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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Seven of the Best Hidden Beaches in the World | BootsnAll Travel Articles

If you are like me — and admit it, you are — you like being the first in your group to see a new country, to have visited a hotspot before it was hot and to have discovered a gem that is still untouched and untarnished by tourism overkill. Well, cities can be quaint and attractions, charming, but nothing beats the discovery of a new-found beach paradise. So, move over Maui, here are seven of the best hidden beaches in the world, and they are not staying undercover much longer.

Cousine Island, Seychelles

Cousine Island

Looking for a private island where you and seven of your closest friends can spend the days sipping mai tais, exploring near-deserted land and giving back to the environment all at the same time? Then, start picking euros from the money-tree, honey, because Cousine Island, one of the 155 islands that make up the Seychelles Islands in the Indian Ocean, costs a whooping €6,500 per night. Ahhh, but that is a small price to pay for absolute isolation, right?

Only reachable via helicopter, Cousine Island accommodates up to eight people per day in one of their four exclusive island villas, with all of the proceeds from that hefty ransom being used to sustain the island.

Caprera Island in Sardinia, Italy


The Maddalena Archipelago, located on the northeastern end of Sardinia is composed of seven islands and 55 islets that are scattered along the most seducing stretch of sea in the Mediterranean. Caprera Island, which isn’t actually an island since the Passo della Moneta footbridge was built to link it to Maddalena, is most known for the pink granite rocks that adorn its shores.

Nineteenth Century Italian patriot, Giuseppe Garibaldi bought Caprera in 1855 and planted the first pine trees that now cover the land. A century after Garibaldi’s death, Caprera was freed from military restrictions and the area is now fully open to the public. There are no hotels on Caprera but one of the most enchanting ways to see those pink rocks are via a chartered yacht from Scarlino.

Whale Island in Vietnam

whale Island

I’ll give you three guesses what type of marine mammal you’ll see at Whale Island. You guessed it — whales. (Smart readers, aren’t you?) Whale Island, famous for its whale-spotting and coral reef snorkeling, is the type of beach backpackers write home about. Located just two hours north of Nha Trang — and an additional 30 minute boat ride away — Whale Island boasts translucent waters, diverse coral reefs and untamed coconut trees.

Whale Island Resort, the only building standing on this almost-deserted island, promises its guests complete isolation with an injection of Vietnamese charm. Guests can spend their days diving in the waters that spurred Jacques Cousteau’s underwater obsession, snorkeling, windsurfing, sailing or swimming.

Luskentyre Beach in Harris, Scotland


Scotland might not be the place to go if you are looking for a conventional beach vacation … but who wants conventional? The west coast of Harris, Scotland is filled with golden-sand beaches that remind vacationers more of the South Pacific than of Scotland’s Highlands.

Sparsely inhabited, Luskentyre has a few farms and vacation homes, a couple of cemeteries and the best beach views in the UK. The best place to go is where the pebbled beach curves into the vast sand dunes where the North Harris Mountains tower in the distance.

New Chums Beach in New Zealand

New Chums

Forget about taking an airplane or a speed boat to reach this beach, if you want to soak in the sun at New Chums, you are going to have to get dirty. Located in Wainuiototo Bay — 15 kilometers from Coromandel — New Chums Beach is a 40-minute walk from all of the action.

Beach bums in search of the holy grail of unspoiled sand will have to wade through the shallow lagoon of Whangapoua Beach and follow a rocky shoreline for 30 minutes to reach the golden coast of New Chums Beach. Standing proudly like a portrait from your favorite Lost episode, the overgrown pohutukawa trees brush the coastline where the warm, azure waters of the Pacific Ocean meet the untamed kauri-filled forests.

Playón de Mismaloya Beach in Mexico


It’s not the first beach that comes to mind when you think of romantic Mexican nights and tropical seaside vacations, but Playón de Mismaloya, located just 60 miles south of Puerto Vallarta is the type of beach that forces its guests to kick back and relax. That’s right. There is nothing to do at Playón de Mismaloya — and that, they say, is the attraction.

If you are looking for a little action, try celebrity scouting at Hotelito Desconocido, one of the most significant turtle and sea bird reserves in Mexico or hike through the forests in search of one of the many rivers and waterfalls that flow through the region.

Whidbey Island in Washington, USA


If you like your beaches to offer more than gold-toned sands and turquoise waters, then head to Deception Pass State Park in Washington. Deception Pass is a 4,134-acre marine park with more than 77,000 feet of saltwater shoreline and 34,000 feet of freshwater coast.

Visitors can trek among redwood trees or venture over the Deception Pass Bridge and peer into the rocky waters that lie below. The rugged cliffs at Deception Pass are an ideal viewing spot for America’s legendary bald eagles, while sunbathers at Maxwelton Beach can soak in the views of the nearby Olympic Mountains.

Seven of the Best Hidden Beaches in the World | BootsnAll Travel Articles

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