We pick five of the world’s dreamiest beaches

1. Playa Medina, Venezuela

What:  Venezuela’s best-kept secret is this luscious crescent-shaped honey-sand beach, framed by an untamed coconut plantation and 
backed by tree-clad mountains. Set on the Paria Peninsula where few travellers make the effort to visit, you’ll probably find just a handful 
of locals here. Pure bliss. 
See: think-venezuela.net

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2. Maya Bay, Ko Phi Phi Leh, Thailand

What: This dreamlike beach was the true star of movie The Beach. If you want it all to yourself, get there by 8am before hoards of sunseekers arrive. It’s great for snorkelling thanks to its clear waters and pretty coral.
See: tourismthailand.co.uk

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3. Crane Beach, Barbados

What: A stretch of white sand overlooked by craggy cliffs. Reachable from the swanky Crane Beach Hotel, enjoy a cocktail on the ocean-overlooking veranda before taking the lift (carved into the cliff) down for a swim.
See: visitbarbados.co.uk

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4. Clifton Beach, Cape Town, South Africa

What: A favourite of the South African glitterati, this pristine body-beautiful beach is made up of four sheltered coves. Hang around for the filmic sunsets, when locals often have a picnic and get stuck into a bottle of bubbly.
See: southafrica.net

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5. Tayrona National Park, Colombia

What: Colombians refer to 
this idyllic national park as ‘paradise’ and for good reason.Reachable only by walking 
for an hour through unruly jungle, the unspoilt palm-fringed beaches are well worth the trek. 
See: colombia.travel

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– Janine Kelso