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Top 10 beaches of the world From deserted white sand lapped by turquiose water to waves crashing against rugged shores, Gavin McOwan tips 10 dream destinations for every beach bum  

Guardian Unlimited Friday February 16 2007

On location ... Alex Garland's The Beach is set in Thailand but took much of its inspiration from beaches like Palawan in the Philippines. Photograph: George Tapan

1. Las Islas Cies, Galicia, Spain 2. Tayrona national park, Colombia I've never been as instantly impressed by a beach as I was the moment I set eyes on Tayrona. After a 40-minute hike through the forest, I was expecting to see a classic Caribbean beach, all white sand and calm turquoise water, perhaps a few cabanas for the tourists. Instead I was greeted with a wild sea crashing on to rocks the size of houses that are dotted along the untamed and semi-deserted beach. In a country with a "healthier" tourist industry Tayrona would undoubtedly be a major resort, but as it's in Colombia the virgin rainforest cascades down the mountainside right on to the sand. And there was no one on it save a small community of backpackers who sleep in openair hammocks. On arrival I wandered along it, marvelling at the raw beauty and remoteness of the place but after just 10 minutes I quite literally walked into my friend Jim! It was the unlikeliest spot for a "you'll never guess who I bumped into" travel story, and made for the best beach holiday I've ever had. I gather it's become more popular in the ten years

since I was there, but thanks to its national park status the developers have been kept at bay. Read the full article…… Where to stay: Under the stars in a hammock strung between two palm trees.

3. Porto da Barra, Salvador, Brazil 4. Anywhere on Palawan, the Philippines 5. Nungwi, Zanzibar, Tanzania 6. Arambol, Goa, India 7. Whitehaven, Whitsunday Islands, Queensland, Australia 8. Shell Beach, Isle of Purbeck, Dorset 9. Sinclair´s Bay, Caithness 10. Aroa, Aitutaki, One Foot Island, Cook Islands Readers’ tips 

Santa Marta: Tayrona National Park It's a large protected natural park, kilometers of great white pristine beaches right by the rainforest, exuberant and incredible wildlife, nice people… Posted by bogotano Feb 21 2007

Villa de Leyva: Getting to Villa de Leyva Get to Bogota, take a bus to Tunja (Boyaca) then switch (last bus to Villa de Leyva leaves at 19:00 so be careful otherwise you will get stuck there) Posted by bogotano Feb 21 2007

Santa Marta: Colombian website This is the official Colombian tourism website. It does have an English version. I specially recommend our national natural parks. In fact, The Guardian…

Posted by Colombian Feb 19 2007 

Cartagena: Street food Lots to choose from but don't miss arepas, like a potato cake but made from cornmeal. Hot, soft, salty & filling, the perfect snack. Posted by benhamilton Dec 13 2006

Armenia: La Zona Cafetera Lush fields of coffee and banana plants, bamboo groves and heliconias fantastically shaped tropical flowers - to be admired from slow moving rafts, Posted by domino Sep 25 2006 Guardian Unlimited © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007

TheGuardian-2007-Top 10 beaches of the world, Colombia Number2  
TheGuardian-2007-Top 10 beaches of the world, Colombia Number2  

 Guardian Unlimited  Friday February 16 2007 From deserted white sand lapped by turquiose water to waves crashing against rugged shores, G...