SOUTH AMERICA INSIDER EXPERIENCES

Whether you’d like a beach that fronts the Atlantic, Pacific or Caribbean, you can find your perfect destination in South America, with its amazing beaches front all three. With the exception of landlocked Bolivia and Paraguay, every South American has something to offer beach lovers of all types from remote escapes and rugged beaches filled with wildlife to picture-perfect sands for sun-worshippers and beaches with legendary parties and iconic surf spots.

Playa Manzanillo - Providencia, Colombia

Playa Manzanillo - Providencia, Colombia
Providencia is often considered one of the best-kept secrets in Colombia. To get to this island that’s closer to Nicaragua, you’ll have to fly to San Andres, but it’s certainly well worth the journey. Once the favorite hideout of Captain Morgan, today Providencia is considered a top dive destination, forming part of the Belize Barrier Reef, the longest in the western hemisphere. Playa Manzanillo is a wonderful, off-the-beaten-track beach at the edge of the turquoise sea where one can spend the day swimming in the tranquil bay and sipping rum punch with the locals.

Playa El Agua - Isla Margarita, Venezuela

Playa El Agua - Isla Margarita, Venezuela
Playa El Agua is one of the most stunning beaches on the continent, set along the north coast of Isla Margarita in Venezuela about 15 miles north of Palomar. This two-and-a-half-mile ribbon of pristine, white sand with a fringe of coconut palms, is a true picture-perfect beach. You’ll also find a number of cozy bars and restaurants, and, if you’re up for the thrill, you can even partake in bungee jumping or go for a ride on an ultralight plane taking in the breathtaking scenery from above.

Praia do Forte, Brazil

Praia do Forte, Brazil
Praia do Forte, located in Brazil’s northeast region roughly 50 miles north of Salvador, is one of the most beautiful beaches in a country filled with a practically endless number of magnificent stretches of sand. Visitors can explore tide pools filled with marine life when the tide is out, or enjoy swimming with the colorful fish in waters so clear you won’t even need a mask to see them. If you’re here between July and October, you might even see a majestic humpback whale surface past the breaking waves.

Montanita, Ecuador

Montanita, Ecuador
Locals and tourists flock to Montanita, Ecuador, a small coastal town along the country’s southern coast known for its unique combination of friendly people, idyllic unspoiled sands, world-class surfing, island and mountain natural reserves. From its origins as a hippie beach destination in the 1960s to its present-day reputation as a surfing hotspot, Montanita is a top destination in Ecuador that has been luring tourists and ex-pats to its golden shores for decades. This is also the only place in the country where it isn’t illegal to smoke marijuana and locals voice approval to same-sex couples who show public affection, something that would be frowned just about anywhere else in Ecuador. With its liberal attitude, inexpensive accommodations, and great, cheap eats, many people find it hard to leave.

Anakena Beach - Easter Island, Chile

Anakena Beach - Easter Island, Chile
Adorned with white coral sand, Akakena Beach, one of only two sand beaches on an island with an otherwise rocky coastline, was made popular after it appeared as the setting in the 1990s film “Rapa Nui.” Located in Rapa Nui National Park on Easter Island in Chile, it’s the most Polynesian-looking part of the island, with a grove of coconut palms stretching out to a white sand beach and a tranquil brilliant blue cove of warm waters.

Punta Sal, Peru

Punta Sal, Peru
Punta Sal, a small beach resort in northern Peru, offers one of the longest beaches on the north coast, divided into two sections, Big Punta Sal and Small Punta Sal. Many feel that it’s the most magnificent beach in all of Peru. Its location near the warm current of El Nino and the cold Humboldt Current, which come together here, benefits from year-round sunshine and warm, tranquil waters. There are a few large hotels in this relaxed town, mostly frequented by Peruvian families, making it an ideal spot for those seeking a more authentic vacation destination and a chance to get to know the local culture.

Playa la Vicera - Puerto Madryn, Argentina

Playa la Vicera - Puerto Madryn, Argentina
A bumpy ten-minute ride from El Pedral Lodge, the nearest accommodation to Playa la Vicera, will take you to this legendary Patagonian beach, with polished pebbles and violet abalone shells ultimately giving way to a sprawl of caramel-colored sands. This is not a beach for sunbathing, although you can swim if you get past the seaweed near the shore into the royal blue waters beyond. This is a beach for wildlife lovers where you can see waddling penguins, sea lions, and the whitened bones of elephant seals that give it a wistful, timeless atmosphere.