Remote bay in Brazil tops list of world’s best beaches by Tripadvisor

Baia do Sancho is lauded for its turquoise waters, protected marine life and forest-laden cliffs

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A remote bay off the north-eastern coast of Brazil has been named the world’s best beach by Tripadvisor.

Climbing six places from last year to reach the number one spot in the annual list by the travel guidance platform, Baia do Sancho beach on the island of Fernando de Noronha was lauded for its clear turquoise waters, forest-clad cliffs and protected marine life.

Getting to the crescent-shaped shoreline isn’t easy — it’s part of a group of volcanic islands some 300km from the mainland, and is reachable via a trek through the woods, followed by a descent down a ladder through the rocks.

Access to the protected bay is restricted, meaning it’s never too crowded and the region’s unique biodiversity, which includes crabs, dolphins, rays and shoals of colourful fish, is able to thrive.

Tripadvisor analysed millions of independent reviews from travellers over the past 12 months to create its list.

In second place is Eagle Beach in Aruba, the widest shoreline on the Caribbean island, while Cable Beach, in the port town of Broome, Western Australia, ranks third. The top 10 spans the Americas, Africa, Europe, Asia and the South Pacific.

One new entry this year is Reynisfjara Beach in Vik, Iceland. The only beach on the list with black sand, the wild coastline has freezing-cold waters and thundering waves that can reach up to 40 metres in height, so swimming is not advisable. It attracts birdwatchers who flock to its coastline to spot puffins, Arctic terns, guillemots and more, and it featured as the setting for Eastwatch-by-the-Sea in Game of Thrones.

“As a huge beach fan myself, I know the impossible-to-resist allure of sunshine and turquoise water — and certainly, there's plenty of that on this year's list,” said Sarah Firshein, head of editorial at Tripadvisor.

“But there are some delightful surprises as well. In addition to the much-loved beaches of Hawaii, the Caribbean and mainland Europe, our community is really looking to kick up their experiences by embracing the cliffs of Cannon Beach, on the coast of Oregon in the Western United States and cooler destinations like Reynisfjara Beach in Iceland.”

Island getaways were popular in travellers' reviews with almost three quarters of the top 10 beaches situated in remote, offshore locations.

The world's largest travel guidance platform also created a separate list of the best beaches in the US.

Ka'anapali Beach on Hawaii’s Maui topped the ranking, climbing 16 places from last year. With 5km of powder-white sand and crystal-clear waters of the Pacific Ocean, the palm-tree lined island was formerly a retreat for Hawaiian royalty.

Beaches in Florida, Georgia, Oregon, California and Maine made up the US top 10.

World’s best beaches in 2023

The best beaches report is part of Tripadvisor's annual Travellers' Choice Awards and is the second category to be released in 2023, following the ranking of the world's best destinations, where Dubai topped the list. The top 10 beaches on this year's list are:

1. Baia do Sancho — Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

2. Eagle Beach — Aruba, Caribbean

3. Cable Beach — Broome, Australia

4. Reynisfjara Beach — Vik, Iceland

5. Grace Bay Beach — Turks and Caicos, Caribbean

6. Praia da Falesia — Olhos de Agua, Portugal

7. Radhanagar Beach — Havelock Island, India

8. Spiaggia dei Conigli — Sicily, Italy

9. Varadero Beach — Cuba, Caribbean

10. Ka’anapali Beach — Maui, Hawaii

Updated: March 01, 2023, 8:54 AM