At the Beach, Travel and Leisure — April 27, 2015 at 5:00 am

Top 7 Beaches for Wildlife Encounters

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If sharing beaches with a bunch of humans isn’t quite your thing, how about lizards and cows? From sea turtles in Hawaii to cows in India, experience a rare opportunity for a once in a lifetime beach vacation.

Cow Beach, Goa, India

©istockphoto/Максим Ковшов

©istockphoto/Максим Ковшов

For the most unique beach experience, visit Cow Beach. Sun worshippers, yogis, and Hindus flock to the sandy shorelines to honor the sun and India’s sacred animal, the cow. Cows free-range along the shoreline resting in the warm sand. Although relatively unsanitary (read: “cow droppings”), it’s definitely worth it for the photography opportunities.

Seventy-Five Mile Beach, Fraser Island, Australia

©istockphoto/SarahLucyMac

©istockphoto/SarahLucyMac

Fraser Island, located off the coast of Queensland, is a geographic wonder. You’ll find every type of terrain such as sand dunes, seaside cliffs, and crystal-clear lakes. Seventy-Five Mile Beach is a coastal “highway” where four-wheel drive vehicles glide across the sand dodging oncoming waves. Roaming the beaches are dingoes and plenty of seaside and predatory birds. Oh, and the beach has a no-swim policy due to shark-infested waters, as sharks are regularly seen feeding in knee-deep water.

Xcacel Beach, Riveria Maya, Mexico
Located south of Chemuyil is a government-operated beach, Xcacel. This beach is great for visitors who want to escape the hotel-lined seashores. Surrounded by wilderness, beachcombers sunbathe with lizards and crabs while snorkelers swim with fish and stingrays. Xcacel is most notable for sea turtle nesting; during spring and summer months, hundreds of tiny turtles crawl to the ocean for survival underneath the moonlight. Visitors are asked to donate 10-20 pesos per person upon entering to keep the turtles protected.

Laniakea Beach, Oahu, Hawaii

https://www.flickr.com/photos/danramarch/2884751760

https://www.flickr.com/photos/danramarch/2884751760

Also known as “Turtle Beach,” travellers visit to watch the green sea turtles sunbathe and slowly crawl along the shoreline. The turtles are protected under the Endangered Species Act and visitors are not allowed to handle, touch, chase or harass the turtles in any manner. Pictures are permitted, but maintaining a good distance from the turtles is required.

Pigs Beach, Exuma, Bahamas

©istockphoto/shalamov

©istockphoto/shalamov

Pigs Beach is located in a primitive region on Big Major Cay. The wild pigs sunbathe, swim, and play in the sand and sea. The pigs have dolphin-like friendliness, swimming close to humans and boats with hopes of snagging a snack. Their surprisingly good buoyancy keeps them afloat and swimming around you in circles. They are known as the happiest pigs alive, treated with some of the best beach views in the world.

Boulders Beach, South Africa

©istockphoto/espiegle

©istockphoto/espiegle

This coved beach is located in Table Mountain National Park, and is covered in penguins. Thanks to Twitter and Instagram, popularity is growing for visitors trying to snap a selfie with a penguin. These penguins are friendly toward visitors, and waddle all around the beach.

Flamingo Beach, Aruba

©istockphoto/VanWyckExpress

©istockphoto/VanWyckExpress

Not scared by humans, the flamingos of Flamingo Beach cruise the beach in search of travellers with food which can be bought from stands along the shore. Photographers rejoice—these flamingos are also surprisingly photogenic.

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