Shimmering beaches wedged between tropical rainforest and deep blue sea: South America has many enticements, including remote island getaways, party-loving surf towns and glittering sands amid big-city allure.

Archipiélago Los Roques Due north of Caracas, 300 pristine islands make a magnificent setting for beach-combing, snorkeling and diving.

Arraial d'Ajuda Brazil is spoiled for choice when it comes to world-class beaches; this peaceful town in the northeast is gateway to some of Bahia's prettiest coastline.

Punta del Diablo Forget the over-hyped mayhem of Punta del Este; Uruguay's more tranquil summertime getaway is this coastal beauty just south of the Brazilian border.

Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona Fronting the Caribbean Sea, this pristine national park in Colombia has gorgeous beaches and does a fine imitation of paradise lost.

Baia do Sancho On Fernando de Noronha, this is easily one of Brazil’s most gorgeous beaches.