Though everyone may disagree on where the world’s best beach can be found, every beach lover agrees that white sand, warm water, idyllic views and a laid-back pace are the key ingredients to any popular beach destination.
While beautiful coastlines are common on many cruises, not all beaches are created equal. Sand-and-surf stretches in the Caribbean, Tahiti, Hawaii and Australia often come up in conversation (and for good reason) of the world’s best beaches, but we’ve highlighted some of the best you might not have heard of…yet.
From popular vacation spots to hidden island gems, here are the world’s best beaches you can visit via cruise ship.
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Like something out of an epic movie, Playa del Amor in the Marieta Islands, is a rugged, very real, but relatively hard to reach beach located west of Puerto Vallarta. More commonly referred to as Hidden Beach, this Instagram worthy stretch of sand is engulfed by a cave with a gaping hole in the roof, a unique skylight that opens the beach up for sunbathing, swimming and “selfies” galore.
Hidden Beach is a doable day trip from Puerto Vallarta.
One of the most beautiful, ecologically-diverse island paradises in all of Mexico, Hidden Beach is a doable day trip from Puerto Vallarta and is the perfect place to sunbathe, scuba dive, bird-watch, glimpse humpback whales or simply relax in seclusion on one of the most iconic beaches in the world.
Insider Tip: If you're hoping to see whales along the way to this iconic Mexican island, December to March is the season when humpbacks visit the bay to give birth.
Fernando de Noronha
Located 200 miles off the northeast coast of Brazil, you’ll find the ruggedly beautiful island of Fernando de Noronha, a true island paradise that offers stunning primitive beaches including Baia Do Sancho—quite possibly the country’s very best beach.
Baia Do Sancho beach, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
With pristine white sand, majestic black cliffs, a laid-back atmosphere, completely unspoiled natural surroundings and, above all, superb swimming, diving, snorkeling and surfing in its incredibly clear, crystalline waters, Baia Do Sancho is unlike any other beach in the world.
Insider Tip: Interested in visiting Baia Do Sancho? No need to snag one of only 246 daily travel permits to the island, access to this beautiful beach paradise is part of your perfect day in port on Hurtigruten’s Brazilian Coastline itinerary.
In a country famous for fantastic beaches, the tiny town of Trincomalee may boast the best of them all. The city looks like something from a Disney movie and lies at the union of river and sea, forming one of the loveliest natural harbors in the world.
Trincomalee, Sri Lanka
Boasting 35 miles of white sand beaches mostly untouched by tourist development and a mix of palm trees, offshore reefs, coves, bays, islets, hot springs and even Hindu temples, Trincomalee is truly one a unique beach paradise.
The seaside gem of Split, Croatia, designated by UNESCO as a cultural treasure, lies on the famous Dalmatia coast. Among the shiniest and most beautiful of all the cities coastal treasures is undoubtedly Bačvice Beach, a shallow bay of sand, sun and surf right in the center of the town set against the backdrop of the gorgeous Adriatic Sea.
Bačvice Beach in Split, Croatia
Insider Tip: Bačvice is famous for being the birthplace of the popular beach game called “picigin”, a uniquely Dalmatian sport that involves players leaping and splashing through the surf to prevent a small ball from hitting the water. For an authentic beach experience, play a game with the Croatian locals!
Just 75 miles east of Havana is a magnificent stretch of sand widely regarded as Cuba's most stunning beach. Surrounded by virgin forests and some of the best vistas in Cuba, the famous Varadero Beach is a pristine paradise on the northeastern part of the island that’s popular with travelers and locals alike.
Varadero Beach is widely regarded as Cuba's most stunning beach.
Set on a 12-mile long peninsula, Varadero Beach is characterized by soft sands and spectacular vistas in every direction. Though located in the heart of Cuba’s resurgent resort area, the natural caves, cays and coral reefs along this gorgeous beach rival any in the Caribbean and will transport you back to Cuba’s heyday.
Aruba is known for spectacularly stunning beaches. But among the tiny island nation’s most special is the beautiful and blissfully quiet Eagle Beach. Known for its soft white sand, sea turtle nests and famously photogenic Divi Divi trees, Eagle Beach is widely considered one of the world’s very best.
Divi Divi tree in Aruba.
With everything you could want from a Caribbean coastal spot–idyllic island aesthetics, plenty of shaded areas, lots of activities and authentic beach bars–Eagle Beach is truly something straight from a postcard.
Insider Tip: Create your own postcard by posing with the island’s most famous beach resident, the Divi Divi tree. Aruba's natural compass, their twisted trunks are always pointing in a southwesterly direction and lean dramatically to the sea due to the trade winds that blow across the island from the north-east.
Espiritu Santo Island, Vanuatu
Hailed as one of the best in the South Pacific, Champagne Beach is a stretch of pristine, palm-fringed sand located on the breathtaking tropical island of Espiritu Santo in Vanuatu. It was named "Champagne Beach" because of small gas bubbles that continuously rise from the volcanic sea floor creating a unique underwater display, which with a combination of crystal clear water and authentic native culture.
Champagne Beach is a stretch of pristine, palm-fringed sand.
Offering a glimpse of the real South Pacific as it can rarely be experienced, this beach and the surrounding island is known for iconic scenery, unmatched snorkeling and diving, native culture, active volcanoes, deep-sea fishing, good sailing, great food and water-based activities like guided rides in outrigger canoes.
Insider Tip: The islands of Vanuatu are a good destination for those who want to truly get away from it all, who are a bit adventurous and who are interested in traditional island cultures. For anyone requiring a wide variety of nightlife, it can be pretty quiet on the islands after dark.
For more inspiration on the world’s best beaches or insight on the perfect cruise experience connect with a CruiseInsider expert at 1 (877) 734-6858.