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An alternative to your typical beach holiday, we explore ten of the best black sand beach destinations that will make you feel like you’re living in a photonegative dreamland

Words: Emily Georgieva

Photography: Adrien Olichon

10 May 2020

Travelling has become a lifestyle for so many people around the world. We are naturally drawn to experience more bizarre and diverse places as an alternative to the typical destinations we’ve seen and heard plenty of already. With summertime just around the corner, we can’t help but dream about long beachy days spent by the ocean with an iced coffee and a book in hand, just relaxing and soaking up the warmth of the sunshine.

As an alternative to the beach layouts we are all so familiar with, we explore several rare destinations that we love, which offer black coastlines as opposed to the fine-white-shore paradise destinations. Wouldn’t you love to take a snap at a black sand beach that contrasts with the crystal deep blue waters of the ocean behind? We know we would!


Black Sand Beach

Maui, Hawaii

The pebble place is a volcanic smoky sand stretch along the Maui coastline. The black pebble beach tells the story of a volcano, which lava flew toward the ocean, only to shatter once it touched the water. The result was stunning underwater and surface caves, ancient temples and lava shaped construction that will leave you in awe.


Playa Jardín

Tenerife, Canary Islands

A place that is everyone’s summer dreamland, the Canary Islands is known as a famous tourist destination. However, people usually head to the sandy beaches that attract visitors with their somehow tranquil business. Playa Jardín is unlike any of the other spots alongside Tenerife. Its dark coastline with its huge palm trees and next-to-the-water restaurants is the place to be if you are after lazy afternoons dedicated to self-care and slow travel experiences.


Perissa Beach

Santorini, Greece

Pearl-white beaches, ouzo in the afternoon and tons of blue water – welcome to Greece. This country feels magnificent each time you visit, regardless of the season you choose. However, after dedicating enough time to explore the ruins, communicate with some friendly locals who will more likely than not strike a conversation with you at their local coffee shop or tiny bistro, and familiarise yourself with the rich history of the country, it is time to head to the beach. Perissa Beach is the one you should consider making your priority. The deep black sand will seem surreal at first but getting used to this paradise won’t be difficult. Sunbathe at the beach in the morning and pick a different lunchtime beach bistro each day to enjoy the Mount Vouno view, which can be seen in the near distance.


Lovina Beach

Lovina Beach, Bali

Looking for cool volcanic territory to be the highlight of your summer travels? If so, make your way to Lovina Beach. The black sand originates from volcanic activity and is a physical definition of a postcard destination. The beach is surrounded by seven fishing villages so it will be easy to design a stay that follows your own pace and blend in with the locals’ lifestyle. The beach is ideal for spotting dolphins, learning how to snorkel and going in for dives. The nearby small towns are a great way to get closer to the area and experience Bali in a more authentic way.


Black Sand Beach

Prince William Sound, Alaska

On the cold side, Alaska offers stunning destinations that will fit every traveller’s desires. It has a wild side and a calm side, and the Black Sand Beach most definitely falls under the second category. Rock formations and glaciers will be your background while in the distance you’ll see some sea lions enjoying their daily dose of sun at the water’s surface. Alaska will welcome you with its stunning reflective surfaces and natural wonders you wouldn’t be able to take your eyes off from. Why not kayak deeper into the water to take a look at the black sandy beach from afar? Then the reality of standing at an Alaskan beach will really settle in.


Anse Ceron

Martinique, Caribbean

A beach next to a jungle? Sign us up! This Caribbean place is not what you would expect from the land of relaxation and family holiday. The beach offers a more exciting type of experience ideal for solo travellers and couples. The coal-coloured coastline will have you feel as if you are living in a photonegative while the jungle situated nearby will give you a real tropical vibe. This spot should be on your bucket list.


Black Bay

Marigot, Grenada

Black Bay is undoubtedly one of the hard to find gems on this list. Situated just north of St. George in the town of Concord, this beach will make you work to find it. You would need to go on a short hiking expedition through the jungles of Grenada to reach the water. Once you get to the beach, it will all be worth your while. The unspoiled place is ideal to recharge as escape reality.


Santo Domingo Beach

Albay, Philippines

The country is in itself a modern paradise. Wherever you decide to head to, there will be plenty to see and explore. The Philippines often remind us of carefree summer days, and we cannot help but dream of spending as much time as possible there. However, if you are after a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore a never before seen place, book a trip to Santo Domingo Beach. At first it won’t look like it’s real because the black sand and the contrast between the tropical feel of the palm trees, the coconuts and the waterfront will take your breath away. A bit of a deserted beach, this Philippines spot is stunning and perfect for seekers of peace and quiet summertime experience.


Cahuita Beach

Cahuita, Costa Rica

This is a volcanic sand beach and the perfect place to surf with fellow surf lovers all the way from December to March when the beach is more deserted due to the colder weather. The beach is not the only stunning thing about the area. The marine life is extraordinary, and you can expect to find Costa Rica’s only living reef in the area. Nearby, the rainforests give the location a tropical charm, but the natural beauty won’t be the only thing you’ll get addicted to in the city. The Afro-Caribbean culture is incredible and will have you wishing to go back to this Costa Rican gem as soon as possible for another round of tropical holiday.


Stokksnes Beach

Stokksnes, Iceland

Rocky shore and black sandy beach – the ideal combination to partly summarize the landscape of the country. Iceland is stunning and an alternative destination altogether when we discuss beachy spots. That’s why it is the last destination on our list. It might not be your typical sunny beach town, but Stokksnes is the place to be in Iceland if you want to soak up all the warmth of the sunshine. The terrain of Iceland is mesmerizing and there are other beaches to head to if you’re mapping out the locations with black sand. Consider visiting Vik or as locals call it Reynisfjara, if you want to see some cool volcanic caves, cliffs and lava formations.




NOMADSofORIGIN is an independent annual publication with a focus on sustainable travelling and global cultural values. Each issue features interviews, engaging articles and photo guides, which take our nomadic readers through different destinations and introduce them to local people's perspectives.



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