Advertising
Advertising

14 Awe-Inspiring Beaches That Everyone Should Visit At Least Once

14 Awe-Inspiring Beaches That Everyone Should Visit At Least Once

With the curtains finally drawing on summer, take a scroll through a list of both traditionally beautiful and more unorthodox beaches littered around the world. Whether you prefer sunsets, flour-like sand, or even below freezing temperatures, each paradise listed below has its own unusual characteristic that is worth a spot on your bucket list.

1. Bioluminescent Bay (a.k.a. Mosquito Bay) – Isla de Vieques, Puerto Rico

mosquitobay3

    Depending on the brightness of the moon, Bioluminescent Bay provides visitors with an enlightening experience. Hidden along the Caribbean coast and only 10 miles from Puerto Rico’s main island, this bay is home to micro-organisms (plankton known as dinoflagellates) that radiate a blue-green glow in the otherwise dark waters. Interested? Be sure to hurry, as the fragile eco-system has recently been experiencing a dimming of its main attraction, likely due to interference from tourists – enjoy it gently.

    mosquitobay1

      2. Playa del Amor (a.k.a. Hidden Beach), Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

      hiddenbeach

        Shrouded in mystery, no one is certain if the unique structure of this covert paradise is the result of an ancient volcanic eruption or deliberate and experimental bombings by the Mexican government that occurred in the 1960’s. Visitors can kayak into the Hidden Beach, which is also accessible through an underground water tunnel that stretches all the way to the Pacific ocean. Photogenically magical, appearing as though it has come straight off of a National Geographic cover, it’s a definite must-see for adventure-goers.

        hiddenbeach3

          3. Giant’s Causeway – Antrim, Northern Ireland

          giantscauseway3

            Not necessarily known for its tropical weather or powdery white sand, the Giant’s Causeway is famous for it’s unique and mysterious landscape. The hexagonal basalt columns have drawn inspiration from artists and provoked scientific debate for centuries. This beach is steeped in folklore; many claim that it had been carved out by giant Finn McCool eons ago. Although it had been likely formed by the result of intense volcanic activity, let your imagination guide you.

            Advertising

            giantscauseway2

              4. Hot Water Beach – Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand

              hotwaterbeach

                Within two hours of the low tide, the usually deserted Hot Water Beach on the Coromandel Peninsula of New Zealand becomes a literal hotbed of tourist activity. Hot water gushes through the golden sands of the beach, allowing visitors to dig their own spa pool – no more inadvertent and awkward games of footsie. Underneath the beach lie two volcanic hot water springs that keep visitors toasty in the face of New Zealand’s cold oceanic winds.

                hotwaterbeach2

                  5. Hyams Beach – New South Wales, Australia

                  hyams

                    On the southern shores of Jervis Bay lies Hyams Beach. Surrounded by clifftops and forests, Hyams stands out because of its extraordinary white sand. How white is it really? The sand covering Hyams Beach holds the Guinness World Record for the whitest sand in the world. Visitors to the record-breaking beach can enjoy surfing, sailing, kayaking, snorkeling (it’s the second most dive-worthy spot in Australia next to the Great Barrier Reef), and bragging rights to have visited a beach that really had the whitest sand on our planet.

                    hyams2

                      6. Pink Sands Beach – Harbour Island, Bahamas

                      Advertising

                      pinksands

                        White sand too common for you? Try pink. Composed of coral, broken shells, bits of rock and calcium carbonate, the Pink Sand Beach of Harbour Island boasts a three-mile long stretch of the pinkest sand in the world. Microscopic shelled organisms called foraminifera inhabit the seafloors, washing up on shore to give the sand a pale pink hue. In additional to its unique setting, Pink Sands Beach offers up captivating sunsets and seasonally warm, clear waters.

                        pinkbeach2

                          7. Jokulsarlon, Iceland

                          Jokulsarlon

                            Translating into “glacial river lagoon”, Jokulsarlon is a large glacial lake situated in southeast Iceland. Considered one of the greatest natural wonders of Iceland, the lagoon is often described as ‘other worldly’, as it is surrounded by luminous blue icebergs. Witness some of the most breath-taking (insert your own cold pun here) glaciers that reflect the glow of the rising or setting sun. Easily accessible from the town of Hofn, tour operators are frequently conducting snowmobile and jeep tours to visit the area. So scenic that it had been the setting for films such as Batman Begins, Die Another Day and Tomb Raider, Jokulsarlon and it’s millennium-old ice are worth a taste for the adventurous – seriously, they take you to taste 1000-year old ice.

                            jokulsarlon3

                              8. Gulpiyuri Beach – Llanes, Spain

                              Gulpiyuri

                                Roughly 40 meters in length, Gulpiyuri Beach is a flooded sinkhole, described as an inland beach and located a half-mile from the Cantabrian Sea. Interestingly, it is fully aligned with the tides of the Sea, as a series of underground tunnels carved out by salt water allow the water to flow freely back and forth, resulting in a fresh and diverse medley of wildlife and ever-changing experience.

                                Advertising

                                Gulpiyuri2

                                  9. Chandipur Beach – Odisha, India

                                  chandipur

                                    Amidst the lush and beautiful vegetation that India has to offer, beyond the sand dunes visible from the oceanfront, there exists an interesting bay of water known as Chandipur Beach. Then, for parts of the day, it ceases to exist, as it disappears into the swells of the ocean. Twice a day, the sea water of Chandipur Beach recedes up to five kilometres. When the water recedes, visitors can explore the exposed underworld, even via a jeep ride on the ocean floor. Whereas other beaches wait for visitors to come to them, this beach proves the complete opposite.

                                    chandipur2

                                      10. Zlatni Rat Beach – Brac Island, Croatia

                                      zlatni

                                        Reaching over a quarter of a mile into the ocean, the pebbly peninsula holds a very interesting characteristic. Supported by the changing direction and strength of the ocean currents, the peninsula frequently changes shape. Due to the fact that the beach consists of pebbles, and not sand, the waters surrounding it are crystal clear and perfect for divers. Much like the Chandipur Beach noted above, the peninsula can disappear completely if swallowed up by a high enough tide. Try not to fall asleep too close to the water.

                                        zlatni3

                                          11. Cable Beach, Broome, WA

                                          Cablebeach

                                            No beach experience is complete without an unforgettable sunset – exactly what Cable Beach is famous for. Oftentimes described as ‘postcard perfect’ by first-time visitors, Cable Beach boasts the most attractive and photogenic view of the sun. Setting over the Indian Ocean rather than the Pacific, the sun often appears as a setting, orange-red globe lingering in the sky. Easily accessible and within walking distance from the town of Broome, the beach is a must-see for photographers or couples seeking that unforgettable sunset.

                                            Advertising

                                            cablebeach2

                                              12. Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays, QLD

                                              whitehaven

                                                Australia is home to a number of postcard beaches, but Whitehaven proves to be the pinnacle on the long list, standing out as one of the most perfect beaches in the world. Powder-soft, white silica sand (an extremely high-purity of sand), contrasted with the vivid blue of the waters that cover the beach, Whitehaven can only be described as true perfection. Located on Whitsunday Island, it boasts five miles of immaculate shoreline, exposed to endless rays of sun and littered with lagoons and coves that provide an extraordinary experience.

                                                whitehaven2

                                                  13. Panari Island – Okinawa, Japan

                                                  panari

                                                    It’s a sad reality that some of the most beautiful beach destinations in the world are exposed to an endless slew of tourists, creating a thirsty market and resulting in various measures of exploitation by the tourism industry. Panari Island, situated in Okinawa, has managed to elude these forces. The small, very isolated beaches of this island are only accessible through private tour companies, costing a pretty penny but well worth the experience. The untouched marine life and coral reef surrounding the island are comparable to that of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Rich in natural, untouched beauty, Panari Island contains the traditionally perfect white sand and clear blue waters but lacks the nuisance of shops, resorts and swarms of tourists, ensuring a rare and pure experience.

                                                    panari3

                                                      14. ToSua Ocean Trench, Samoa

                                                      toSua

                                                        While it may not fall under the traditional definition of a beach, ToSua Trench seems like something straight out of a movie. It is located in a small village known as Lotofaga, home to a medley of ocean blowholes and hidden beaches. Otherwise regarded as a swimming hole, it has been converted into a popular swimming attraction, equipped with a ladder for convenient entry into the 30 meter deep, crystal-clear blue water. One of the most unique swimming locations in the world, ToSua is surrounded by gorgeous gardens and lush vegetation, offering an attractive experience to adventure-seekers with an assortment of nearby must-see’s.

                                                        tosua4

                                                          Featured photo credit: Crashing Waves, Cabo/liezelzpineda via pixabay.com

                                                          More by this author

                                                          Michael Woronko

                                                          Michael shares about tips on self-development and happiness on Lifehack.

                                                          What Makes People Happy? 20 Secrets of “Always Happy” People The Power of Self-Reflection: 10 Questions You Should Ask Yourself 4 Ways To Psychologically Manipulate Someone Why Experiencing Failure Is Necessary Before Becoming Successful Addiction To Selfies: A Mental Disorder?

                                                          Trending in Leisure

                                                          1 5 Best Free Websites To Learn Photography Skills Easily 2 World’s 30 Coolest And Most Unusual Hostels You Definitely Need To Visit 3 Beauty Hacks: 25 Smooth Shaving Tips for Women 4 25 Best Self Improvement Books to Read No Matter How Old You Are 5 30 Inspirational Songs that Keep You Motivated for Life

                                                          Read Next

                                                          Advertising
                                                          Advertising
                                                          Advertising

                                                          Last Updated on November 15, 2019

                                                          Expert Advice That Will Teach You How to Increase Your Metabolism

                                                          Expert Advice That Will Teach You How to Increase Your Metabolism

                                                          Wouldn’t you like to be able to eat twice as much as you do now without gaining weight? If so, I have good news for you because this is possible when you learn how to increase metabolism.

                                                          How Much Do You Know About Metabolism?

                                                          Before we get to the meat, let me say that metabolism is a term that describes all the chemical reactions in your body.[1] These chemical reactions keep your body alive and functioning, however, the word metabolism is often used interchangeably with the metabolic rate or the number of calories you burn.

                                                          The metabolic rate is a rough estimate of how much energy your body needs to simply stay alive and perform all its biochemical reactions. These reactions require energy, aka burn calories.

                                                          Imagine that your brain alone consumes nearly 20% of your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure at rest),[2] your digestion and the detoxifying system come second, repairing tissues third and so on.

                                                          Staying alive is expensive for your body and its two main currencies are fats and sugars.

                                                          When I am talking about improving your metabolic rate (metabolism), I mean improving the amount of energy, your body requires to (pretty much) lay down in bed and do nothing for 24 hours.

                                                          Extra physical activity, extra thinking or fighting illness are things that require a lot of energy (burn a lot of calories) but they don’t really increase metabolism… actually they can decrease it.

                                                          Can You Naturally Change the Speed of Your Basal Metabolism?

                                                          The answer to this question is yes and you can also achieve an increase in metabolism and a drop in body fat by eating more.

                                                          Shocked? Well, I was too.

                                                          The way I came across this phenomenon is quite funny. Over my 10 years as a coach, I helped many busy professionals to naturally increase their metabolism by getting them leaner, fitter and stronger but, at the beginning of my career, I actually had no idea whether they were losing weight because of an increase in metabolism or because we created a calorie deficit with diet and exercise.

                                                          When I was training my clients regularly, they would lose weight. Every time I would take a few weeks of vacation, I would come back to London and find out that most of them gained back a generous amount of weight despite the fact that they were following their diet and they swapped our weight training sessions with cardio.

                                                          On the contrary, when they were going on vacation, they would do zero exercises and binge like there was no tomorrow but come back either lighter or weighing the same (but looking more muscular).

                                                          Advertising

                                                          Observing this phenomenon happening over and over again, got me curious about the mechanics of our metabolism and the ways to hack it.

                                                          Was it really possible that by relaxing and eating more food, someone could actually maintain his/her current weight or even be losing fat?

                                                          Driven by the desire to answer this question, I spent a good amount of years researching and testing different food strategies until I finally cracked the code to an improved metabolism that allows you to eat like a king and look like a Greek God.

                                                          Does Eating More Increase Metabolism?

                                                          Before I explain why eating more increases your metabolism, let me dig into something that I see people doing much more often: “eating less and moving more.”

                                                          It is quite common to see people embarking their yearly weight loss journey (usually after Christmas or Easter) by following very restrictive diets and bombarding their body with several hours of exercise per day.

                                                          Despite the short-term effectiveness of this approach, in the long run, if the goal is to increase metabolism and lose a lot of fat over an extended period of time, this simply won’t work.

                                                          As I have mentioned before, eating fewer calories and exercising more are energy-consuming activities for your body. In the first case, your body needs to use its own energy reserves to top up the missing energy it needs to fully function; and in the second, it takes your body extra energy to contract your muscles.

                                                          In both cases, your TDEE (Total daily energy expenditure at rest) doesn’t vary much; therefore your metabolism stays unchanged.[3]

                                                          A different scenario happens when you eat less and move more for an extended period of time (weeks or months). In that case, your metabolism will slow down because your body is receiving a “we have little access to food and we need to run away from threats” signal.

                                                          Your metabolism is like your bank account.

                                                          To understand this concept, let’s imagine that you have $4,000 coming into your bank account each and every month. The money you spend on housing, transport, food and leisure are calibrated according to this monthly income.

                                                          Now, imagine that a rich uncle starts to send you $1,000 each day. What would you do? Probably, you would save that money for the first two or three days but, when you notice that $1,000 keep on coming every single day, you would likely start to spend more right?

                                                          Advertising

                                                          What if, instead of a rich uncle sending you money, a poor uncle needed your financial help to pay for the treatments of his illness? You would probably try your best to adjust your spending according to your old $4,000 monthly budget.

                                                          That’s exactly how your body reasons:

                                                          More Resources Coming in = More Energy Released (Improved Metabolism)

                                                          Fewer Resources Coming in = Less Energy Released (Decreased Metabolism)

                                                          Note that activities like weight training[4] and high-intensity interval training (HIIT),[5] when combined with an increase in nutrient-rich foods, will also improve your metabolism.

                                                          For this reason, today, when I coach a new client, I always start by increasing their daily food intake and their physical activities. Usually, people are quite confused because they come to me to lose weight and I tell them to eat more but, without fail, the next weekly weight-check shows a lower number.

                                                          Be aware that not all foods are equal and only certain foods have the power to increase metabolism to a noticeable extent.

                                                          Foods That Increase Metabolism

                                                          Doubling up on Snickers bars won’t improve your metabolism and you know that. What you may not know is that certain foods that are marked as “healthy” doesn’t help you with increasing your metabolism. They also make you gain weight.

                                                          Before giving you a list of foods to eat or avoid, let me explain a simple principle of human biochemistry.

                                                          Your body uses energy from three (or four) main sources:

                                                          • Sugars: whether you eat a Snickers bar or a banana, the carbohydrates contained in both get absorbed in the gut and become blood glucose (the basic form of sugar our body utilizes as a source of energy).[6]
                                                            When blood glucose is present in the bloodstream (elevated levels), the body always uses it as its primary source of energy. When blood glucose levels drop (this phenomenon happens when you’re using these sugars to fuel a physical activity or when your pancreas produced a spike of insulin and stores that glucose into fat and muscles), your body starts to release fatty acids into the bloodstream to use as a source of energy.
                                                          • Fatty acids: either from your own fat cells (adipocytes) or from whatever fat-containing foods you ate in the past 2-3 hours. Fatty acids are a slower and more consistent form of energy than sugars that your body can utilise.
                                                          • Amino acids: Amino acids are the broken-down form of proteins. Proteins cannot be used by the body as a source of energy, not even in their broken-down form. Your body can transform amino acids into glucose with a process called gluconeogenesis.[7] This is a very inefficient process where a decent amount of energy gets wasted (and that’s a good thing for us but I’ll get to that later).
                                                          • Ketones: when you don’t feed your body any source of carbs (or proteins in excess), your liver produces an alternative source of energy called Ketones. It can replace the need for glucose (most of it at least).[8]

                                                          Now that you know the four energy sources the body can use to fuel its metabolism, let’s get to the meat (quite literally).

                                                          To make this simple for you, I am going to divide foods into three categories:

                                                          Advertising

                                                          1. Red Flags – Avoid the red foods because they slow your metabolism. They are usually extremely low in micronutrients and high in antinutrients (agents that are highly toxic). They are highly processed or spike your insulin levels (therefore stopping your fat burning process).
                                                          2. Orange Foods – Limit your consumption of orange foods. The orange foods on the list are suboptimal choices but they don’t have a negative impact on your metabolism when consumed in moderation. In fact, they contain a decent amount of micronutrients and, if eaten in small amounts, they shouldn’t stop your fat burning process.
                                                          3. Green Foods – These are foods to consume most. Green foods will improve your metabolism and should be the main bulk of your diet.

                                                          Next, I’ll get into details exactly what foods to eat and avoid:

                                                          Sugars and Carbs

                                                          Sugars do not directly improve metabolism because they stop the process of fat utilisation. There is an exception to this rule though. When you eat a diet extremely low in carbohydrates and sugars for an extended period of time (two to six days onwards), introducing carbohydrates and sugars can actually improve metabolism quite a bit.

                                                          Unfortunately, for most of us that love eating bread, pasta, fruit and yoghurt, unless we were on a low-carb diet for the past few days, these foods are not an optimal choice.

                                                          Sugars like fructose (found in fruit or commercial sugar) actually decrease metabolism and should be limited. Heavily processed sugars and carbohydrates should be also limited. Here is the colour list of sugars and carbs that affect metabolism:

                                                          Red Flag Sugary Foods You Should Avoid:
                                                          • Dried fruit
                                                          • Commercial and packaged corn
                                                          • High fructose corn syrup
                                                          • All sorts of candies and lookalike
                                                          • Packaged fruit juices and purees
                                                          • Sugary dairy products like flavoured yoghurt, condensed milk etc
                                                          Orange Sugary Foods You Should Limit:
                                                          • Bread and flour-based products
                                                          • Milk and also vegan milk alternatives that are sweetened
                                                          • Most fruit (exceptions are in the green list below)
                                                          • Potatoes and potato starch products
                                                          • Oatmeals and other grains
                                                          Green Sugary and Carb-Containing Foods That Improve Metabolism
                                                          • All berries except strawberries
                                                          • Tubers like squash, carrots, parsnips etc
                                                          • Sweet potatoes
                                                          • White rice
                                                          • All green vegetables

                                                          Fats

                                                          Fatty acids and fats, in general, can improve or decrease metabolism depending on their composition.

                                                          Red Flag Fatty Foods You Should Avoid:
                                                          • Margarine and hydrogenated fat
                                                          • Lard
                                                          • Gmo oils
                                                          • Most vegetable oils from seeds and peanut oil
                                                          Orange Fatty Foods You Should Limit:
                                                          • Nuts
                                                          • Meat fat
                                                          • Nut oils (macadamia, almond, cashew etc..)
                                                          • Seeds
                                                          Green Fatty Foods You Should Eat Daily
                                                          • Extra virgin olive oil (non-heated)
                                                          • Avocado
                                                          • Coconut oil
                                                          • Butter (organic)
                                                          • Egg yolks (free-range)
                                                          • Bone marrow

                                                          The fatty foods in the green section tend to be very effective in increasing metabolism, especially in the absence of carbohydrates because they stimulate the production of ketones (I’ll talk about this later).

                                                          Bear in mind that 1 gram of fat has 2.5 times the calories of a gram of protein or carbohydrates; therefore “eating more fats” to increase metabolism should be done very gradually to avoid weight gain.

                                                          Proteins

                                                          Eating food not only sends regulatory signals to your brain about abundance vs scarcity of resources, but it can also increase your metabolism for a few hours. This is called the thermic effect of food (TEF).[9] It’s caused by the extra calories required to digest, absorb and process the nutrients in your meal.

                                                          Protein causes the largest rise in TEF.[10] It increases your metabolic rate by 15-30%, compared to 5-10% for carbs and 0-3% for fats

                                                          Eating protein has also been shown to help you feel more full and prevent you from overeating, in fact, a study found that people were likely to eat around 441 fewer calories per day when protein made up 30% of their diet.[11]

                                                          Also, proteins help preserve muscle mass.[12] The more muscle mass we have, the higher our basal metabolism is.

                                                          For these reasons, the first nutritional advice I usually give to clients is to reduce sugars and increase proteins. This quick swap is often enough to kickstart their metabolism and commence the fat burning process.

                                                          Advertising

                                                          Red Protein Sources That Should Be Avoided
                                                          • Cheap whey proteins
                                                          • Soy proteins
                                                          • GMO meat
                                                          • GMO eggs
                                                          • Packaged meat
                                                          Orange Protein Source to Be Limited
                                                          • Canned tuna
                                                          • Canned fish
                                                          • Canned meat
                                                          • Gluten-rich products like Seitan
                                                          • Farmed fish
                                                          Green Protein Sources to Have Daily
                                                          • Free-range meat
                                                          • Free-range eggs
                                                          • Wild meat and fish
                                                          • Whey protein isolate
                                                          • Collagen and beef protein hydrolyzed

                                                          Note that this is a general categorisation of the foods that, when added to your diet, have the power to increase or decrease metabolism. There are some specific foods and supplements worth mentioning because they have been proven to improve metabolism by increasing thyroid output or resting heart rate, they are as follows.

                                                          Other Foods and Supplements

                                                          Cold water

                                                          Drinking water may temporarily speed up your metabolism. Studies have shown that drinking 17 ounces (0.5 litres) of water increases resting metabolism by 10-30% for about an hour.[13]

                                                          This is not a surprise since our body is made up mainly by water and proper hydration is key to a fast metabolism. This calorie-burning effect may be even greater if you drink cold water, as your body uses energy to heat it up to body temperature.

                                                          MCT Oils or Powders

                                                          Medium-chain triglycerides or MCT have been shown to improve metabolism by stimulating Ketone production.[14] Coconut oil contains MCT fats and, when used as a replacement for cooking oil can help you improve metabolism.

                                                          You can buy the concentrated version of MCT oils and eat it separately to further enhance this effect. Either way, coconut oil or pure MCT oil can be a great addition to your diet if you’re following a ketogenic or intermittent fasting protocol.

                                                          Caffeine

                                                          Caffeine and coffee have been shown to improve metabolism by improving heart rate and, therefore improving calorie consumption.[15]

                                                          Green Tea

                                                          Green tea

                                                          is thought to increase energy expenditure and fat oxidation, and to reduce fat production and absorption.[16]

                                                          Bottom Line

                                                          In this article, I just covered the basics of food and metabolism but, there are many other non-food related things you can do to improve your metabolism, like improving your sleep quality and following certain exercise routines.

                                                          For now, just know that making small and gradual changes to your diet can increase your metabolism and improve your general health. Starting from changing one habit at a time is always the best strategy to accomplish any goal.

                                                          Once you improve your diet, your hydration and your supplementation you can think about testing more advanced “bio-hacks” or techniques like ice baths and fasted HIIT training.

                                                          And remember, having a higher metabolism doesn’t only help you lose weight and keep it off but it also give you more energy and a feeling of vibrancy. If you give it time, it really is worth the investment.

                                                          Featured photo credit: Fitsum Admasu via unsplash.com

                                                          Reference

                                                          Read Next