The sun is falling across crescent beaches lined with coconut palms. Rum flows down the gullets of travelers who gaze upon the turquoise waters. A sea that now reflects the bounty of colors above. It’s a scene so memorable and the Caribbean is the place to experience it.
The Caribbean is made up of 700 islands and cays surrounded by tropical reefs and backed by rising jungle-laden mountains. The best beaches in the Caribbean draw you in with their mix of whites, greens, blues, and sometimes pinks. It’s a kaleidoscopic combination that makes this region the best beach-going spot on earth.
Come for the soft golden sands, revel in the azure-hued sea, and toast to the day over another PainKiller or Bushwacker.
25. Orient Beach, St Martin
The clothing-optional Orient Beach is one of the best spots in the Caribbean to go au naturel. Along with collecting a full-body tan, Orient Beach provides all the blessings of a perfect Caribbean beach.
Thanks to its accessibility, nudists should know the beach is still very popular, even after Hurricane Irma. But the beach’s famed relaxing vibe remains in place. The water here flows but without large waves, allowing for fun swimming and floating on the surface.
The lengthy beach spreads out in each direction, providing ample sunbathing room. Travelers will also enjoy the beach shack that offers local eats, and refreshing adult beverages along with lounges and umbrellas.
24. Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman
Although technically 5.5 miles (9km), Seven Mile Beach in the Grand Cayman still lives up to its lengthy reputation. Backed by shops, hotels, and beach bars, there’s plenty of action to be found. So too offshore, where you’ll find a reef that’s visible from the golden sands.
The sparkling waters reveal all the treasures beneath. After spending time wiggling your toes between the soft sands, you’ll be too eager to dive in to wait another second.
Thanks to man-made offshore walls, Seven Mile Beach also has protected swimming areas, making it popular among traveling families. You’ll even find floating platforms out in the sea for another excellent spot to watch the world fade away.
23. Playa Paraiso, Cuba
On Cuba’s Cayo Largo, Playa Paraiso is a thin slice of star-white sand that runs adjacent to a spectacular stretch of cobalt blue water. Translating to Paradise Beach, the veritable heaven is surprisingly secluded, with untouched nature and a serene atmosphere.
Home to almost 2 miles (3.2km) of shoreline, privacy is a short walk away. The shallow turquoise sea runs out into the distance, allowing plenty of space to sit in the water and get lost in the views.
The only interruption to a scene straight from Castaway is the rustic beach shack where the rum flows as it probably has since the days of pirates.
22. Pink Sands Beach, Bahamas
Splitting three miles (5.4km) of lush green forests and sparkling turquoise seas is the blushing rose shoreline of Pink Sands Beach. On Harbour Island in the Bahamas, the simply named Pink Sand Beach lives up to and exceeds its billing.
The pink sands dancing between your toes will have your heart skipping a beat. This unique phenomenon is caused by shells of old coral insects, so small your eyes deceive you.
It makes for one of the top beach photography spots in the Caribbean. You’ll find plenty of fellow travelers taking snaps, and enjoying the coastal accommodations and bars. But there’s no better time to visit than sunset when the pink comes to life under the low light.
21. Luquillo Beach, Puerto Rico
Facing the Atlantic Ocean, whose rough waters are about to complete an epic journey, you’d be forgiven for thinking Luquillo Beach is not a swimmer’s paradise. However, these waters will soon hit the precipice of a beautiful blue lagoon that protects swimmers and makes for spellbinding photography.
The white sands roll down to the lagoon and are flanked by vast coconut groves that make for fun further explorations. Although the vibe is rustic, you’ll still find handy amenities like a snack bar, picnic tables, showers, and changing rooms. Perfect for switching it up between sunbathing, the lagoon, and dense groves.
20. Reduit Beach, St. Lucia
Just shy of five miles (8km) in length, Reduit Beach on St. Lucia is beloved as much among locals as it is among travelers. Facing out to the western horizon, Reduit Beach features one of the best beach sunsets in the Caribbean.
The calm waters at the crescent-shaped beach not only make it a wonderful place to swim but also attract sightly yachts and catamarans. Both complement the flanking mountains to create a stunning view that is so familiar in this part of the world.
When the appetite kicks in, you won’t be far from local restaurants cooking up classic St. Lucian cuisine. To do more than lounge and swim, check out Rodney Bay Marine for exciting water sports.
19. Condado Beach, Puerto Rico
Like Palm Beach below, Condado Beach (Playita del Condado) in Puerto Rico is abuzz with energy from dawn to dusk. Flanked by high-rise hotels, Condado Beach promises a lively experience in addition to another classic Caribbean beach.
The beach is merely the beginning. From its beautiful sands, you can partake in a number of water sports, from jet skiing, to kitesurfing and stand-up paddleboarding. The rolling waves excite rather than intimidate swimmers who can try their best to body surf.
Condado Beach comes complete with lounges and umbrellas. But be warned, getting one is a competitive sport. So arrive with the rising sun, and enjoy a day where everything you need is arm’s length away.
18. Palm Beach, Aruba
Set outside the hurricane belt, Aruba is a year-round destination. Offering spellbinding consistency of warm weather, blue skies, and memorable sunsets, it’s a hard place to pass up. At the heart of this experience is Palm Beach.
Staying along the gorgeous shoreline is easy, thanks to the range of hotels that span the budget spectrum. Wake up, take a short stroll to the blindingly white beach, and wake up to the sound of the turquoise sea lapping the sand.
As the day runs on, international cuisine and bustling bars will keep the spirits high. So too the relaxing swimming to offshore platforms. As the sun dives down, casinos and clubs keep the night rolling on.
17. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Featuring dozens of miles’ worth of cream-white sand, Punta Cana is a beach destination like few else. Located on the eastern coast of the Dominican Republic, Punta Cana combines a total of 30 miles (48km) of shoreline. The main section, Playa Bavaro, is an incredible 12 miles (19km) long.
This section is lined with lounges shrouded by umbrellas and backed by popular all-inclusive resorts. But with endless sand, Playa Bavaro is a great starting point for a lengthy stroll along Punta Cana’s epic coast.
Whenever you feel like resting your feet, take a dip into the Caribbean Sea, kick back on the soft white sand, or find one of the many beachfront bars for a fruity cocktail.
16. Maho Beach, St. Maarten
Like all beaches on our list of best Caribbean beaches, Maho Beach boasts soft, cloud-like sand and turquoise waters. But that’s not why you’ll want to visit, nor is it why Maho Beach has found international fame.
Beyond the beautiful scenery, Maho Beach is most known for the commercial airlines that fly incredibly close to the golden sand. Backed by the Princess Juliana International Airport, travelers flock here to take thrilling photographs of these planes flying overhead.
Yes, it gets loud, which only increases the tranquility after that plane has landed. With perennially blue skies, you’ll have ample opportunities to take a picture that will land straight on your Instagram.
15. Horseshoe Bay, Bermuda
Technically, not in the Caribbean, you’ll soon see why we give Horseshoe Bay in Bermuda an exception. First, the mix of pink sands and rich blue waters is a combination that will never get old.
The beach receives its name thanks to the shoreline’s arched shape that runs from one rocky outcrop to another. In between is nothing but smooth rolling waters and rose sand that looks like the drink was spilled all over.
Behind the sands are rolling dunes that feature a beautiful path taking you along Horseshoe Bay to a protected cove devoid of waves and currents, great for the little ones.
14. La Caravelle Beach, Guadeloupe
The top beach in Sainte Anne, Guadeloupe, La Caravelle Beach is a protected cove whose azure-hued water reveals the golden sand beneath. Although backed by the famed Club Med, the beach remains open to the public.
To one end of La Caravelle Beach, you’ll find a small reef, like a bookend to the stunning shoreline. The small waves flow from either side before returning to the otherwise calm bay.
Thanks to the surrounding amenities, La Caravelle Beach is far more than a tranquil alcove. Without wind, the waves are non-existent, creating a spa-like experience. It makes for a great spot to paddle board or venture out where the trade winds make it a windsurfer’s domain.
13. Grand Anse Beach, Grenada
Backed by Grenada’s rolling hills along its impossibly serene southwest shoreline is Grand Anse Beach. Popular, yet relaxing, the beach boasts 2 miles (3.2km) of effortlessly soft white sand.
The surrounding waters are notoriously calm, providing excellent swimming and a top spot to float as the sun washes down. While some beaches offer rustic charm, Grand Anse Beach is lined with amenities that feel more local than touristic.
Behind the sand is a collection of beachfront bars and eateries along with a memorable artisanal market. The latter provides authentic charm, smells, and flavors with excellent Grenadine cuisine and artisanal crafts. Stick around to enjoy the sunset before checking in to a beachfront hotel.
12. Half Moon Bay, Antigua
Along the southeastern coast of Antigua, Half Moon Bay cuts through dense forests and the green-blue Caribbean Sea. The vegetation floods over the golden sand, providing the beach with a rustic, remote feel.
Thanks to the outer reef, the swimming here is protected with the gemstone water flowing softly towards the sand and breaking up into pebbles of whitewash. The sand is soft and flat, providing ample space and comfort to relax.
Within the dense trees is a single shack providing tasty local eats and refreshing beverages. Both of which will help replenish your energy to explore the reef once more.
11. Crane Beach, Barbados
Named after the towering crane that was the centerpiece of a once-working harbor, Crane Beach has undergone an incredible transformation. While always easy on the eye, travelers have more time and space to take in the beach’s rugged yet gorgeous landscape.
On the south coast of Barbados, Crane Beach is a relatively small alcove compared to some of the other destinations in our guide. It’s encased in rough limestone cliffs, some overgrown with rich vegetation.
Like the cliffs, the water isn’t smooth. Rather, it’s a great spot to boogie board atop crystal clear waters that are interrupted by intermittent whitewash. After going in and out, head to the Crane Resort for some waterfront drinks and watch the action from afar.
10. White Bay, BVI
Do you love having a colorful cocktail in your hand and the sand between your feet? Then a trip to Jost Van Dyke Island in the BVIs should be a top priority. White Bay is beautiful on its own, but it’s the human element that elevates it above other destinations.
The lengthy white sand beach is the den of expensive sailboats which are as fun to look at as the distant islands and endless horizon. They’ve come from far and wide to enjoy the palm-lined bay home to one iconic beach bar, Soggy Dollar.
A bar worth traveling for, you’ll be remiss not to get your hands on the classic PainKiller cocktail and watch the sailors come to swim in, soggy dollars in hand to do just the same.
9. Diamond Beach, Martinique
Pointe de Bout sucks in the tourists, leaving Diamond Beach to be a literal diamond in the rough. Less developed and quieter, travelers will have all the time in the world to enjoy the stunning views of the soaring Diamond Rock.
Shaded trees line the beach, providing some respite from the warm, shimmering black sands. Surrounded by rugged jungle and cliff-like mountains, the water and beach are a peaceful escape.
Waves, however, are common here, creating some thrilling swimming. Snorkeling can be challenging, but peering down at the black sand with fish fluttering about is a unique experience.
Behind the beach is the Diamant les Bains hotel with its own waterfront pool and great midday eats.
8. Saline Beach, St. Barth
Picturesque privacy is what Saline Beach in St. Barth is all about. Spotted along the island’s gorgeous south coast, this alcove is away from the island’s busier destinations Therefore, it is the spot for couples to lay down the rug, break out the strawberries and enjoy the view.
After a short jaunt over the surrounding hill and sand dunes, the first thing you’ll see is a quiet expanse of sand lapped by the beautiful Caribbean Sea. Wind can whip up the surf on a blustering day. However, Saline Beach is renowned for its calm waters where you can float without a care in the world.
Without any facilities, it’s beautifully rustic. So bring plenty of sun protection.
7. Seven Mile Beach, Jamaica
Known also as Negril Beach, Seven Mile Beach is, in fact, as long as the name suggests. Its crystalline waters are flanked by electric resorts that keep the atmosphere rolling once the sun sets over the golden sands.
Seven Mile Beach runs from the spectacular Negril Cliffs northwards to Bloody Bay. In between are uninterrupted, powdery sands lined by flowing coconut palms that peer over the calm waters below.
Away from the helpful shade of the palms, you can snorkel through an underwater treasure trove. Afterward, find yourself enjoying the resplendent views at one of the many beachfront bars that hide underneath the coconut canopy.
6. Shoal Bay, Anguilla
Time slows down at Shoal Bay. The famous Antigua beach brings cloud-like sand and excellent snorkeling to your paradise experience. From the moment you step onto the beach, you’ll revel in just how soft the sand is, like a day bed for sipping beachside cocktails and your favorite novel.
Behind the beach are towering palms that flow with the trade winds, creating a semblance of shade alongside the rows of umbrellas and lounges. Between the palms are restaurants and hotels with a front-row seat to Shoal Bay’s spectacular scenery.
To cool off, head into the baby blue water as clear as glass. Snorkel your way out to the reef spotting exotic fish, blue tangs, and sea fans along the journey.
5. Tulum Beach, Mexico
Along the coast of Mexico, Tulum Beach faces out to the Caribbean Sea. Close to the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second largest on earth, travelers will enjoy a great balance of relaxation and off-shore adventures.
Steps away from an untamed jungle home to famous Mayan ruins, Tulum Beach provides plenty of contrast. The rows of flowing palms, sounds of crashing waves, and soft golden sand create a picture of relaxation.
With miles of sands to choose from, it’s fairly easy to escape the hordes at this popular spot. Some parts are lined with eco-friendly accommodations and beach bars, others feature quiet boulder-lined cliffs. Wherever you go, you’ll look forever towards the Caribbean with captivating snorkeling steps a few paddles away.
4. Grace Bay, Turks and Caicos
In the Turks and Caicos, Grace Bay has been nicknamed the best beach on earth. A big call, I know. Although it doesn’t top our list, it’s hard to argue against. In Grace Bay, the light blue Caribbean Sea makes the glimmering blue sky look dark and angry by comparison.
Located on the island of Providenciales, Grace Bay offers travelers an eye-popping scenery complete with idyllic golden sand that flows down to the calm glass surface so clear you can see the offshore reef.
Surrounded by some of the top resorts in Turks and Caicos, it’s easy to shack up and enjoy Grace Bay day after day. You won’t tire of the amazing snorkeling within the Princess Alexandra Marine Park home to turtles and flowing stingrays.
3. The Baths, BVI
Although utterly jaw-dropping, it’s the unique layout of the Baths that has it third on our list. Take a journey over and around giant boulders as old as time on your way to the natural “baths” surrounded by the same smooth monoliths and the stunning Devil’s Bay.
Between the rock and the crystalline sea are small patches of powder-esque sand that welcome you with open arms. Some of the boulders have created a path for you to snorkel, where you can find hidden treasures, deep crevices, and beguiling grottoes.
The best example of the latter is the Cathedral Room, which features a narrow cave and a small pool. Gather with friends and try to wrap your minds around such an otherworldly beach.
2. Englishman’s Bay, Tobago
Along the leeward coast of Tobago, Englishman’s Bay is a veritable paradise and a secret that’s gone untold. Devoid of large resorts, the crescent Englishman’s Bay is lapped by the soft waves of the Caribbean and surrounded by lush tropical vegetation.
The waterfront bamboo and palms creak as they flow with the wind. Beyond are rolling hills drenched in greenery. This expanse hides the beach from the rest of the world, with a measly gravel road taking you to the turquoise shore.
The beach stretches into the distance, curving around the hills and revealing seemingly endless blue water that flows to a vast offshore reef. It’s the spot to revel in peace and quiet, get lost in the snorkeling, and stick around for a golden sunset.
1. Trunk Bay, USVI
The drive along St. John’s rolling coastline to Trunk Bay may be as incredible as the beach itself. A regular stop along the journey is a pullout that looks down to the famous beach with its rocking blue waves. You’ll see shaded white sand, and the constant presence of impressive yachts meandering in the distance.
On an island that is two-thirds national park, Trunk Bay is surrounded by untouched rainforest that rolls into the distance. All that’s between the green expanse and the blue water is a slit of white sand where crowds gather, yet the space retains its veritable tranquility.
Depending on the day, Trunk Bay can feel wild or utterly calm. Off-shore lies a rare underwater swimming trail, where plaques tell the tale surrounded by colorful fish and dazzling corals.