NEW YORK, USA, Tuesday January 17, 2017 – Two Caribbean beaches have been named among the best in the world, beating the famous sands of Hawaii, Tahiti and Greece, not to mention Brazil’s legendary Ipanema Beach.
From a list of 25 of the most idyllic stretches of shoreline on the planet, judges at Passport Magazine awarded seventh and eighth place to Varadero Beach in Cuba and Knip Beach in Curacao, respectively.
— PASSPORT Magazine (@PASSPORTmag) January 11, 2017
In his review of Varadero Beach, travel writer Bill Strubbe lauded its sheer size and the diversity of its marine life and land attractions, not forgetting the pleasures of a mojito or two.
Here’s what he had to say:
“Don’t forget your sunglasses because the glare off of the 32 kilometres of Varadero’s platinum-blonde beaches and exquisite turquoise waters will undoubtedly be fierce. This narrow spit of sand 140 kilometres northeast of Havana draws locals and international tourists alike to its natural beauty, nightclubs, and luxury hotels.
“The sea drop is so gradual that you can wade far out into the warm water without hitting the surf. With more than 40 species of coral, numerous fish, shrimp, crabs, 70 kinds of molluscs, and if you’re lucky, some inquisitive dolphins, it’s a great place to snorkel. Scuba equipment can be rented to explore the underwater caves at La Cueva de Saturno, a stalagmite and stalactite cavern flooded with water. Sports enthusiasts can indulge in sail-boarding, aqua-biking, catamaran rides, and paragliding.
“On the north-eastern tip of the peninsula is the Hicacos Point Natural Park with the 820-foot long Cave of Ambrosio and Mangón Lake, home to 24 species of reptiles and 31 of birds. Spotting rare specimens of a more mechanical sort can also be amusing in Varadero: pre-1959 American relics—57 Bel Airs, a chrome-laden De Soto, and a 56 Plymouth Fury— chugging past like so much flotsam and jetsam from a long-receded political high-tide.
“On the San Bernardino crags, French American millionaire Irenee Du Pont built his sumptuous winter hideaway, Xanadu, complete with hydraulic organ, rooms inlaid with precious hardwoods and marble, and a spectacular penthouse ballroom where one can sip mojitas—an indigenous concoction of rum, lime juice, sugar, and mint—with a panoramic vista of the peninsula and sea.”
In his review of Knip Beach, Rich Rubin concentrated more on the natural beauty of the shoreline along the northwest coast of Curacao.
“Curaçao’s Knip Beach is the very image of a Caribbean strand: a perfect curve of white, surrounded by a crescent of low-lying green hills,” he said.
“Because of the geography of this famously gay-friendly island, you won’t find miles-long stretches of beach, rather, you’ll find a series of individual beaches. The best lie along the northwest coast, isolated in little coves that make each succeeding beach a new discovery as you drive around that corner of the island, where all the best beaches are located.
“Knip, technically it’s Grote Knip (Large Knip) as there’s a smaller beach nearby that shares the name, is popular with Curaçaoans as well as tourists, and because it’s a local favourite, you’ll find a lot more people there on weekends. During the week, though, it’s practically deserted. Reefs lie offshore, a decent swim for dedicated snorkelers but not out of reach.
“Before going down to the water’s edge, stand on the cliff above and gaze down at this postcard-perfect Caribbean image. You might see young men diving from the rocks or, especially during the week, it might be just you, that vast expanse of incredible water, the manzanilla trees framing a view of rugged cliffs and blue/green seas, with perhaps a tiny fisherman’s boat out in the water. Descend to the beach, where the sand is white as sugar, the water that aqua-emerald-who-knows-what-colour-to-call-it-but-it’s-amazing hue that you’ll find only in the Caribbean.”
Cuba and Curacao were in good company as illustrated in the list below of Passport Magazine’s 25 best beaches in the world:
L’Espiguette Beach, Aigues-Mortes, France
Karekare Beach, Auckland, New Zealand
Bocas Del Toro, Panama
Matira Beach, Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Cape Town, South Africa
Varadero Beach, Cuba
Knip Beach, Curacao
China Beach, Danang, Vietnam
Glass Beach, California, US
Es Cavallet Beach, Ibiza, Spain
Hanalei Bay Beach, Kauai, Hawaii
Bells Beach, Melbourne, Australia
Temaw Beach, Moorea, Tahiti
Elia Beach, Mykonos, Greece
Kaneohe Bay Sandbar, Oahu, Hawaii
Barafundle Bay, Wales, UK
Herring Cove, Massachusetts, US
Punta Del Este, Uruguay
Ipanema Beach, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Il Buco, Ostia, Italy
Silver Strand State beach, California, US
Tel Aviv, Israel
Dune Beach, Torre Del Lago, Italy
Robin Hood’s Bay, Yorkshire, UK