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Stretching out on the world’s best beach won’t come easy. Baía do Sancho is accessible only by boat or via ladders descending down steep cliffs to the golden sand below.
The beach is in Fernando de Noronha, an archipelago some 220 miles (354 kilometers) off the coast of mainland Brazil, part of the country’s Pernambuco state. Visitors to the islands arrive by plane or boat.
Getting there takes some doing, but what awaits tenacious travelers is worth the effort, according to its new Tripadvisor ranking. Baía do Sancho is the world’s best stretch of shoreline for 2023, according to the travel site’s annual list of the world’s best beaches, which was released on Tuesday.
Last year, Baía do Sancho was No. 7 on the list.
The beaches list is part of Tripadvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Awards, which are determined based on millions of reviews submitted by travelers over the course of 2022.
Tripadvisor looks at the quality and quantity of ratings in determining the rankings.
The Caribbean earns three spots in the 2023 top 10, including No. 2 Eagle Beach in Aruba, No. 5 Grace Bay Beach in Turks and Caicos and No. 9 Varadero Beach in Cuba. Last year, Grace Bay and Varadero beaches were ranked first and second, respectively. Eagle Beach was No. 5 in 2022.
The top 10 list also includes one beach in the United States – Maui’s Ka’anapali Beach at No. 10. The beach ranks first on Tripadvisor’s separate list of top 10 US beaches for 2023. Ka’anapali didn’t make it into the top 10 on the global list in 2022 and was No. 17 on the US list last year.
Located on the island’s western shore, Ka’anapali boasts three miles of white sand and a famed cliff diving ritual at Puʻu Kekaʻa, or Black Rock. Each evening at sunset, torches along the cliff are lit by a diver who then plunges off the rock in a reenactment of a feat by Maui’s King Kahekili.
While Ka’anapali Beach was the only beach to break into the top 10 on the global list, two more US beaches came hot on its heels at Nos. 11 and 12: Siesta Beach on Siesta Key, Florida, and Jekyll Island, Georgia’s Driftwood Beach. Magens Bay on St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands also cracked the top 25 list at No. 24.
Europe has three beaches in the 2023 top 10 – Reynisfjara Beach in Vik, Iceland, at No. 4, Praia da Falésia in Olhos de Agua, Portugal, at No. 6 and Italy’s Spiaggia dei Conigli at No.8. Only one of the three also appeared in 2022’s top 10 – Spiaggia dei Conigli in Sicily was No. 10 in 2022.
The white crescent and shallow turquoise waters of Spiaggia dei Conigli on Sicily’s Lampedusa island are a sharp contrast to the black sand, deep blue water and striking geometric basalt column formations of Reynisfjara Beach, which appeared in “Game of Thrones.”
Tripadvisor noted the list’s inclusion of some options that don’t fall into the hot-and-sunny beaches category.
“So whether you’re looking to pack a windbreaker or a swimsuit, our list has something for a wide range of travelers – and it might even convince the most ardent beach skeptics to embrace some time on the sand,” said Sarah Firshein, the head of editorial at Tripadvisor, in a news release.
Australia earns one slot in the top 10, with No. 3 Cable Beach in Broome, located in Western Australia’s Kimberley region. One of Broome’s most sought-after experiences is a sunset camel ride along this 14-mile (22-kilometer) stretch of Indian Ocean coastline. Cable Beach was No. 11 on last year’s global list.
No. 7 Radhanagar Beach on Havelock Island (Swarag Dweep) in the Andamans represents India on the list. The beach drops one slot from its No. 6 ranking in 2022.
Below are the top 10 beaches around the world and in the United States. For the top 25 in both categories, plus other regional lists, check out Tripadvisor’s Best of the Best.
1. Baía do Sancho – Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
2. Eagle Beach – Aruba, Caribbean
3. Cable Beach – Broome, Australia
4. Reynisfjara Beach – Vik, Iceland
5. Grace Bay Beach – Turks and Caicos, Caribbean
6. Praia da Falésia – Olhos de Agua, Portugal
7. Radhanagar Beach – Havelock Island, India
8. Spiaggia dei Conigli – Sicily, Italy
9. Varadero Beach – Cuba, Caribbean
10. Ka’anapali Beach – Maui, Hawaii
Tripadvisor has a separate list devoted to US beaches.
In the United States, Hawaii had the strongest showing with three beaches in the top 10, while Florida and California both had two. Beaches in Georgia, Oregon and Maine were also among Tripadvisor’s top 10.
1. Ka’anapali Beach – Maui, Hawaii
2. Siesta Beach – Siesta Key, Florida
3. Driftwood Beach – Jekyll Island, Georgia
4. Hanalei Beach – Kauai, Hawaii
5. Ho’okipa Beach Park – Maui, Hawaii
6. Henderson Beach State Park – Destin, Florida
7. Cannon Beach – Cannon Beach, Oregon
8. Coronado Beach – Coronado, California
9. Ogunquit Beach – Ogunquit, Maine
10. La Jolla Cove – La Jolla, California