During the last ten minutes of my yoga class, our instructor always wanted us to lay on our back and imagine that we were all by ourselves on a beach, its downy sand slightly tickling our wet backs as the surf quietly swept up against our outstretched feet. And there in that room, all twenty of us, would be transported to a world of sand and sunshine. These ten minutes of idyllic imagery was the ultimate catharsis- the ultimate in relaxation.

Here we have compiled a list of the world's top 5 beaches that spell the ultimate in relaxation and scenic beauty.

1. Anse Lazio, Seychelles

Seychelles, an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, is a favorite honeymoon destination for many, especially for Britishers. The island of Praslin in Seychelles is on of the best spots for a vacation in the country, while the Anse Lazio Beach in Praslin, is easily one of the best beaches in Seychelles.

Seychelles has several other beaches that vie with each other in terms of scenic beauty and tourist attraction but Anse Lazio ranks distinctly above the rest based on several parameters.

Firstly, the island of Praslin is in the shape of a crescent moon with dense green foliage, partly encircling the turquoise blue waters. If you have the chance to look at it from above, you may feel that on the day God created Anse Lazio, He was specially in the mood to play with bright colors and having drawn a green crescent moon, on a sea of blue, he dashed off to do some other forgotten work- leaving the island as it is now- blue and green with the whitest- of -white sands, and an absolute delight to man. The Anse Lazio island is for people who really love the pristine beach and not the tourist trappings that come with it.

The slope is very gentle and ideal for wading into the water. In fact, this beach is a haven for barefoot strollers. Once you have had enough of wading, you can sit atop one of the granite rocks that border th water and take in the expansive view. Now, wouldn't that make you look like the Dreamworks Animation Boy- sitting on a crescent moon island, gently dangling your feet from the rock.

Reaching this island is easy enough. Any boat, plane or helicopter ride from the main island Mahe will bring you here. A helicopter ride would surely be a great way to take in the full view from above. We suggest you stay at the island for a couple of nights. After all, a secluded little spot, all to yourself, on this piece of heaven is not such a bad idea.

Note: There were a couple of unprecedented shark attacks in this peaceful location in 2011.

Anse Lazio

Anse Lazio - One of the best beaches in Seychelles.

2. Champagne Beach, Vanuatu

The water is in the shape of a champagne glass - hence the name. But wait. The water is also clear as champagne- hence the name. But wait. Vanuatu has also been adjudged the happiest place on the planet. My take? At night when no one is watching, the water here secretly transforms to a 'miracle champagne' that everyone drinks and turns merry.

Seriously though, a writer had visited Vanuatu and found one of Vanuatu's ministers skating across town and waving out to people, long before the nation got its title of the 'happiest place on earth'. I would like to visit Champagne Beach in Vanuatu for this reason alone. But once you reach the beach, you will know that, with a beach like this, your chances at happiness definitely increase.

The beach is as unspoiled as can possibly be. And along-with deep blue waters and white sand, the beach also has a coral reef not a long way from the shore. If to you going to a beach means getting a suntan, then there could be no better place than the Champagne Beach. Try to reach the beach on a day there is no cruise ship, and chances are, you will have the entire beach to yourself- to swim, snorkel or simply nap under the hot Vanuatu sun. Do whatever you want because you are in the lap of 'happiness'.

Champagne Beach

Champagne Beach - Famous for its clean and clear water

3. Bora Bora, Tahiti

I haven't ever been to a place that spells 'honeymoon' better than the Bora Bora island in the French Polynesia. Wherever, you look, you will see vast expanses of water of teal color, and rows of houses with thatched roofs standing on stilts, right in the middle of the water. And if that was not enough, there are steps leading down into the water from the houses.

With such accommodation designs in place, it is not surprising that Bora Bora earns almost all of its revenue from tourism. Hotels in Bora Bora have perfected the honeymoon package. A typical day, for a couple honeymooning in one of the many luxury resorts here, will go like this: Breakfast will be brought to the pair's balcony in a canoe full of flowers. Then they can go to a private beach for a 'gourmet' picnic. Come evening, the lovebirds will be on a cruise across the Pacific, with a high end four-course dinner served on the cruise itself. If they are up to it, the honeymooners can also renew your vows in a simple Polynesian wedding ceremony, complete with local musicians and local food.

Bora Bora

Bora Bora - A perfect honeymoon destination

4. Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Island, Australia

There are some people who let their work do their talking. There are some beaches, like Whitehaven Beach, which let their awards do the talking. The list of awards this beach has won is endless- 'Traveller's Choice Award', 'Best Eco Friendly Beach Award', 'Cleanest Beach Award', Queensland's Friendliest Beach Award”- you get the idea. I appreciate all beaches as they come but the phrases 'cleanest', 'eco friendly' and 'friendliest', have a very sweet ring to them. So, when I see a beach that is immensely popular and yet see it receiving accolades for environmental consciousness, I am already impressed.

The highpoint of the 7 km long Whitehaven Beach is the Hill Inlet, a wondrous cove that presents a mesmeric sight as the blue water slowly plays with the white sand, making shifting impressions in the water. The best place to view this natural phenomenon is at the Tongue Bay and the best time is when the tide is low.

You can enjoy the views at the Hill Inlet, irrespective of whether you are a rookie or an experienced camper. You can make a day trip via ferry to watch the impressions that the water makes on the sand. You can book an overnight sailing trip that will also make a stop here. Or if you are experienced enough, you can camp all by yourself at the national campsite on the southern end of the Whitehaven Beach itself.

Whitehaven Beach

Whitehaven - A clean, eco-friendly beach

5. Gardner Bay, Espanola Island, Ecuador

If you really have seen enough white sand, and now want to go to a beach that has some real living fun to offer, try visiting the Gardner Bay at Espanola Island in Ecuador. This beach is very very old - one of the oldest on Galapagos Islands, and has sea lions frolicking on the sand.
Sea lions are only just the beginning. As you cruise towards the Gardner Bay from Punta Suarez, you will find manta rays and spotted eagle rays. If you are lucky you may be able to see a manta ray breaching right over your head. Then there are the green turtles. You will surely step upon some broken shells of turtle eggs, and if you have a keen eye or an experienced guide, you may be able to walk up to a green turtle's nest. Take care though, not to disturb the eggs, since the green sea turtles are a vulnerable species. And guess who is more inquisitive than you? It is the Hood mockingbird, endemic to the Galapagos island, which will walk up to you even as you are too timid to approach the barking sea lions. The sand is perfectly white and the temperate waters are perfect for a swim or a snorkel. Try snorkeling and you will find shoals of big tropical fish, swimming just next to you.

Gardner Bay

Gardner Bay - one of the oldest beaches on Galapagos Islands


Image creditThomas GeeMaryAlquiler de CochesRob JamiesonTim Ellis

Published On: Tuesday, October 21st, 2014