18 gorgeous photos of the best tropical beaches in the world

When winter gets you down, there's only one thing to do: plan a beach vacation and get out of town.

Whether you're in the mood for pristine white sand and quiet days of relaxation or umbrella drinks and a raucous party scene, you've got plenty of options.

We've compiled a list of the hottest sand-and-surf destinations around the world, where you can finally fix your Vitamin D deficiency with some sun therapy.

Grab a book and some sunscreen and get out there.

Raisa Bruner contributed reporting on an earlier version of this article.

The best tropical beaches for a winter escape
See Gallery
The best tropical beaches for a winter escape

Looking for big-city action with a top-of-the-line beach scene? Bondi Beach in Sydney will fit the bill. Always packed with locals — and keeping a laid-back Aussie vibe — Bondi is having a moment, as lots of big-name visitors and new fans have recently made the trek down south.

(Photo via Getty Images)

St. Barts is the place to be for your winter getaway: just ask the celebrities and socialites who regularly ring in the new year on the Caribbean island. You can't go wrong with any of the beaches, but our sources recommend Colombier Beach for the hike, Shell Beach for the sunset, and Flamand Beach for fluffy sand. Don't forget to bring your superyacht.

(Photo via Getty Images)

If you like to snorkel, you'll love Tobacco Bay in St. George, Bermuda. The brilliantly clear waters are hotbeds for colorful fish sightings, while white sand beaches make for ideal sunbathing when you're ready to dry off.

(Photo by John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images)

It's summer all winter in South Africa, so get down to Camps Bay, Cape Town, for a complete reversal of seasons. The stunning beach spills right off of a chic Cape Town neighborhood, with white sand and dramatic surf. Behind, Cape Town's iconic mountains rise sharply; early risers will want to check out the breathtaking hikes. And in between? Beach clubs jutting onto the sand will keep you partying all day; Caprice is a local favorite.

(Photo by Nardus Engelbrecht/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

For that pura vida experience, you might want to set your sights on Playa Tamarindo in Costa Rica, where the town is small and the beach is laid-back perfection.

(Photo by Kryssia Campos via Getty Images)

Every celebrity and their cousin has been making the pilgrimage to Tulum lately. In particular, Playa Paraiso is where it's at, promising palms, pretty people, and a perfect Mexican getaway.

Source: Business Insider

(Photo by Narcis Parfenti via Getty Images)

If you've never put the Philippines on your must-visit list, think again. White Beach in Boracay is home to some of the world's most idyllic sunsets.

(Photo via Getty Images)

If you want that full-on "Castaway" experience, Los Roques in Venezuela will deliver on isolation and quiet. All you'll see during your stay is white sand, blue skies, and clear, clear water.

(Photo credit THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images)

Hawaii always brings the magic. Golden-sand Wailea Beach on Maui offers a huge stretch of coastline to stroll, dotted with lava rock and tide pools where you're sure to find a stranded sea star. At the end of the day, splurge on a Mai Tai cocktail at the beachside Four Seasons.

(Photo via Getty Images)

Disappear into the deep blue of the Islas del Rosario off the coast of Colombia. The off-the-beaten-track destination is part of a national park, luring visitors who want to take advantage of unsullied snorkeling and swimming opportunities.

(Photo by Alejandra Parra/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Thailand's Phra Nang will feel a world away from your desk job, with dramatic vegetation-topped stone formations rising out of the green waters.

(Photo by In Pictures Ltd./Corbis via Getty Images)

The picturesque Beachcomber Island in Fiji has it all. This tiny, round island is ringed with a pristine white-sand beach for plenty of daytime fun. In the evenings, the on-island resort is known for its wild parties.

(Photo by David Wall via Getty Images)

Australia's Whitsunday Islands are a supremely serene series of sandspits. Try Whitehaven Beach on Hamilton Island — just off the Great Barrier Reef — for the kind of turquoise waters and superior relaxation that only the most remote escapes can bring.

(Photo by Steve Christo/Corbis via Getty Images)

For something a little closer to home, pop over to Playa Flamenco on Puerto Rico's Isla Culebra. As perfect as a painting, Playa Flamenco is a mile-long horseshoe-shaped bay sheltered by an offshore reef and bordered by a wildlife refuge.

(Photo via Getty Images)

You can't get much more remote than Zanzibar. The beaches here are purest white sand and the horizon is endless, dappled only with the occasional local fishing boat. Too quiet? Tack on a few days of Tanzanian safari for a wild escape.

(Photo by Nicholas Pitt via Getty Images)

Praia do Canoa Quebrada, in northeastern Brazil, is a beach just off of a small fishing village where golden sand dunes slide into blue waters. Sip on fresh agua de coco while sunbathing, go sandboarding in the dunes, or try out windsurfing.

(Photo by Jane Sweeney via Getty Images)

Or, if urban beach scenes are more your thing, head for Rio de Janeiro's bustling stretch of sand. Leblon Beach is a chic section of waterfront to post up on with a signature caipirinha, or check out Ipanema Beach for prime people watching.

(Photo by Gonzalo Azumendi via Getty Images)

At Tayrona National Park in Colombia, you'll find secluded beaches that define "tropical," from tall palm trees to teal waters. Take day hikes through the lush vegetation, or snorkel off the reefs and keep an eye out for large rays and lobsters.

(Photo via Getty Images)


See Also:

SEE ALSO: The 25 best Caribbean islands, ranked

Read Full Story

Sign up for the Travel Report by AOL newsletter to get exclusive deals and wanderlust inspiration delivered straight to your inbox every day.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.