17 dreamy paradise beaches in South America

South America: green rainforests, mighty mountains, and beaches like paradise. We show you the most beautiful approaches to the sea – from Colombia to Argentina.

1 – Copacabana, Brazil

1 Copacabana, Brazil
 © Corbis

It starts with a real classic in South America: the beach in the Copacabana district of Rio de Janeiro. Here is also the legendary beach kiosk Posto 6 (on the border with Ipanema), where the locals not only meet to chat but also to play cards or board. Sun-seekers cavort in large numbers on the four-kilometer-long strip of sand. If you like it a little more lonely, you can start with a real classic: the beach in the Copacabana district of Rio de Janeiro. Sun-seekers cavort in large numbers on the four-kilometer-long strip of sand.

2 – Margarita Island, Venezuela

Best beaches in South America
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If you like it a little more lonely, you might like this beach on Isla Margarita. The Caribbean island is northeast of Venezuela’s capital, Caracas, and can be reached by ferry or plane. For a longer stay, there is also a range of hotel and accommodation options.

3 – Crab Bay, Colombia

Best beaches in South America
 © Corbis

At best, an airplane could land on the water here: This beach, called “ Crab Bay, “belongs to the island of San Andrés and thus to Colombia – a good one-and-a-half-hour flight from the capital Bogota. San Andrés is home to the third largest coral reef in the world and is, therefore, also a dream destination for divers.

4 – Arpoador Beach, Brazil

Best beaches in South America
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Surfers, on the other hand, should feel more comfortable here: The Arpoador Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In the background, you can see the Pedra da Gavea and the peaks of the “Two Brothers.”

5 – Brava Beach, Uruguay

Best beaches in South America
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Elevations of a different kind can be found at Punta del Este in Uruguay: a sculpture made of fingers rises from the sand masses. Brava Beach is nicknamed the “Pearl of Uruguay” because of its fantastic conditions and the wonderfully blue, shiny sea.

6 – Ipanema, Brazil

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Not quite as famous as Copacabana, but still spectacular: Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is also bustling with activity. There is always something to see from the cafes on the promenade, beach bars, and restaurants. The name of the beach section means something like “turbulent water.”

7 – Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

Best beaches in South America
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The Brazilian archipelago  Fernando de Noronha is of volcanic origin and is located about 350 kilometers east of the mainland. Colorful flora and fauna could grow undisturbed here with coral reefs and tropical bird species. The islands are, therefore, only accessible to a limited extent and to a few visitors.

Read also: 9 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Bristol

8 – Morro de Sao Paulo, Brazil

Best beaches in South America
 © Corbis

No less picturesque: the beach in the car-free town of Morro de São Paulo. The insider tip for your next trip is on the island Ilha de Tinharé in the Brazilian state of Bahia. For the journey, you can choose between a ferry and a catamaran.

9 – Los Roques, Venezuela

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This deserted beach in Los Roques, Venezuela, looks even more lonely and paradisiacal. Located 168 kilometers north of the capital Caracas, the waters surrounding the archipelago are known for their spectacularly rich shades of blue.

10 – Piriapolis, Uruguay

10 Piriapolis, Uruguay
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Spectacularly purple, meanwhile, is this nocturnal view of the city of Piriapolis in Uruguay. Only an hour away from the capital Montevideo, the residents of Piriapolis can look forward to 25 kilometers of sandy beaches in front of their gates – a special luxury.

11 – Praia Joao Fernandes, Brazil

11 Praia Joao Fernandes, Brazil
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In general, city beaches are, of course, a double-edged sword: the human dwellings do not always fit into the picture as well as here on Praia Joao Fernandes in the Brazilian city of Bùzios near Rio de Janeiro.

12 – Leblon, Brazil

12 Leblon, Brazil
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The Leblon beach section in Rio de Janeiro, not far from Bùzios, is much more densely built-up. Things are a bit more exclusive and quiet here than in Ipanema or Copacabana. In addition to places to stop for refreshments, there are boutiques and design shops. 

13 – Monte Leon National Park, Argentina

13 Monte Leon National Park, Argentina
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A stark contrast to the crowded beaches of Rio. The caves and sandstone grottos of Monte Leon National Park in Argentina. Established in 2014, the park is home to penguins, whales, sea lions, and other marine and coastal wildlife. The Argentine province of Santa Cruz, in which the park is located, is bordered by Chile to the west and the South Atlantic Ocean to the east.

14 – Tayrona National Park, Colombia

14 Tayrona National Park, Colombia
 © Levi Ari Pronk/Unsplash

The palm beach of the Tayrona National Park in Colombia is varied. The park near Santa Marta on the Caribbean coast is one of the most visited parks in the country and is also home to a rainforest.

15 – Playa Medina, Venezuela

15 Playa Medina, Venezuela
 ©Getty Images

Turquoise water on the white sandy beach and adjacent lush greenery – an unbeatable combination for a dream vacation. Seen here at Playa Medina on the Paria Peninsula in the extreme north of Venezuela.

16 – Atlanticida, Uruguay

16 Atlanticida, Uruguay
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The seaside resort of Atlántida in Uruguay is located in the south of the country near the capital Montevideo. Here the Atlantic is often rough and pristine. Sometimes whales can even be observed here. 

17 – Costa Verde, Brazil

17 Costa Verde, Brazil
 © Corbis

The name gives it away: the lush green coastline of Costa Verde is not far from Rio. Lush rainforests and mountains dot the backdrop, and on the horizon lie several islands in the sparkling sea. 

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5 dreamy islands in Thailand

More than 500 islands sparkle in the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea. Five ATopTens authors reveal where they found happiness. But don’t tell anyone else!

Basically, Koh Samui is no longer an insider tip. Despite the hectic activity of the island, Koh Samui and the surrounding islands, with which it forms an archipelago, also have seemingly untouched nature and magical jungle areas. 

Koh Chang surprises with secluded dream beaches that stand out from the western, touristically developed parts of the island, while Koh MakKoh Surin Nuea, and Koh Sukorn are still considered hidden gems among Thailand’s islands. Paradisiacal beaches, sparkling turquoise sea, coral reefs, rainforests, and a breathtaking variety of plants and animals await travelers. And beyond that, places that are ideally suited to both slowing down and active holidays. Bas du formulaire

1 – Koh Mak: The Minimalist

best islands in Thailand
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Author Martin Schacht knows that on no other island in Thailand is the atmosphere so familiar. This is more than just an empty phrase: for more than a hundred years, most of Koh Mak has belonged to a single family…

Driving down the palm-lined street that leads to Ao Nid Pier feels almost like being in Los Angeles. A warm wind caresses the hair, and the sea glitters turquoise green and dark blue in front of it: beach, coconut palms, rolling hills.

Koh Mak is a small island very close to the Cambodian border. Everything is a few sizes smaller on Koh Mak. Instead of convertibles, mopeds jet across the asphalt. Except for a few pickups, there are no cars at all here. Yodying Sudhidhanakul is still proud of this street. After all, it bears his family’s name: Sudhidhanakul Road. Yodying’s great-grandfather served as a tax collector for King Rama V, the regent who opened Siam to the west in the 19th century and is still revered today. As a thank you, Rama V. gave him an island in the Gulf of Thailand with over 27 kilometers of beach. 

Coconut, Rubber, and Beach: The Heritage of Koh Mak

More than a hundred years later, 95 percent of the island is still owned by the family. And that’s lucky for Koh Mak. Apart from coconuts, rubber plantations, and the beach, there is primarily: nothing here. An island characterized by what it doesn’t have sounds suspicious at first – but that’s exactly what makes Koh Mak so special: Unlike the neighboring holiday islands, there are no jet skis, banana boats, or quads here. And the family members agree that the island must never become another Pattaya with hotel complexes or go-go bars.

“I don’t know about the next generation,” says Yodying, “but none of us would be selling land today. Koh Mak is our home; we would never jeopardize that lightly.”

Future prospects for the island: digitization

Today members of the family clan are at home all over the world. Yodying commutes between Chiang Mai, where his family lives, the island, and Germany. There he grew up in the Rhineland as the son of a German mother and a Thai father. He believes that because of his background, he can better mediate between Thai and tourists. And he has a vision for the future: since the island has mainland electricity and an excellent internet connection, he wants to make Koh Mak a destination for digital nomads who can do business anywhere in the world – and on Koh Mak, are at home.

Koh Mak: arrival, accommodation, and gastronomic offer

Getting to the Thai island of Koh Mak is taken care of: boats run regularly from Laem Ngop on the mainland and from the neighboring island of Koh Chang. If you are looking for the best place on the island, you should pay a visit to the “Good Time Resort”: From the balcony of the suite under the roof of the resort, you can see over the garden to the shore.

You can get the best sundowners at the Cococape in the “Blue Pearl Bar” or in the south of the island in the ” Banana Sunset Bar. ” For dinner, it is best to order what the local fishermen have brought with them. It is served freshly caught, for example, in the restaurant “Koh Mak Seafood” near the Ao Nid Pier.

Read also: 10 most beautiful beaches in the world

2 – Koh Surin Nuea: The Original

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Writer Tom Vater has been living in Thailand for 15 years. His favorite island is in the Andaman Sea, and it is protected as a national park. It is one of the greatest treasures of the country…

The first few minutes on the snow-white beach of Mai Ngam Bay on Koh Surin Nuea are always overwhelming. Shark babies cavort in the mangroves on the shore, and a white-tailed eagle makes its rounds in the light blue sky. The main island of the tiny archipelago in Mu Koh Surin National Park, barely ten kilometers from the Myanmar border, seems to have more in common with the fictional Isla Nublar from Jurassic Park than with the very real and very popular Phuket, which is just a few hours to the south. 95 percent of the park is covered by rainforests and habitats for monitor lizards, monkeys, snakes, hornbills, and flying foxes. Biodiversity is even greater in the water – turtles, squid, and rays can be found around the coral reefs, which can be visited daily by the park’s boats.

Where to stay in Koh Surin Nuea?

There are no dive companies in the park, but snorkeling equipment is easy to rent. You will look in vain for luxury in the remote sanctuary, which can only be reached by speedboat: guests sleep in bungalows or large tents on the main island, and mobile phones have hardly any reception – but that is quickly forgotten when thousands of cicadas come their way in the late afternoon concert begins and the day burns up in psychedelic splendor of color.

Comfortable tents with mattresses, pillows and sleeping bags can be rented in Chong Khat Bay and Mai Ngam Bay for 500 baht or more. There are also some bungalows from 2000 baht. Two canteens provide food and showers. It is generally not necessary to book in advance; it can only get quite crowded on weekends and public holidays.

3 – Koh Chang: The Underestimated

best islands in Thailand
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The beaches in the west are well-known and popular with tourists. But reporter Christoph Karrasch found the true magic of the third largest Thai island deep in the south…

Elephant island Nothing else means Koh Chang. The island owes its name to its shape, which is reminiscent of the heads of giant animals. And Koh Chang really is a giant: It is the third largest island in Thailand – and still a little insider tip. For years people thought about building their own airport; the plans are now off the table. So there is reasonable hope that Elephant Island will be spared the fate of even larger Phuket. However, the tourist development has not bypassed the main beaches in the west – international package tourists and Thai weekend holidaymakers cavort here.

Abandoned South

If you leave the west behind and take the ring road south, you will experience a completely different, much more relaxed side of the island. It goes past villages built on stilts like Bang Bao and dream beaches like Had Klong Kloi, where sometimes there is not a soul behind the last crest. And on the other side of the island, in the extreme southeast of Koh Chang, there is a place called “Long Beach.” It is so wonderfully original that it should actually be kept secret here.

Arrival and overnight stay

The best way to fly from Bangkok is to Trat; then it goes by minibus and ferry to Koh Chang. The ferry, which departs every 60 to 90 minutes, takes about 45 minutes. On the river bank of Klong Prao is one of the most beautiful accommodations on the island: the “Aana Resort.” The almost one hundred rooms and villas of the luxury hotel, where you can get a double room for around 60 euros, lie like nests between the hardwoods, whose species are said to only grow here in the province of Trat. There is a magnificent spa area, and kayaks can be borrowed for free. From the bar on top of the hill, there is a panorama of the river, the mountains, and the whole resort.

4 – Koh Sukorn: The casual one

4 Koh Sukorn The casual one
 © Elina Sazonova/Pexels

When his boat headed for the island, it seemed uninhabited to Mathias Peer. There are not only villages here but also hotels with a dream view. A dream destination for the Southeast Asia correspondent.

There aren’t many places in Thailand without a temple. One of them is Koh Sukorn. The island is Muslim in contrast to most of the predominantly Buddhist country. What you would not suspect at first because “Sukorn” means “pig.” The island is so named because wild boar used to be widespread here. Animals continue to shape the image of Koh Sukorn. Some claim that there are more water buffalo than people here. That could be true. Hotel blocks do not take up most of the space here, but rubber plantations, paddy fields, and coconut palms do.

Relaxed ambiance

In the south of Koh Sukorn lies the village of Baan Saimai, with a small mosque, which is best explored by bicycle. There is also a halal shop and Muslim cooks selling ‘roti’ – the pancakes that are particularly popular here in the south. This island, around which tourism has given a wide berth, is wonderfully calm.

Overnight at Andaman Beach Resort

Most residents earn their money from agriculture, so don’t expect a large selection of hotels. But that’s not a big deal: anyone who swings in one of the cozy hammocks at the “Andaman Beach Resort” knows that true luxury doesn’t need a grand hotel. The clean bungalows cost little money; the best thing about the little cottages on the beach is the view from the porch. The silhouettes of two huge rocks shimmer through the trees on the horizon. They belong to the neighboring national park island of Koh Lao Liang, to which you can take a trip by longtail boat during the day. The sundowner on the veranda tastes even better in the evening.

Arrival on the dream island of Koh Sukorn

The ferry departs from Tasae Pier, about an hour’s drive from Trang, and costs 50 baht. A shared taxi runs to the pier daily at 11am from Sathanee Street, north of the train station. There are private boats to Koh Sukorn from other islands, which can usually be arranged through the hotels.

5 – Koh Samui: The trendy one

5 Koh Samui The trendy one
© Yavor Punchev/Unsplash

On his first visit to the island, MERIAN editor Kalle Harberg intended it to be just a stopover. Today he knows: A short flying visit does not do Koh Samui justice…

In some places, Koh Samui, the island that was one of the first in the Gulf of Thailand to be discovered by travelers and has even had an airport since 1989, is exceedingly hectic and exhausting. Thousands of holidaymakers arrive here every day. Jet skis race over the waves, couples line up on the beach for the less-than-romantic candlelight dinner, and the markets in the villages are teeming with people. Luckily there are places in paradise where you can forget all that – like the Outrigger. The resort is less than a ten-minute drive from the airport, but it feels like an island within an island.

Overnight at Outrigger: Paradise on Koh Samui

The small houses are tucked away between gardens, elegantly but not ostentatiously furnished, many even with a large pool, perfect for a night swim under the stars. In the morning, there is breakfast under the sea almond tree on the enchanting private beach – with a delicious mango lassi. “This hotel is like a little oasis,” says manager Natalie, who stops by to make sure everything is in order. And she’s right. With the “Outrigger” as a hideout, it’s fun again to discover this sometimes hectic island. The spectacular waterfalls in the mountainous interior, and the sleepy coasts in the south and west, for example.

Ang Thong Marine National Park: Perhaps the most beautiful place in Thailand

And if that’s not secluded enough for you, book a trip to Ang Thong Marine National Park with tour operators like Blue Stars. Because Koh Samui is only the largest in an archipelago of 42 islands – and the jungle-covered, completely deserted rocks in this protected area are among the most beautiful things Thailand has to offer. Or this globe at all.

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10 most beautiful beaches in the world

Are you planning a beach vacation but don’t know where to go? Maybe our selection of the most beautiful beaches in the world will help – secret beaches included.

There are beautiful beaches all over the world! Waving palm trees, turquoise water, and sand like powdered sugar form a unique backdrop to the gentle sound of the waves. Surrounded by shallow sea or spectacular rocky coasts, you can swim and relax wonderfully.

Whether lonely and deserted or well equipped with four-poster beds and cocktail bars: We take you to the world’s dream beaches in Mexico, on the Mediterranean Sea, or in Southeast Asia.

1 – Anse Source d’Argent, La Digue, Seychelles

most beautiful beaches in the world
 © Simon Dannhauer/iStock

Of course, Seychelles should not be missing. Anse Source d’Aragent beach is located on the island of La Digu. With its powdered sugar sand, rock formations, and – of course – crystal clear water, it is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. This is a great place for swimming and snorkeling. 

This spot on earth can only be reached via the “L’Union Estate” park, which has a small entrance fee. You can easily find your way with the help of good signage. By the way: Some scenes of the survival drama ” Cast Away ” with Tom Hanks were filmed on this dream beach. 

2 – Tulum, Yucatan, Mexico

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 ©Getty Images

Years ago, the sandy beach in Tulum was still an insider tip. In the meantime, more and more people have discovered the paradisiacal place on the Mexican peninsula of Yucatán. No wonder the coconut palms, the turquoise blue water, and the ruins of the ancient Mayas are a wonderful backdrop for bathing, dreaming, and just being happy.

3 – Lamai Beach, Koh Samui, Thailand

most beautiful beaches in the world
 © Thailand Tourist Board

South Sea dreams come true here! A little further south of the more frequented Chaweng Beach, Lamai Beach is located in a bay. Clear, turquoise water and fine sand characterize this holiday idyll. Mainly backpackers and families are drawn to this beach, where you can rent a bungalow right by the sea.

Read also: 17 dreamy paradise beaches in South America

4 – White Beach, Boracay, Philippines

most beautiful beaches in the world
 © Malte E. Kollenberg

Do you know the small island of Boracay in the Philippines? If not, you will feel acute wanderlust in a few minutes. The island northwest of the island of Panay is only 10 km² in size and seven kilometers long – and with the White Beach, it has a dreamlike beach that is otherwise only known from the photo wallpaper: white sand, turquoise water, palm trees, huts directly in the Pacific Ocean. 

Admittedly, this island of a total of 7107 in the island state of Southeast Asia attracts a lot of tourists to party, relax and dive. Don’t let that put you off. Because once you’re here, you never want to leave.

5 – Playa Flamenco, Puerto Rico

most beautiful beaches in the world
 © cdwheatley/iStock

Puerto Rico has many beautiful beaches. The horseshoe-shaped Flamengo Beach on the island of Culebra in the Caribbean Sea is probably one of the most extraordinary: coral sand, clear, turquoise, and very clean sea water, surrounded by sand-covered hills and lush palm trees.

If you are looking for tranquility, you will find it here, as there are many great secluded spots for sunbathing. Rent a room in one of the luxurious waterfront resorts or, if you prefer something more spartan, camp. Camping is allowed on this beach.

6 – Baia do Sancho, Brazil

6 Baia do Sancho, Brazil
 © Marconi Couto/iStock

The ” Baia do Sancho ” is considered the most beautiful bay in Brazil, and the beach is not to be scoffed at either. Green shimmering sea water, powder sand, and few people. The dream beach is located on the Fernando de Noronha archipelago and can only be reached by boat or via a steep ladder that leads down several levels from the cliffs. 

7 – Ses Illetes, Formentera

7 Ses Illetes, Formentera

The beach of Ses Illetes on the Balearic island of Formentera proves that Europe can keep up with the international beaches: This piece of paradise at the northern tip is just under a three-hour flight from Germany and is 500 meters long and 50 meters wide. The outlines of Ibiza appear on the horizon. 

On the west side, you can enjoy the stunning sunset or scuba dive to see the diverse wildlife found throughout the island.

8 – Whitehaven Beach, Australia

8 Whitehaven Beach, Australia
 © TourismAustralia

With its quartz content of almost 99 percent, Whitehaven Beach on the east coast of Australia’s Whitsunday Island is one of the whitest beaches in the world – and, therefore, also one of the most beautiful. You can reach the five-mile-long sandy beach from Hamilton Island or Airlie Beach.

The special feature: The entire island is a nature reserve, and there are no hotels or shops. Whitehaven Beach is also recognized as one of the world’s best eco-beaches.

9 – Lanikai Beach, O’ahu, Hawaii

9 Lanikai Beach, O'ahu, Hawaii
 © hipho/iStock

Lanikai means “heavenly sea” – there is no better way to describe this postcard idyll in the village of Kailua on the east coast of the Hawaiian island of O’ahu. A popular backdrop for photo shoots and great for swimming, snorkeling, and sailing.

The sheltered lagoon is like a tropical swimming pool that’s perfect for kids – or you can splash around in. 

10 – Playa Es Trenc, Majorca

10 Playa Es Trenc, Majorca
 © Tobias Gerber

Have you never been to Mallorca? Then we can recommend this European dream beach in the south of the Mediterranean island: West of Colonia de Sant Jordi, the longest natural beach on the Spanish island stretches 3.5 kilometers to Ses Covetes. 

Between the untouched dune landscape and the turquoise blue water, there are lonely places despite the tourists.

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