Three beaches to blow your mind

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Pack your beach towel and hit one of these stretches of sand…

Flamenco Beach / Culebra, Puerto Rico

I feel like dancing across the sand.
With a mile of sheltered beachline, you can dance all you like. And you’ll be doing it in style: Playa Flamenco is generally regarded as the finest in Puerto Rico. Best in the Caribbean even, according to some. Either way, people don’t talk that way for no reason.

I’m not going to argue.
If you go on a weekday, you’re sure to come away with a sense of its beauty. Weekends can get very busy, but it’s well serviced and even the crowds are unlikely to dim your view. You can camp here too – see the stars reflected in the clear, mirror-like bay. If the mood takes you, have a piña colada at one of the kiosks. Doesn’t that feel right?

Sure. But why is there a tank at the end of the beach?
Don’t worry, it’s not loaded! It is a remnant from the days of war games practised here, but now it’s a work of art. Or unconventional camouflage, to say the least!

Trunk Bay / St John, US Virgin Islands

Trunk Bay in US Virgin Islands. Credit: Kelly Van Dellen © Getty Images

Trunk Bay in US Virgin Islands. Credit: Kelly Van Dellen © Getty Images

Another Caribbean wonderland?
Feeling a little spoiled by all this beach perfection, are we? Yes, Trunk Bay is a wonderland. In fact, it’s a beach that is consistently in top-10-beaches-of-the-world lists – no matter who makes them.

So it’s crowded then?
You won’t be alone, there’s no denying it. Not even a day-use fee for the beach turns people away. The beach has lifeguards, is well serviced with nearby restaurants, bars and accommodation and is kind of spectacular – and that will be just your first impressions.

There’s more?
Strap on a mask and snorkel (you can hire them there) and hit the snorkelling trail, which guides you through a snowdome-effect of fish and coral. Gin-clear, as divers say. The surface is the turquoise of your dreams and there’s fine coral sand leading away from the beach to hiking trails. But stay awhile, splash around – it’s too good to be true.

Navagio Beach (Shipwreck Beach) / Zakynthos, Greece

Navagio Beach (Shipwreck beach) on Zakynthos Island, Greece. Patrick Kosmider © Shutterstock

Navagio Beach (Shipwreck beach) on Zakynthos Island, Greece. Patrick Kosmider © Shutterstock


Completely. It’s 87 kinds of beautiful coming at you all at once. Secluded, protected by vertical cliffs that tower above, sparkling azure as imagined by Greek gods, pure, perfect sand and, just to give it an extra bit of character, like a beauty spot on a face, a shipwreck!

I just want to go there now. Can I please go there now?
Easy as can be – as long as you’re in Zakynthos. If you are, there are a number of towns, Porto Vromi for example, from where you can take a boat to paradise. It is as you see it – there are no amenities – so you’ll need to bring with you all the supplies you need for the time you’re on the sand/in the water/ exploring the shipwreck.

How did that wreck get…wrecked?
It was a smuggler’s ship caught doing its dirty work in 1982. During bad weather a while after the seizure, the boat was washed up on the shore where it was left to rust.

It just looks so amazing!
To get a view of the beach from on high, visit the village of Anafonitria. There’s a platform at a monastery there and the sight of the bay below you will make you wish you were there. And then, of course, you can be!

Extract taken from Lonely Planet’s new title 50 Beaches To Blow Your Mind (Lonely Planet, £6.99; out now)

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