2019 is the year of the Chinese Pig and according to legend, those born in this year are going to enjoy life to the fullest. Who are we to blame them? Let’s be honest, we all love the water - and either we are living a non-stop adventure, or we are going on one this year. Here are the ten best places to do so in 2019. They are in n no particular order - go with your gut feeling and start packing.
1. Bali, Indonesia
If you haven’t been to the beaches in Asia yet, this is the year. Welcome to Bali, the surprisingly-cost-effective Indonesian Island brimming with vibrant culture, warm hospitality, and gorgeous beaches.
While it can get a little bit touristy (especially in the South), Bali is home to a unique group of people who are tolerant, welcoming, and take life slowly. It’s a mecca of feng shui, and is dotted with Hindu Temples - a minimum of three per village. The Hindu religion sets it apart from the rest of Indonesia and adds to the uniqueness of the food there - which capitalizes heavily on pork.
The beaches and blue water are the stuff of international legend. Food and accommodations are incredibly economical (southeast Asia standard), although flights from North America can be steep. Add it all up, and you have a great place for a beach adventure for 2019.
2. Algarve, Portugal
Portugal may be the last gem of Western Europe, the only place in 2019 where you can still survive on € 2,000 month. Algarve is the southernmost region in Portugal, featuring over 200 km of pristine beaches. Almost all of the 100 beaches in the area are blue-flag designated, meaning they meet strict international environmental standards. That kind of pristine.
Portugal is full of colorful architecture and delicious chicken. The history in the region is rich. Portuguese people are beautiful, welcoming, and warm - exactly our type. Sailing is common here, as is diving, windsurfing, and hiking.
You can find both relaxing and fast-paced areas of Algarve, but you can’t miss the vibrant culture or the delicious wine. Better still, find a moonshine-style bottle of Medronho and enjoy it while exploring the remnants of the wall of Lagos.
3. Patong, Thailand
If you are in it for the party, the beach for you is in the party capital of Asia. Patong has it all, from world-class restaurants, to cabaret, jet-skiing, night clubs, and massage parlors. At almost unbelievably low prices, this is where bad (or great) decisions are made. What could go wrong?
Patong is located on Phuket, Thailand’s largest island. Buddhist temples, statues, and artifacts abound. Phuket has an international airport with nonstop flights from Australia and the UK, making this as accessible a beach as any in Asia. This is where yachts and sailboats and jet skis are found, as the tourism industry in Phuket continues to diversify.
While one of the more expensive and metropolitan locations on Phuket, Patong is still highly cost-effective. Paradise beach offers clear water and powdery white sand. Beach parties have a different meaning here, the home of the internationally famous Full Moon Parties. Be safe.
4. Varadero, Cuba
In 2015, when Cuba opened up to tourism from the United States, there was a thought that many of the beach resorts would suddenly be overrun. Well, it’s 2019 now, and Varadero is still verifiably the best place to go to mid-range all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean. It’s a bit more expensive and a bit more crowded, but the turquoise warm water is still just as warm, and Cuba Libres are still delicious.
To call it what it is - this is firmly a resort town, for visiting tourists. But not all salty dogs (this author included) happen to live near warm water, so an economical week with free drinks by a sandy beach is occasionally welcome. There are many resorts with great weekly packages. There is great dinghy sailing, surfing, and sunbathing. Cuba’s only golf course is in this region.
Of course, those who want to venture out into the rich culture of Cuba have every opportunity to do so. Busses and cars to Havana are frequent, and a short two hour drive. There you can experience a much more authentic Cuba, in a city with an intriguing history.
5. North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii
This list would not be complete without the surfing mecca. North Shore, Oahu is on the bucket list of the best surfers in the world. It’s home of Banzai Pipeline, said to have the biggest waves on the planet. Be warned, it is not for novice surfers. But if you want to watch the pros (or are one)... it’s your spot.
The North Shore of Oahu is a great place to spend time. The hustle and bustle of Honolulu and Waikiki are left behind in favor of a very relaxed environment. For that reason, lots of people end up hanging out here for extended times. Delicious island food can be found, from shrimp trucks, to Latin food, to Hawaiian barbecue. Add it to a one-of-a-kind luscious geography, and you have yourself a tranquil paradise. Remember to respect the locals, who are deeply rooted in their home.
6. Whitsunday Islands, Australia
If you haven’t heard of them, the Whitsunday Islands are an idyllic group of 74 pieces of heaven off the coast of Queensland, Australia. They form part of the Great Barrier Reef, and are one of the most popular destinations in Australia.
Almost all of the 1500 residents in the region live on Hamilton Island, and most of the rest of the 74 islands are protected national parks - accessible by boat only. This isn’t your typical resort vacation - but it’s the beach camper’s dream. A paradise of empty serenity and perfectly fine sand awaits.
That said, many water sports and activities are available from Hamilton Island itself. These include snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, SCUBA diving, fishing, and sailing.
7. Isla Mujeres, Mexico
This island is a ferry ride from Cancun, and provides a much more tranquil experience. While still touristy, Isla Mujeres feels like it is the realm of the locals. The island is 7 kilometers long, with a ferry terminal in the south, local residences in the middle, and a town and beach in the north.
While the hard-partying Cancun nightlife is absent on this island, in its place is unique and quiet character. The island is geographically close to Cuba, so it is a common first point of arrival for Cubans emigrating. The locals are friendly and Spanish speaking.
However, don’t expect to have a complete absence of tourists. Dolphins, sea turtles, and all kinds of watersports are accessible here, making it an attractive spot for everyone to check out. Many people come out for day trips, returning the town to peace in the evening.
8. Kauai, Hawaii
Quiet Kauai is, in our opinion, the coolest of the Hawaiian Islands. It’s the northernmost island, and the oldest one in geological time. This small and sparsely populated ecosystem features lush tropical plants and waterfalls. It is more local and less touristy than the other islands. Without giving up Hawaii’s famous beaches and surf, Kauai is a poetic and laidback stop for any traveler - who may stay for weeks or months.
Being the northernmost island, Kauai bears the brunt of the Pacific wind. This fully developed ecosystem includes the stunning Waimea Canyon. The North and East sides of the island tend to be humid, windy, and have more rainfall, while the South and West sides have sandier beaches.
That said, the most interesting part of the island is the North Shore, where Pacific winds bring outstanding surf to the beaches. Waterfalls can be found by way of an easy hike or, for the more ambitious- hike the world-renowned Kalalu Trail. Hanalei is our favorite spot in Hawaii, a sleepy village in the north, full of authentic island character.
9. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
A list of beaches wouldn’t be complete without Punta Cana, still one of the most popular destinations in the Caribbean. The all-inclusive-resort-filled eastern tip of the Dominican Republic is renowned for its white sand beaches.
The Dominican Republic is a pretty cool place in any event. Santo Domingo is the first European settlement in the Americas. There’s tours, rafting, horseback rides, and deep sea fishing. It’s a potent look at the rich Caribbean culture, full of friendly people.
Coming back to Punta Cana, stack endless white sand beaches onto the list. And did we mention free drinks at all-inclusive resorts? Punta Cana is an outstanding beach vacation location.
10. Hvar, Croatia
For full disclosure, Hvar is a personal favorite of this humble author. I will attempt to keep my bias out, but the fact is that cobbled medieval towns with terracotta roofs, the deep-blue Adriatic, white wine, delicious fish, and some the finest electronic music in Europe is a pretty good combination. Color me surprised. Welcome to the Dalmation Coast.
Hvar was a strategically important naval base for the Greeks, which was fought for and repeatedly changed hands for almost 2000 years. Despite this, it’s a remarkably intact town, with inviting cobblestone streets and a massive town square.
Hvar pretty much pitches a perfect game in terms of beach towns. It’s a charming, majestic type of gorgeous, with delicious food, great music, secluded beaches, and a fantastic nightlife. While tourism is the strongest industry there, you will find that the town doesn’t cater to it in a tacky way as most of the tourism comes from Italy. It’s accessible by ferry to Split, Croatia, which is serviced by an international airport. It’s a unique and special place, unlike any other - and the perfect adventure for 2019.
Ocean and beach adventure gear
At Damn Skippy Wear, we believe that adventuring is best done using the finest provisions to intensify the fun, comfort level and safety.
Whatever is in your perfect seafaring/beach day, we want you to have the perfect outfit and all the right tools to make it a smashing success and to remember it for many years to come with the best in home decor and ocean-inspired accessories and gadgets.
Gear and supplies we currently love:
1. Rent a kayak or SUP and get in on the wind action using this Foldable Wind Sail. While everyone is paddling along, you will be zooming around and having a blast. This is a new way to enjoy some of the sports you love.
2. Use this Mesh Beach Bag to have a fun day of exploring the beach treasures. Not only is it a great way to enjoy the beach, this bag also saves you from bringing sand back to the car.
3. This is like viewing the ocean on a retina display. This wide view Diving Mast and Snorkeling Set will give you the best visibility of all the ocean and sea creatures you've been dying to see.
4. Avoid hot footsies with these awesome Foot Stickers.
5. Keep playing music. Get in the groove with this Waterproof Bluetooth Outdoor Speaker.
Need other water fun gear, check it out here.
Need some beachwear, we got you!
Now, you see, there ain't nothing to it. Go forth and carp this diem.