The best Caribbean beaches rival anything in the world. Everyone knows that. But for us, the trick isn’t just about enjoying beautiful strips of sand, it’s about finding the most unique, off-the-beaten path, or just plain over-the-top gorgeous strips of sand that truly are uncommon.
What makes an amazing Caribbean beach
When considering the types of beaches that truly stun us, there are a few things to consider. Water, size, sand, proximity, accessibility to other elements like resorts, location, and more all come into play.
One of the few non-negotiables when it comes to being one of our favorite beaches is the water. Without question, we need crystal clear waters. Growing up on St. Croix, we were spoiled by weekends splashing in the turquoise waters of Sandy Point Beach out west. And as we grew up, nothing else will do.
As far as calm waters or crashing waves, we’ll take either depending on the day. Sometimes spending hours diving through shore breaks is the best way to joyfully spend the day!
The simple truth when it comes to beaches is that bigger isn’t always better. And a general rule of thumb for me is that any beach that is named for how many miles long it is won’t likely be a beach I’ll like. Sorry Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman, you’re pretty but a bit overdeveloped for my tastes.
Here’s another stance we have that might be a little controversial: soft white sand isn’t everything. Now, don’t get me wrong, brilliant white sand shores gleaming under the sun like Tropic of Cancer Beach in The Bahamas are totally stunning. But not all of the best Caribbean beaches have white sand.
For instance, have you ever spent the day on a pink sand beach? Even a sprinkling of pink sand mixed in with white can make a beach truly amazing.
And then there are black sand beaches. There’s just something so regal about these ebony sands that I’ve fallen in love with over the years. Looking closely, the sand starts to look like a night sky full of sparkling stars. And fronted by that essential turquoise waters, these beaches are truly magnificent!
To go one step further, as you’ll see one of our favorite beaches even is made of shells!
A beautiful beach that fronts a resort may be nice but for us, that’s not a beach we’ll be seeking out. Sure, some beaches can overcome a row of resorts and remain amazing. Grace Bay Beach comes to mind as an example. But on the whole, we prefer our sandy shores a less populated.
This has a little to do with proximity, but for me, the best beaches require a little work to get to. They serve as a reward. Hiking through the bush, kayaking around a peninsula, requiring a boat rental in the Exumas, or only accessible by sailing away from the major islands—these beaches are the stuff of legend. And when you arrive there, with the beach all to yourself, there’s simply nothing better!
As you can guess from my stance on proximity and accessibility, I’m not interested in facilities. Our favorite beaches generally don’t have beach chair rentals, bathrooms, water sports, or changing rooms. We do, however, make a notable exception for beach bars! But that’s about as far as we need to go.
Our Picks for the Best Beaches in the Caribbean
With over 7000 islands and islets in the Caribbean, making a list of our favorite beaches is a truly tall order. So, in no particular order, here are the best of the best beaches found throughout the West Indies:
- Tahiti Beach, Elbow Cay
- Rendezvous Beach, Montserrat
- Coconut Beach, Dominica
- Baradal Beach, St. Vincent and the Grenadines
- Sandy Island Beach, Carriacou
- Sandy Point, St. Croix
- Tropic of Cancer Beach, Exuma
Will our list change in the future? Maybe, so check back now and then to stay up to date on what beaches we’re in love with now.
Tahiti Beach, Elbow Cay
One thing you don’t realize until you’ve visited a large number of beaches is that the perfect shape for a beach is a peninsula. But don’t just take our word for it; visit any peninsula-shaped beach, and it’ll turn you into a convert. And one of the best in the Caribbean is Tahiti Beach, Elbow Cay in the Abaco Islands of The Bahamas.
Rendezvous Beach, Montserrat
Rendezvous Beach is the only white sand beach on the volcanically active island of Montserrat. Only accessible via a short boat ride from nearby Little Bay or via a short hike, this stunner transforms throughout the year.
Coconut Beach, Dominica
Black is beautiful on Coconut Beach, Dominica. Jet black sands regally represent the island’s rich volcanic history. Even better, thanks to small cabanas, intrepid travelers can book stays right on these ebony sands.
Baradal Beach, St. Vincent and the Grenadines
As we said, some of the best Caribbean beaches are the ones that play hard to get. Baradal Beach in the Tobago Cays Marine National Park is just one of those beaches. Its blue water made calm and quiet thanks to a coral reef breakwater surrounding the park on almost all sides.
Union Island is one of the closest points to set out from, or you can sail six hours out of Grenada. However you get here, pristine water, sea turtles, and natural splendor awaits.
Sandy Island Beach, Carriacou
Just off the coast of quaint Carriacou is a sandbar turned must-stop for sailors. This tiny strip of sand boasts protection from north swells for those interested in anchoring here. Plus, pristine azure waters teeming with life, cooling tide pools for lounging, palm trees sprinkled along its length, and pink sands at the far end.
Sandy Point, St. Croix
No list of the best Caribbean beaches by us would be complete without our hometown favorite: Sandy Point Beach. This beach is such a natural wonder that it spends half the year off-limits thanks to nesting leatherback turtles. The rest of the time, these magnificent white sands make the ultimate St. Croix beach day.
Tropic of Cancer Beach, Exuma
Some Caribbean beaches are so amazing; they become the stuff of legend. Such is the case with Tropic of Cancer Beach on Exuma in The Bahamas. Blessed with the dictionary definition of white powder sand and a long graceful crescent shape, Tropic of Cancer, aka Pelican Beach, is undoubtedly one of the best Caribbean beaches.
Yes, there are just too many world-class beaches to list. And we would be really dropping the ball if we didn’t at least name drop a few.
Rounding out the list, we need to acknowledge Eagle Beach, Aruba; Las Playas Del Esta, Cuba; Turtle Beach, Buck Island, St. Croix; and Happy Bay Beach, St. Martin.
Even as honorable mentions, these beaches are still some of the best in the world.