Plonk yourself in a postcard-perfect paradise, exploring some of the most beautiful beaches on the planet. Snooze in the shade of a coconut palm, take barefoot walks at sunset, cool off in clear azure waters and sink your toes into golden sand. From tiny islands in Indonesia to sugary beaches in Cuba, you can stretch out in the sunshine, forget about your worries and focus on the bare necessities. Everyone needs some tropical time-out now and again, so treat yourself to some castaway living.
With its many pocket-sized paradise islands and stretches of perfect sand, Malaysia has more than its fair share of dreamy beaches. Hop between the castaway Perhentian Islands, grab a sunset cocktail on Langkawi or head for a more local patch of sand in Pulau Pangkor. Snorkel over coral reefs, grab a good book or lie back and soak up the sunshine.
After zipping through Vietnam’s eye-opening cities, trekking in the highlands and soaking up the cultural sights, a stint in the sunshine is just the ticket. There’s super-accessible beaches to escape from the bustle of Ho Chi Minh and with tiny islands marooned off its coastlines, Vietnam has plenty of sun-kissed options to help you feel miles away from it all.
Get back to the bare necessities in Borneo
Stranded in the turquoise Sulu Sea you’ll find a tiny chunk of tropical paradise. Lankayan is a sun-kissed island that will give you a taste of the simple life. Home to just one resort, you’ll feel like you’ve got the whole place to yourself. Sleep in a wooden beach bungalow just a few footsteps from golden sands and spend a lazy afternoon swinging in a hammock. Watch sea turtles nest on the beaches or grab your snorkelling gear and walk into the sea to explore a rainbow underwater world.
Cuba is a fascinating island fringed with tropical beaches. The sand is powder-soft, the water is a bright shade of turquoise and a fresh mojito is never more than a few steps away. Sleep in beach cabañas next to lapping waves, listen to coconut palms rustle in the wind and get lost in a tropical daydream. From diving hotspots complete with sunken Spanish galleons to offshore islands with only a handful of huts, Cuba is a brilliant place to kick off your flip-flops and take a barefoot breather.
With white sandy beaches meeting turquoise seas, Tulum looks like something straight out of Photoshop. 1,500-year-old ruins rest on a cliff in the backdrop, and beyond that the town has a budding gastronomic reputation.
It’s been blessed in so many different ways and yet is only a 2-hour drive from Cancun airport. Fancy getting even further afield? Why not head north to secluded Isla Holbox or south into Belize and get a real feel for Caribbean life?
Trek to rainforest beaches in Costa Rica
With both a Pacific and a Caribbean coastline, Costa Rica is flanked by palm-fringed beaches on all sides, so you really can’t go wrong. Sail along overgrown rivers to beaches scattered with nesting turtles, trek through the jungle to wild stretches of sand and chill out in reggae bars to catch the sunset.
Watch surfers crest the waves on the beaches of Bali, head for pocket-sized islands with no roads, wander barefoot along volcanic beaches and stretch out on sunny Lombok. When it comes to beaches, you’ll be spoiled for choice in Indonesia. Go barefoot on the dreamy Gili Islands, where time seems to stand still and you can swim with sea turtles just offshore.
Lie back on castaway Caribbean sands and wander between candy-coloured clapboard houses on Bocas del Toro, a tropical island getaway off the coast of Panama. Snorkel in crystal clear waters and watch local life unfold around you. For the ultimate adventure, escape to San Blas, a cluster of gorgeous islands scattered across turquoise seas. The islands are home to the people of the Kuna tribe, with a colourful and completely unique way of life.