Ask 100 people what they would insist upon from a dream holiday and it’s a reasonable bet at least 99 of them would say "a jaw-droppingly beautiful beach miles away from anywhere."
However, the problem with a great deal of 21st century travel is that the desire to ‘get away from it all’ is shared by millions across the globe, so that all too often the hoped-for deserted beach is crammed with sun-loungers.
But, if you do your homework it is still possible to really get away from it all.
We’ve rounded-up out 10 of the world’s super-secluded beaches. Just keep them to yourself.
Holbox Island, Mexico
Holbox on the northern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula takes the top slot because it is still brilliantly quiet and secluded, yet accessible and affordable. Known somewhat uninspiringly by the locals as Black Hole, this 12-kilometre long island is all fine white sand beaches surrounded by the jade green waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Yum Balam nature reserve. Blissfully, Holbox boasts precisely zero cars, zero cellphone masts and zero wi-fi. Access is by five seater Cessna from Cancun or boat from Chiquila.
Parrot Cay Caribbean
Another private island but one with history — Parrot Cay was established by two female pirates, Anne Bonny and Mary Reid, in the 18th century. The tiny four-kilometre dot in the Turks and Caicos Islands is fringed by some of the finest porcelain sands in the world. The quiet is unnerving for city dwellers at first and you will rarely see another soul, but the experience is almost surreally affecting. The sea too is Hollywood azure blue and almost serenely calm. Near perfect, but at a price.
Molokai was formerly a leper colony. But don’t let that put you off.
This fifth largest outpost of the Hawaiian islands looks today pretty much as it would have looked when Captain Cook sailed by in 1778. The islanders are welcoming but have voted to rein in tourism in favour of managing the island’s ecology. The result of this is that all those kilometres of unspoiled beaches will be yours. Access is by a slightly bumpy 25-minute flight from Honolulu.
Turtle Island, Fiji
This tiny privately-owned Fijian island — actually called Nanuya Levu — is the classic rich-person’s paradise and was used as the backdrop to Brooke Shields teen movie Blue Lagoon. Yes it’s expensive but you get your own slice of Fijian paradise, days of near perfect silence — there are almost no cars and no aircraft flight paths — and butlers on hand 24/7 of course. And only 14 couples are allowed on the island at any one time. So, no rush for the sun loungers then.
Neighbours Antigua, St Kitts and St. Barts get all the press — which is exactly the reason to head for the perfect beach solitude of Barbuda. Set in the middle of the Leeward Islands you get a fabulous choice of miles of slightly desolate Atlantic sands on one side and mirror calm azure waters on the Caribbean side. Somewhat instructively, Barbuda was the holiday choice of Princess Diana — a woman who needed to get away from it all if there ever was one. Accessible by 20 minute plane hop from Antigua.barbudaful.net
Playon de Mismaloya, Mexico
This Mexican gems lies 60 miles south of Puerto Vallarta and the only way to get there is by rowing boat from Hotelito Desconocido. It’s so remote there’s absolutely no electricity so at night the island flickers with candle light — making it both eco-friendly and impossibly romantic.
A bit of a scramble down a somewhat half-hearted cliff-side trail brings you out at one of the Caribbean’s few remaining wild beaches. Real Robinson Crusoe stuff — slightly desolate, but very beautiful. This solitude comes with a health warning though. As authorities will tell you the nearest police officer will be an hour away so don’t go alone.