Hawaii Tourism Board breathes a breath of fresh air this summer by banning smoking on its idyllic beaches

Credit - Hawaii Tourism Authority, Photographer: Tor Johnson

Credit – Hawaii Tourism Authority, Photographer: Tor Johnson

Gone are the days of polluting cigarette smoke and secondary smoke inhalation for Hawaii’s beaches
Hawaii has signed a new policy to include all of its beaches to be smoke free, allowing holidaymakers to truly enjoy and relax in a healthy and beautiful smoke-free environment, when walking along a Hawaiian pristine talcum powder beach. The policy will be enforced by beach lifeguards and will ensure that the environmental threat to the ocean and eco-system will now be abated.
If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii, later this year see our list of truly inspiring naturally beautiful beaches perfect for a snorkellers paradise or honeymoon destination for the perfect spot to relax and enjoy.

We’ve compiled a list of the best beaches for you to explore and have unforgettable times on:
•Hawaii Island features some of the most picturesque and varied beach landscapes in the islands, from white sand, black sand and green sand beaches with olivine crystals. Some of the best include: Kolekole Beach Park: Twelve miles north of Hilo on the Hamakua Coast you’ll find this jungle garden by the ocean, with a nearby stream lined with smooth lava rocks and a waterfall. A banyan tree leans over the river with a rope swing. Onekahakaha Beach Park: A favourite with locals, this small, shallow sand-bottomed ocean pool is one the safest swimming areas along the Hilo coast, with tide pools and inlets.

•Maui’s Makena Beach known as “Big Beach” is located south of Wailea near the Makena Beach and Golf Resort and provides a secluded alternative to more crowded beaches in Kaanapali and Lahaina. Nestled between two black-lava outcroppings, Makena offers protection from the trade winds and provides great views of the islands of Molokini and Kahoolawe.

•Lanai, Hawaii’s most enticing island is home to The pristine beauty of Hulopoe Bay located on Lanai’s southern coast, Hulopoe Bay greets you with a stunning expanse of pearl-white sand and crystal blue waters. Most of the year, this protected bay fronting the luxurious Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay is the best spot on the island for snorkelling and swimming.

•Molokai’s hidden gem is has a ‘must-visit’ Papohaku Beach (also known as Three Mile Beach) and discover three miles of soft-sands uninterrupted down Molokai’s west end. One of Hawaii’s largest white sand beaches at about 100 yards wide, there’s plenty of room to spread out and enjoy the “Friendly Island” ambience.

•Oahu, Waikiki beach, located on the Southern shore of Honolulu is most famous for its beaches and every room is just two or three blocks away from the sea. With Leahi (Diamond Head) as your backdrop, the calm waters of Waikiki are perfect for a surfing lesson.

•Kaui, Poipu Beach as you’ve always imagined and dreamed how Hawaii would look – this is it! The inviting waters of Poipu make it very popular with visitors, locals and even local marine life. From December through May, it’s not uncommon to spot humpback whales spouting off shore. Large honu (Hawaiian green sea turtles) also swim in these waters. But Poipu Beach is most famous for the endangered Hawaiian monk seals that sometimes sunbathe on the shore.

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A hidden Tapas Gem in the streets of Marbella

Being a Gypsy at heart, with globetrotting ambitions, I was quite happily surprised when eight years ago on a wet and cold Sunday afternoon over several glasses of Rioja and a Sunday Roast in Solihull, my parents announced they were selling up lock stock and barrel and making the move to… Guess where they said? errr France??? Being Francophiles this had always been on the cards and my Father was comfortable there.. he loved the food, the people, the culture! Well what’s not to love? But no, they had decided to up sticks to Spain…

Met with silence and lots of ‘what’ and ‘whys’ by the family they made the move the following summer. Eight years later and they are now in Estepona, in the Province of Malaga and soaking up 325 days of sunshine, enjoying the renowned beaches, which stretch 21 kms of the coastline and  views of Morocco and the rock of Gibraltar on their horizon. Estepona is on the ‘Costa del Sol’ on the very Southern tip of Southern Spain, nestled between Sotogrande to the West which takes you up towards Tarifa on the ‘Costa de la Luz’ (Coast of wind) and Puerto Banus and Marbella to the East only 20 minutes away.

Estepona Port

Estepona Port

Marbella, famous for it’s chic scene for the ‘jetset’ with its ‘Golden Mile’ strip which houses ‘Marbella Club Hotel’ and ‘Puente Romano’  where you need to take out a mortgage to sit on the sunbeds for an afternoon! The other side to the town is the old town of Marbella, with its cobbled streets, ancient looking locals, and tiny little bars on the narrow cool streets leading up to various Plazas.

One of my favourites is ‘Bar El Estrecho’ – ‘Estrecho meaning narrow’ on Calle de San Lázaro, it serves typically Andalucian tapas food, freshly prepared by the ‘Head cook’ Reyes, who has been there for over 15 years and before that her mother was the head cook for 17 years, who handed down all of the secret recipes and knowledge to her daughter Reyes.

Bar El Estrecho

Bar El Estrecho

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After a morning of shopping in Marbella and enjoying a delicious café con leche at one of the many cafes lining the streets, we headed to  ‘El Estrecho’ for a little family favourite indulgence. The bar is populated by happy locals and tourists alike, with a good selection or Spanish wines, sherries and beers. We opted for an Alhambra Reserva, to wash down our forthcoming tapas feast – Abadajo (cod), Pimento Rellenos (stuffed peppers with monkfish), Albondigas (meatballs in tomato sauce) all tastier than the last and did I mention the homecooked chips!

Bar El Estrecho, inside

Bar El Estrecho, inside

Antique Bench

Antique Bench

tapas dishes

Restaurant area and Tapas dishes on show

Restaurant area and Tapas dishes on show

Albondigas

Albondigas

Ensalada Russa

The Costa del Sol is an easy location to get to travelling from the UK – Malaga, Gibraltar and Jerez all offer extensive flight options throughout the summer and if booked in advance you can get a good deal.

Monarch airlines, Aer Lingus, and Easy Jet all offer frequent and reliable services. Once on the ground there is some infrastructure on the ground such as rail and bus, but car hire is still a much easier transition process from town to town especially in the hot summer months, when air conditioning is an essential travel companion.

Happy travelling and buen provecho!