Most of the time when we travel to luxurious places, we choose our destination based on which offer the famous landmarks, urban shopping districts, lavish nightlife, or a relaxing paradise with the classic, clear blue waters and creamy sand beaches. These types of “paradise beach retreats” provide us with an opportunity to mentally escape hectic daily challenges, and physically free ourselves from technology, noise, work, and commotion. However, the same blue sky and calming ocean setting may become quite repetitive, especially for those who enjoy a change in adventure. Next trip, try going beyond the picturesque post-card vacation, and visit a beach dissimilar from the stereotypical golden coast. Embrace the exotic colours of these spectacular beaches, each with its own story of how it came to represent a unique hue of the rainbow. Unlike 95% of five-star resorts which all have similar concepts, décor, architecture, and identical beaches, these vibrantly coloured destinations are perfect for a day excursion to see beyond the haven of tranquility we are most familiar with as luxury travelers.
11 Ruby Red: Red Sand Beach, Kaihalulu Bay, Maui, Hawaii
The Hawaiian island of Maui attracts over 2, 750, 000 tourists a year, accumulating expenditures of over $3.5 billion US dollars. Red Sand Beach at Kaihalulu Bay is located on the Eastern shore of Maui, just south of Hana Bay. The sand derives its colour from the lava cinders which come off the crumbling, cindercone, Ka’uiki Cliffside. The beach itself is secluded in a hidden bay, and requires a short yet precarious hike to reach the destination; its intimate privacy also makes it a popular hangout for nude sunbathers! This is a necessary stop along the famous Hana Highway excursion, “Road to Hana”, which features unique sights indigenous to America’s tropical state, such as the Twin Falls, Garden of Eden, and several enchanting look-out spots.
10 Black Sand Beach, Jökulsárlón, Iceland
Jökulsárlón, Icelandic for “glacier river lagoon”, is a large glacier lake situated in Southeast Iceland on the edge of Vatnajökull National Park . The glacial lagoon is a known for its panoramic scenery of luminous blue icebergs, cold, still waters, and also its famous Black Sand Beach. Upon the shore, jet black sand formed by volcanic rock covers the coast, and is filled with crystal clear chunks of corroded icebergs which have washed up on the water’s edge. The perfect time to take photographs at the beach is at dawn, sunrise or sunset to capture the natural beauty of the sun’s rays kissing the sharp edges of the ice bergs. The beach is accessible by crossing the bridge of the ring road, where you can also spot various types of exotic birds and may even see seals swimming in the sea.
9 Gulf of Alaska, Ocean Cape Area
The Ocean Cape coastline in the Gulf of Alaska features a beautiful slate gray beach, surrounded by a bright green forest, and decorated with white driftwood which has washed ashore from the high tides of the Pacific Ocean. The sand’s colour comes from the strong waves which churn the rocky waters, leaving the coastline with a mysterious, metallic glow. Ocean Cape is an exposed reef and point break inside the Yakutat Bay. The beach may make a pretty picture, but is only really worth the visit for extreme surfers wanting to ride the waves!
8 Hyams Beach, Jervis Bay, New South Wales, Australia
Hyams Beach is one of Australia’s most famous attractions, as The Guinness Book of Records has recognized it as having the whitest sand in the word. In the sun’s peak the sandy shore looks just as white and bright as fresh fallen snow on a sunny winter’s day, yet this luxurious paradise has average annual temperatures between 16-25 degrees Celsius. Diving and snorkeling at Jervis Bay are acclaimed as being second only to The Great Barrier Reef in Australia. This beautiful spot is the perfect place to combine pleasurable swimming with enchanting views of the ocean and surrounding natural parks.
7 Ramla Bay, Gozo, Malta
Malta is one of Europe’s hidden gems located in the Mediterranean Sea, just 80 kilometers south of Sicily. The country has become an increasingly popular vacation spot for celebrities, such as Fergie, Lady Gaga, and even Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie with all their children. Ramla-I-Hamra is the Maltese translation for “Red Beach”, although the colour is more recognized as a peach-orange shade. The bay is situated in the bottom of a valley surrounded by rocky cliffs, enabling the existence of unspoilt wild and fertile nature. The spot is very popular with tourists, and especially snorkelers, and may become crowded during the summer months. When visiting Ramla Bay, visitors are encouraged to check out Calypso Cave, located in the cliffs on the western corner of the beach, which provides a breathtaking view of the entire valley.
6 Playa Azul Beach, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
When the describing the ideal tropical paradise, two of the main features mentioned are fluffy, “white” sand beaches and crystal clear “blue” waters. Because water is usually the defining blue characteristic of a coastline, the idea of petrol blue coloured sand may come as a shock to anyone who has yet to visit Playa Azul Beach in Guanacaste. Like many other coloured sand beaches, the blue colour is derived from the decomposition of the area’s surrounding rocks and minerals. Playa Azul is also the perfect getaway for luxury travelers wishing to visit a beach where they can enjoy the privacy of intimate and private villas, while maintaining close proximity to the tourist attractions.
5 Glass Sand Beach, MacKerricher State Park ,Fort Bragg, California
The Glass Sand Beach may not be as salubrious and beautiful as the other colourful beaches, since it is abundant in sea glass created from years of dumping waste into the coastline in the northern area of the town of Fort Bragg. Sea glass is physically and chemically weathered glass found along the shores of bodies of salt water.
Although the sea glass found at the beach may not come from the most luxurious sources, the process of weathering produces “natural frosted glass” and is often a highly sought after collector item or even used to make rare jewelry priced at over $1000.00.
4 Olive Green: Talofofo Beach, Guam
Guam is a popular tourist destination catered to passengers who can afford the half-day long flights and high resort fees. The island now attracts more than 1, 250,000 of these privileged visitors a year. Talofofo is a village located on the Southeastern coast of The United States territory of Guam. The Talofofo beach is one of only four green sand beaches in the world; the others being located in Hawaii, Floreana Island, and Norway. Green sand gets its colour from the unique mineral, olivine, which often comes from surrounding volcanic debris or cinder cone. Olivine is highly rich in iron and magnesium, and is one of the first crystals to form as the volcanic magma cools. The olive colour of the sandy shoreline are most noticeable when the sun hits the beach “just right”, causing a beautiful contrast between the green sand and enchanting blue waters.
3 Les Sables Rose, Rangiroa, French Polynesia
Les Sables Rose is French for “The Pink Sands”, and is a popular attraction for tourists visiting French Polynesia. Located within Rangoria, the beach is part of a large atoll- a ring shaped coral reef which encircles a lagoon. Pink sand is said to be the result of tiny organisms from coral reefs and pieces of shells which fall to the bottom of the ocean and get washed up on the coast. The sandy, rose coloured shore meeting the “Blue Lagoon” of Rangiroa is the perfect harmonious destination for a peaceful swim and sun tan, and a necessary place to snap a few photos. These waters are also renowned for being economically prosperous, as the breeding of pearl oysters in the lagoon produces black pearls.
2 Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur, California
Pfeiffer Beach is a secluded shoreline nestled along the Pacific Coast in Big Sur, California. The beach is unspoiled and very popular among the locals, yet remains unknown to most tourists. It earns its reputation for beauty from its magnificent sunset views, unusual shaped rock formations, and of course, its mauve coloured sand. The source of the purple sand comes from large deposits of quartz and manganese present in the nearby hills, which get washed down the creek and into the pacific coast. Pfeiffer is a great place for those interested in adding to their photography portfolios, as it is also known for landmarks such “Keyhole Rock”, a large boulder with a small, square opening which creates an enchanting orange glow when the sunlight hits the formation at dawn and dusk.
1 Rainbow Beach, Queensland, Australia
Rainbow Beach is a small coastal town in Australia, whose name is derived from the unique, multicoloured sand found along the shorelines and sand dunes in the area. The erosion of the dunes has caused a palette of 74 different hues of sand which have been produced by combinations of iron oxide and leached vegetable dye. In an Aboriginal legend, the cliffs became coloured when Yiningie, the spirit of the rainbow God, was killed in a battle over a woman. The different shades are visible in areas along the beach and within the cliffs; the colours you discover will vary depending on where you are and what you are looking at.