It’s well-known that I’m a beach lover, which is why I love sharing with you some of the best beaches in the world. What people don’t know is I am also fascinated with volcanoes and the magnificent geography that they create. That includes black sand beaches. They are glorious to see next to the stark blue waters of the ocean and there are some gorgeous ones that must be experienced to be believed.
So let’s skip the pink and white sand for now and check out 10 of the best black sand beaches in the world. Maybe you’d like to plan a trip to one?
PLAYA PAVONES, COSTA RICA
Getting here can be rough (those roads!), but once there you will be rewarded with a beautiful beach and some of the best surfing waves around (it’s considered one of the best surfing destinations in Central America). It’s considered one of the more authentic Costa Rican experiences because while there are little shops and restaurants, it’s not over run with tourists. Playa Pavones is also home to the larges prehistoric rainforest along the Central American Pacific coast. If you want to experience the area for a longer stay than just a day visiting the beach, consider staying at La Ponderosa Beach and Jungle Resort.
ANSE CHASTANET, ST. LUCIA
Black sand beaches are not what you automatically think of when you think of the Caribbean, but that is what you will find at Anse Chastanet beach in St. Lucia. The beach is privately owned by the Anse Chastanet Resort, but it’s open to the public. Here you will find calm water for swimming and fabulous snorkeling and scuba diving as this area is part of a marine reserve. At the end of the day, you can head to the resort’s restaurant and bar, or to one of the many other luxurious resorts in the area.
KAMARI BEACH, SANTORINI, GREECE
There isn’t a spot in Santorini that isn’t picturesque, but Kamari Beach is one of the best. There are several black sand beaches on the islands. The beach here is one of the largest and flows into the resort town of the same name. It can be crowded in the summer, but you still should have no problem finding a lounge chair and umbrella. From Kamari, you will have a great view of Mesa Vouno, the mountains that spread across southeast Santorini and separate it Kamari from the next beach on our list, Perissa.
PERISSA BEACH, SANTORINI, GREECE
Santorini never disappoints with its endless views and gorgeous scenery. Perissa Beach, near the town of Fira and one over from Kamari Beach, is no exception. The beach stretches for miles, so there is no shortage of space to spread out. It’s close to restaurants and shops as well as amenities such as restrooms, so it’s a great base for a family vacation as well.
PAILOA BEACH, MAUI, HAWAII
When in Maui, make sure to visit Pailoa Beach in Wai’anapanapa State Park. Formed by volcanic eruptions hundreds of years ago, it has become a popular spot for tourists and photography enthusiasts alike. Many people make it just a quick stop while driving on the Road to Hana (it’s actually the last stop on the 64-mile road before reaching Hana), but you would be remiss if you didn’t make the time to walk the coastline and check out the blowholes and freshwater pools. More intrepid travelers may want to consider some of the camping options there. Just don’t try swimming unless you are a very strong swimmer and familiar with the surf conditions – the water is very rough.
SAINT-PIERRE BEACH, MARTINIQUE
The town of Saint-Pierre in Martinique, one of the less touristed Caribbean islands, has a very colorful history. It was once the island capital before being destroyed in1902 when Mount Peleé erupted and killed everyone but one resident. The result of this event was the beach forever turning black. From your spot on the sand just off of downtown, you can see the volcano which did become active again in the beginning of 2021 with some seismic activity.
MIHO NO MATSUBARA BEACH, JAPAN
The view from this beach is one of the kind, and may look familiar to you if you have ever seen Hiroshige Utagawa’s work. With Mt. Fuji keeping watch, you’ll experience the volcanic rocks on the beach, and over 30,000 pine trees lining it. It’s not a comfortable place to lay out, so most people come here to take in the spectacular view and walk the shores or hike the forest. It’s a popular spot in the summer for watersports such as windsurfing and kayaking. In the fall, the Miho Hagoromo Takigi Noh, a noh theater, is performed by fire in front of the trees.
PLAYA NEGRA, PUERTO RICO
Playa Negra is actually located on Vieques, just 7 miles off of Puerto Rico. This remote beach is one of the lesser-visited beaches, meaning you will have the place almost all to yourself. The sand is fine, unlike many black beaches that are rockier due to their volcanic nature. It’s a dramatic landscape dotted with driftwood and bordered by rock cliffs. Most locals didn’t even know there was black sand on the island and those that knew about it didn’t have a name for it, so the tourism boardnamed the beach Playa Negrita (Little Black Beach) in 2004. Since then, it has become known as simply Playa Negra.
PUNALU’U BEACH, BIG ISLAND, HAWAII
No list of best beaches can forget about Punalu’u Beach on the Big Island of Hawaii. This beach can be a bit rocky because of its volcanic nature – you will also be close to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The current is strong here, but if you visit during low tide, you’ll find some interesting creatures in the tide pools. And you may just find yourself competing for spots on the beach with the hawksbill and green turtles. But careful – they’re protected so you can’t get closer than 15 feet. Punalu’u means “spring dived for” in Hawaiian, and is so named for the underwater freshwater springs in the bay.
LAFAYETTE BEACH, TAHITI
If you want instagrammable photos on a black sand beach, then travel to the South Pacific to Tahiti. Lafayette Beach near Papeete features coal-black sand set along stunning green cliffs. The sand is so soft that visitors have reported sinking knee-deep! Because the sand is so dark, the water will not look turquoise like you may expect, but much darker.
Are you ready to plan your trip to see one of these amazing black sand beaches? Give me a call and let’s talk about it!
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