The cold weather is among us in full force. For many in the Northern Hemisphere, this can be a dreadful time since it’s chilly and they can’t visit some of the best beaches in San Diego and elsewhere. Our vitamin D levels tend to drop as we receive fewer daytime hours and our motivation to get out decreases as we recede to the warm comforts of our homes right after work; both of which consequentially can contribute to the winter blues.
But on the bright side, this is also the best season to travel to some of the top beach destinations around the world! As the weather remains cool in the northern hemisphere, most tropical destinations are receiving less rain, clouds, and humidity while maintaining sunny, warm beautiful weather. If you’re suffering from winter sadness, maybe it’s time to take a break and plan a tropical beach getaway.
I asked avid travelers from around the world for recommendations on their favorite tropical beaches with the clearest waters and was inundated with passionate responses and advice on hundreds of beaches. With the help of these ardent world trotters, I put together a bucket list of ten unique and clear-water beaches in the world with clear waters. Starting in…
Dahab Beach, Egypt
By Darren & Shelly of FindingBeyond
When travelers think of an Egyptian beach destination, the brash Sharm el Sheikh will spring to the majority of minds. But just an hour drive North along the coast is a peaceful town called Dahab with laid-back hammock swinging vibes. Dahab has some of the clearest waters in the world for swimming, snorkeling, and diving.
This is the Red Sea, a world famous ocean for its abundance of live coral teeming with marine life. There are several snorkeling/diving locations in and around Dahab that attract travelers from all over the world. The waters here are so clean and clear that coral and fish populate the waters just straight off the shore; so no boat trips are needed to see it. Just jump right in off the beach shore to swim with thousands of tropical fish.
In town, a number of colorful coffee shops and restaurants line the shore where the calm waters lap against their foundations. So you can be drinking a beer one minute, then be swimming with Nemo the next. You have to be there to believe it.
Scuba divers: check out Scuba Diving Gear 101
MICHAMVI BEACH, ZANZIBAR
By Alexxa Walker of RAW TRVL
Bahia de Las Aguilas (Eagles Bay), Dominican Republic
By G. Isabelle of DominicanAbroad
I’ve been to over 35 different countries and dozens of beach destinations around the world. Bahia de las Aguilas is by far (hands down) the best beach I’ve ever laid eyes upon. Its waters are so blue, so deep, and so pure that as I submerged myself into the shallow bright sea, I wanted to drink, inhale, and be embraced inside and out by its hypnotic beauty.
This piercing blue, crystalline beach is located on the government protected bay of Jaragua National park. We had 14 kilometers of white sand beach all to ourselves without another soul in sight. This is probably because reaching the isolated beach is usually done by local boat after a 4×4 wheel drive. It may not be an easy beach destination to reach, but it is absolutely worth it because in addition to this beach, exploring the southwestern Dominican peninsula is always a treat. This area is full of off-the-beaten-path local gems away from commercialization and mass tourism. Please remember not to touch or interfere with the wildlife here; especially the starfish.
Boston Beach, Portland, Jamaica
By Nicolas of TheJamaicanAbroad
An off-the-beaten-path gem in the beautiful parish of Portland, Jamaica, Boston Beach remains a favorite among locals. Its clear blue waters and swim-friendly depths are perfect for divers and snorkelers alike. Likewise, Boston Beach is also a great option for surfing, due to its central position in the breathtakingly beautiful Boston Bay.
Even on a weekend, Boston Beach is virtually empty, and you’ll be lucky to find company other than some souvenir vendors. While parts of the beach may be rocky, it’s generally sandy and is one of the only beaches where powdery white sands can be found.
As a local Jamaican, Boston Beach is a personal favorite of mine as it is the perfect getaway that brings a calming and spacious atmosphere without having to rush or fight for a spot on the beach. It would be remiss of me to not recommend it, as no matter how many times I’ve visited, it still feels the same: unspoiled and untrodden.
Exuma Cays, Bahamas
By Dereck Ramirez of TrekWithDerk
The Exuma Cays is the highlight of every trip to the Bahamas. But, what makes it so special? You can swim with the Exuma pigs! It’s where tourists can interact with wild pigs on the sandy, crystal water beaches of the Bahamas. However, getting here is quite the journey. It takes driving for a half an hour to the docks and a fun one hour boat ride to the beaches. But, it’s worth the long voyage, for you spend time with both small baby piglets and unbelievably humongous pigs that swim freely in the ocean.
Visiting this beach brought warmth to my heart as I played with the friendly pigs that swam with me in knee length water. It’s a beautiful bonding experience, frolicking with these beautiful animals in the gorgeous Bahamas as the sun sparkles over the crystal clear water and the sand hugs your toes.
Cala Macarellata, Menorca, Spain
By Vanessa of WanderlustPlusOne
Cala Macarellata is an idyllic cove with fine white sand where the sea is a calm pool of turquoise water, reminiscent of the
Potami Beach, Himare, Albania
Not many people think of Albania when they dream of visiting a beautiful beach, but the Albanian coast, along with the Adriatic sea, has one beautiful beach after another. One of my favorite coastal cities I visited was Himare. The city itself wraps around one, continuous coastline, but the southernmost area, Potami Beach was the cleanest, clearest, and least crowded.
This is a small pebbled beach, meaning it won’t be too painful for your feet, and there’s the bonus of no sticky sand! At the far southernmost end, there’s a natural water spring that empties into the sea, making the water in that area really cold (or refreshing, depends on your perspective!), so just move up the beach a bit if you want warmer water. The area slightly north with warmer water also has a few beach bars offering sunbeds and drinks. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can go just past the cold spring and climb the rocks to find some secluded, hidden spots. Follow the road behind the beach and up the hill for breathtaking views!
Milky Way, Long Beach and Clam City in Rock Islands, Palau
By Alina and Jekabs of Reveriechaser
Most people have never heard of Palau, but for us, this island country in the western part of the Pacific was an absolute dream come true – hundreds of tiny limestone islands that look like mossy green mushrooms in the sea. Surprisingly, if you stay in Koror, the largest city in the country, there are not that many beaches to go to! To see some of the nicest islands and beaches you should hop on a boat and head to the Rock Islands area. Rock Islands, Southern Lagoon actually is a UNESCO world heritage site, and the country has invested a lot to protect its marine life diversity. This is one of the reasons why Palau has some of the best diving opportunities in the world.
Plan to spend a day on the boat, visiting the Milky Way lagoon where limestone mixing with water creates a surreal blue shade of water, definitely stop at the Long Beach for some soft coral sand and snorkel in the Clam City, a place that has some of the largest clams in the world. Palau has eight out of ten known giant clam species in its waters and here you get to see some of them – over 100 years old and 100 kg in weight!
Although very remote, it is an easy destination for tourists, as the currency is the U.S. dollar and one of the official languages is English. Be prepared for higher than average costs though, as very little is locally produced, so food, accommodation, and travel between islands might be pricier than you expect.
Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Island, Australia
By Vanessa; Photo by Luke Marlin of BackStreetNomads
Whitehaven Beach is truly like a dream on Earth. Located in Whitsunday Islands of Queensland, Australia, this beach is known for its gorgeous features. From its baby powder, soft sand to its beautiful waters of blending hues of blues and greens that sink deep into your eyes. This is place’s beautiful scenery is sure to take your breath away.
Every moment spent here feels unbelievably magical. But careful now! As beautiful as she may seem, she is also very dangerous. In Australia, it’s completely illegal to go swimming on this beach without a stingray suit. This is because serious dangers lurk within her beauty. Sting rays hide beneath the sand, even by the shore line. Poisonous jelly fishes, locally know as “stingers’, are notorious known for calling this place home. Her mesmerizing attractions can literally snatch your soul and take you to your grave.
Please don’t let nature’s dangers scare you away from visiting. This beach is completely worth the visit. Organized sailing tours make it easy to come to island and they prepare you with all the protection and information you’ll need to have a safe and enjoyable beach day.
Playa Escondida, Galapagos, Ecuador
By Rachel Robinson of Get Lost and Be Found
Playa Escondida may not be easy to get to, but it’s certainly worth the effort. As its name “hidden beach” suggests, Escondida is tucked away on the northern edge of Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos where it can only be reached by boat. This beach is a paradise where a lucky few come to soak up sunshine between snorkeling and diving expeditions. When you arrive at Playa Escondida you are likely to find yourself completely secluded from the outside world without reminders of modern life or the tourist crowds that often plague other beaches.
The Galapagos Islands are totally enveloped by pristine beaches and clear waters. Exploring the islands to find the most beautiful beach is sure to be an unforgettable Galapagos adventure. But don’t take my word for it. Ask the myriad of sea turtles, sea-lions, rays, penguins, iguanas, sharks, sea-horses, blue-footed-boobies and countless other species who’ve made these islands their home. They all agree that this is the place to be.
Balabac, Candaraman Island, Palawan, Philippines
By: Katherine of Tara Lets Anywhere
A lot of people are familiar with Palawan in the Philippines since it has been tagged a couple of times as the World’s Best Island by various magazines and websites. However, most only venture to Puerto Princesa, El Nido or Coron. If you explore down to the south, you’ll discover a “secret” from travelers – Balabac. Balabac has several islands with great beaches. In Candaraman Island, you can snorkel along the starfish alley; in Onuk Island, you can freedive to see giant clams; and in Mansalangan Island, you can walk and lounge in a long sandbar. What ties these beaches together is the fact that most have white, soft sands and clear water.
As said above, Balabac isn’t known yet so it’s best for backpackers and discoverers. As it’s not yet a commercial attraction, activities are quite limited and diving tours aren’t established yet. The best thing to do is island hop for 2-3 days, see the local communities and mingle with Filipinos, as well as enjoy fresh coconuts and affordable fresh seafood.
Entalula Beach, El Nido, The Philippines
By Marianne Rogerson of Mum on the Move
Before visiting El Nido in the Philippines, I had seen plenty of photos of the aquamarine water and dramatic rock formations. But nothing prepared me for the sheer beauty of the natural surroundings and the crystal clear water that washes up onto the white sandy beaches here. Island hopping tours are the number one tourist attraction in El Nido, giving you the opportunity to check out several of these incredible beaches.
Of all of the beaches we visited, Entalula Beach was my favourite. The colour and clarity of the water here was incredible – just like a swimming pool! And the soft white sand is perfect for relaxing on. There were people snorkeling here, but we just enjoyed splashing around in the water with the kids. The water was calm and shallow, so ideal for a relaxed swim. And the best thing about Entalula Beach? We practically had the whole place to ourselves! Bliss.
Kog Rong Samloem, Cambodia
By Jolene & Andrzej of Wanderlust Storytellers
This is a paradise island of Cambodia and it is fast becoming a hot spot for honeymooners & luxury travelers. This magical island has two main attractions, the sensational stretch of beach at Saracen Bay and on the opposite side of the island, a cozy and a perfect sunset spot, the Lazy Beach. We loved staying on the Saracen Bayside.
On this side of the island, the beach gently curves and the sandy shore stretches for miles. Beautiful beach-front resorts, bungalows, and even treehouses line the beach … never imposing on one another. Here you find hammocks in the shallow clear water and plenty of beachside swings to have some fun on. You could also head out late at night to see bioluminescent plankton glowing in the dark. Alternatively, if you are keen for a bit of seclusion, then Lazy Beach has your name on it. Here you can chill out in total privacy, far from other tourists and enjoy perfect sunset moments together.
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