The 5 Best Beaches in the World You’ve Never Even Heard Of

If you don't know, now you know.

Right around this time of year, we have only one thing to say to winter: Bye, Felicia. That's right, we're over here dreaming of tropical beaches with crystal-clear water and velvet-soft sand. But we like a little serenity with our paradise, too. So where to go for a much-needed escape from the cold without a crowded mob scene?

Turns out there's an answer to that. TripAvisor readers voted these pretty places the top beaches in the world for 2016... but after peeking at the list, many frequent travelers — even those in the know — were shocked to find they'd never even heard of them.

So eventually, these spectacular locations will be crowded with the masses who figure it out — of course. But for now? They're still reasonably well-kept secrets... and they're (mostly) all yours.

1.  Grace Bay

Look at photos of this perfect beach and you won’t be surprised it was chosen as the best beach of the year. Located in Providenciales, or “Provo” as the locals call it, an island in the northwest Caicos. It’s a three-mile-long stretch of the whitest sand and clearest turquoise water you ever did see. (Or not yet see, as the case may be.) Make sure to hit up Grace Bay Club for a fiery “Flaming Provo” drink to round out the experience.

2.  Baia do Sancho

A favorite of insiders for its dearth of tourists, this archipelago in Fernando de Noronha will probably stay that way. That's because it's seriously isolated and difficult to access. It’s been made a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site because of its unique landscape, and for being a home to so many baby sea turtles. Only 460 people are allowed to visit each year to keep the place pristine. Stack that cash before you plan a visit: The environmental taxes match up to the beauty of the place.

3.  Playa Paraiso

Americans are finally allowed to travel to Cuba, and Playa Pasaiso in Cayo Largo is a can't-miss place to visit. Empty except a few beach shacks, this white sandy beach offers up the perfect break from the world. The water is very shallow; you can walk out hundreds of feet into the ocean. Although there aren’t hotels on the beach, the island Cayo Largo offers many resorts nearby.

4.  Anse Lazio

We all know the Seychelles have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world... but now we know that Anse Lazio on Praslin Island is the best of them all. Located in the middle of the Indian ocean, this beach looks unique because of the large granite boulders surrounding it. The last time Anse Lazio got this much attention, it was due to a back-to-back shark attacks in 2011. There is no coral reef protecting the beach (those tend to keep sharks away), but there hasn’t been an attack since.

5.  Cayo de Aguo

Los Roques National Park, Venezuela is known for it’s fine white sand — but actually, that sand is ground-up coral as the coral in the sea is dying. While snorkeling isn’t great, the beach is stunning. It’s best to go for a day trip. You can pack lunches, or — thanks to the influx of Italian expats — you can get divine food on the beach.
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