central consists of one big tree. The attractions is the few dusty roads and the long gorgeous coast line. The biggest decision will be whether to take a stroll in the black sand at Playa Negra north of town or explore the white sand in Parque Nacional Cahuita in the south end of town. And if it all gets too stressful, do as the town sloth, find a shady place and chill out.
12 km from Trinidad
This long stretch of white sand is a worthy contender for being the best beach on the south coast, but it is not as drop-dead gorgeous as some of the northern ones. You can choose to lick up the sun at the resort sprawled section where sunbeds and parasols are on offer, or you can wander off to the deserted eastern part if you want a bit of solitude and Robinson Crusoe vibe. The trip from Trinidad through the village of La Boca to Ancón can easily be done by bicycle and it is a pretty journey, particularly the part along the coast.
Playas del Este
Bus ride from Havana
Playas del Este is the most accessible stretch of beach from Havana. Some locals, and tourists alike, will probably claim that the holiday ghettos of Varadero and Cayo Coco have the best beaches, but Playas del Este isn't any less gorgeous with its white sand and swaying palms. The few resorts that are here are old and ugly, but there are plenty of beach shacks serving food and drinks. The crowd is mostly locals and day trippers from Havana giving the beach scene an "authentic" feel that is lost at the tourist enclaves further east.
Playa El Requeson, Bahia Concepcion, Baja California
The coastline along the Bahia Concepcion is dotted with beautiful beaches, some more difficult to reach than other. The most breathtaking is probably El Requeson beach, nestled on sandy point, which provide a bridge to an small offshore island at low tide. The water is milky blue and the warm sand is pearl white. Another beautiful beach, La Perla, can be found a walk further south. Other beaches worth exploring are: Playa Santispac, Playa los Cocos, Playa el Burro, Playa Santa Barbara, and Playa Armenta.
Tulum Maya Ruins
These small unremarkable ruins would have been rather unimpressive if it wasn't for the absolutely amazing settings. Located on shear cliffs above the turquoise Caribbean sea and overlooking a narrow beach surely make them one of the most exotic archaeological site in the world. Sunburned tourists on tours from the resorts further north can swarm the place, so come early in the morning or in the late afternoon. The stretch of white beaches south of the ruins was once a backpacker Mecca, but the simple cabanas now come at high prices. The location though is still fabulous with white sand, swaying palms and cool Coronas.
Playa Zipolite, Oaxaca State
Zipolite and the surrounding beaches are an interesting mix of old school hippies, sun-soaked locals and backpackers who are trying to escape the bigger, over-grown crowds of Alcapulco and Cabo San Lucas. The drug laws are more relaxed in this area of the country and it is not uncommon to hear Bob Marley or The Doors blasting out of the beach side restaurants at night. The coastline is home to number of whales and turtles and up until 1990, a slaughterhouse was still operational, however now has been turned into a wildlife sanctuary and museum. With the beach facing directly west the surf and the currents can become quite treacherous during some months of the year. But this does not stop visitors to this famously nudist beach baring there all and casually walking up and down the sand, letting it all hang out. San Agustinillo and Mazunte are great beaches further down the road with a less liberal attitude to nudity if that’s what you’re looking for.
San Juan del Sur
Pacific Ocean side
San Juan del Sur is Nicaragua's best bet for a cool beach vibe. It is a place for surfers - and people who wish they were. Surf beaches like Playa Madera and Playa Marsella can be found further north and the surf is equal to that in Costa Rica, minus the overcrowding. If you get sick of just sitting around the beach, there is a nature reserve 30 minutes to the north that has great wildlife and a forest restoration site which is good to support. If you are lucky you might get a good look at a Sloth. The town itself is located in a sheltered bay with a wide beach and calm water. Nothing much is happening here (beside looking at beautiful Nicaraguan women), but maybe that is the point.
Pacific Ocean side
There seems to be some universal need to get away from the hustle and bustle of the everyday urban life, and Panama is no different. While the country offers a number of possible escapes, there are none more convenient than the tiny island of Taboga. At a mere 20 km of the coast of downtown Panama City, the island of Taboga provides an easy option for some sun, surf and fresh air. El Calypso ferry runs to and from the island a couple of times a day, making a day trip simple. For those wishing a little more time away, a few boutique hotels and restaurants provide the essentials for a romantic island getaway. With water sports, military ruins and decent beaches, Taboga is the easy urban diversion.