Those Sweet Southern Shores
miralex/istockphoto

20 Under-the-Radar Beaches Below the Equator

View Slideshow
Those Sweet Southern Shores
miralex/istockphoto

Those Sweet Southern Shores

With winter rapidly approaching, now is the time to begin daydreaming about (or actively planning) a sun-soaked beach getaway. And while countless travelers head to the tried-and-true beaches of Florida or Mexico, real beach connoisseurs in search of smaller crowds jet even farther south to destinations below the equator. Need a little inspiration? Here are 20 beaches south of the equator where you have a better chance of truly escaping it all. Don't want to limit your search for secluded sandy shores to just half the world? Check out 24 Secluded Beach Paradises Around the World.

Coral Bay, Western Australia
PonAek/istockphoto

Coral Bay, Western Australia

Western Australia is sparsely populated and gets just a fraction of the tourists that the country’s east coast gets, says Kate McCulley, blogger at AdventurousKate.com. The reward for making the trek to the far side of the country? Some of the most gorgeous beaches in the world with few, if any crowds, she adds. Coral Bay is her top choice in the region. "It's a small beach town with soft sand and bright cerulean water," she says. "But what makes it special is its proximity to Ningaloo Reef — just a five-minute boat ride from shore." The Great Barrier Reef, by contrast, is a few hours from shore, explains McCulley. When not basking in the sun, visitors can ride ATVs down giant sand dunes and marvel at cliffs plunging into the sea.

Related: 15 Bucket-List Destinations Below the Equator

Clifton Beach, Cape Town, South Africa
Barichivich/istockphoto

Clifton Beach, Cape Town, South Africa

Located at the northwest tip of South Africa's Cape Peninsula in a largely residential area, Clifton Beach — which is actually a series of four continues beaches — has managed to avoid attracting hordes of visitors, says Becca Siegel, of HalfHalfTravel.com. The lack of tourist crowds is only part of the charm at this ultra-clean, sprawling, white sand beach. "It's beautiful," says Siegel. "It's in an upscale neighborhood of Cape Town, and you have to take a taxi or car to get there, but it's worth it. I went in winter, so there were about four people in total on the beach, and I had it to myself."

Related: 18 Best Beaches for a Budget Vacation

Thundi Beach, Fuvahmulah, Maldives
thoondu/Facebook

Thundi Beach, Fuvahmulah, Maldives

Located on Fuvahmulah, one of the southernmost islands in the Maldives, Thundi Beach is renowned for its sandy shores covered with small shiny, coral pebbles, says Ruth Franklin, co-founder of Maldives tour company Secret Paradise, which specializes in local island-hopping excursions led by locals. "It's a unique beach in what is a white-sand lover's paradise," she says. The beach is also famous for an annual phenomenon known as bissaaveli, said Franklin, when there's a naturally created shallow swimming pool along the beach that's enclosed by sand and the island's shore.

Praia da Ferradura Beach, Brazil
vitormarigo/istockphoto

Praia da Ferradura Beach, Brazil

The most stunning beach in South America is in Rio State, and it's not Copacabana or Ipanema. It's the horseshoe-shaped Praia da Ferradura, says Mike Charles, of CoupleTraveltheWorld.com, who raves about the beachside bars that are close enough to get splashed by the surf. "It's the place to be in the Brazilian summer," says Charles. "The best part is you can score a hotel room with infinity pool and breakfast for less than $40 a night."

Challapampa Beach, Isla del Sol, Bolivia
elisalocci/istockphoto

Challapampa Beach, Isla del Sol, Bolivia

A must when traveling to South America, Challapampa Beach is not located on the ocean but rather sits in the middle of Lake Titicaca, says Charles of CoupleTraveltheWorld.com. "Challapampa is unlike any other because it's untouched by 99.9% of the population," he continues. "The only visitors are the residents of Challapampa and a few tourists, mostly hippy backpackers who camp on the beach." The beach, with relatively no surf, provides an ideal place for paddling or playing volleyball on its shores. Visitors can also hike into the nearby mountains to explore Incan ruins.

Related: 14 Under-the-Radar Destinations in Latin America

Nokanhui Atoll, New Caledonia
693annelaurev/TripAdvisor

Nokanhui Atoll, New Caledonia

One look at the pictures of Nokanhui Atoll will take your breath away. A small cluster of islands in the lagoon of New Caledonia (a French territory in the South Pacific), the beaches here have been described as a breathtaking slice of paradise. Amy Alton, creator of the site Out Chasing Stars, who is in the midst of a five-year circumnavigation sailboat journey around the world, ranks it among her favorite under-the-radar choices. "Nestled in Nokanhui Atoll is a small island called Île de Kutomërë," says Alton. "This island is pretty small at high tide, but at low tide it extends out over 1,000 feet to provide a unique playground. You can lounge on the beach, wade in the water, or build sandcastles with absolutely no civilization in sight."

Related: 22 Beautiful Island Vacations Worth Budgeting For

Uoleva, Tonga
seachangetonga/Facebook

Uoleva, Tonga

Another little-known destination in the South Pacific, Tonga is more rustic and rugged than its neighbor Fiji, but that just means its beauty is untouched, explains Alton. In particular, Alton recommends Uoleva Island, a sandy cay that's practically uninhabited where there's just a few backpacker-style retreats that attract yogis and kiteboarders in search of solitude. The southeast side of the island is protected from the Pacific Ocean by a reef. When visiting, you might also want to check out the island's northwest side, which faces the atoll's lagoon and offers calmer waters.

Fraser Island, Australia
Onfokus/istockphoto

Fraser Island, Australia

While Australia's legendary Whitsunday Islands may get more attention (more on them later), Alton prefers Fraser Island, a World Heritage-listed location and the largest sand island in the world. "The beach is wide, long, and made up of powder-white sand, the finest I've ever seen," says Alton. "It's common to spot the indigenous wild dingo on the beach, or at least the footprints." Swimming on the west side of the island is well protected and provides ideal viewing of the sunset over Australia's mainland, says Alton. "There are a few clusters of hotels scattered about the island, but another option is camping on the beach," she adds.

Bahía Inglesa, Chile
abriendomundo/istockphoto

Bahía Inglesa, Chile

Any of the beaches you find in the village of Bahía Inglesa are a good choice, says Rishi Kapoor, founder and CEO of Nanak Flights. The area is full of quiet beaches, white sand, and crystal-clear turquoise waters. And that's not all. "Located on the coast in northern Chile, it's great for just about any water sport, and since its hot weather lasts much longer than any beach on the southern side of the country, it allows for visiting almost any time throughout the year," he adds.

Related: The World's Most Remote Hotels

Karekare Beach, New Zealand
denizunlusu/istockphoto

Karekare Beach, New Zealand

Found in a region of New Zealand renowned for its moody and rugged landscapes and home to some of the country's best beaches, Karekare is one of the least developed and most untouched options, says Delilah Hart, founder of Our Travel Mix, a website designed to help people travel better. "You shouldn't expect to find tourists, shops, or much of anything here," says Hart of the wild, undeveloped beach. "It's a great destination for photographers, surfers, or those looking to laze on the beach without all the crowds."

Related: 30 Beautiful Destinations for Taking Photos Around the World

Luengoni Beach, New Caledonia
Luengoni Beach, New Caledonia by Sekundo . (CC BY-NC-ND)

Luengoni Beach, New Caledonia

Yet another New Caledonia option — and while you're in that part of the world, why not explore more than one unforgettable beach? — Hart loves Luengoni for its bright, azure waters and incredible, soft white sands. "It's far enough away from the main island that you're unlikely to find tourists here," says Hart, who's covered the area beaches on her site. In fact, the only visitors you can expect to find are locals and sea turtles." When visiting, don't miss snorkeling to the underwater cave in the area and exploring the local sinkholes, which are referred to as "the jewels" and can be found near the main beach.

Titikaveka Beach, Cook Islands, Rarotonga
chameleonseye/istockphoto

Titikaveka Beach, Cook Islands, Rarotonga

When visiting Rarotonga, tourists typically flock to Muri Beach or stick to beaches near their accommodations, so it's not uncommon to find Titikaveka Beach entirely deserted, says Hart. "Despite being less popular than other beaches on the island, Titikaveka is a marine reserve where colorful coral flourishes and exotic marine life is in abundance," she adds. "The entire island is surrounded by a reef, which makes the waters calm all the time." The reef also helps create a safe snorkeling environment for kids and less confident swimmers, suggests Hart.

Related: 25 Private Islands You Might Actually Be Able to Afford

La Paloma, Rocha, Uruguay
ElOjoTorpe / Moment / Getty Images CC

La Paloma, Rocha, Uruguay

Another under the radar beach that comes highly recommended by International Living experts, La Paloma is located in a rural area famous for its many stellar beaches. The region of Rocha offers more than 100 miles of Atlantic coastline made up of long stretches of sand intermingled with bays, dunes, and rocky points. There are also tiny, charming towns throughout the region, some of which have less than 100 residents. "It's a mostly rural area with pristine beaches, pine and eucalyptus forests, and lush pastures dotted with palm trees," says David Hammond, International Living Uruguay contributor. On calm mornings, you see kayaks and canoes on the bay and surfers bobbing in the swells when conditions are right, he adds. "If it gets windy, kite surfers take to the bay. And you'll find beach volleyball at La Paloma's La Balconada beach, by the lighthouse," says Hammond.

Related: The 20 Best Beaches on the West Coast

Ponta Mamoli, Mozambique
Siyabona Africa

Ponta Mamoli, Mozambique

It doesn't get much better than a secluded peninsula along the coast of Africa. And that's exactly what Ponta Mamoli is. Think white beaches that go on for miles and miles. But all the seclusion doesn't mean you'll be without at least a few activity options. There are world-class reefs for scuba divers as well as snorkeling and deep-sea fishing opportunities. But really, it's the scenery that will take your breath away. "It's a stunning golden beach with beautiful surrounding greenery and not a tower block or two-story building in sight," says Will Hatton, owner of the travel site HotelJules.com and founder of TheBrokeBackpacker.com.

Lorne Beach, Australia
ymgerman/istockphoto

Lorne Beach, Australia

Expansive, pristine and paradise are just some of the descriptions used by travelers when gushing about this remote, south-of-the-equator beach. Located in a seaside town in Victoria, Australia, this destination is known not only for its white-sand beaches and sparkling waters but also the vibrant surrounding arts community. It's also a popular destination for surfers. "Lorne hosts annual surfing competitions, and its town has everything," says Hatton.

Huanchaco, Peru
xeni4ka/istockphoto

Huanchaco, Peru

Huanchaco, on Peru's north coast, is a beach getaway that Steven LePoidevin of International Living describes as the best of both worlds. The beach is located in a small, traditional Peruvian fishing village, yet it's only 20 minutes from the bustling city of Trujillo, which offers a variety of amenities. "For most of the year it's a sleepy town," LePoidevin says of Huanchaco, "other than Sunday afternoons, when folks drive from nearby Trujillo to flock onto the beach and frequent the bars and restaurants overlooking the water. Temperatures are mild year-round and there's next to no rainfall." Huanchaco is also a surfing paradise for young and old alike, says LePoidevin. There are local surfing classes, board rentals, surf shops, and even the occasional international competition. "It's all here — 365 days a year, the surf consistently rolls onto the beach," he says.

Florianópolis, Brazil
Bruno Santos/istockphoto

Florianópolis, Brazil

Florianópolis is home to a variety of stunning and laid-back beaches (more than 42 by some estimates). You'll find the most picturesque of these beaches within the area's protected nature preserves. Among the most noteworthy is Lagoinha do Leste on the island's southern end, which can only be reached by boat or via a trail that takes about one hour to hike. It's remoteness and lack of access means you're likely to find few, if any, crowds here. Additional under-the-radar beaches to keep in mind in Florianópolis include Praia Moçambique and Ilha do Campeche, which is actually a small island off of Florianópolis.

Temae Plage Publique, Moorea
RoelR/TripAdvisor

Temae Plage Publique, Moorea

While all of the islands and beaches of French Polynesia are pretty stellar and will make you feel like you've truly escaped it all, some are worth particular attention thanks to their unspoiled, peaceful beauty. Temae Plage Publique is one such example. It can be found on the northeastern coast of Moorea and has a reputation for offering an uninterrupted expanse of beach and stunning views across a lagoon.

Plage Tereia, Maupiti Island
David A/TripAdvisor

Plage Tereia, Maupiti Island

Yet another French Polynesian gem, Maupiti Island is a tiny, coral atoll 195 miles northwest of Tahiti. The island is just 7 square miles and is the epitome of seclusion. And while you find peace and quiet nearly everywhere here, you won't want to miss Plage Tereia, a beach Frommer's says you'll have all to yourself. That's due in large part to the fact that there are zero resorts on Maupiti. Can't get much farther from civilization than that.

Related: The 20 Best Beaches on the East Coast

Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Islands, Queensland, Australia
kokkai/istockphoto

Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Islands, Queensland, Australia

One last legendary remote cluster of beaches, the Whitsunday Islands, off of Queensland, are everything travelers dream of when envisioning a languid beach getaway — endless stretches of white sand, impossibly turquoise water, and pristine nature. In fact, no list of under-the-radar beaches below the equator would be complete without mentioning this remote tropical paradise. Among the top beaches to check out here is Whitehaven, located within Whitsunday Islands National Park. The beach is said to be among the world's most beautiful and unspoiled. In other words, if remote beaches are your thing, Whitehaven needs to be on your bucket list.