Eight great places to see beyond the sea

Chart a course for an extraordinary coastal experience in places combining life on the water with culture, nature, and history.

The angler's ultimate dream is fly fishing inside the Belize Barrier Reef, the second largest reef globally.
Photograph Courtesy Costa Sunglasses

Hopkins, Belize

Hopkins moves to the irresistible drum and shaka (rattle) beats of the Garífuna, descendants of Carib Indians and West Africans who escaped shipwrecked slave ships and found refuge in coastal Belize.

Take a deep dive into Garifuna culture by taking drumming lessons and trying hudut, a savory fish and coconut stew dish and served with mashed plantains. Explore the flats where you can fly fish for bonefish, permit, tarpon, and other hard-pulling fish in the expansive saltwater flats inside the Belize Barrier Reef.

Playa Herradura, Costa Rica

With world-class sport fishing, volcanic black-sand beaches, and easy access to jungle canopy ziplining adventures, Playa Herradura is a best-of-Costa Rica paradise on the central Pacific coast. Catch and release monster marlin at Los Sueños Resort and Marina, host of the Los Sueños Signature Triple Crown, the world’s ultimate competitive billfishing tournament series. Spot Howler, white-faced, and Titi monkeys on a rainforest hike through wildlife-rich Manuel Antonio Park.

The Whitsundays, Queensland, Australia

Make The Whitsundays, 74 idyllic islands in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, the launch pad for a big-as-Australia adventure. Captain your own boat and follow the Whitsunday Sea Trail to learn more about the Ngaro people who have called these islands home for 9,000 years. Go snorkeling or diving in the reef by day and sleep on the reef at night on a Cruise Whitsundays ReefSleep. Take a scenic helicopter flight over the reef and land at world-famous Whitehaven Beach to stroll on the powder-soft sand.

Moloka’i, Hawaii

Often called the most ‘Hawaiian’ of the islands, Moloka’i is Hawaii at its no-frills and largely undeveloped best. Native traditions and sheer cliffs—the tallest measuring 3,600 to 3,900 feet—run deep on the island, best known for its former leprosy (Hansen’s disease) colony preserved as Kalaupapa National Historical Park. The isolated park and Moloka’i’s other edge-of-the-world places, such as remote Papohaku Beach, offer the increasingly rare opportunity to experience a slice of Hawaii far off the well-trod tourist path.

Chiloé, Chile

Sail back in time to Chile’s isolated Chiloe archipelago located off the southern mainland. Colonized by Spain in the mid 16th century, Chiloe is rich in tradition, myth, rolling green hills, and shallow wetlands and estuaries, the latter teeming with penguins, black-necked swans, Chilean flamingoes, and other birdlife. Photograph the colorful wooden palafitos(houses built on stilts) and some of the equally vibrant Churches of Chiloé, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Baa Atoll, Maldives

The Maldives, an Indian Ocean nation of 26 natural atolls and nearly 1,200 islands, takes life on the water to the next level. With 99 percent of the area covered by sea, days seamlessly unfold in, on, and over the water. Wake up in a Baa Atoll overwater bungalow and plunge right into amazing aquatic adventures like piloting an underwater scooter, flyboarding above the waves, or night fishing under the stars in a traditional Maldivian dhoni(wooden boat).

Ischia, Italy

Still a bit of a best-kept secret, the volcanic island of Ischia offers postcard-perfect Bay of Naples scenery without the crowds of neighboring Capri. Located 20 miles off the coast and easily accessible by high-speed ferry, mountainous Ischia is dotted with charming fishing villages, vineyards, whitewashed houses, cobbled lanes, and its most-famous natural feature: more than 100 thermal springs. Go snorkeling or diving to see the volcanic vents surrounding the island. Then, soak in Ischia’s wellness history—dating back to Roman times—in an outdoor thermal pool.

Diani Beach, Kenya

The camels regularly seen strolling on the sand and the endangered Angolan black-and-white colobus monkeys spotted in the treetops are obvious clues that Diani Beach is a world away from ordinary. Nestled between sea and forest on Kenya’s southeastern Indian Ocean coast, Diani offers pristine surf and sand plus rare cultural finds, such as the 16th-century, coral-stone Kongo Mosque, believed to be one of the oldest in East Africa. Explore the area’s wild side on a day trip to nearby Shimba Hills National Reserve, home to large numbers of African elephants.

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