"Her name is Rio and she dances on the sand..."
To celebrate Duran Duran Appreciation Day, we have shortlisted the eight best beaches for dancing on the sand – and yes, it does include Rio!
1. Rio de Janeiro – Ipanema Beach
Famous for its colourful atmosphere and swathes of sun-drenched sand, Ipanema Beach is marked by posts designating local subcultures. Head to post 9 for an artistic and vibrant vibe. Here, you’ll be able to hear the samba street music from the beach – perfect for sinking your toes into the sand with a cool bottle of Brahma in hand. Just bear in mind that Saturdays and Sundays can be a little crowded, so grab your dancing flip flops early to bag a good spot.
2. Maldives – Kuramathi Island Resort
Kuramathi Island Resort’s beach really comes to life at night. Order yourself a Sting Ray at Fung Bar and find a spot either beside the resident live band or at the island disco – hosted by one of the many resident DJs – to dance under the starry night sky. If you’re feeling the need to sing as well as dance, then take part in the evening karaoke entertainment hosted in the Havana Club Wine and Cigar Bar.
3. Koh Phangan – Thong Nai Pan Yai Beach
A traveller’s favourite, Koh Phangan has played host to many a Full Moon Party, but its quieter beaches actually host the most entertaining nightlife. Thong Nai Pan Yai is spellbindingly beautiful: think tranquil waters and white sands, and you’re bound to see more Thai families than tourists, meaning that it’s never too crowded. Along the beach there are several authentic bars owned by local families. One of the best is the long-established Game Bar with party nights on Tuesday and Friday – with not a fishbowl in sight!
4. Oahu – Waikiki Beach
One of the most famous coastlines in the world, Waikiki beach is actually made up of eight different beaches which stretch over two miles of golden sands. Waikiki beach is one of the most cosmopolitan spots on Oahu, the third largest of the Hawaiian islands. It’s a friendly hot spot for live Hawaiian, jazz and contemporary music and you’ll find local musicians who love to perform on the sand as the sun sets. Along Waikiki’s main strip, Kalakaua Avenue, you’ll also be able to dance to street performers and join in with the local hula performers.
5. Barbados – Carlisle Bay
A crescent-shaped bay and natural harbour, Carlisle Bay on the west coast of Barbados has one of the liveliest scenes on the island. With a superb open-air beachfront location, definitely give the renowned Harbour Lights nightclub a try. Whether you want to calypso to some of the best live local bands or listen to acoustic whilst swaying to and fro with a tropical rum punch, you won’t be able to escape that relaxed Barbadian charm.
6. Mexico – Playa Del Carmen
Known for its nightlife, Playa Del Carmen is unique among Yucatan beach towns and a far cry from the ‘spring break’ scene in Cancun. That said, there are plenty of places to enjoy yourself by day but especially at night: fire shows, dance clubs and trendy bars are all present on the beachfront, with a place for every kind of dance move!
7. Cuba – Varadero
There aren’t many places like Varadero's 36km of sand – often referred to as “the most beautiful beach in the world”. There are plenty of opportunities to dance on its powder-soft sands, as freestyle dancers take a weekly spot in front of the turquoise blue waters. Organised by local dance groups, this is something you can either take part in yourself, or enjoy from the sidelines.
8. Mauritius – Maradiva Villas
Set on the west coast of Mauritius, Maradiva Villas has a long private stretch of pristine beach all to itself looking out over Le Morne Mountain. With breath-taking starry skies, it is surely one of the most romantic beaches in the world. Perfect if you’re on your honeymoon: order a bottle of champers on ice and sway in each other’s arms like it’s your first dance all over again.
Courtesy Radio Times