These days, it seems that the former best of beaches have turned into polluted landscapes. Public beaches often fall victim to this curse. However, there are beaches that are well-maintained and protected whilst offering sanctuary to wildlife and beach-goers alike. The following 5 eco-friendly beach vacations are as beautiful as they are difficult to reach.
1. Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Islands, Australia
Dubbed the “cleanest beach in Queensland”, this 4.3-mile white sand beach has won many awards for resource recovery and environmental protection. It is part of a 74-island chain, and it is the largest one. The island is accessible by boat from the mainland ports of Airlie Beach, Shute Harbour and Hamilton Island. Each November, the beach hosts a 2-kilometer open swimming competition.
2. Playa Matapalo, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica
Located in the “lungs of the Earth”, the Osa Peninsula holds a lush forest and government that is a stickler about conserving it, making it one of the most biologically diverse areas in Costa Rica. The peninsula contains 500,000 flora and fauna species, and the beach is popular with surfers (and particularly fit for beginners). The beach connects to the Portalon National Wildlife Refuge.
3. Koh Libong, Trang Province, Thailand
Tourits have taken their toll of Thailand’s beaches, but not those in the Trang Province. There, officials are sustainability and eco-tourism minded. With the help of Swedish environmentalists, local officials have been able to protect the Koh Libong island. However, tourists still outnumber locals, and it is apt for those looking for a more isolated getaway. The island also has an impressive jungle environment.
4. Las Islas Cies, Galicia, Spain
Since 1980, Las Islas Cies’s pristine white sands have stayed just that – pristine and white – because it was declared a Nature Reserve. There is a limit to the number of visitors and overnight campers at any given time, which prevents overcrowding. Underwater fishing is forbidden on the island as well.
5. Sancho Bay, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
The Fernando de Noronha island is a protected marine ecological reserve. Of the island’s beaches, Sancho Bay is among the most unspoiled and secluded spots – it is UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site. Only 420 tourists are allowed on the island at one time, and far fewer will make their way to Sancho Bay, so expect a calm, quiet and private paradise. TripAdvisor named Sancho Bay the best beach of 2014 based on reviews.
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Photo Credit: Mark Scott Johnson, Alquiler de Coches, Hanumann, Jose Antonio Gil Martinez, Roberto Faccenda