A beach vacation is one of the most beautiful, relaxing and fun trips to have, and there certainly is no shortage of incredible beaches to visit in the world!
There are all kinds of beaches – private beaches, white beaches, coral beaches, black beaches, nude beaches, and pet beaches . Here, guest blogger Paul Johnson, gives his list of the five best beaches to visit in the world. These should not be taken as an official guide, however, as each person has their own unique personal preference. The decision as to which beach is the best is a judgment which can be made only by visiting in person. So, go to the beach!
5. Tulum Beach, Mexico
This beach has the specialty of housing one of the earliest resorts in Mexico. Estimates say that its history goes back to a few hundred years ago. Featuring a Mayan pyramid in the background (yes, a pyramid), this sparkling-white beach is very calm and peaceful, and is one of the best travel experiences you can get.
4. Horseshoe Bay, Bermuda
One of the most visited beaches in the world in spite of being high in cost to visit, Horseshoe Bay in Bermuda is a treat that truly deserves a place in the top 5. It has got everything you need: clear water, amazing weather and pink sand. It is incomparable to any other beach, and surely is a must visit.
3. Boracay, Philippines
Situated at a distance of around 200 miles from Manila and just about a mile from the north-western tip of the Panay Island in the Philippines, Boracay has had a history of being among the world’s best beaches, with BMW Tropical Beach Handbook naming it among the best beaches in the world twice.
2. The Maldives, Indian Ocean
Regarded as the number one “calm” beach in the world, the Maldives are located in the Indian Ocean and are very close to India and Sri Lanka. The islands, a country in themselves, are very beautiful and secluded too. Peace and quiet come by default with a visit to Maldives.
1. Fernando De Noronha, Brazil
Located at a distance of around 220 miles from the Brazilian shores, Fernando De Noronha is actually an archipelago of 21 different islands and islets which combined have some of the best beaches in the world in them. Fernando De Noronha is renowned for its selection by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, and it is aptly described as “the most beautiful marine park in the World”.
Coron comes close to Palau’s Truk Lagoon in terms of a wonderful diving environment. Both have sea beds littered with sunken World War II vessels. But the similarities do not stop in the war wrecks. Their names are nearly alike, Palau and Palawan. Maybe, there is a more to it than there appears on the surfac.
Paluans are a proud ancient race keeping a close watch on their culture. In Coron, the Tagbanua ethnic group holds the islands and forests and would never let go any portion of their ancestral domain. Until the government stepped in and borrowed this part of sacred territory for a risky enterprise like, well, tourism. Perhaps, there is magic in the lakes that the Tagbanuas have been zealously guarding.
You can approach the northwestern coast of Coron by boat. A stunning sight of jagged, ashen, karst-rocks shooting out from the sea like the mythic dragons teeth grows gradually before your eyes. Time lashed rocks with forest vines; the crevices, moldy with overgrowths just like moss growing on garden stones. But the long and deep gnarling cracks that gave the steep walls its ancient face tell of this once volcanic ridge its age.
The lakes—Kayangan, Barracuda and the Twin Lagoons—are all karst sink-holes of glass-clear water. But Barracuda Lake is a challenge. The shore is covered with rocky corals. It takes effort to bring the boat up. A rough trail climbs up and winds around the lake to the jump-off point. But all the work pays off. You come out into a hidden tropical paradise with a crystal-clear pool at the center. And amid the eerie silence, monkeys chatter and exotic birds flutter between the branches.
The water seems irresistibly inviting. But steer yourself down into a slow dive. The water consists of three layers. The top is freshwater. You will sink fast. But as you descend, you will be overwhelmed by the mind-blowing sight of cavernous, gnarling, rocks and soft luminous colors—an experience that is strange and wonderful at once.
You haven’t gotten over your amazement yet when your body starts to feel like it is sinking in a hot tub. The heat crawls up as you pass the thermocline. It is like swimming at the bottom of a sauna bath at 35oC to 39oC. The lake used to be a volcanic crater. But before you get totally stewed, your legs feel the cool, relieving, stream of seawater. And soon, you touch the bottom of the lake. It is a totally different world down there. Pastel-colored rocks. Strange marine creatures. Tiny catfish stare at your goggles. Brine shrimps cling and nip at your bare limbs.
Kayangan Lake offers even more mind-blowing underwater sights: cavernous karst formations in kaleidoscopic light-play from above. It’s simply out-of-this world. Translucent jellyfish pass you by. Palau has a Jellyfish Lake teeming with thousands of these yellow-green creatures. But Kayangan harbors only a few, though, in stunning colors and forms.
Crystalline coves and mysterious jungles make up Coron’s dramatic tropical sights. But a dip into the lakes open to a sublimely primitive world that can only be described as “ethereal.” Hence, any dive in the lakes amounts to an experience that is just magical.
For those heading to Coron, Club Paradise Palawan and the El Rio y Mar Resort are probably your best bet for full service, concierge, and all of the amenities at the right price.
4. Don’t Read
To me, reading is an essential part of travel. As far as I’m concerned, if you are one of those people who ‘doesn’t like to read’ than you are one of those people who should stay home and not travel.
Don’t read anything about the country of place you are going to. That way you won’t understand the culture, the traditions, the history, the climate, or anything else. You will be able to have a completely one dimensional experience. If you should read, for example, about how it is rude to point the bottoms of your feet at someone in Thailand, then you’ll miss out on the ass kicking that results when the kick-boxer tells you to stop pointing your feet at him and you continue to do it. You wouldn’t want to miss that.
Or if you read, you might feel compelled to go fifteen kilometers out of your way on the way between Seattle, Washingon and Vancouver, British Columbia and visit the remote and gorgeous Scenic Hot Springs. Wouldn’t that suck?
Don’t read on your trip. Don’t discover that Mark Twain stayed in the same hotel you are visiting in Honolulu (The Moana Surfrider) or that the lovely looking picnic spot in Cebu, Philippines is where Lapu Lapu ate a famous explorer. Who needs to know details like that?
Don’t read when you are stuck at the airport. It’s much better to just sit and get angry at the workers or eat overpriced food. Don’t read at the beach because it’s much better to sit there wondering what to do now that you are done swimming.
Yes, if you don’t want to enjoy world travel, it is essential that you not read.
5) Don’t talk to anyone unless you have to
If you want to have horrible and meaningless travels, don’t talk to anyone unless you have to. Don’t talk to the man next to you on the airplane or bus, he might be a Chinese businessman who would invite you to visit his home and stay with his family.
Don’t talk to the guy who works at the hotel unless you need towels or directions. If he thinks “Hey, this is a nice person” he might actually tell you someplace that he doesn’t recommend to every other rude tourist. You might end up going to a tiny temple in Penang, Malaysia instead of going to the big one that has eighteen tourist buses outside it.
Don’t talk to people in the street. They might try to sell you something. They might want to practice English with you. They might want to share a bit of their culture or learn something about yours. Wow, wouldn’t it be a bummer if that Indonesian guy learned that the USA is not just like Bay Watch and Jerry Springer? Don’t talk to him.
If you want to NOT enjoy your travels, do not talk unless you need something.
6) Don’t learn any of the local language
Finally, if you want to be absolutely certain that you don’t enjoy your world travel, pretend your a British Colonist and refuse to speak the local language.
Don’t say Tarima Kasih in Indonesia, don’t ask where to get the gonggongcheecha in China, don’t say Yvet in Turkey, don’t show the grocer in Barcelona you can understand the uno, dos, tres, don’t speak French in Paris (I found Parisians to be very gracious about my bad French), don’t say shukran in Morocco, kapcun kap in Thailand, daijobu in Japan, bollacks in England, dude in California, wienerschnitzel in Germany, or Mahalo in Hawaii.
Speaking the language encourages people to learn about you, to teach about their culture, to make friends, to have relationships, to even fall in love. There is nothing miserable about any of that. So if you want to Not enjoy the world of travel…don’t speak the local language.
Got more tips about how to NOT enjoy world travel, why not leave a comment below or send your tips to me using the contact form.
Happy Thanksgiving! It’s 2019 – I first wrote this back in 2011 and I’ll just keep adding to it every year.
I hope that you are enjoying all the food posts that I’ve put up in the past month. Thanksgiving and travel are both all about gratitude and food. Here’s a post that gives me a taste of both and fits the holiday spirit.
Since coming back to the USA – so much of my energy has been focused on being a father, finding a way to pay for the right to live (the American way), and building businesses that might make things better – that I haven’t done much in the way of travel. In 2019, I only took a few flights – I took my family on a short island hop to experience the Hawaiian Island of Maui and I took a short trip to San Francisco for a tech conference. Other than that, I’ve been here on Oahu – not the worst place to be stranded, but I have to admit to a bit of island fever.
I’m grateful for my wife and daughter, for the fact that we live in Hawaii, and today, I’m grateful because I just finished the first draft of a new novel. This is the first novel I’ve written since 2012 – I’d forgotten what a huge joy it is to create a new story, new people, and to some extent a new world and be able to shape them into a story. Here’s our 2019 Thanksgiving dinner…not a big production, but a fun and easy way to do Thanksgiving dinner for the three of us.
In terms of the KIVA loan below – I’ve loaned it out several times now with only one time that it wasn’t repaid – in general I’ve focused on loaning to women who produce food – the one time I loaned to a man, the loan has not been repaid. I’m grateful that women are so awesome and I’ve just re-funded the loan so that it can help more women producing food in an sustainable way. We can help make the world a better place together…..
I’m excited about the year 2020. I’ve already got a new trip planned in spring. For the first time, I’ll be heading to Australia – my wife gave me the go ahead so I’ve got an ultra budget trip down under in my near future. Who knows what the future holds?
I hope you are all having a great Thanksgiving. Over the next month, I’ll be sharing our many Christmas and holiday season stories.
Aloha nui loa!
November 24, 2011, Happy Thanksgiving!
I’m writing this from Paris. It’s been one hell of a wonderful year for me and I can’t tell you how thankful I am. Especially for this little wonder:
At four months, our daughter is already bringing us so much joy. I’m no less thankful for her sweet and wonderful mama, who, even though she wasn’t able to get a visa in time for this trip, understood, that I sometimes need a break from Morocco and insisted that I go since we couldn’t change or get a refund for our flights and hotels.
I am also very thankful for the many friends we have around the world, for both of our wonderful families, and for the many opportunities we have been blessed with.
I’m not sure how a too independent for his own good vagabond like me ended up with a beautiful family, a warm (well, mostly) and comfortable home, and the chance to travel the world, see new people and places and have wonderful experiences. But, I’m certainly thankful for it and I think that, ultimately, that is what this day is all about. Being thankful – it’s not about the turkey, the football, or even the United States. It’s about gratitude pure and simple.
As a small way of giving back, I am making a micro-loan through Kiva.org – It’s not much, just $25 but it makes a difference. I ask you to do the same…to join Team Vagobond, just follow this link: http://www.kiva.org/team/vagobond
Here is the woman who my loan went to in the Philippines. As you can see, she is a farmer – which for a Thanksgiving loan seems quite appropriate. She earns approximately $4142 per year, so as you can see, $25 makes quite a difference. Her requested loan amount is just $475 and she still has $400 to go. Let’s make her loan happen! http://www.kiva.org/lend/359963
Glane owns and operates farmland, planting & harvesting corn for sale to earn a living and she’s been two years in this business. Each month, she earns 15,000 doing this type of work.
She requested a loan of 20,000 PHP to purchase additional seeds, seedlings & young crops to raise. Glane is been a member of GDMPC for almost a year. In the future, Glane wants to make improvements to her house and to have her children finish their studies.
One of the biggest impediments to world travel is your stuff. Not just your physical stuff, but your mental stuff too. It’s hard to get rid of the baggage you’ve spent your life accumulating. One of the reasons I’ve been able to see as much as I have is that I’ve gone through the painful process of saying goodbye to people, things, and ideas…it’s never easy and if I were better at it, I would have seen much more than I have.
World Travel for Almost Nothing Tip #6: Leave Your Crap Behind You
We all like the physical comforts that a sedentary life brings us. The nice lazy boy (yeah, I miss mine), the kitchen gadgets, the easy way we can lounge around the house, and most of all the comfort of routine.
Routine is the biggest killer of adventures. It’s comfortable, we’re used to it, and even if it isn’t good for us, we hang onto it. I say that as I realize I’ve been smoking for nearly 25 years and refuse to think of how much that has cost me in terms of money and health. Or how much it will.
Yes Virginia, habits are nothing more than comfortable routine. It’s hard to leave your city, it’s hard to put yourself in a new environment, it’s hard to leave the friendships and places you are used to. But if you want to see the world for almost nothing, that is what you have to do.
Most of the time people think of travel in terms of leaving home and then coming back home. Well, a home costs you whether you are there or not. Same goes for a car, electricity, and all the other physical things you own. You have to keep them somewhere, right?
The bulk of my things are sitting in six small boxes in my brother’s garage. When I say small, I mean you could put them all in the front seat of a compact car. These are the things I’ve temporarily let go of with the knowledge that it might be permanent. I’ve also managed to somehow get a house full of things in Morocco, but I’ve very little attachment to any of them this time. My wife doesn’t count as a thing by the way, she isn’t a possession. 🙂 Besides, she’s small enough to fit in that front seat with the boxes…
Anyway, the point is that if you want to travel for almost nothing you need to get rid of that stuff or find a place where it will sit and not inconvenience anyone while you explore the world. One nice thing about traveling is that you don’t have to pay any of those expenses unless you hold on to them.
The truth is that traveling takes less money than being sedentary. As you travel you don’t need to pay those bills, you don’t need to have a job, and you don’t need to worry about what the Jones’ will think.
That also gives you the chance to let go of some of the harder possessions. Obsessions and habits need to hit the garbage can. To Truly find the joy of travel, you need to walk away from it all and experience what comes at you with your whole mind, body, and spirit.
If you have to plan everything six months in advance and you can’t live in the moment and ‘carpe diem’ than you might as well book that cruise vacation or the all inclusive package and spend the next six months working to pay for it.
The only way to really travel for almost nothing is to have almost nothing.
If you enjoyed this series you should buy my books, buy things using the affiliate links on the site, or donate a couple of bucks towards my future travels and the upkeep of this site.
Being able to do something useful makes all the difference in the world when you want to travel the world for free or for almost nothing.
The fact that I can write, edit, work on computers, fix cars, and wash dishes means that I can go just about anywhere and trade my skills for whatever I need.
World Travel for Almost Nothing Tip #5:
Make yourself Useful.
Whether you cook, clean, or practice medicine the skills you’ve worked hard to develop will help you to be welcome wherever you go. If you are a carpenter or a mechanic, you can probably find everything you need in return for your skills. If you’re good at eating chips and playing World of Warcraft, well, it might be harder to find someone who is willing to trade food or lodging for those skills…but in this world, anything is possible.
In fact, lots of people opt to take actual jobs that involve travel. Working on cruise ships, airlines, tour guiding, and many more jobs actually pay you to travel…that’s almost better than free.
The key to this is that it takes time. You can’t step off the plane and simply say, here I am! You have to talk with people, you have to interact, you have to let people know that you have something to offer. So if you want to get that free vacation rental in Bermuda for three days, you better work your ass off figuring out who you know has connections there or using the internet to network virtually.
Another skill that has really worked in my benefit is being a teacher and a Native English Speaker. You can usually find someone who wants to trade what you need for language lessons.
I wrote this back in October of 2010 – but it’s still true today. In fact, in 2019 – it’s even easier. They call us digital nomads now! Funny how the world changes – when I started this blog – there was no such thing and few of us doing it – today – the world is crowded with digital nomadism. To update this a little – I hit a really good stretch with Vagobond for a while – selling links – then Google changed the pagerank algo and it dropped to nearly nothing. Same goes for adwords – it was good and then it became not so good.
Earning money while you are traveling the world isn’t as hard as you might think it is. Of course, making a lot of money…that’s quite a bit harder! I can’t say that I’ve mastered the art of making a lot of money whether I am on the road or stationary, but I have learned that no matter how bad the economy is, no matter how depressed a place I might live in, no matter where I am- I can find a way to make a few bucks. Definitely enough to get to somewhere else, take care of my wife and me, and hopefully to have some fun along the way.
Lots of travelers today are having good luck with affiliate marketing and blogging. I’ve been pretty successful at blogging in terms of people liking my writing and coming again and again to my blog, but I can’t say I’ve really had much luck with making money at it (but thanks for the anonymous donations Mom!). Same goes for affiliate marketing. As you might guess, this post has some affiliate links in it (not any more). It won’t cost you anything to use them if the programs look interesting to you, and it will throw a little extra my way if you sign up for them. There it is – full disclosure! (Of course if I were sneaky, I would probably be rich but honesty is a profit killer.)
Of, course, one way that I make money is by teaching language. As a Native English speaker, the world is clamoring at my door to offer me money for teaching others to speak English. I happen to be a very good teacher, so that helps. To get my teaching credential, I went through an online TEFL course. That and being a native gets you through the door and into most countries.
You might want to get more than just the certificate though and start learning how to teach too!
The sad part is how many teachers I meet who don’t know how to teach at all or who are just plain terrible teachers. It just goes to show, that even if you aren’t a good teacher, you can make money in foreign countries as a teacher. You just need to get your TEFL certificate.
Of course, I think the best way to make money while I am on the road is by writing. It’s amazing how many people don’t think they can write, but in fact, if you can talk, you can write! It’s as easy as that (presuming you know things like letters and spelling). You don’t have to have a dictionary vocabulary. You just need to be able to say things in a conversational tone. That’s the tone that works the best on the internet.
There are millions of outlets for writers if you take the time to look.It might be exactly what you are looking for to make some money while you are on the road.
What do you do to make money while you are traveling?