DOWN BY THE BAY
Beaches are technically the sandy stretches that adjoin the tumultuous oceanic waves and dry land. With the sea breeze blowing through your hair and the sand crunching below your bare feet – it is virtually impossible to remember your troubles. Sip a cocktail and unbutton yourself – what you need is a beach vacation.
From our very own Goa to the exotic stretches of sand in countries like Mexico and Greece, as citizens of the world, we have a variety of options for the perfect beach vacation. Get ready to be seduced by some of the most popular aquatic destinations around the globe.
Cote d’ Azure
The Cote d’Azure or the Blue Coast is one of the world’s most famous beaches. Also known as the French Riviera, it stretches from Hyeres to the border of Italy. The most famous cities on the Cote d’Azure are Cannes, Antibes, Nice and St. Tropez. All the cities boast of beautiful coastlines, warm weather and cool waters. The French Riviera was the preferred escape for royalty, politicians and more recently, the toast of tinsel town.
Visitors are always pleasantly surprised by the history surrounding the area. The Cote d’Azure boasts of museums and intriguing old buildings, small pieces of the good times of yesteryears. French food is always a delight and the Cote d’Azure does not disappoint. There are several café style eateries and the seafood, cooked in the traditional French manner is unforgettable. Fusion cooking is also popular with elements from Monaco and Italy.
With a famous and well-connected railway line travelling down the length of the coast, you can indulge in the beautiful beaches and also visit some of the other exciting spots like Monte Carlo – the hub for glamour and glitz in Europe.
Surf the waves at Oahu, Hawaii
In Hawaii, beaches are practically a way of life. A small collection of islands that remains under the jurisdiction of the United States, Hawaii is a cultural melting pot, a mix of modern culture and ancient tradition. Hawaiian culture is intrinsically entwined with the sea and their entire culture is formed around it. Oahu is widely considered one of the best Hawaiian Islands to visit. With spectacular beaches, friendly locals and fabulous food – it is everything you ever dreamed of in a beach vacation.
Tourists can partake in a variety of water sports – from snorkeling and scuba diving to the more adventurous parasailing and surfing. Surf culture originated in Hawaii and Mark Twain famously wrote “In one place we came upon a large company of naked natives, of both sexes and all ages, amusing themselves with the national pastime of surf-bathing”, after his visit to Hawaii in the 1800s.
Oahu boasts of some of the most famous beaches in the world. Lanikai Beach has often been voted the most popular beach in the world. Bordering the clear, cool waters of the Pacific and a posh residential area, Lanikai beach can be accessed through public access paths. Extremely popular in the summer months, it is a hub of activity with tourists and locals jockeying to take a dip, walk across the warm sands and bask in the sun.
Hawaiian cuisine is a refreshing mix of influences – from American to Portuguese- there is a distinctly Asian bent to their spices and flavors with a more western format. For example, one of the most popular Hawaiian foods is the Loco Moco – hamburger patty served with eggs and gravy. Another favorite is Malasadas – a type of deep fried doughnut, coated with sugar, which originated in Portugal.
Fall in love with Fiji
Formed through volcanic activity, the islands came into existence 150 million years ago and became inhabited in the second millennium (BC). One of the biggest archipelagos in existence, there are more than 300 islands in the formation. The two major islands in Fiji are Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. Natadola is a beautiful spot on the Viti Levu Island. Fiji is home to some beautiful, natural coral reefs. Scuba diving and snorkeling are favored tourist activities. With scenery straight out of picture postcards, it is hard not to fall in love with Fiji.
The culture of Fiji is an amalgamation of several races. There is a big Fiji-Indian population, many having settled there during the colonial period when they were shipped there as slaves. There are also settlements of people of European and Chinese descent. The food available is also, like the country, a mixed affair. Traditional Fijian food involves using coconut, fish, rice, taro, sweet potatoes and breadfruit. Dishes like Lovo (meat, fish and veggies are wrapped in banana leaves and buried in a pit, heated stones are placed over the leaves, to cook the food) and Kokodo (raw fish marinated in coconut cream, lime, tomatoes and onions).
The Magic of Mauritius
Nestled off the coast of Africa, in the Indian Ocean, Mauritius has a rich cultural background. African, French, British and Dutch influences permeate the country and the official languages include Mauritian Creole, French, English and Rodriguan Creole. The island is circled by majestic mountain ranges that tower over the beaches.
A famous quote about Mauritius reads, “God first made Mauritius and from it, He created Paradise.” Mauritius was once the site of an active volcano and though it has been extinct for more than a million years, it has resulted in several unusual rock and peak formations, many of which go all the way down to the sea. The islands are also home to some picturesque coral reefs.
Beaches like the Belle Mare beach, Tamarin Bay, Blue Bay beach and the ever-popular Flic-en Flac beach lend an ethereal beauty to the surroundings. The best-known beach in Mauritius, Flic-en Flac translates into Free and Flat Land in Dutch. The seascape includes a limpid, gorgeous lagoon perfect for taking a leisurely dip. Snorkeling and swimming are the preferred activities. However, other beaches offer more adventurous pursuits like surfing, parasailing and more.
Explore the waters of Phuket
Phuket is one of the most visited parts of Thailand, with tourists pouring in from all over the world. One of the biggest attractions in Phuket is PhangNga Bay- an intriguing and unusual part of the seascape. There are several myths entwined with the history of the area – with pirate caves and the mystery of the unexplored in the air. The nearby island, James Bond Island, is a popular tourist destination. It is common for travelers to combine the two sights.
The beauty of PhangNga Bay is the sheer limestone formations that jut out of the water, breaking up an otherwise calm coastline. These limestone outcrops are called Karsts and make for a picturesque and enthralling sight. Some popular activities in this area are cave exploring, kayaking and snorkeling.
Food in Phuket consists principally of fresh seafood dishes. The cuisine here is slightly different from mainland Thai food. Cashew nuts, pineapples and oysters are some of Phuket’s biggest foodie draws. Some of the best food in the area are from street vendors and small, local establishments. Calamari, squid and shrimp are perennial favorites and are always available.