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The Best Kept Beach Secrets

Crowds? No thank you! Beach Tomato rounds up five gorgeous, off-the-beaten-track beaches.

We’ve never been very good at keeping secrets, especially ones of a sandy nature. And now, we’re willing to spill the beans on five little-known, but must-visit spots. Just don’t start telling everyone you know about these unsung beaches; let’s keep it our little secret.

Playa de Amor, Marieta Islands, Mexico

Hidden Beach (the clue is in the name), virgin sands, a volcanic ‘ceiling’, plus humpback whales, sea turtles, and dolphins make for a beach with a hole lot of fun to be had (sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves). The island is completely uninhabited, (by humans at least, the fish can’t get enough), and only authorized boat service providers can take tourists to see it up close and personal. In order to get to this surreal site, visitors must first swim through a short tunnel connecting the beach to the Pacific Ocean. With six feet of breathing space, it’s an easy commute, and the beauty will not disappoint. Better than discovering Narnia? We’ll let you decide.

Uganzaki North Beach, Ishigaki Island, Japan

Most people visiting Japan have a bucket list of things to see and do, largely revolving around the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. But Japan has more to offer than sushi, geishas, and Hello Kitty; the beaches are to die for, especially the ones that can’t be found in the guide books. With honeycomb-hued sands and topaz waters, Uganzaki North Beach is a legendary secret the residents would rather we kept mum. But we just couldn’t help ourselves, so spend a peaceful day lounging with the locals on Ishigaki Island—just don’t tell them we told you.

Playa de Gulpiyuri, Spain

Shells are common by the sea, but a shell-shaped beach 320 feet from the sea? Not so much. Playa de Gulpiyuri has all the essentials of a relaxing beach, without an ocean view. Tucked away into a small inland hollow in the middle of a meadow, it is less ‘sea as far as the eye can see’, and more grassy expanse. Less than a mile from the Bay of Biscay off the coast of Spain, this picturesque grove is connected by a network of underground coves, meaning the water tends to be a little on the chilly side. It is still tidal though, with waves lapping the small strip of golden sand. You know what they say; the best things come in small packages.  

Vik Beach, Iceland

When you think ‘beach holiday,’ your first thought wouldn’t necessarily be Iceland—the name for a start doesn’t lend itself to images of sandy shores. While Iceland may not be overrun with traditional beaches, the majestic black sands and midnight blue waters of Vik Beach have blown us away. It comes as no surprise that this beach is non-tropical, so there will be no topping off your tan here, but there is still plenty to keep you entertained. The mysterious basalt stacks are particularly mesmerizing; legend has it that they were formed when trolls attempted to drag three ships ashore, but were frozen in stone, stuck between sea and land, when the sun rose.

Devil’s Bay, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

Everyone knows the Caribbean is home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. Yet the British Virgin Islands, with their trademark sugar-white sands and tantalising turquoise waters, have yet to make a splash on the global beach scene. There is something prehistoric about Devil’s Bay. Years of volcanic activity have led to a scattering of giant, tumbled boulders which form caves above and below the water. Just getting to Devil’s Bay is an experience in itself. The trail is an eclectic mix of walking, climbing, wading through tide pools, and shimmying up ladders and ropes. You may not bump into a lost dinosaur on the way, but the crystal clear waters are overflowing with tropical fish.