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Soak in the sun, socialise and slow down

The coastline of Central and South America is blessed with vast sandscapes, powerful surf and a beachside culture that heartily embraces the two. Balancing between Central America and the Caribbean, Belize offers more than a conventional beach stay with Mayan ruins scattered behind palm-studded beaches. It's hard to miss the Great Blue Hole off the coast, luring scuba divers who are keen to explore its depths and nearby reef. The transition from rainforest to beachside continues in Costa Rica where you can catch a wave against shimmering black sands in Cahuita or indulge your inner beachcomber on the shores of Brasilito.

Central America: Costa RicaCosta Rica's stunning coastlines offer almost 300 beaches to explore

On the edge of the Amazon, Venezuela's beaches offer sharp contrast to inland surrounds. Have your pick of beach resorts in the capital Caracas, or treat your senses to Caribbean paradise with the clear waters and soft sands of Los Roques islands. If your idea of a beach holiday includes vibrant fiestas and sultry samba, coastal capital Rio de Janeiro has you covered (not so much if we are talking about trademark skimpy swimsuits). Visit Copacabana, Ipanema or Barra beaches to do as the locals do – soak in the sun, socialise and slow down time.

Caribbean: BahamasAh the Bahamas... a postcard-perfect vision of aquatic paradise

If you are planning a Caribbean island holiday you are spoiled for choice with ribbons of beaches in the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Barbados and honeymoon hotspot Aruba. Experience an island holiday with a cultural twist at Easter Island off the coast of Chile where you can marvel at the mystery-shrouded stone statues (moai) before hitting the surf on the north side or exploring secluded beaches to the south. Let a Flight Centre consultant create your ultimate South American beach holiday, arranging everything from tours to hotels so you can get right down to enjoying the sun, sand and surf.

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