‘Soft sand, clear waters and balmy temperatures’ help the Americas dominate TripAdvisor’s best global beach awards

27 February, 2018

Travel planning and booking site, TripAdvisor, has once again revealed Grace Bay in Turks and Caicos as the world's best beach in its Travellers' Choice awards for beaches, rising up from second place in last year's and reclaiming the top spot it held in 2016.

The awards, determined by the quantity and quality of traveller reviews and ratings for beaches on the TripAdvisor site, gathered over a 12-month period and were dominated by locations across the Americas with soft sand, clear waters and balmy temperatures common threads among the top ranked locations. In fact only one of the top ten 'Beaches of the World' was from outside of the region - La Concha Beach - San Sebastian - Donostia, Spain.

LIST - Top 10 Travellers' Choice Beaches in the World, according to TripAdvisor

  1. Grace Bay - Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
  2. Baia do Sancho - Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
  3. Varadero Beach - Varadero, Cuba
  4. Eagle Beach - Palm - Eagle Beach, Aruba
  5. Seven Mile Beach - Seven Mile Beach, Cayman Islands
  6. La Concha Beach - San Sebastian - Donostia, Spain
  7. Clearwater Beach - Clearwater, Florida
  8. Seven Mile Beach - Negril, Jamaica
  9. Bavaro Beach - Bavaro, Dominican Republic
  10. Playa Norte - Isla Mujeres, Mexico

Here's the top five beaches by regions of the world...


  1. Anse Lazio - Praslin Island, Seychelles
  2. Santa Monica State Beach - Santa Monica, Cape Verde
  3. Nungwi Beach - Nungwi, Tanzania
  4. Anse Georgette - Praslin Island, Seychelles
  5. Anse Coco Beach - La Digue Island, Seychelles


  1. Punta Uva Beach - Punta Uva, Costa Rica
  2. Playa Manuel Antonio - Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
  3. West Bay Beach - West Bay, Honduras
  4. Nosara Beach (Playa Guiones) - Nosara, Costa Rica
  5. Playa Hermosa - Santa Teresa, Costa Rica


  1. La Concha Beach - San Sebastian - Donostia, Spain
  2. Elafonissi Beach - Elafonissi, Greece
  3. Falesia Beach - Olhos de Agua, Portugal
  4. Fig Tree Bay - Protaras, Cyprus
  5. Bournemouth Beach - Bournemouth, United Kingdom


  1. Sharm El Luli - Marsa Alam, Egypt
  2. Jumeirah Public Beach - Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  3. Marina Beach - Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  4. Al Mughsail Beach - Salalah, Oman
  5. Corniche Beach - Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates


  1. Baia do Sancho - Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
  2. Galapagos Beach at Tortuga Bay - Santa Cruz, Galapagos Islands
  3. Anakena Beach - Easter Island, Chile
  4. Prainhas do Pontal do Atalaia - Arraial do Cabo, Brazil
  5. Farol Beach - Arraial do Cabo, Brazil


  1. Manly Beach - Sydney, Australia
  2. Surfer's Paradise Beach - Surfers Paradise, Australia
  3. Whitehaven Beach - Whitsunday Island, Whitsunday Islands
  4. Mt Maunganui Main Beach - Mount Maunganui, New Zealand
  5. Piscine Naturelle - Ile Des Pins, New Caledonia

Meanwhile, TripAdvisor's top travel trend report for the experiences segment, highlights holidays are not just about the beach. Its own bookings data reveals that historical and iconic sites remain wildly popular, while travellers are expanding their horizons and bringing growth to new, non-traditional and experiential categories.

Travellers are becoming increasingly interested in new experiences, but they're still loyal to the world's most iconic sites. In 2017, it reveals the most-booked experiences globally were a combined skip-the-line pass for the Vatican Museums, St. Peters, and Sistine Chapel, the Chicago River Architecture Cruise, and a skip-the-line pass for a walking tour of Ancient Rome and the Colosseum. Bookable options for The Sagrada Familia, Eiffel Tower, and the Empire State Building also featured in the top ten.

LIST - The world's most popular experiences in 2017 for global travellers, according to TripAdvisor's own booking data

  1. Skip the line: Vatican Museums, St Peter's, Sistine Chapel
  2. Chicago Architecture River Cruise
  3. Skip the line: Ancient Rome and Colosseum Half-Day Walking Tour
  4. Rome Hop-On, Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour
  5. Priority Access: Barcelona Sagrada Familia Tour
  6. Eiffel Tower Summit: Priority access with host
  7. Warner Bros Studio: The Making of Harry Potter with Luxury Round-Trip Transport from London
  8. Empire State Building Tickets
  9. Murano, Burano, and Torcello half-day sightseeing tour
  10. Tuscany in One Day Sightseeing Tour

But travellers are expanding their horizons, and several categories grew quickly in 2017, based on its booking data, with especially cultural categories - like food tours, cooking classes, and historical and heritage experiences - seeing bookings skyrocket.

Historic and heritage experiences (such as Churchill War Rooms Ticket and an Exclusive Catacombs After Closing and Bone Chapel Tour) saw the most growth (+125% in bookings), and culinary is a clear trend: cooking classes and food tours both appeared among the top five categories, each with 57% bookings' growth. By gross booking value, food tours saw the most growth in 2017, says TripAdvisor.

In line with global trends, bookings from global travellers placed cooking classes and food tours in the top ten, with 57% growth each. An interactive Spanish Cooking Experience in Barcelona where travellers learn to make paella and Spanish tapas with a local chef, and a guided Street Food Tour in Rome with pizza, pastries, and sightseeing, were among the fastest growing experiences for travellers.

LIST - Fastest-growing experience categories in 2017 for global travellers, according to TripAdvisor's own booking data

  1. Historical and heritage tours (+125%)
  2. Sunset cruises (+86%)
  3. Private day trips (+79%)
  4. Snorkelling (+70%)
  5. Kayaking and canoeing (+67%)
  6. Sailing trips (+61%)
  7. Catamaran trips (+60%)
  8. Food tours (+57%)
  9. Cooking classes (+57%)
  10. Museum tickets and passes (+54%)

While historical and heritage experiences may have topped the list of fastest-growing categories for global travellers (+125% in bookings), but aquatic activities dominated the top ten, taking half of the top spots. Sunset cruises (+86% in bookings), snorkelling (+70%), kayaking and canoeing experiences (+67%), sailing trips (+61%), and catamaran cruises (+60%), all ranked in the year's fastest-growing categories.

The TripAdvisor data also highlights that travellers around the world are increasingly opting out of queues - whether that is down to impatience or purely a luxury is unclear. Skip-the-line access at some of the world's busiest landmarks and sites (like the Colosseum) appeared in both the most-popular and fastest-growing lists for global travellers (TripAdvisor lists more than 1,200 skip-the-line tickets globally and in 2017 two of the three most popular products for global travellers and likewise four of the ten fastest-growing experiences were skip-the-line products).

LIST - The most popular new experiences for global travellers,

  1. Eiffel Tower Summit Priority Access with Host
  2. Ancient Monuments of Rome Tour with Skip-the-Line pass
  3. Skip the Line: Gaudi's Casa Batlló Ticket with Audio Tour
  4. Skip the Line: Arc de Triomphe Including Terrace Access
  5. Skip-the-Line Florence Accademia Gallery and Michelangelo's David Ticket
  6. Full-Day Tour of Abu Dhabi City From Dubai
  7. Fast Track Seville Guided Tour into Alcazar
  8. Jewish Quarter Anne Frank Walking Tour in Amsterdam
  9. Field Museum of Natural History Admission
  10. San Antonio Zoo General Admission