Antigua is definitely on the list of best Caribbean beaches to visit.
When I think of the Caribbean I think of crystal clear waters, spicy foods and tropical fruits, cricket, pirates and beautiful beaches. Yep, those beautiful beaches stick in my mind the most because I have visited many and plan to visit more in the future. If you are considering a trip to the Caribbean and want a recommendation for a beach holiday, read on. Here are 13 of the best Caribbean Beaches to consider for your next holiday.
Where is the Caribbean?
The Caribbean is an area southeast of the Gulf of Mexico and North America, east of Central America and north of South America. From different sources I have read there are a lot of islands, I say a lot because different sources said different numbers. But I think around some 700 islands, reefs and cays or so. This means there is a lot of choice of which island or islands to visit. The best ways to visit the islands are to sail on a cruise ship or a yacht or fly directly to an island, then catch a ferry if need be.
So many Caribbean islands
What Makes a Great Beach?
A beach is a beach right? Not always. Having grown up near the beach in Australia what makes a good beach is what you like to do at the beach. If you are a surfer, you want good waves. Maybe as a swimmer you like to swim and want flatter water. If you are there with little kids you will want nice clean golden sand for them to play with near the waters edge. But what makes a great beach? In general it is clean golden sand, clear water with perfect waves, not dumpers and no stinging things like blue bottles. Add some shady trees and an ice cream shop nearby! Many Caribbean beaches are known for all this. And here are 13 of the best of them to consider for your next Caribbean beach holiday.
13 of the Best Caribbean Beaches to Visit
Here goes, 13 of the best.
Crash Boat Beach, Puerto Rico
Found along the far northwestern coast of the island of Puerto Rico, Crash Boat Beach is easily one of the best beaches in the Caribbean! Often recognized for its long dock that is great for jumping and crystal clear turquoise waters, this is one beach that any sun-seeker should have on their bucket list. At just a quick 12-minute drive from the Aguadilla airport, your vacation can begin as soon as you arrive.
Located in the popular tourist town of Aguadilla, visitors can enjoy incredible water sports such as snorkeling, swimming, surfing, windsurfing, scuba diving, fishing, and more! We suggest picking up some local produce and a coconut drink from one of the local stands in town before making your way to the beach. There are also plenty of food stalls nearby once you arrive for lunch if you would prefer!
Crash Boat Beach is also one of the best spots on the northwest of the island to catch a great sunset, so we recommend coming back around dusk to walk the beach or lay on a blanket to watch the sun go down.
Popular for its extremely clean presence and endless activities, you can relax on Crash Boat Beach regardless of the time of year. But, we do recommend learning some basic Spanish phrases before you arrive since many of the locals speak limited English.
Contributed by Emily from Emily Embarks
Flamenco Beach, Culebra Island
One of the best Caribbean beaches is Flamenco Beach, a beautiful beach on Culebra Island. This small island is located just off the eastern coast of the main island in Puerto Rico.
Flamenco Beach has been named one of the best beaches in the world because of the powdery white sand, calm turquoise waters, and beautiful views. It is a small island that is only accessible via plane or ferry so the crowds are usually pretty limited. This is especially true if you stay overnight on the island and spend time at the beach outside of the ferry operating hours.
The water is shallow here and is protected by a cove, making it a great place for snorkeling and less-experienced swimmers. There are also some really cool abandoned military tanks on the beach that are fun to see. It also has lots of great amenities at the beach including restrooms, food kiosks, beach gear rentals, freshwater tanks and outdoor showers.
Contributed by Candice from CS Ginger
Maho Beach, St. Maarten
Maho Beach in St. Maarten is one of the most famous beaches in the world. The small stretch of white sand borders the airport on the Dutch side of the dual-nation island. So, every day tourists gather on the beach to watch planes land and take off from Princess Juliana International Airport.
Hanging out at the beach, planespotting, and feeling the gusts from the massive commercial jets flying low as they arrive and depart from the airport is one of the best things to do in St. Maarten and a bucket list item for many aviation-lovers.
The beach itself, while on the smaller side, is beautiful, with pristine turquoise water and white sand. As the most popular beach in Saint Maarten, Maho Beach tends to attract crowds who visit the beach for its notoriety and its appeal as one of the most extreme beaches in the world.
Contributed by Melissa from Parenthood and Passports
Kokomo Beach, Curacao
Kokomo Beach is easily one of the most beautiful beaches in Curacao. Plus, with no entrance fee nor parking pass required to enjoy Kokomo Beach, you can expect a low-key, laidback atmosphere in an intimate setting. This Caribbean gem also boasts soft golden sand and is perfect for everyone from couples, to solo travelers, to families.
An Instagrammer’s dream, one of Kokomo’s main draws is a seaside swing perched over the crystal-blue water. Given the swing’s popularity, you may need to wait your turn before snapping that Instagram-worthy photo, depending on when you arrive. Mornings tend to be the quietest time. Beyond the iconic swing, Kokomo Beach also attracts a number of pelicans, a definite perk for bird lovers and nature enthusiasts.
It also offers convenient amenities such as a beachside restaurant for when those mid-day hunger pangs strike. In addition, if you’re looking to explore the underwater world of Curacao, Kokomo is also home to a professional dive center.
Contributed by Elena from The Carry-On Chronicles
Coral Bay Beach, Barbuda
The sister island to Antigua, Barbuda is an underrated Caribbean gem. One of my favorites of all the 365 beaches in this English-speaking tropical nation is Barbuda’s Coral Bay Beach.
At Coral Bay Beach, white sand spreads for miles on the edge of turquoise water, where dolphins, turtles, and rays swim in the Caribbean Sea. As an avid snorkeler, I spent hours exploring the waters, photographing schools of fish and chasing turtles.
Located 25 nautical miles north of Antigua, the beauty of Barbuda’s remoteness means it’s a lot less crowded. We shared the spacious beach with only a few other sailors who anchored in the gin-clear waters.
What makes Coral Bay Beach ideal is its mix of tranquility and convenience. It’s also home to an excellent restaurant. Uncle Roddy’s Beach Bar is a Barbuda institution serving tropical cocktails and fresh lobster, among other local favorites, overlooking that gorgeous Caribbean sea.
Coral Bay Beach, Barbuda’s pristine white sand, great snorkeling, and full-service beach bar make it one of the Caribbean’s best beaches.
Contributed by Mel from Mel On The Go
Grace Bay Beach, Turks & Caicos
Grace Bay Beach in Turks & Caicos has been crowned as one of the best beaches in the world. It most notably won this honour in TripAdvisor’s 2022 list of the best beaches in the world! It’s not hard to see why either.
Grace Bay Beach is 3 miles of pure beauty. It features incredible blue waters that look as though they were photoshopped, pristine white sand, and no seaweed. Most of the top Turks and Caicos resorts are located on Grace Bay Beach, including the award-winning and family-friendly, Beaches Turks and Caicos.
Whether you’re interested in adrenaline-fuelled activities, like parasailing and jet skiing, or would rather simply relax on some soft sand, you can find it all on Grace Bay Beach. Don’t miss out on snorkeling while you’re here either. Head to the western end of the beach to snorkel The Bight Reef. It’s absolutely stunning!
Grace Bay Beach is also a public beach. It can be accessed from a variety of locations that offer free parking – Forbes Point, Rotary Park, the east end of Manor Street, and more.
Contributed by Lindsey from Have Clothes, Will Travel
Shell Beach, St. Barts
One of my favorite beaches in the Caribbean is tiny Shell Beach, located on the French-speaking Caribbean island of St. Barthélemy, or St. Barts. Shell Beach is just a short walk from the capital city of Gustavia. Making it the easiest beach to access for visitors arriving to St. Barts via the main harbor.
I love the dramatic views of Shell Beach. It is nestled in a cove with steep tree-covered hills reaching up out of the pristine blue Caribbean waters. Millions of shells have washed up here and make up the majority of the beach – hence the name. The beach transitions from shell to sand as you walk towards its southern end.
Spend the day swimming and snorkeling in the pristine blue waters of the cove. Or just relax on the beach and watch the sailboats lazily moving across the horizon. Enjoy a shaded lounge chair and a meal or cocktail at the Shellona restaurant right on the beach. Watching the sunset from Shell Beach is an incredible experience and is the perfect way to end your beach day!
Contributed by Lisa Garrett of Waves and Cobblestones
Maundays Bay, Anguilla
Maundays Bay in Anguilla is thought to be one of the Caribbean’s best beaches due to its perfect powdery white sand and stunning swimmable waters. It is Maundays Bay’s exclusivity that also makes it so special.
The crescent-shaped beach is situated in front of the luxurious Belmond Cap Juluca Hotel. However, anyone can visit the beach since all beaches in Anguilla are public.
If you have the budget for it, I recommend a stay at Belmond Cap Juluca to get the most out of Maundays Bay. It is the perfect oasis and offers the ultimate convenience to wake up and be footsteps from a magical beach setting.
There is an abundance of water sports offered on Maundays Bay, such as snorkelling, kayaking, and sailing. Although, I will point out that there are no public bathrooms on this beach. Therefore, you may want to eat lunch at Uchu, one of the hotel’s onsite sit-down restaurants, to use the facilities.
You can reach Anguilla by flying to Saint-Martin and taking a 25-minute ferry across the island. There is free public parking at Belmond Cap Juluca. Ask the guards at the entrance to Cap Juluca for directions to the public parking lot.
Contributed by Samantha from Continuous Roamer
Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman Island
If you’re looking for the best Caribbean beach, look no further than Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman Island. With its white-sand beaches and crystal-clear water, it’s easy to see why this is a popular tourist destination.
Seven Mile Beach is located on the western shores of Grand Cayman and is recognized as one of the best beaches in the Caribbean. There are boutique hotels, resorts, and many other fabulous places to stay within steps of the water. The famous beach stretches for miles. Along with soaking up the sun, there is snorkeling, fishing, and other water sports activities to enjoy.
We visited during December before the holidays during the shoulder season, and there were minimal crowds. We stayed at a condo steps from the beach. The water is crystal clear in Grand Cayman, and the sand is white and soft. It was the perfect place to relax and soak up some sun. We had so much fun taking a boat tour to Stingray City and Starfish Point to enjoy the local wildlife.
If you’re looking for someplace tropical to enjoy your holidays, definitely add Grand Cayman Island to your list!
Contributed by Ashlee from The Happiness Function
Buck Island St. Croix
One of the prettiest beaches in the Caribbean can be found off of St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands. St. Croix is located a little further south than the other US Virgin Islands. This means it gets less visitors even though it’s the largest island. But it has one of the most beautiful beaches: Turtle Beach on Buck Island.
Taking a day trip to Buck Island is one of the top things to do in St. Croix and was definitely a favorite part of our trip. The boat ride is about 40 minutes to the island from Christiansted and arrives at one of the most pristine beaches.
Turtle Beach has white sand and beautiful turquoise water that circles the island and separates with the darker hues of the ocean. The calm water makes it a great swimming beach and because there are only a handful of boat tours, the beach remains fairly empty. You can also snorkel the underwater trail on the back side of the island!
Contributed by Ashley of Jetset Jansen
Divi Beach, Aruba
If you’re looking for the best Caribbean Beaches, then you absolutely must see Divi Beach in Aruba! Home to gorgeous white sand that feels like powder and stunning turquoise water, what else could you ask for in a beach?
Aruba is a fabulous destination for anyone looking for a great beach. Between the all-inclusive resorts, affordable vacation rentals and incredible amount of things to do in Aruba, you really can’t go wrong.
The most popular beach in Aruba is Palm Beach. It’s centrally located to hotels and resorts, shopping and a lot of dining options. It’s gorgeous! But further down the road is Divi Beach, which is even more beautiful – and less crowded! Rent a palapa and make a day of it!
Be sure to bring ocean-safe sunscreen while visiting the beach, to protect our earth’s reefs and marine life. You could also bring a cooler with your own drinks, or a volleyball to play at the sand volleyball court located right on Divi beach.
To round out your perfect Aruba vacation, visit the California Lighthouse, rent UTVs and explore the undeveloped side of the island or go swimming in one of Aruba’s natural pools.
Contributed by Nikki from She Saves She Travels
Spratt Bight, San Andres
The island of San Andres is as tropical and beautiful as you can get in the Caribbean. Whilst part of Colombia, the island is located some 300 miles offshore from the mainland, and has a more Caribbean feel to it rather than South American. The beach of Spratt Bight is the best of the bunch on the island. Located in the north east corner of the island, its fine white sands make it a popular place to lounge around on. The waters are truly magnificent, with as many as five different shades of blue that stretch into the seemingly endless horizon. Whilst it can get quite busy and popular in the afternoon, the advantage here is that there is an abundance of restaurants and bars lining the beach. The best time to head to Spratt Bight would be in the morning, as there are less people. San Andres is a great place to come for both peace and wild times. When it comes to beaches, you’ll find numerous scattered all over the island however, Spratt Bight is our winner. You’ll have a good time here regardless of when you decide to visit.
Contributed by Dan & George from Backpacking Latin America
Doctor’s Cave Beach, Montego Bay, Jamaica
Doctor’s Cave Beach is one of the best beaches to visit in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Located on the infamous Hip Strip it is one of the most pristine beaches in the area. It’s maintained and boasts some of the most sought after crisp and clear blue waters in the Caribbean. Imagine a place where you can lay on the softest sand, explore beautiful shells and spot aquatic life. At Doctor’s Cave beach you can spot stingrays as well as corals and a host of other pretty and colorful fish. It is one of the safest beaches in Jamaica as there are lifeguards and security staff on-site, as well as changing facilities. All this does occur a $6 USD entry fee. But you pay for peace of mind when on this beach and can relax without a care in the world. There is also a restaurant and bar service, so you can order nibbles and drinks from your beach chair if you wish. Visit during the morning hours for a more peaceful setting.
Contributed by Daniel James from Layer Culture
Which Caribbean Island will you Visit?
I’d love to hear in the comments following. If you are ready to book your trip to the Caribbean check out accommodation available at Booking.com. If you would like to extend your stay in the Caribbean check out which Caribbean Islands have a digital nomad visa.