Sometimes all it takes to re-center and refresh your mind and body is a good day (or week—who are we to limit you) staring off into a tranquil blue sea.
To help you find your inner peace, and catch a few waves and rays while you’re at it, we’ve put together a list of some of the bluest waters in the world. These lakes, seas, beaches, and bays have vistas that range from brilliant navy blues to the lightest, clearest turquoises imaginable. Needless to say, they are the perfect places to re-connect with nature, family, and yourself.
It’s hard to find a spot on Lefkada Island that doesn’t have spectacular views of the crystal clear Ionian Sea, but Egremnoi (or Egremni) beach on the west coast is particularly stunning. The beach requires a steep hike down some ersatz stairs, which thins the crowds, but once you’ve made the descent, the white sand stands in stark contrast to the turquoise water making it ideal for spending the day relaxing in the sun.
Con Son, Vietnam
Granite cliffs outline the crystalline water on Con Son, the only inhabited island in the barely populated 16-island archipelago of Con Dao, one of the best secret islands on Earth. Located 110 miles off Vietnam’s southeastern coast, the unspoiled island’s beaches are lined with golden sand and gorgeous blue water. For the most breathtaking views of the turquoise sea, head to the remote Dam Tre Bay lagoon.
Devil’s Bay, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
Sometimes it feels like the best views are the ones you have to work for, and it does take some work to get to Devil’s Bay on Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands. After you scrabble through the gem-colored Baths, you’ll emerge on the tiny, picture-perfect slice of white sand known as Devil’s Bay. It’s worth the effort to get here just to snorkel in the clear turquoise waters of the Caribbean or simply sit back and admire the surroundings.
Ambergris Caye, Belize
A short boat ride from the largest barrier reef outside of Australia, Belize’s Ambergris Caye is a scuba diver’s and snorkeler’s paradise. Head to Shark Ray Alley to snorkel among nurse sharks and stingrays; visit Hol Chan Marine Reserve to get up close with eels, turtles, and colorful fish; or explore the underwater caves of Blue Hole. When you’re not in the water, admire its warm glow from a hammock on the beach.
Havelock Island, India
This far-flung island paradise is part of the chain of Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal. It’s not easy to reach, but it’s worth the trip for anyone who craves snow white beaches, aquamarine waters, and snorkeling far, far from any crowds. Havelock Island is a great getaway for a tropical idyll that is completely off the grid. For true paradise among the palm trees, head to the translucent turquoise waters of Radhanagar Beach (Beach No.7) at sunset.
Islas de Rosario, Colombia
Off the coast of Cartagena lies a tiny chain of mostly-uninhabited islands called the Islas de Rosario. The white sand beaches are lined with mangroves and the brilliantly deep blue waters are home to the Colombia’s largest coral reef, which is home to over a thousand different tropical critters. Most hotels are located on Isla Grande and can arrange to have a boat take you island hopping to explore the wonders of this area.
As one of the world’s best islands, it’s no surprise that the Maldives are a favorite destination for celebrities. You can find this low-lying island nation in between the Indian and Arabian seas has luxuriously appointed bungalows set over dazzling blue waters and surrounded by talcum-soft white sand beaches—basically everything that bucket lists are made of. When not simply admiring the view, visitors can spend days exploring the coral reef, visiting an underwater playground, or relaxing in one of the world’s best spas.
Palawan, The Philippines
Although it’s just a quick flight from Manila, Palawan feels like it’s a world away. The sparsely-populated archipelago is made up of jungle-filled islands surrounded by stunning teal waters teeming with fish and coral reefs and an incredible array of lagoons, coves, and secret beaches. Explore the waters of El Nido, where tropical fish swarm around the coral reefs, go diving in the azure ocean off of Linapacan Island, or bravely swim through the world’s longest underground navigable river.