Travel tips

Published on February 24th, 2014 | by Kellie Bright


The world’s 5 best hidden beaches

Read time: a bit over 3 minutes

You know what they say: life’s a beach, and then you die. With that in mind, here are some beaches from around that world that you’ve prolly never ‘erd of, but you should definitely go to. 

Todos Santos, Mexico

This is the only picture of Todos Santos we could find. Awkward.

Todos Santos is part surf town, part artists colony and entirely chilled out. It’s the complete opposite of Cabo San Lucas, which is just 50 miles south and teeming with tourists.

Here, the vibe is so laidback that until the ’80s there wasn’t even a paved highway. There’s no airport, no swanky golf resort, no marina teeming with flashy yachts and to be honest, there’s not even that much swimming to be done. That’s due to the wicked waves that have been drawing surfers here for over 20 years.

Spend your days wandering the galleries and cafes, and try to arrive in time for the annual Todos Santos Film Festival, which has been running for the past nine years. Huge leatherback turtles have also made their way here, ambling up the beach to lay their eggs in peace after being pushed out of Cabo by the crowds and the big resorts. There’s also plenty of great food to choose from, like Italian, Asian fusion and down-home Mexican which always tastes best washed down with a cold beer.

Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam

Vietnam does beaches well

Phu Quoc is the sort of island that makes you speak in cliches. Words like laidback, chilled out, sleepy, pristine and untouched seem to roll off the tongue. It’s actually closer to Cambodia than mainland Vietnam, and while it’s mostly famous for incredible sunsets it has also home to some of the country’s best nuoc mam (fish sauce).

Dotted around the island you’ll see mats covered with fish sauce drying in the sun. To be fair, you’ll probably smell them before you see them. And if you’re after something different take a tour of the local fish sauce factory! Of course, that’s only when you’ve had your fill of swimming, snorkelling, sunbaking and gorging yourself on fresh seafood.

Stretch your legs on a trek treks through 37,000 hectares of lowland evergreen forest and explore the many streams, waterfalls and hidden lakes of the island.

Playa Carrillo, Costa Rica

Classic beach sunset, courtesy of Costa Rica

There’s not much to say about Playa Carrillo, because frankly you just need to go there. Lined with swaying palms it is popular with deep-sea fishermen and divers. It’s also one of the least developed spots on the Nicoya Peninsula.

Divers love it for the coral reef and the exotic marine life, and it’s popular with families because of it’s one of the safest places in Guanacaste to swim thanks to rocky headlands providing calm, warm water. Surfers have been coming to this hidden secret for years.

Ibo Island, Mozambique

We’re not 100 percent sure if this is actually Ibo Island, but it’s the closest thing we could find

Ibo Island is one of the oldest settlements in Mozambique. Tucked away in the Quirimbas Archipelago it was a bustling African layover port  with a history that stretches back to a time of pirates, ivory, gold and slavery.

You’ll need your sunnies because the sparkling turquoise waters and vanilla-white beaches are pretty blinding, and don’t forget your snorkel because the marine life is out of this world. There’s three beaches to spend your time on, and the island sits on the world’s third largest mangrove forest.

Take some time to explore the stone architecture that bears the influences of Arab, Indian, and Portuguese settlers. There’s three forts, a Catholic church and dilapidated villas dotted around the island that stand as a reminder of its commercial heyday.

Watch the Ibo fishermen at work, as they navigate the channels in dhows made from mangrove wood, ropes of coconut husk, a handful of nails and triangular sails sewn together from plastic sacks.

Cirali Beach, Turkey

Turkey: a place that also does beaches well

Let me throw a few images at you: treehouses strewn with cushions and hookah pipes, loggerhead turtles ambling out of the sea to lay eggs on the sand, fresh seafood and plates of warm borek (cheese pastries). Are you in love yet?

Cirali Beach sits on the Turkish Mediterranean between protected sites – a nature preserve and the ruins of Olimpos. You’ll come for the natural beauty but you’ll stay for the backpacker vibe. Two huge mountains provide a pretty dramatic backdrop, but that’s where the drama ends. With its pebbly beach, small and discreet hotels and hippy atmosphere this is a place you could easily find yourself staying for much longer than anticipated.

The endangered loggerhead turtles mean there’s basically no development allowed here, so you’ve alost got the 3km beachfront to yourself. Check out the tiny town which is basically one small lane with a couple of shops. And don’t forget to try a fresh glass of pomegranate juice.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

About the Author

Nachos in Vietnam. Margarita pizza in Jaipur. Cheese in Morocco. Spaghetti bolognese in Botswana. These are just a few of the edible surprises I've come across on my travels. Sure, it's not all about food… but at the same time it kinda is. I'm a copywriter for Geckos and the most fun I ever had at work was writing our brochures. The most fun I ever had outside of work was watching a honey badger tear open a bag of chips at our campsite in Chobe National Park.

Back to Top ↑