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Where to see the world’s most extraordinary beaches

Written by Fiona

April 01 2019

Summer is fast approaching and it is time to start planning your holiday. If you love a beach, whether it is for relaxing, strolling or the basis of a watersports activity, this article suggests where to discover some of the world’s most extraordinary beaches.

When white beaches are too basic

Pristine white beaches are fabulous but we have all seen so many on social media networks, and especially Instagram. How about a burst of colour at the beach instead?

1. Green Sand Beach

There are only four beaches in the world that have green sand. Visit Papakōlea Beach in Hawaii and make your friends go green with envy!

Papakōlea Beach, South Point, Ka’u, Hawaii

Fifty thousand years ago, a volcanic eruption transformed this stretch of coast into a stunning green beach. The lava contained olivine, a green mineral also known as the “Hawaiian Diamond”.

Surrounded by volcanic cliffs rich in olivine, this mineral has been deposited on the beach for centuries, creating this rare phenomenon.

2. Pink Sand Beach

Imagine watching the sun rise and set on a pink beach. This is one breathtaking scene you wouldn’t want to miss out on.

Pink Sand Beach, Harbour Island, Bahamas.

The beautiful pastel pink colour is created from microscopic animals called Foraminifera. In particular, the red Foraminifera that grows beneath the coral reef is responsible for giving the sandy beaches of Harbour island a pinkish glow. Bring along an amazing unicorn float and wait for the sunset to get an Insta-worthy shot!

3. Purple Sand Beach

While sand is usually composed of quartz, the Pfeiffer Beach has stretches of sand with large concentrations of garnet, giving off a lovely purple hue.

Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur, California, USA

The vibrant purple sands are more visible after storms, so don’t be too disappointed if it’s a little underwhelming at first. It’s worth noting that this beach, further north, is also popular with nude sunbathers (just so you are prepared!).

4. Black Sand Beach

Go gothic with the most famous black sand beach in Iceland, Reynisfjara Shore. As the waves pound against the shore, walk on black sand as dark as midnight while towering basaltic columns rise from the fog.

This eerie beach is definitely not your usual tropical paradise. In fact, Hades might make it his playground.

Reynisfjara Shore, Vik, Iceland

Located near the Katla volcano, the black sand was formed when molten lava entered the ice-cold waters. But what makes Reynisfjara Shore so special? Its sandy beaches are in the rainiest part of Iceland, so it is always wet, giving the sand its pitch black colour.

5. Bioluminescent Beach

Sandy toes and salty kisses, this beach is the perfect romantic getaway. Walk into a sea of glowing stars with your significant other when you visit Vaadhoo Island in the Maldives.

Vaadhoo Island, Raa Atoll, Maldives

This glow is produced by tiny microorganisms, a specific type of plankton that emits light as a defence mechanism against predators. As long languorous waves break against the shore, the sea glows a vibrant enchanting blue.

Shrouded in Secrecy

Hidden in the secret pockets of nature, utopias are waiting to be unveiled. Embark on a whole new adventure to explore these beach gems.

1. Hidden Beach

Enclosed in a perfect circle with 6ft tall walls, Playa de Amor is located in Marieta Islands, Mexico. Also known as Hidden Beach, this secluded paradise is only accessible via a long water tunnel that connects the beach to the Pacific Ocean.

Visitors have to swim or kayak, which is the perfect chance to spot the beautiful wildlife in the area. Sea turtles and giant manta rays abound in this hidden haven, along with the occasional sighting of humpback whales.

Playa de Amor, Marieta Islands, Mexico. Credit: Luis Carlos Soria Contreras

Its obscure origins feed into the mystery of the beach. Described as “The World’s most idyllic bomb site” by the Daily Mail, this picturesque beach is rumoured to be formed by a test bombing by the Mexican government. A rare moment where nature and man collide to produce beauty, rather than destruction.

2. Hide and Seek Beach

As the waves gently lap at your feet, watch the golden sand beneath you gradually disappear. Mystified visitors are awestruck by this strange phenomenon, which is actually caused by the changing tides.

Endearingly nicknamed as Odisha’s Hide and Seek beach, the shoreline can recede up to 5kms at low tide. Embrace your inner mermaid and feel the magic of walking right out into the sea.

Chandipur Beach, Odisha, India. Credit: Subhasisa Panigahi

A daily occurrence on the sandy beaches of Chandipur, the dramatic high and low tide has brought marine life further inland, leading to a prospering fishing industry. You can also feast on a wide variety of fresh seafood from top restaurants along the coast.

Exciting Escapades

These beaches are home to some unusual natural wonders.

1. Paddling with porkers

Imagine swimming with pigs! You can if you visit the Bahamas. On a sandy stretch of the beach, the star attraction are these snorting creatures. They made a stunning Hollywood debut on The Bachelor and now the pigs are loving their newfound fame.

The friendly pigs will paddle right up to you asking for treats. You’re more than welcome to swim and feed the pigs.

Pig Beach, Big Major Cay, Exuma, Bahamas

However, these pigs are not native inhabitants of the island. No one knows how they ended up on Big Major Cay. Tales of pirates and shipwreck weave a fantastic story of adventure on the high seas, while a businessman has even come forward to state that he had tried to start a pig farm on the island. No matter as the pigs have become a major tourist attraction.

2. Soaking in a seaside spa bath

Hot Water Beach, Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand.

Dig your own hot spring on a beach in the Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand. The volcanic activity in the area has created a natural geothermic beach that provides a unique experience for tourists and locals alike.

Two hours before or after the low tide is the perfect timing to start digging. Visitors can rent spades for a small fee and then bathing in the fruits of their labour.

How many of these beaches might you add to your bucket list? And when will you visit? Perhaps this summer?

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