Twenty-twenty was more or less a write-off, with lockdown after lockdown keeping us rooted firmly to the ground. Even when travel was permitted, the numbers were significantly down for departures and arrivals, with most people waiting until later this year to dream of soft, sandy beaches and crystal clear waters.
And with the vaccine distribution underway, there’s now optimism that travel will approach some form of normality just in time for the warmer months. So expect plenty of pent-up demand, with jet setters getting itchy feet for a holiday full of sun, sea and sand.
But if international travel is permitted this summer, where should you go? You’d be forgiven for losing track of the best summer locations, what with spending the best part of the year indoors. Worry not, though. In this guide, we’re bringing you the best beach holidays to get excited about in 2021.
We’re not holding back with our first entry, which has us dreaming about paradise in the Maldives. The idyllic island is one of the most exclusive getaways in the world and features sugar-white beaches and turquoise lagoons that are so beautiful you’ll be left in awe and picking your jaw up from the floor.
Expect nothing but a five-star service once you’ve touched down in the Maldives. Each hotel resort is located on its own private island, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a bad beach anywhere. You can also visit the capital Male if you want to increase the tempo, but we think pulling yourself away from the sun lounger might prove difficult.
Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Known for its beaches and biodiverse parkland, Guanacaste is a province in northwestern Costa Rica bordering the pacific. Whether you like lazing the days away while catching some rays or hitting the waters on a surfboard for some bodacious fun, Guanacaste has you covered.
The landscape on offer is one of the prettiest you’ll see in the whole of Costa Rica with its volcanoes, wide-open spaces and lush greens. Yet, it’s the beaches, which range from secluded hideaways to popular surfing spots, that have tourists coming back for more.
The party starts from the minute you set foot off the plane in Cartagena, Colombia’s answer to Ibiza. You’ll hear Latin street music on every street corner, and everyone walks around with a smile on their face. Most of the hotels look directly over the Caribbean Sea, so expect to wake up to some impressive ocean views each morning.
The beaches in Cartagena offer somewhere to catch some rays for a few hours and take a dip in the relaxing waters before visiting the majestic Old Town to indulge in the party vibes. You can even jump on a boat to soft sands on nearby islands, such as Playa Blanca in Baru or Punta Arena in Tierra Bomba.
The Amalfi Coast, Italy
Who said all beaches need to be soft and sandy? The Amalfi Coast might not offer pure white sands, but it’s still one of the best beach holidays in Europe. Stunning hilltop towns and breathtaking coastal drives around Positano, Amalfi and Ravello add to the overall experience of a picture-perfect adventure in this beautiful part of Italy.
Pastel-coloured buildings hang off the cliffs, and villages are full of charm with delightful local fisheries and boutique shops. When it does come to catching some rays, the bay of Marina Piccola on Capri offers crystal clear waters, while Praiano has somewhere to relax and take a few snaps of the stunning landscape for your Instagram account.
It’s back to paradise islands for our next entry with a trip to Mauritius, which is located in the Southern Indian Ocean. Expect to find amiable locals, calm waters all year round and luxurious resorts where the staff are waiting to pamper away.
Most hotel resorts have direct access to soft, sandy beaches where you can take a dip or participate in water activities such as jet skiing. The City of Port Louis offers bustling international vibes, just in case you want to mix things up, while there are also plenty of biking and hiking trails. But the beaches are the main draw in Mauritius, and you’ll probably spend the entire time lazing the day away on the golden sands.
Twenty-twenty was a long year, and you deserve to treat yourself in 2021, so why not go all out with a beach holiday in the Seychelles? It might cost a pretty penny, but you’ll be able to visit some of the most famous sands in the world, including Anse Source d’Argent.
Located on La Digue, the third most populated island in the Seychelles, Anse Source d’Argent will help you forget your troubles in an instant with its blissful white sands and stunning emerald waters. There’s a reason it’s one of the most photographed beaches on the planet.
Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
If the Seychelles is a step too far from reality, you can still get a five-star beach experience in Rio de Janeiro, one of the most popular cities in the world. Embrace samba vibes as you play a game of volleyball on Copacabana Beach to the backdrop of skyscrapers and palm trees.
Then head to Ipanema Beach to hang out with Brasil’s beautiful people on one of the city’s most upscale beaches. After a day on soft sands, embrace a city that never sleeps in the evening and enjoy great food and music as you party until the early hours.
This summer has the potential to be one of the best yet as we’re let off our leashes and venture off to far-flung destinations full of sand and sea. Everyone will be looking to make up for lost time, and you can plan your beach holiday without any hassle using Fly Now Pay Later. Book your trip of a lifetime and pay it off later, so you can enjoy a beach holiday that’s been a long time in the making.