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  • Writer's pictureHannah Shuman

16 Gorgeous Getaways with the Bluest Water in the World

Updated: Sep 28, 2022

Dreaming of that perfect beach getaway but just can't decide on a destination? Crystal clear, blue water always makes for the most scenic beach trips. So, let's explore the best places in the world to find the most jaw-dropping turquoise waters!

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I don't know about you, but I am a sucker for blue water. Anytime I am traveling in a place that has those bright, scenic blues, I can't keep my eyes off the waves. While many beach destinations have pretty ocean views, there are some places that have that extra special characteristic of bright turquoise and teal waters. Many are a unique combo of crystal clear water mixed with white sandy sea beds. The result gives you breathtaking sights! Make the most of these destinations with a scenic plane ride, boat tour, or snorkel excursion!


The Maldives

Probably one of the first destinations that pops into anyone's head when thinking of crystal clear waters is The Maldives. The island nation found in the Indian Ocean is synonymous with over-water bungalows sitting atop bright turquoise seas. Watch little reef sharks swimming around on your walk to dinner, enjoy snorkeling any time of day, and of course, enjoy a stunning sunset over the water. If you're going to make the trek out to these gorgeous islands, splurge on the over-water bungalow so you can dive right into the sparkling water whenever you want!

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Exuma, Bahamas

See jaw-dropping swirls of blue and white straight from your plane window as you arrive into our next destination. As soon as you step off the plane, you will instantly be greeted by the beautiful Bahamian waters. The Exuma Cays are a long strip of islands in the center of the Bahamas. It is most famous for the swimming pigs off of Major Cay (which has now been coined "Pig Beach"). While there are now a few different places in the Bahamas to swim with pigs, this is the original. But besides the pigs, the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park expands over 170 square miles. You could spend days exploring the pristine protected coral reefs, hidden grottos, and never ending sandbars. There are a few adorable small hotels and b&bs in Staniel Cay or Grand Exuma!

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Zanzibar, Tanzania

Considered one of the most beautiful islands in the world, Zanzibar offers unique landscapes, beaches of incomparable beauty, cultural activities, gastronomy, water sports and a world of sensations. Found off the East coast of Africa, the Indian Ocean blues are totally unique. Known as the "spice island" you'll be thrilled with unique dining and food experiences. From its turquoise waters to beautiful sunsets, everything invites you to relax and enjoy. Splurge on an all-inclusive resort so this can be the most relaxing vacation ever.

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Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Bora Bora is another famed overwater bungalow hotspot. The big difference between The Maldives and Bora Bora? Topography! Bora Bora has beautiful atolls surrounding iconic mountains. Not only are these lagoons some of the bluest of blue waters, they are also beaming with underwater life and stunning coral reefs. Make sure to book at least one boat tour, snorkel, or dive trip to explore! Definitely one of the more expensive parts of the world so save this for that special once-in-a-lifetime trip like your honeymoon or milestone anniversary, but go all out! Honeymoon suite with a private pool overlooking those gorgeous mountain views. Champagne anyone?!

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I really wanted to narrow this down to one place in Greece but I just couldn't. There are so many little hidden gems throughout the Greek isles that it would be impossible to pick just one. Many know of the famous Navagio Beach (Shipwreck Beach) set on sun-soaked Zakynthos island. The beach’s centerpiece is a long-abandoned freighter—the remains of a smuggler’s shipwreck—that still languishes on the sands. Or check out Milos, another small Greek isle that has moon-like beaches with stark white cliffs and crystal clear waters! Don't forget the famous islands like Santorini and Mykonos. Almost anywhere you go in Greece, you can find those bright blues!

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The Whitsundays, Australia

This tiny group of islands in the Southern Great Barrier Reef is any water lover's dream and there are a few places you are going to want to check out. Airlie Beach is the port town where you can travel to the islands from the mainland, but stay on Hamilton Island. (There are many flights directly into Hamilton Island from major Australian cities!) This no-car island has an amazing collection of resorts, holiday homes, and super lux villas. None other than Taylor Swift, Oprah Winfrey, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Johnny Depp have all stayed on the island and you will see why as soon as you arrive. It is the true definition of paradise! To visit one of the whitest beaches in the world and see the beautiful blue swirls of the Hill Inlet, make sure you book a day trip over to Whitehaven. If you want to make the most of the Natural Wonder of the World at your doorstep, book a helicopter tour to see Heart Reef.

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Isla Holbox, Mexico

A hidden gem amongst the warm Caribbean waters, this next destination has been coined "the Maldives of Mexico". This small island located on the north coast of the Yucatán Peninsula is one of the lesser known (maybe not anymore!) destinations of Mexico. This car-free island is a blue-water lover's dream. Known for a more laid-back atmosphere, this is a great option in Mexico for those that want to avoid tourist traps like Cancun and Tulum. Even with a more relaxed vibe, you'll be surprised to find a surplus of adventures waiting for you here! One of the biggest attractions? Swimming with whale sharks! These gentle giants visit from June to September, so make sure to book your stay during these times!

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New Zealand

Interested in a completely different trip this year? Save your vacation time for the holidays and visit New Zealand in their summer months (December- February). While this might not be a destination often associated with "the tropics" you will be dazzled by New Zealand's beaches and waterways. If beaches are more your thing, visit the northern parts of the islands and check out the Bay of Islands. Go diving in Poor Knights Islands to see fish you can't see anywhere else in the world. Prefer fresh water? New Zealand is full of breath-taking springs like Te Waikoropupu Springs and The Blue Spring in the Waikato-Hamilton region. Want some fresh air? Lake Pukaki, a shimmering blue jewel set against a backdrop of Aoraki/Mt Cook, is a postcard worthy destination. Be sure to book a scenic tour from the sky for this one!

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Menorca, Spain

Do you dream of a Mediterranean summer? Why not check out this blue water gem in Spain? The Balearic Islands lay just off Spain's East coast making for a perfect summer escape. Menorca is the smallest of the islands and a true paradise. Hidden coves and beaches reveal sparking turquoise seas. This tiny island boasts 130 beaches (!!) so, you have a wide selection of spots to explore. If you are limited on time, hire a boat or captain to take you around to all the best spots. Kayaking is also a popular activity to get out on the water. Of course, sunbaking on the beach is also a great idea. Throw in centuries of amazing history, and this place will wow your body and mind.

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Looking for a unique getaway this year? Check out this archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, off East Africa. Known for beaming coral reefs and jaw-dropping rock formations that dot through the islands, Seychelles has focused on environmental protection making this a pristine part of the world. Enjoy nature hikes, snorkeling the reefs, or meet some of the unique local wildlife like the Aldabra giant tortoises! Set so close to the equator, this paradise is one of the places where it ACTUALLY is summer year round!

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Cook Islands

Our next stop is really off the beaten track making for an escape into one of the most untouched parts of the world. This 15-isle archipelago just east of the dateline in the Pacific Ocean is a blue water wonderland. The Cook Islands has a strong history in Polynesian culture and extremely friendly people. This is the perfect destination for cultural immersion taking in the islands through homecooked meals by host families. The Cook Islands have a focus on sustainable tourism and over 1 million square kilometers of protected marine conservation area. Ideal for all of our wildlife enthusiast!

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Turks and Caicos

Turks and Caicos is a tiny hidden gem amongst the Caribbean icy blue waters. This little island nation, just south of The Bahamas, has beautiful white sandy beaches and bright blue water as far as the eye can see. There are some super lux villas and resorts here that are to die for. For a splurge, check out Como Parrot Cay sitting on its own private island. Or check out Providenciales. Enjoy paddle boarding, snorkeling, or even try kite boarding and wind surfing!

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Western Australia

Another remote option for our list are the desolate beaches found along Australia's West coast. Western Australia is Australia's biggest state taking up almost half of the entire country. This coast changes from the icy waters of the Southern Ocean all the way up into the tropical Indian Ocean giving you a great variety of adventures to choose from! Down south visit Esperance to catch some kangaroos at Lucky Bay. Take a road trip along the Coral Coast from Perth to Exmouth to catch some coastal treasures! Ningaloo Reef is brimming with sea life and you can swim with animals like manta rays and massive whale sharks!

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Palawan, Philippines

Another place full of interesting landscapes lies just north of Australia in the Philippines. Palawan is a less touristy destination than Boracay offering many remote, untouched paradises. Amazing food, friendly people, and cheap accommodations give this destination multiple ticks. Book a dive to one of the WW2 shipwrecks to see the world of wonder below or hire a private boat tour to take you to a secret spot.

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St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands

St. John is one of the many beautiful islands to choose from in the Virgin Islands. A small archipelago in the Caribbean Sea lying just East of Puerto Rico, these islands are spilt into U.S. and British owned islands. While there are many similarities in both territories, you will find distinctive cultural differences. One thing that makes St. John stand out amongst all of them though is its bright blue water and white sandy beaches. Trunk Bay, Honeymoon Bay and Salt Pond Beach are rated as some of the top beaches in the world. Hire a sailboat and sail around the brilliant blue waters for a while.

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Vanuatu Blue Holes

Our final find gives us a different type of blue water, and that's water found in a natural spring. Nestled in Vanuatu's largest island of Espiritu Santo, you can find these magnificent wonderlands. The bright blue waters are a result of the limestone in the rock formations where the springs have formed. This results in the perfect swimming spot for a warm, tropical day. Jump in from a rope swing, take a horse back through the jungles, or canoe your way down crystal clear waterways. Don't forget you're on a tropical island full of beautiful beaches, too.

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When deciding on your next getaway, it can be tough to choose between so many amazing destinations! Hopefully we have helped narrow down the list a little.. we could have also added a few to the list.. oh well! There's always the chance for another vacation right?!

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