14 Stunning Hidden Beaches

But we didn’t tell you.

Zurriola Ibilbidea, s/n, 20002 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Zurriola beach is slightly off the radar, or at least as much off the radar as one of a city’s three beaches can be. The only tourists that typically venture over are of the surfing persuasion, and sitting to watch the sunset on the wall that borders the beach. Surf lessons are available from the stores that line the promenade. It’s the locals’ spot for hanging out, and the one beach that you should spend your days on if you are slumming in San Sebastián.
Playa Sucia, Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico
Five years ago, my friends and I found a secret beach near the Cabo Rojo Lighthouse. To this day, we’ve never seen anyone else there. Ignore the beach’s misnomer—Bahia Sucia (dirty bay)—and plan on an 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. outing to this natural extravaganza. From the azure water, hike up to the lighthouse—set on a 200-foot cliff—for a look inside. Once outside again, dig for crabs and anemones. And then refrain from rushing back to plunge into the water. Explore a bit and you might just find an isolated pool surrounded by rocks. Climb down the rocks carefully for a bath in the secret beach brimming with fish. Close by, and hidden by somewhat thorny bushes, our secret bridge will lead you to your private viewpoint (pictured above). Sit undisturbed and listen to the waves lap (or, at times, crash) against the limestone formations. On your way home, be sure to keep an eye out for cotton and salt flats along the right side of the road.
El Nido, Palawan, Philippines
This photo has not been retouched. And ironically, when we pulled into Secret Lagoon (yep - that’s the actual name), no one was there. I expected hordes of tourists, but it lived up to its name. You can book a 3-day boat tour with several companies. I went with Abandon Paradise Expeditions. It was incredible. Deserted beaches, tent camping, and a guy who speared and then cooked fish over an open fire while we drank rum. El Nido’s a must-see in the Philippines.
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