My Favorite Beaches in the World

I've seen a fair amount of beaches during my time traveling. To steal a cheesy line from Corona, I'm always trying to "find my beach". It's a task that will probably never end - let's face it, there are a LOT of amazing beaches out there - but I have came across a few stretches of sand and palm trees where I instantly knew that I had found it.

Here's a list of my favorites (so far) and a couple that are high on my list that you may or may not even have known existed.

Manuel Antonio
Whether you chose to visit the Pacific or Caribbean side, Costa Rica is a land full of beautiful coastlines and famous beach towns. The beaches in Manuel Antonio National Park are nothing short of idyllic, postcard worthy material. Walking onto Playa Espadilla in the park was one of those moments where instantly knew that I found my beach. Surrounded by a rain forest filled with monkeys and sloths, I knew this was paradise. Playa gemelas, also within the park was a smaller, more remote beach, but incredibly beautiful in its own right. I also was nearly robbed by a couple of angry monkeys here which only adds to the story.

Ipanema Beach 
Beaches of Rio
I don't want to pick two beaches from Rio de Janeiro, although I easily could. Copacabana is a huge beach and while beautiful, I felt that Ipanema was slightly more spectacular nestled in between Rio's iconic mountains. It's a massive expanse of sand, populated with thousands of tourists and locals at nearly every hour of the day. It's also right next to Arpoador, which is probably the coolest place in Rio to watch a sunset. (Seriously, it's so good the locals even gather on the rocks here, so take a seat with them and enjoy the show with a caipirinha in hand!) If you're looking for a peaceful beach, this isn't it. Ipanema is full of the life and energy that Rio has become famous for. I loved walking the boardwalk with a fresh coconut water in hand, taking in every little thing that made this place so unique.
Exploring the rocks of Arpoador before sunset

Hanging out on Praia do Sono
Praia do Sono
I have to include another Brazilian entry just because of the setting. This beach requires you to hike about an hour through a fairly primitive trail in the rain forest to an extremely remote beach community where just a handful of people live. Not only does the little beach community transport you back in time, but this place is a little slice of heaven completely cut off from the rest of Brazil. The adventure getting there, along with the peacefulness of the location and the big waves crashing in make this an unforgettable place.

La Arena on the Canary Islands
I wanted to include one black sand beach, but narrowing it down was tough. There were a couple of gorgeous ones on Santorini, but I'm going with Tenerife's Playa la Arena. It was only about as big as a football field, but found itself nestled in a quaint little cove. The waves were decent and it was just beautiful in a different way. I also nearly roasted my feet off on the volcanic sand...this stuff gets insanely hot after absorbing sunlight all day!

Playa Maderas
In Nicaragua, the area around San Juan del Sur is a beach lover's paradise. The one in the middle of town was pretty but nothing spectacular. 15 minutes outside of town, however, is the truly photogenic and spectacular Playa Maderas. It's not my absolute favorite in the world, but it's one of those beaches where you just want to go for a long walk and just forget about the world.

Honorable mention: Playa delfin
I try to avoid tourist traps, but Playa Delfin in Cancun's hotel zone is a truly beautiful beach no matter how you slice it. It's huge, but not necessarily overly crowded and the water is in multiple shades of beautiful blues, contrasting with the gorgeous white sand. I'm not recommending going to Cancun, but this is one pretty beach.

Next on my list

Cies Islands
A little while back, the Islas Cies, off the coast of Spain, won an award for having the best beach in the world (specifically on the island of Rodas). The best part? It's essentially a wilderness - no skyscrapers, only a handful of tourists and just a few shops/restaurants. It's mostly foot traffic and camping here. This just might be the coolest place in Spain that no one goes to. It's so pristine, you can't even throw away trash on the island, it has to be taken back to the mainland with you! It might be a little primitive for some - I, for one, can't wait to cross this off my bucket list.

Reynisdrangar Rock Beach in Iceland
This is one I want to see for the scenery more than soaking up the rays. Located in Iceland, this unique beach is home to some of the strangest rock formations one will ever come across. It's famous for a section of odd basalt pillars stacked up on top of each other right along the beach. I'd love to explore here for a while. Oh, Iceland how I can't wait to meet you...

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