The 15 Most Breathtaking Beaches in the Caribbean
The Caribbean is a tropical trifecta of sun, sand and surf. Vacationers flock here to spend their days languishing in the brilliant blue water and feeling the soft-as-a-snowflake sand between their toes.
After a dip in the sparkling sea or a paddle in a kayak, relax on a comfy chaise longue with a rum-infused cocktail in hand. Snack on luscious locally grown tropical fruits such as papaya, guava and coconut. At dinner, dine on fish just plucked from the sea, perhaps at a beachside eatery with the waves as your soundtrack. It’s a beachcomber’s vacation bliss.
A Caribbean getaway is a bona fide elixir for the stress and strain of daily life, catnip for the sun-starved soul. Winter is the high season but savvy travelers know that prices are lower in spring, summer and fall, so there’s year-round vacation potential.
Brimming with breathtaking beaches dangling like charms on an aquatic bracelet, there are hundreds of photogenic beaches in the Caribbean. We’ve rounded up 25 of the very best, where the dazzling azure water and silky sand are sure to wow even the most jaded traveler. Pack your bathing suit and flip-flops and let’s catch a glimpse of the best beaches in the Caribbean.
Grand Anse Beach, Grenada
Grenada is an unspoiled island inhabited by friendly locals who warmly welcome visitors. It is nicknamed the "Spice Island," thanks to the aroma of locally grown nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon that delicately perfume the balmy breezes.
Grand Anse Beach is one of the Caribbean’s top beaches. It is a two-mile stretch of alabaster sand on Grenada’s sheltered leeward coast. Watch fishermen haul in their catch and children build sand castles. All beaches in Grenada are public so it’s a lively Caribbean immersion.
Mount Cinnamon is an intimate, eco-friendly boutique resort situated directly on Grand Anse beach. The suites and villas each have their own veranda with sweeping views. Kayak, sail or simply float in the sea. Yoga classes and a pampering massage under the palm leaves are a few of the resort’s blissful experiences.
Petit St. Vincent, The Grenadines
Petit St. Vincent is an exclusive, ultra-posh private island located on the southern tip of the Grenadines, a chain of Caribbean islands that have only been lightly touched by mass tourism. Everyone refers to this diminutive island as PSV. Visitors come here to unplug and recalibrate while surrounded by unblemished nature. Service is top-notch so get ready to be spoiled.
A low-tech philosophy is one of the island’s hallmarks. You won’t find cars, telephones, Internet access or television on PSV. With only 22 guest cottages discretely dispersed throughout the island, you may have the beach to yourself. The water is a stunning shade of blue that wouldn’t look out of place in a box of Crayola crayons.
Remoteness is part of the off-the-grid charm and getting here can be adventurous, requiring several flights and a ride on a yacht. Once you dive in the perfect water, you’ll know the journey was worth it.
Godings Bay, Barbados
Barbados is a blossoming vacation destination thanks to its gorgeous beaches, cultural attractions and location outside of the Hurricane belt.
On the famed Platinum Coast, a string of picture-perfect beaches await. Godings Bay is a bucolic paradise guaranteed to cast a seaside spell. If the warm cobalt blue water and snow-white sand isn’t enough, it’s perfectly situated to watch the sunset.
This idyllic beach is home to Cobblers Cove, a 40-room hotel that is a haven of tranquility and luxury. It is one of only four properties in the Caribbean to be rewarded with Relais & Châteaux status. The lush gardens are vibrant in color and fragrant with an array of tropical scents. From the Pride of India trees to the multicolored frangipani, they act like magnets, attracting an array of colorful indigenous birds. Majestic views from each guest room is icing on the cake.
Play Knip, Curacao
Curaçao is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Though it’s geographically in the Caribbean, the open-minded attitude is very European. Dutch is the official language. Papiamentu, a melting pot of Spanish, Portuguese, French, Dutch and English, is widely spoken between locals. With over three-dozen beaches, visitors have their pick of everything from semi-secluded coves with calm water to rugged stretches with dramatic surf.
Playa Knip consistently ranks as one of the Caribbean’s best beaches. It is actually two protected beaches, Grote Knip (Big Knip) and Klein Knip (Little Knip). Both feature satiny sand and turquoise water worthy of a dozen Instagram posts. Whichever one you choose, they both offer memorable swimming and fabulous snorkeling.
Hermitage Bay, Antigua
Even in a region as breathtaking as the Caribbean, Antigua stands out for its variety of beaches. Locals say there are 365 beaches, so you may visit a different beach everyday for an entire year without repetition.
Hermitage Bay is nestled in a protected cove graced with aquamarine water. Non-motorized water sport options abound so you won’t be polluting the pristine sea as you sail, kayak or balance on an SUP. Of course if you just want to lie in the cocoon of a sunbed listening to chorus of tropical birds sing and the sound of waves gingerly lapping the shore, that’s just fine.
Hermitage Bay is a casually elegant resort located right on the beach. With 30 individual cottages set on 140 acres fringed with flora and fauna, it’s a respite of peace and privacy.
Palm Beach, Aruba
The Caribbean may be known for its lush tropical terrain but Aruba presents a desert landscape that may surprise you. Marvel at the bounty of cacti, twisted divi divi trees, array of orchids and hibiscus flowers, adding eye-catching shape, color and fragrance to the panorama.
On postcard-pretty Palm Beach, the arid vegetation is just beyond the powdery sand and emerald-colored water. This two-mile long strip offers clear, calm waters, making it a haven for both swimming and snorkeling.
Numerous high-rise hotels call Palm Beach home. The Barceló Aruba is an all-inclusive oasis right on this unbeatable swath of sand. Recently renovated, it offers every conceivable comfort, an array of dining options and nonstop activities on land and sea. For those seeking a low-key afternoon, the hotel’s beach hammocks are a splendid spot for a snooze.
Saint-Jean Beach, St. Barths
Discovered by Columbus in 1493 and settled by the French in 1648, St. Barths is an upscale retreat with an abundance of Gallic flair.
Thanks to the French influence, expect meals on par with any good Parisian bistro and authentic crusty baguettes as fine as at any French boulangerie.
Saint-Jean Beach feels secluded yet it is located just minutes way from Gustavia, the island’s chic main town. Its white sand is dazzling, its water crystal-clear.
For those looking for an affordable way to vacation on this exclusive island, consider the intimate, family-owned beach resort of Les Ilets de la Plage on Saint-Jean beach. It is a beachside gem with 11 private villas, complete with creature comforts. The villas are either directly on the beach or in the garden, just steps from the shore.
Reduit Beach Saint Lucia
Saint Lucia is a lush island that is a magnet for honeymooners. Its crystal-clear water, refreshing winds and sublime beaches are a dream. If that’s not enough to take your breathe away, diverse attractions include the UNESCO World Heritage Site Piton Mountains (two volcanic plugs that dramatically rise from the sea), a tropical rainforest and one of the world's only drive-in volcanoes.
Stunning beaches are a dime a dozen on Saint Lucia. Popular Reduit Beach is located on the island’s northwest side, very close to Rodney Bay Village’s dynamic nightlife, shopping and dining options. It offers vacationers a convenient way to experience the island’s cultural side once they’re finally ready to leave the beach.
The fine, golden-hued sand and clear blue water equals vacation bliss. You’ll get an eyeful of Pigeon Island as you swim and sunbathe. For lunch, purchase a roti and coconut drink from one of the many vendors who stroll the beach.
Bávaro Beach, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic boasts nearly 1,000 miles of coastline and Punta Cana’s Bávaro Beach is the finest. It’s a long strip of fine white sand with coconut palms swaying in the refreshing breeze. The deep-blue Caribbean water and tropical scenery are on par with the most photo-worthy beaches in the world. Numerous resorts are concentrated on this beach, so the secret is out.
The Grand Palladium Bávaro Suites Resort & Spa is a large, all-inclusive hotel located right on the beach. There are over 2,000 rooms but the resort is cleverly divided into four smaller hotels, so it feels manageable.
Guests may participate in complimentary water sports, including kayaking and windsurfing, though relaxing with a good book in a chaise longue holds equal appeal.
Families rave about the age-appropriate children’s club, where the trained staff entertains young guests with interactive activities while parents enjoy some adults-only time.
Seven Mile Beach, Negril, Jamaica
Nicknamed the "Capital of Casual," this expansive Jamaican beach manages to maintain an unspoiled vibe, in spite of the many hotels located here. Compromised of Bloody Bay and Long Bay, they both present unbeatable swimming opportunities.
There’s lots of local color on Seven Mile Beach. The aromas of simmering curried goat and sizzling jerk chicken waft through the air. The sounds of reggae music drift by. Sunsets are spectacular.
Sunset at the Palms is an adult-only hideaway resort at the gateway to Bloody Bay. The resort is located right on the beach while the cleverly constructed treehouse-style guest cottages are nestled among the flowering plants and tropical gardens. It’s the essence of casual beach-chic.
Condado Beach, Puerto Rico
Satisfy your beach bum yearnings in San Juan’s stylish Condado neighborhood, a beautiful spot to swim and sunbathe just minutes away from the cultural riches of Puerto Rico’s Old San Juan. Join locals as they relax under a canopy of coconut palms and jump the waves.
La Concha is a luxurious beach resort overlooking the water. The newly renovated open lobby, natural light and sea breeze make for a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor spaces. Perla, the resort’s signature seashell-shaped floating restaurant, is a whimsical wonder. For beach lovers, perhaps the most prized amenity is its proximity to the sight and sounds of the sea.
Condado’s beach is undeniably lovely but a multitude of urban pleasures are at your fingertips. After you’ve spent the day beachside, dry off and catch a cab or public bus to historic Old San Juan. In just a few minutes you’ll be strolling the labyrinth of cobblestone streets, sampling mofongo (fried green plantains) from local eateries and marveling over San Felipe del Morro, the venerable fort that has stood guard over San Juan for over 400 years.
Grace Bay, Turks and Caicos
Grace Bay in Turks and Caicos is one of the most breathtaking spots in the Caribbean. This 12-mile long beach is protected by an offshore reef, with a wealth of aquatic life living in the coral. The sea is exceptionally calm, pleasingly warm and a vivid turquoise color. Pastel-hued sunsets are a nightly perk.
The Palms Turks and Caicos is a 72-suite resort set on manicured grounds at the heart of Grace Bay. It provides laidback luxury for beach lovers of all ages. Indulgent services include moonbathing, a nighttime experience where guests are given mini spa treatments and served cocktails on the beach under the stars.
A range of non-motorized water sports, such as sailing, kayaking and snorkeling, are complimentary for hotel guests.
Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
The Cayman Islands were discovered by Columbus in 1503 on his last voyage to the New World. It’s an archipelago of three islands scenic islands, Grand Cayman being the largest and perhaps the most stunning.
Crescent-shaped Seven Mile Beach is a wonderland of clear blue water and coral sand. It’s a top-notch snorkeling spot and one of the Caribbean’s best dive destinations thanks to hidden grottoes and swim-through arches.
The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman enjoys a prime position on this superb beach. If you’re in need of spoiling, you’ve come to the right place. Rooms all have private balconies, many with sea views. The spa is exceptional. Onsite dining options are unbeatable with world-class chefs at the helm. You’ll feast on fish so fresh you can still taste the salt water. Hands-on cooking experiences make this resort a true haven for gourmets.
Horseshoe Bay Beach, Bermuda
Though technically located in the Atlantic Ocean, Bermuda has a Caribbean soul. This British Overseas Territory blends the flavor of the West Indies with venerable British traditions and customs. Don’t be surprised when locals break for a cup of tea in the afternoon, perhaps accompanied by a scone served with clotted cream. Those quirky knee length Bermuda shorts worn by locals make a great souvenir.
Bermuda’s beaches are stunning. If pink sand and translucent water are to your liking, Horseshoe Bay Beach shouldn’t be missed. This wide, horseshoe-shaped beach is dramatically bordered by towering limestone cliffs. There’s a large reef just offshore where snorkelers can explore a variety of colorful sea life. You may rent snorkel equipment from the concession stand.
Magens Bay, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
Magens Bay on St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands is a treasure trove for beach lovers. The feathery white sand, coconut grove and calm waters attract tourists and locals alike. The beach is nearly a mile long so there’s room for everyone to spread out.
Visitors pay a small entrance fee to use the beach. There are lifeguards, showers, bathrooms, a small snack bar and a concession stand renting non-motorized watercraft, but not much more.
Expect to swim in good company as turtles, conch and tarpon are commonly spotted in the clean, clear water.
If you can drag yourself out of the soothing water, head to the nature trail, a winding path that weaves through multiple ecosystems before ending at the beach.
Punt Vierkant, Bonaire
With dazzling aquamarine water and a coral-encrusted shoreline, visitors to Bonaire enjoy some of the most varied marine landscapes in the Caribbean. Bonaire is a world-class dive destination and a partnership with the Coral Restoration Foundation demonstrates a commitment to keeping their reef healthy.
Bonaire is a special municipality within the Netherlands. Polyglots are in for a treat as locals speak both Dutch and Papiamentu, a wildcard mix of Spanish, Portuguese, French, Dutch and English.
The island features desert terrain and several dozen glorious beaches. Punt Vierkant, also known as Esmeralda Beach, is a secluded haven for swimmers. The reef is just offshore, so it’s ideal for scuba diving and snorkeling.
Rent a villa directly on the beach with Airbnb. Staying in a private residence offers an authentic taste of living like a local, plus your host can offer plenty of insider tips. Eco Beach House has three bedrooms and three bathrooms, so there’s room to spread out. Watch the dolphins swim by as you float in the infinity pool or lounge on the deck.
Paradise Beach, Nevis
With its lush green vegetation and practically empty beaches, discovering Nevis is like finding a diamond in a box of Cracker Jack. Beaches offer endless blue skies, sparkling water and sand as soft as flour.
On the island’s desirable West Coast sits Paradise Beach. If ever a beach lived up to its name, it’s this one. It’s located only 15 minutes from the capital city of Charlestown, with its wealth of beautifully preserved colonial-era architecture. The expansive view includes the nearby island of St. Kitts.
If the accommodations at Paradise Beach, Nevis were any closer to the Caribbean Sea, they would be underwater. The collection of 12 villas exploits the seafront location, cocooning visitors in a tranquil tropical setting. Each villa provides a pebble-lined plunge pool, outdoor marble shower and a secluded garden.
Canouan, St. Vincent and the Grenadines
One of the 32 islands in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, sleepy Canouan is a small island surrounded by white sand beaches, gentle bays and hidden coves. A large coral reef is just offshore, so the diving and snorkeling provide a window into a vast and vivid assortment of sea life. It’s a favorite with the yachting crowd so expect to see numerous sailboats moored in the harbor.
Canouan flies largely under the radar, making it an excellent choice for vacationers who are eager to forgo the trappings of mass tourism. Those few who are in the know are privy to a supreme secret.
Godahl Beach is located at the northern end of the island. The fine-grained alabaster sand feels as soft as a cloud. Mandarin Oriental, Canouan is nestled on the hillside along a peaceful stretch of this beach. It’s an intimate hideaway with only 26 suites and 13 villas, all with ocean views. Mindfully built to fit into the natural surroundings, the elegant décor mixes contemporary and colonial styles. It’s discrete luxury at its finest.
Maho Beach, St. Maarten
St. Maarten is a two-nation island. It has both a French and a Dutch side, so travelers seeking European variety have hit the jackpot. In addition to cultural and linguistic diversity, vacationers will find crystal-clear water and scores of lovely beaches. The island has worked hard to rebuild its infrastructure after the 2017 hurricane season, so there’s a new sense of vigor and enthusiasm.
At Maho Beach on the island’s Dutch side, the sand is pure white and the waves roll in at a steady pace, but it's the low flying planes landing at adjacent Princess Julianna Airport that may be the biggest draw. Aviation Geeks and plane spotters from around the globe make pilgrimages here to watch the planes as they approach the runway, passing just over their heads in dramatic fashion.
The adults-only Sonesta Ocean Point Resort provides a perfect view of the planes landing. This all-suite hotel has been recently renovated, so everything is in top shape. The multiple swimming pools, restaurants and open-air wellness area make fun in the sun a snap.
Isla Verde, Puerto Rico
San Juan’s Isla Verde is Puerto Rico’s ultimate urban beach. The long, wide stretch offers two miles of glistening, gold-hued sand. Relax under a canopy of coconut palms swaying in the breeze and jump the waves as you mingle with a welcoming local crowd.
Isla Verde’s El San Juan Hotel is a historic beachfront property loaded with yesteryear panache. It recently re-opened after an extensive renovation, interweaving modern tropical touches while retaining its original grandeur and glamor. Stop by the lobby’s rum bar and enjoy sampling the extensive collection of Puerto Rico’s national spirit.
If you can drag yourself away from the hotel’s glorious visuals, El San Juan is just 15 minutes away from the pulsating nightlife of Old San Juan. After you’ve watched the sunset, head into town to dine on the island’s zesty fusion cuisine followed by late-night salsa dancing at the famed Nuyorican Café.
If you’re seeking pure relaxation, Tulum will weave a subtle spell. The public beach strip has a casual, bohemian feel. The looming palm trees, warm Caribbean water and Mayan ruins should entice even the most discerning beachgoer.
Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is situated at the end of the beach. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the largest protected area in the Mexican Caribbean and a treasure chest of flora and fauna.
There are many hotels along this sandy swath, but Casa Violeta shines. It’s a tranquil boutique property with private bungalow-style accommodations and a beachfront restaurant and bar. It sits directly in front of the Mesoamerican Coral Reef. Over 60 types of hard corals form a vast network of reef that in turn provides habitat for over 500 fish species and five species of marine turtles.
The hotel prioritizes health, wellness and spirituality. Tonic guest options include yoga, medicinal healing huts and sound baths.
Les Salines, Martinique
Nicknamed “The Island of Flowers” for the exotic array of flora that thrives here, Martinique enjoys a variety of vibrant landscapes. The northern part of the island is home to an emerald-colored rainforest and an active volcano; in the south, it’s predominately dry terrain. Stunning beaches all over the island are the cherry on top.
Satisfy your beach bum yearnings at Les Salines, situated on its southern tip. It is a semi-circle of blond sand with tall pine trees to shade visitors from the sun. The sparkling clean water is deep shade of blue that looks lifted off an Impressionist painting.
Martinique is technically a region of France, and sampling the food is an important part of absorbing the French-creole cultural. The local cuisine blends traditional Gallic technique with West Indian flavors to pack a powerful culinary punch. There are often vendors selling homemade snacks at the beach, offering a casual and inexpensive way to approach this country’s delectable fusion of flavors.
Grand Cul de Sac, St. Barths
The jet set favors the island of St. Barths for good reason. It enjoys a chic Parisian pedigree combined with a laidback vibe. The island is loaded with upscale flair and beaches worthy of a thousand Instagram posts.
There’s no denying that Grand Cul de Sac is a breathtaking beach. Its crescent-shape, chalk-colored sand and shallow, protected waters makes it ideal for swimming. St. Barths is technically an overseas collectivity of France so don’t be surprised to see topless sunbathers just as you would in the French Riviera.
Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa is situated right on this heavenly beach. Guests will find an understated, light-filled setting that’s a study in casual sophistication. Technology and high-end amenities have been thoughtful integrated into the luxurious guest experience. A seaside infinity pool, extensive water sports program, 24-hour fitness center and a holistic spa, complete with an authentic hammam, are posh extras.
Jaw’s Beach, Nassau Paradise Island, Bahamas
If you love sand, sun and sea, the hundreds of islands and cays of the Bahamas are pure magic. This archipelago is an ecological oasis with some of the clearest water on the planet.
Nassau and its neighbor Paradise Island are graced with miles and miles of azure water fringed with sand as white as confectioner’s sugar.
Just west of capital city Nassau is Clifton Heritage Park. Nature lovers flock to this protected area to hike and enjoy the pristine beaches. History buffs may explore the ruins while bird-watchers will find much to enjoy as rare and colorful migratory birds favor stopping here during their transitory flights.
Clifton Heritage Park’s Jaws Beach is named after the famous shark movie. The final installment of the series was filmed here, so cinephiles shouldn’t miss it. The beach is clean, the sand fluffy and the water calm. The towering trees act like a natural parasol. A coral reef is just offshore, housing an abundant array of fish and marine life.
Mermaid Beach, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
St. Croix is the largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands. It’s a laidback utopia of earthly beauty with a slew of stunning beaches crowned with glistening blue water. Sophisticated nearby towns such as Christiansted are just right for shopping, strolling and dining, so there’s plenty to keep vacationers occupied once they’ve shaken off the sand.
Mermaid Beach steals the sun-and-sand limelight. It’s a span of white sand protected from the waves, making it a good place to try and balance on an SUP. Tall coconut trees provide a shady respite from the blazing sun.
Mermaid Beach is one of The Buccaneer Resort’s three beaches: Grotto Beach and secluded Whistle Beach are the others. Guests at the Buccaneer may enjoy these beaches as well as the resort’s hundreds of acres of tropical grounds, complete with an 18-hole golf course and numerous tennis courts. It’s the Caribbean’s longest running family-owned resort so expect excellent service and warm hospitality.