The mighty beaches of the world might have to take a back seat for a sec. According to TripAdvisor readers, the best beach for 2023 is located on a lesser-known Brazilian island most Americans are not even aware exists, and that’s been experiencing a popularity surge in recent years, particularly among high-end travelers.
Located in the Brazilian Northeast is an ethnocultural region often overshadowed by the likes of Rio and Sao Paulo but that boasts some of the country’s most beautiful coastal strips and impressive landscapes.
This island has been the go-to sunny getaway for celebrities and Brazil’s wealthy few for decades.
Now, their well-kept secret is out in the open:
Bahia de Sancho Is The Best Beach In The World
Every year, TripAdvisor announces the winners of its Travelers’ Choice Awards, a reader-voted accolade that aims to recognize and celebrate the very best in the tourism scene, from beaches to city breaks and even properties.
This year, Baia de Sancho was crowned the best beach.
It is a remote sandy crescent tucked away on a remote Brazilian island, accessible only via ladders and stone steps, and bounded by verdant hills and a majestic rock formation: the perfect setting for a nature immersion and a romantic stroll into the sunset.
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According to American tourists who have been to Bahia de Sancho – or Sancho Bay – and shared their thoughts on TripAdvisor, the beach is ‘just breathtaking’, mainly due to its remoteness and limited accessibility.
As a result, the sands are virtually litter-free, and the marine life is undisturbed.
Fernando de Noronha is a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its rich nature and diverse wildlife, and it serves as a feeding ground for turtles, tuna, and sea mammals.
Sancho Bay is no exception, being a popular hotspot not only for swimmers but also for wildlife spotters.
Remoteness And Exclusivity
As one visitor has pointed out, accessing the bay may prove extremely challenging for older people and those with mobility issues, as the sets of stairs are narrow and only one person can go at a time.
Additionally, there are fixed timetables for when beachgoers can go up or down the stairs.
It is precisely the absence of mass tourism, however, that makes it so unique.
Last year alone, only 1,217 foreign visitors were registered in Noronha, a majority of those being Americans, with 310 U.S. nationals vacationing on the island.
Germans came in second (109), followed by Argentinians (103).
They are drawn to Noronha’s breathtaking nature, as well as its burgeoning nightlife.
Home to an impressive array of clubs and bars and hosting theme parties and beach events every weekend, Noronha has been dubbed the ‘Brazilian Ibiza’.
A pristine island surrounded by the warm waters of the Southern Atlantic Ocean, deemed by UNESCO a natural site of inestimable value, where the beaches extend for miles on end and are mostly gringo-free: what’s not to like?
Noronha Is One Of Brazil’s Most Expensive Destinations
The island of Fernando de Noronha is yet to be ruined by overdevelopment.
The number of pousadas, a Brazilian term for boutique hotels, is limited and usually requires booking months in advance, and accommodation options vary depending on budget.
Though a weekend-long sejour in a hostel can cost a reasonable USD $111, there are other luxurious beachfront, all-inclusive hotels where a four-night stay averages a whopping USD $1822.
Prices in Noronha are definitely a lot higher than the Brazilian average.
With that being said, it is the perfect island escape for those seeking more exclusivity, especially now that travel demand for Brazil is skyrocketing and the beaches in Rio have been reclaimed by tourists.
Unlike other major cities, Noronha is served by a small airport operating domestic flights only.
There are regular flights departing from Natal and Recife, the nearest Northeastern metropolises, which means the archipelago is harder to get to, especially for Americans, who normally land in Brazil via the entry points in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, or Belo Horizonte.
It is not the most affordable vacation island, nor the easiest to reach, but on the bright side, guests willing to shell out the dough could enjoy some actual reclusion and true relaxation when opting for Noronha – not to mention having this tropical paradise all to themselves.
Americans Will Need Visas To Enter Brazil In The Future
Soon enough, American citizens will need visas to enter Brazil, though an official implementation date for the requirement is yet to be agreed on.
Ahead of booking flights, make sure that you both check any visa requirements that may be in place and arrange to obtain the relevant travel permit in advance.
Additionally, Brazil has not lifted its COVID entry requirements as of March 2023.
Only U.S. citizens who have been fully vaccinated or who are able to present a negative COVID test upon boarding are deemed eligible to fly to Brazil. More information can be found here.
The full TripAdvisor Top 10 Best Beaches in the World list can be seen below:
- Bahia do Sancho, Fernando de Noronha (Brazil)
- Eagle Beach, Aruba (The Dutch Caribbean)
- Cable Beach, Broome (Australia)
- Reynisfjara Beach, Vik (Iceland)
- Grace Bay Beach, Grace Bay (Providenciales)
- Praia da Falesia, Olhos de Agua (Portugal)
- Radhanagar Beach, Havelock Island (Andaman and Nicobar Islands)
- Spiaggia dei Conigli, Lampedusa, Islands of Sicily (Italy)
- Varadero Beach, Varadero (Cuba)
- Ka’anapali Beach, Lahaina, Hawaii (United States)
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com