As locations go, South America does pretty well for beaches. From the iconic coast of Brazil to the unspoilt stretches of Venezuelan sand, there are beautiful shores all over this part of the world. Given the superb weather in this part of the Southern Hemisphere, it’s not surprising that the beaches tend to be one of the reasons that visitors make the pilgrimage here, to soak up the sun and frolic in the sea after a hard trek up the Inca Trail or some seriously long bus rides. For anyone not familiar with the region and looking for a few sandy gems, here are the 5 best beaches in South America.
1. Ipanema Beach, Brazil
Ipanema Beach tops every list as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world without a doubt. For white sand and clear, turquoise waters so fine that they have even been immortalized in song (‘The Girl From Ipanema’), you won’t find a location better than this beach. Add to that the picturesque backdrop of the city of Rio and Sugarloaf Mountain and you’ve got a pretty special place in which to top up your tan. Ipanema is popular with both tourists and locals and is large enough to accommodate those who are looking for a rum-fuelled party, as well as those who want to just fall asleep on the sand with a book.
2. Los Roques, Venezuela
Los Roques is one of those locations that is so simply stunning that it might just take your breath away. Unlike many of South America’s other beaches there is little evidence of the encroachment of the tourist industry here, and all you’ll find is miles of soft white sand and fantastically clear water that is perfect for swimming and snorkelling around the perfectly preserved reef. For those who want to take time out from the (sometimes rather hectic) pace of travelling around South America, there isn’t another beach location that is more chilled than Los Roques.
3. San Blas Islands, Panama
The San Blas Islands have been described as the ‘closest thing to paradise there is,’ and all you have to do is take one look at this awesome natural beauty spot to understand why. The islands are mostly uninhabited and have yet to feel the creeping hands of international tourism and so are still relatively untouched, and brimming over with natural beauty. Whether you want to camp out under the night sky, or you’re interested in checking out the underwater life in the crystal clear seas, the beaches here are without a doubt some of the most unspoilt in the world.
4. El Zonte, El Salvador
El Zonte has become known as something of a surfer’s paradise and whilst this beach may not have the same visual appeal of some of the more traditional white sand, still blue sea beaches of the region, it has the kind of tranquility you’re unlikely to find elsewhere. Oh yes, and it also has some fantastic surfing conditions so for those looking to catch a wave whilst in this part of the world, it’s a must visit. Whilst it is small, the beach is well equipped with everything from huge hammocks to excellent refreshments.
5. Carilo, Argentina
The word ‘Carilo’ literally means ‘green dune’ and, as the name might suggests, this is the place to come if you want see some serious lunar-esque dune-filled landscape. The dunes here provide a prime spot for adventurous types who want to jump in a dune buggy and kick up some sand at high speeds, and once you’ve sated your need for speed, the beach itself is a soothing spot for sitting back and getting 40 winks before you’re ready for your next buggy ride.
These 5 best beaches in South America are a great place to start for anyone travelling around the area and looking to get in some serious tanning time. With so many unspoilt spots and beautiful coastal locations, this part of the world really is a beachlover’s dream.