Translucent turquoise waters, radiant sands, and rustling palms – these star in the fantasies of beach connoisseurs around the world, and the Caribbean is the place to find them. Islands like the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Antigua, Anguilla, and Aruba are famous for their alluring stretches of coast, but other islands host their own versions of the perfect beach, with easy access to enticing resorts and attractions. From seductive crescents of dazzling white sand and blue sea backed by lush jungles, to sublime slices of reef-fringed shore, you’ll find the perfect stretch of sand to live out your tropical dream in this list of the Caribbean’s best beaches.
1 Grace Bay, Turks and Caicos
Gorgeous Grace Bay, on the island of Providenciales, in the Turks and Caicos Islands, seems almost too beautiful to be real. Gleaming white sand, as soft as flour, merges with clear waters in eye-popping shades of blue for eight breathtaking kilometers, and a coral reef glimmers just offshore. You can swim in the crystalline shallows or kick out to the reef to see sting rays, turtles, and tropical fish darting among the coral in the Princess Alexandra Marine Park. Several of the island’s most exclusive resorts fringe the shoreline as well as plenty of restaurants. You might even spot JoJo the friendly wild dolphin, who loves to swim along this stretch of coast, and who can blame him?
2 Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman
Turquoise waters and bone-white sand fringed with casuarinas and coconut palms are the top features of this famous beach in the Cayman Islands, which actually measures closer to six miles. Head north to escape the cruise ship crowds, and you can plonk down under the palm fronds and listen to the soothing slosh of gentle waves brushing the shore. Hotels, resorts, and condos line the soft white sands, and some of the larger resorts rent beach chairs. After a blissful day watching the beach scene, you can refuel at one of the nearby restaurants. Grand Cayman is also known for its excellent diving and some of the sites can be accessed from shore.
3 Pink Sands Beach, Harbour Island, Bahamas
As the name suggests, the silky sands along this pretty stretch of coast on Harbour Island in the Bahamas are tinged a soft, pale pink, thanks to the rosy hues of some of the finely crushed shells from which it’s formed. Spend your time swimming in the striking aqua sea, kayaking out to the reef, or sunbathing on the warm sands soaking up all the beauty. Several upscale resorts line the shores here and offer beach chairs for their guests, so you can bask in comfort along this heavenly stretch. While you’re here, you can rent a golf cart, the preferred mode of transport, and explore the island’s quaint Loyalist cottages.
4 Varadero Beach, Cuba
Cuba’s most famous beach, Varadero is 20 kilometers of pure eye-candy for beach connoisseurs. Palapas dot the powder-soft sands, the water shimmers in electric shades of blue, and palm trees arch gracefully along its edge. You’ll find plenty of accommodation options along this stretch of the Peninsula de Hicacos in Cuba; more than 50 all-inclusive resorts entice package tourists from around the world, but there’s plenty of room for everyone. Snorkeling, SCUBA diving, swimming, sailing, and kayaking are the most popular water sports. Not far from these sun-kissed sands, you can explore crystal-encrusted caves, nature parks, and even swim with dolphins.
5.Trunk Bay, St. John’s, US Virgin Islands
Lush forest tumbles to a perfect crescent of startlingly blue sea, at this Caribbean favorite, tucked within the Virgin Islands National Park in the US Virgin Islands. Offshore, emerald islets dot the bay, and the Trunk Bay Underwater Snorkeling Trail offers excellent snorkeling in the clear, warm waters, with up to 30 different species of fish. Underwater signposts label interesting features of the coral reef. After a relaxing day on the beach, you can hike the park’s trails and explore the ruins of historic sugar plantations. Facilities here include a bathhouse, snack bar, souvenir shop, and snorkel gear rentals. Because this beach lies within in the national park, visitors must pay an admission fee.
6 Shoal Bay, Anguilla
At Shoal Bay in Anguilla, you can live out your own tropical beach fantasy. Curving seductively for more than three kilometers along Anguilla’s north coast, this wide stretch of bright white sand and clear jade water features fish-rich coral gardens, which are fantastic for snorkeling. Though this is one of Anguilla’s most popular beaches, it never seems crowded. Restaurants and hotels fringe the shores, and you can rent umbrellas and sun loungers for the day or sprawl under the rustle of a coconut palm. Snorkeling, kayaking, diving, and swimming are the most popular water sports. It’s also a lovely beach for a stroll.
7 Flamenco Beach, Culebra, Puerto Rico
One of the jewels of Puerto Rico, this picture-perfect crescent of dazzling white sand and turquoise and teal water lives up to all the popular tropical beach fantasies. Palms line the soft sands, tropical fish flit in the shallows, and the clear waters are typically placed, making this a great spot for swimming and snorkeling. Snacks and refreshments are available from kiosks along the beach, and you can rent beach chairs and umbrellas for a fee. The beach is easily accessible, and it’s the only place on the island where camping is permitted, within a few feet of the beach along the north shore.