One can pick virtually any Caribbean island at random and find a superior beach. Planning your own beach front experience of a lifetime and settling on the “nicest beach” really involves finding the beach that best fits your vacation plans. Caribbean beaches have specialized in many ways to distinguish themselves from the vast array of options.
Snorkeling: Shoal Bay and Katouche Beach, Anguilla, have some of the best corals and iridescent fish anywhere. The soft, silver sand turns pink at sunset. Near the rainforest one can birdwatch for white pintails and mangrove cuckoos, or hunt unique sea fossils. Many other Antiguan and Anguillan beaches feature diverse coral and tropical fish, and the U.S. Park of Trunk Bay, St. John, has a guided underwater snorkeling trail.
Swimming: While most west-facing beaches enjoy the calmer Caribbean Sea, the Grand’Anse Beach, Grenada, has been highly rated among the dozens of fine Grenadan beaches for its pure white sands that continue for significant distances offshore. No longer as secluded as in the past, this beach offers enough range and hotels to remain a standout.
Sailing: Boaters looking for calm sailing conditions and an abundance of well-supplied coves would be steered toward the Virgin Islands. One can rent a pleasure boat from Cane Garden Bay, Tortola (BVI), view the mountainous scenery, and then return to the white sands and the accommodating jogging trail. Another ideal sailing area is the Grenadines, especially if one is more interested in local Caribbean culture.
Nude beaches: Consider Seven Mile Beach, Negril (Jamaica), and Orient Beach, St. Martin.
Hotels: For a wide choice of deluxe hotel accommodations, make inquiries in the Platinum Coast, Barbados (formerly known as the Gold Coast, but renamed due to inflation). All Barbadian beaches are public and have pink or white sands. Paynes Bay features the Sandy Lane luxury resort, calm swimming, and a variety of restaurants.
Tourism: Definitely take into account the recommendations of travel agencies. “Conde Nast Traveler” lists Palm Beach, Aruba (white sands, good fishing), and Grace Bay Beach, Providenciales (pale sands, excellent coral), as two of the world’s best beaches overall. “Caribbean Travel and Life Magazine” hails the well-tended Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman, as the best beach in the whole Caribbean. As a public beach, it can be jogged for the entire length (actually five and a half miles), and is excellent for its beach bars and restaurants.
It is hard to go wrong when choosing a Caribbean beach. One important local rule is not to stray from tourism areas without firm local knowledge of the island; in some cases, disreputable ghettos and other potentially risky area can lie within walking distance of the best beaches. Plan your trip around your favorite beach activity, choose accordingly, and you will be certain to have a vacation to take joy in.