The inevitably unpredictable British summer can leave us craving some warmth and relaxation. What better time to plan for some sunshine in your very own patch of paradise? You don’t have to follow the crowds to the usual beachside haunts, there are plenty of unexpected sunshine destinations to tick off your bucket list. These five exciting destinations are sure to surprise and inspire even the most seasoned traveller...
Once you’ve delved deep into Uganda’s fascinating array of wildlife and your legs are weary from gorilla trekking, take some time out to relax on a sunny beach in the Ssese Islands or to enjoy the serene views over Lake Bunyonyi. No less than 84 islands make up the Ssese archipelago, accessible by ferry from Entebbe. The most popular island is Bugala, where most of the tourist facilities are found, along with the best beaches of the archipelago. The sand is white, the views are stunning, and it's a great place to soak up some sunshine. Alternatively find a Lake Bunyonyi hideaway to admire the terraced green shores, the scattered islands and the serene watery panorama.
Drinking in the history of the Inca sites and exploring the Amazon jungle are two of Peru’s many highlights, and can easily be combined with some hammock time too. The coast that runs alongside the northern desert zone of Sechura has a number of appealing beaches, most offering a combination of broad sand and good surf breaks. The best known resort is Màncora, which has become a favourite destination for the surf aficionado in recent years, but quieter beaches stretch up and down the nearby coastline. Punta Sal and Zorritos are notable for their lovely shores.
Known primarily for the plains of Bagan, dappled with thousands of stupas, and the stilted villages of Inle Lake, Burma can also offer a great selection of beaches. Ngapali one if the most popular coastal destinations, with decent facilities for visitors, a string of beaches under rustling palms, and a very relaxed vibe. For sunshine hangouts off the tourist circuit there are not many places finer than the Dawei Peninsula down in the southern ‘tail’ of Burma - a backwater of fishing villages, green hills and dazzling white beaches almost untouched by tourism.
Exploring the beautiful hiking trails of the Svaneti mountains or soaking up the culture in Tbilisi is a tiring business. So when you are weary of discovering inland Georgia, why not head west to the Black Sea coast for some downtime? There are several resorts, from vibrant and bustling to quiet and unassuming. Grigoleti is a small village nestled between the Black Sea and the great pine trees that line the shores. It is also close to the stunning grasslands of the Kolkheti national park, making it the perfect place to enjoy a quieter pace of life. Beaches along this coast tend to be pebbly with black sand washed down from the mountains, and the best beach to test the curative properties of this mineral sand is Grigoleti.
Though the Pacific coast beaches in Guatemala tend to be somewhat underwhelming, the same cannot be said of Lago Atitlán. This stunning lake lies in the Sierra Madre mountains at 1500 metres altitude not far inland. Sparkling water ringed with volcanoes and atmospheric shoreside villages are sure to tempt you to linger for a few days. Apart from the captivating surroundings, it's an ideal place to absorb some indigenous culture. The lakeside communities are predominantly Maya in origin and they maintain strong cultural traditions. Beaches in the traditional sense are thin on the ground, though there are earth beaches at Jucanya and a good sandy stretch with an incredible view at San Marcos La Laguna. As well as lazing by the lake, there are plenty of opportunities for water sports such as kayaking, boat trips, diving and swimming.
Which sunshine destination appeals to you the most? Click on the links above to find out more to get your plans underway. You can contact our local experts in each country who will happily design a bespoke itinerary around your requirements.