"Manuel Antonio Park from La Mariposa" by Dan Nevill via Flickr Creative Commons

Much of Latin America falls in the tropics making beach season last almost year round. From the legendary beaches of Brazil to the lesser known waters in Colombia and Venezuela, Latin America has a spicy tropical vibe that few can resist. While luxury resorts are popping up all over Costa Rica and Honduras and attracting tourists from all over the world, other places are only seeing a few local beachgoers and the occasional backpacker. Pristine palm fringed beaches with clear waters are everywhere in this region.

  1. Parque Nacional Tayrona, Colombia As security in Colombia has returned to safe levels, stretches of pristine coast like this one are beginning to pop up on everyone’s itinerary. Crystal clear water backed by lush forest makes this the most idyllic beach in Colombia.
  2. Fernando de Noronha, Brazil Only the very wealthy can afford a trip to this idyllic marine reserve with just a few extremely luxurious resorts. Models, celebrities, and jet setters have made this their secret getaway.
  3. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Carnaval or not, Ipanema, Copacabana and Rio’s other beaches are Brazil’s party central. The vibrant city and lush green mountains paired with tiny bikinis, free flowing Cachaça, dancing, and perfect sands make this one of the world’s legendary beach cities.
  4. Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica A monkey filled national park and rocky cliffs and coves make this one of the best beaches on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast.
  5. Máncora, Peru Peru’s best beach sits in the very northern corner of the country near the border with Ecuador. Try the idyllic Las Pocitas Beach for sunbathing or the public beach for surfing and partying.
  6. San Blas Islands, Panama The shallow, clear, coral filled Caribbean waters of the San Blas archipelago are one of the rare places in the world where you can mingle with an indigenous culture and stay at posh over water bungalows. The 365 tiny islets are mostly deserted, while the Kuna Yala Indians maintain just a few.
  7. Los Roques, Venezuela Although Isla Margarita is nice, the beaches on Venezuela’s Los Roques archipelago are even better. These tiny islets are mostly deserted, have crystal clear water, as well as great fishing and diving.
  8. Manzanillo, Costa Rica Rasta attitudes fill the air at this funky backpacker and nature lover’s hamlet on Costa Rica’s coast near the Panama border. Wander through Manzanillo National Park for the most unspoiled sands.
  9. Tela, Honduras In the next decade Tela Bay is expected to become the next Cancun with dozens of mega resorts possibly arriving. For now, though you’ll find miles and miles of empty beaches and just a few friendly Garifuna villages.
  10. Montañita, Ecuador Just below the equator is this long time South American party town and surf hangout. Desert and mangrove forests line these lively white sand beaches.

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