Paradise comes in many shapes and sizes, from resort spas to secluded mountaintop cabins. Yet most people’s idea of paradise includes some combination of sand, sun and surf, for beaches just happen to occupy some of the most beautiful property on the planet. Yet each beach is unique, blending many elements to create a special atmosphere that appeals to people in different ways.
Anse Source d’Argent Beach, La Digue Island, Seychelles
Often mistaken for the Garden of Eden, Seychelles is an archipelago country made up of 115 islands drifting like drops of heaven in the Indian Ocean. For nowhere else on earth is paradise more abundantly evident than on these islands that are as relaxed and hospitable as they are beautiful. And the most striking spot in all the Seychelles is Anse Source d’Argent Beach on La Digue Island.
Just one look at the towering granite boulders shooting out of the soft pink sand to meet the calm ocean waters and you’ll know why Anse Source D’Argent is among the most photographed beaches in the world. The boulders are so smooth you can climb them barefoot and relax on the apex under the shade of a 40-foot palm tree arching behind. From this ideal vantage point, you can spend many blissful hours peering down at the tropical fish swimming in the clear waters or across the channel where Praslin Island sits so peacefully you’ll wonder if it was created just to enhance your view.
Ihuru Island, Maldives
Northeast of Seychelles off of India’s southern tip, the 1,102 islands that make up the Maldives combine to simply make all your tropical dreams come true. From four-star resorts to diving 80-feet deep in water so clear you’ll try to take off your mask and breathe it like air (but please don’t), the Maldives are perfect to escape from the real world and find yourself enveloped in a palm-fringed fantasy.
Ihuru Island typifies the tropical ambiance that abounds in the Maldives. The island is so small you can casually stroll around it in 10 minutes flat, enjoying the feel of crunchy sand underfoot, the shade of palm trees hovering close and the play of fish and coral just a few meters into the calm turquoise sea. However, the island provides sensational snorkeling and windsurfing, along with a terrace bar where each evening you can relax in complete tranquility while watching the twinkling lights on the nearby islands play atop the waters.
Natadola Beach, Fiji
The Fiji Islands are 1,000 miles of pristine white sand beaches, spread out over 333 islands, each fringed with coral gardens and lapped by warm azure waters. It’s the destination that defined exotic, where manta rays swimming beside you and dolphins leaping out of the ocean next to your boat are common sights that never bore the eyes.
Natadola Beach, located on Fiji’s main island of Viti Levu, is the most beautiful white sand beach in Fiji, and that’s saying something. Quiet and secluded with breathtaking tropical scenery from every angle, Natadola knows a million secret ways to help you relax. Include horseback riding, surfing and all-tide swimming, and the beach takes on it’s own personality—one you will enjoy getting to know.
Larvotto Beach, Monte Carlo, Monaco
Larvotto may be the world’s best man-made beach. Fresh white sand is constantly shipped in to replace that which the tide pilfers, for the principality that is Monaco would never let something as pesky as Mother Nature ruin its favorite beach. On top of this fresh sand lies a scene of such decadence and glamour that the ladies may go without their bikini tops, but none would be seen without their jewelry.
Larvotto’s most appealing aspect is its proximity to the glitz and sparkle of Monte Carlo, where a lot of living is packed into a little land. The entire city is within walking distance from the beach, though you’ll want to change out of your bathing trunks and opt for your best James Bond tuxedo before dodging limos to get into the swanky restaurants and casinos. And, once you’re inside, people watching goes into high gear, for these people don’t just live in the fast lane, they take power-naps there too, right before hitting the clubs that never turn down the volume.