As I post this deep in the grip of a bitter mid-Atlantic February, I’m dreaming of finding myself somewhere warm and sunny. I’ve gathered a selection of five (plus one!) off-the-radar gems that will bring some inspiration for your next oceanside getaway. You won’t find any swim-up bars or cabana boys here, but if uninterrupted peace and quiet are what you’re looking for, you can’t go wrong. Check out these hidden beaches that, with a little planning and a bit of luck, you can have all to yourself:
1. Anakena Beach, Easter Island, Chile – A visit to the second-most remote inhabited island in the world yields this crescent beach of powdery sand and the disconcerting figures of stone moai (statues) adorning their ahu (platform). Go on a weekday and find yourself alone with the spirits of the Rapa Nui ancestors.
2. Isla Rabida, Galapagos, Ecuador – A cruise of the Galapagos Islands wouldn’t be complete without a stopover on the red sand beach of Isla Rabida, where you can relax with the native birds and sea lions that make the islands their home.
3. Palm Beach, Swakopmund, Namibia – Not a particularly scenic beach as it is just outside the town center of Swakopmund, but since Namibia is one of the least densely populated countries in the world there’s a good chance you won’t be fighting any crowds. Pair it with a visit to the Kristal Gallerie to see geology at its finest.
4. Gibb’s Cay, Turks and Caicos – It takes a puddle-jumper followed by a water taxi to reach this tiny uninhabited spit of sand in the Turks & Caicos islands, but if you book with the right tour company you’ll soon find yourself in the company of a school of gentle and ghostly stingrays who come to swim with the few tourists who venture out here. Try to work in some extra time for a nap on the beach.
5. Kaihalulu Beach, Maui, United States – It takes a bit of bravery and a bit of athleticism to climb the treacherous cliff trail to this hidden red sand beach, but once there you’ll be rewarded with ultimate freedom – the cove shelters Maui’s only nude beach from prying eyes.
BONUS: Sunj Beach, Lopud Island, Croatia – One of the Elaphiti Islands clustered in the Adriatic just off of Dubrovnik, this island does attract tourists in the high season but enjoys a mere 220 year-round residents. Take a kayak tour around the island or a hike up to the overlook where you can have views of Lopud Beach on the other side.