Following on from recent my recent post about the best beach party destinations, here’s some travel advice about the exact opposite type of beaches. What are the best beach destinations in Latin America to get away from it all, and feel very special at the same time? These amazingly beautiful beaches are almost completely empty of other tourists, and are very special places to simply relax and unwind. I’m fortunate enough to have been to them all.
1. Park Tayrona, Colombia
Tayrona’s Park is on Colombia’s Caribbean coast - a beautiful National Park that hosts dozens of simply amazing beaches. You can walk for miles and hardly see another soul. Photos don’t do the place justice - it’s as if someone designed the most beautiful beach, and then God came along and made the landscape even more beautiful. It tops my list for it’s immense beauty, but also for the fact it can easily be visited by budget-type backpackers, in addition to those seeking a luxury holiday.
To find the best beaches in Park Tayrona: walk West beyond Cabo San Juan (pictured above) to find a handful of stunning, long, empty beaches.
2. Coiba Island, Panama
Coiba Island used to be home to a prison colony, but now there’s only a handful of prisoners left as this Pacific island is slowly opening up to tourism. There’s dozens and dozens of completely empty, beautiful tropical beaches to explore either on foot, or even better by boat. The snorkelling and scuba diving are quite amazing (I saw sharks, turtles, sting rays, and a ball of 10,000 fish in 15 minutes of snorkelling).
To find the best beaches in Coiba Island: stay a few nights and go exploring, or better still charter a private yacht - if you simply visit on a day trip from the nearby surfing mecca of Santa Catalina, you’ll wish you could have spent more time here.
3. Providencia Island, Colombia
Way out in the Caribbean, and geographically much closer to Nicaragua than Colombia, lies the exquisite Caribbean Island of Providencia (or Old Providence in English). The official language here is English, with many of the locals descended from slaves. This former pirate haven remains relatively untouched by tourism, with a range of postcard perfect palm fringed beaches and a sea of an amazing shade of turquoise. There’s few visitors to the island, especially in the low season, and you’ll often have whole beaches to yourself.
To find the best beaches in Providencia Island: head to Playa Manzanillo, or the undeveloped (Northern) end of South West Bay (pictured).
4. San Blas Islands, Panama
Here you can have not just a whole beach to yourself, but a whole set of islands. The semi autonomous San Blas Islands consists of hundreds of castaway-esque palm fringed cayes, the vast majority of which are completely uninhabited. Other than the beauty of this archipelago, one of the real attractions of visiting the San Blas Islands is the ability to interact with the fascinating indigenous Kuna Indians, who fiercely try to maintain their traditional way of life.
To find the best beaches in the San Blas Islands: you’ll need weeks to spare. Speak to a local fisherman and ask him to drop you on your own little island to explore.
5. Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
Brazil’s best beaches are found on this Atlantic island a short flight from Natal or Recife in North East Brazil. Fernando de Noronha is an expensive place to visit (all the accommodation is very over-priced), but there are some remarkably beautiful beaches here - the best of which can only be walked to, and are totally devoid of people.
To find the best beaches on Fernando de Noronha: head to Praia do Leao (pictured), or walk around the coast on the North of the island.