Giovanni and I started our trip with a promise to each other. We both love the ocean and island life, so we decided to set on this trip around the world in search of the perfect beach. We imagined this beach to have white sand of course, no rocks, turquoise water, not too crowded with tourists, bungalows on the beach, inexpensive local restaurants with ocean views, and not many insects. Good luck right!
Our first ocean stop was Ibiza and Formentera was breathtaking. I had never swam in the sea and felt like I was in a swimming pool with clear water and soft sand. But Formentera was full of nude tourists and lots of Italians so we kept looking. Not to mention an average meal cost around 30 euros per person. Our next stop Costa Brava had excellent snorkeling, beautiful water, and nice restaurants on the beach. There was no sand however. Instead. there were small pebbles and rocks covering the ground.
Onward we headed to the south of Italy and onto Piran, Slovenia. We realized maybe this perfect beach had to be located outside of Europe since our budget was never enough for beachside restaurants. Near the beach were always fancy hotels rather than more basic bungalows. And the sand just wasn’t quite like we had imagined.
Though we didn’t plan to spend any time on the beach in India, we attended a wedding in Goa and decided to spend some time on a nearby beach further south called Agonda. Now we were getting close as far as the treehouse accommodation and delicious restaurant down the street named Tiger Ganisha serving fresh seafood. But the sand was far from white, cows were often present on the beach, and the water was dark blue and not clear.
So we continued on to Thailand. And we found a beach paradise on Haad Salad, Koh Phangan with white sand, turquoise water, and oceanside restaurants. But again lots of tourists, very little sand during high tide, and the view was sometimes obstructed by longtail boats anchored in the shallow water. On the Andaman side, Thailand’s beaches had more white sand but also more people. Koh Phi Phi had tons of tourists and beach bungalows were out of our budget. We did visit Bamboo Island which was amazing, a virgin beach with white sand and clear turquoise water. However, this island was part of a national park and there were no accommodation options or restaurants.
Giovanni was convinced that we found perfection at Otres Beach in Cambodia. We slept in a bungalow less than 10 m from the water, overlooked clear blue water and white sand, and ate at restaurants with ocean views. There was only one problem. My legs were covered in insect bites that would keep me awake itching at night even though we used DEET. So remove the sandflies and this beach is perfect.
We traveled to Bali in which we envisioned perfect beaches. But the beaches on the north of the island have black sand due to nearby volcanic activity and the white sand beaches in the south have been completely trashed by tourists we were told. Other beaches on the island are basically taken over by five star resorts.
And now, we’re in Gili Trawangan, Lombok, Indonesia … still not the perfect beach but pretty close with turquoise waters, snorkeling right off the beach, great inexpensive food, and accommodation right on the beach with all the basic necessities (AC, wifi, large room, breakfast) for $25/night. The only down thing is the sand is not soo soft … now we’re being too picky!
So whether or not the perfect beach exists remains to be answered. I now realize that we create the experience of the perfect beach. Depending on our mindset we can decide that we are at that perfect place. And it may be perfect because of the people we share that experience with or the delicious meal we eat or the sensation of awe that we feel by watching each wave hit the shore.
Even though we were searching for the perfect beach, we found instead our great ability to shape our experience to perfection. To enjoy each day, including each meal, each sunset, each moment with each other is truly what the search is about. So the search for the perfect beach only tricked us into seeing what we already had all along. Looking back, every beach we’ve been too we’ve thought: wow, this is amazing!
What’s your perfect beach? Leave us a note in the comments!