The dark side of the world’s best beaches

Posted Date: 03 November 2015
Beach dangers

Everybody loves a trip to the beach – soft sand, warm sea and nothing to do but sit back and relax. To keep it that way, it’s important to stay safe and be aware of any hazards before you visit.

You may be surprised by some of the hidden dangers lurking in these picture perfect spots from around the globe…

Cable Beach, Broome, Australia

Located on the western tip of Australia, Cable Beach is surrounded by the Indian Ocean with beautiful turquoise water and white sandy beaches. Sounds great! Unfortunately there is a down side if you go for a swim, as you’ll be sharing the water with swarms of jellyfish and salt-water crocs!

Piha Beach, Piha, New Zealand

Home to a beautifully rugged coastline, several streams and waterfalls and even a sheltered lagoon, Piha Beach is a popular destination all year for surfers and tourists alike. But all this beauty hides its notoriously dangerous rip currents. So if you’re taking a dip, make sure there’s a lifeguard on duty, and always swim between the flags!

Kaimu Beach, Kilauea, Hawaii

The unique black sands at Kaimu Beach make the difficulties of getting there all worthwhile. There are no public roads to this stunningly secluded spot, so finding it can be tough. But if you do manage to get there, make sure you don’t get too close to the lava spewing into the ocean. Yes, that’s right, this place is known for the constantly erupting volcano! If you want to view the lava flow, head to the nearby viewing area to watch a live eruption from a safe distance.

Dyer Island, Gansbaai, South Africa

The biggest of a small group of islands found just off the shore of Gansbaai, Dyer Island is awash with breath-taking wildlife. You’ll see whales, seals, a penguin colony and even some great white sharks! You’re literally minutes away from a place called Shark Alley, aptly named for being the Great White Shark capital of the world. Safe to say, you can leave your swimming gear at home if you pay this place a visit.

Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Copacabana Beach lies in the southern zone of Rio and is blessed with crystal clear waters and soft white sand. It’s easy to see how this sun worshippers paradise became one of the most famous beaches on the entire planet. But what’s not easy to spot are the gangs and thieves working the beach front, hoping to grab your personal belongings as you slip into the water to cool off. Remember to leave anything you don’t want to lose, safely locked away in your hotel room!

Dubai Beach, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The soaring temperatures and lively beachfront make Dubai a great destination for relaxing by the sea. However, many of the beaches are privately owned by hotels, so expect to pay an admission fee. On the plus side of paying, you’ll get to use the hotel’s facilities such as their pool and water sports equipment. The private beaches are also more lenient when it comes to the dress code.

If you’re not willing to pay for your spot on the beach, there are plenty of free alternatives, but make sure you cover up and respect the Muslim culture even when swimming. Shorts and a t-shirt should be worn at all times!

Sandwood Bay, Highlands, Scotland

Probably not a destination you would expect to see on a list of the world’s best beaches, but Sandwood Bay makes a strong claim with stunning views, white sand and crystal clear waters.

If you’re lucky you might even have the whole beach to yourself! Why? Well you might think twice about choosing this beautiful destination when you find out it’s cold! Being the most northerly and most exposed beach in Scotland, it can get cold, wet and windy! So forget your swimming gear, you’ll need a thick jacket and a scarf to make the most of your trip to this beach.

Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands, USA

The beautifully turquoise waters surrounding Bikini Atoll are littered with sunken warships and submarines, making it one of the most exciting dive sites in the world. The beach also boasts its own beautiful landscape, with swaying palm trees surrounding the perfectly golden sand. On paper it seems like the perfect place to take a beach vacation, that is if you ignore its dark history. Bikini Atoll was the testing ground for the US military’s nuclear bombs from 1946 to 1958. The atoll is now deemed safe to visit and even dive from, but still holds significant levels of radiation. So it might not be the perfect spot after all!

5 tips to stay safe on your beach vacation

  1. Clue yourself up - getting some local knowledge from a trusted source can keep you out of trouble.
  2. Take only what you need - leave your valuables safely locked away in your hotel room.
  3. Know your limits - if you’re not a strong swimmer, stick to patrolled beaches and don’t go too deep.
  4. Read the signs - any warnings will be there for a good reason.
  5. Lower the odds - if you want your travel insurance to cover any beach activities you’re doing, only use a licensed operator.

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