5 Best Beaches : one for every month of the year

There’s a beach for everyone: from the stunning sands of Latin America, to the beautiful British coast, onwards to the Mediterranean’s best beach, and then down to a Pacific island paradise.

1JANUARY – San Juan del Sur Bay, Nicaragua

Suan Juan des Sur bay
Nicaragua may be a little unknown as a holiday destination but at this time of year is bathing in sunshine and you could be too on their beaches. The San Juan del Sur Bay beach has a dazzling horseshoe shape of muted beige soft sand that is overlooked by a giant statue of Jesus perched north of the bay. The waters around here are calm and very rarely get large enough to surf, making this an ideal beach for young families. For surfers, there’s the Playa Maderas a little further along.

There are plenty of fine eateries from which you can enjoy a most delightful sunset. And after sun down, there’s a fun vibe of a busy nightlife to enjoy.

2FEBRUARY – Isla Espiritu Santo, Sea of Cortez, Baja California Sur, Mexico

Isla Espiritu Santo, Mexico (c) Sam Beebe/Ecotrust
Oceanographer Jacques Cousteau called Mexico’s Sea of Cortez “the world’s greatest aquarium” because of its unique and rich ecosystem. To get up close and personal with nature, base yourself in La Paz. All the islands are UNESCO protected as World Heritage Biospheres.

Uninhabited Espiritu Santo, absurdly beautiful, is the jewel in the crown: the sea is so turquoise it’s like swimming in a bottle of Curaçao. Once ashore you’ll find wedding-cake white sands, nail-varnish pink volcanic rocks, clouds of yellow butterflies and strange 300-year old boojum trees.

At Los Islotes, you can snorkel with friendly sea-lions. There are many migratory species such as humpback whales, manta rays and leatherback turtles.

3MARCH – Kovalam Beach, Kerala, India

Kovalam Beach, Kerala (c) Ramnath Bhat
Known as the Paradise of the South, Kovalam is arguably the best beach in India. This coconut-forested, crescent-shaped beach is full of character, with the Vizhinjam mosque at the northerly end, brightly-painted boats in the middle, and Ayurvedic massage centres where you can indulge in a rejuvenating herbal, body-toning massage or other holistic therapy. The equivalent of 30p buys you a scrummy curry served on a leaf.

4APRIL – White Island, Camiguin, The Philippines

White Island, Camiguin (c) chiba
Small, pear-shaped and known as the Island Born of Fire, Camiguin is home to the spectacular White Island beach, a Tippex-white sandbar with views of two volcanoes, Mt Hibok-Hibok and Mt Vulcan. Close by, the turquoise Bohol Sea hides an unusual treasure – the Sunken Cemetery lying 20 feet underwater following a volcanic eruption in 1871. The island has old ancestral homes and historic churches.

5MAY – Praia de Lopes Mendes, Ilha Grande, Brazil

Praia de Lopes Mendes, Ilha Grande (c) Tarcísio de Paula Salgado
Just three hours south of Rio de Janiero, Ilha Grande is a small island home to the jaw-achingly beautiful Praia de Lopes Mendes. To get to the beach is quite an undertaking, but well worth the effort – you have to hike through Atlantic forests thick with hummingbirds, butterflies, tropical flowers and waterfalls with Pygmy and Holy monkeys running everywhere. With sand as white and as soft as flour, the beach of Lopes Mendes is irresistible. The island was discovered in 1502 but today preservation is the word with roads only existing in the island’s main village.