When you picture the ideal Caribbean paradise, what comes to mind? Clear, turquoise waters, shimmering sands, or swaying palm trees? With over 7000 individual islands in the whole of the Caribbean, choosing the perfect tropical beach can be overwhelming. Here, then, is a guide to 101 of the most beautiful beaches from Aruba to Venezuela.
Palm Beach, Aruba
Located on the west coast, Palm Beach is a water sports enthusiast’s paradise. Its calm waters make for great windsurfing and snorkelling.
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
This beach is an entertainment hotspot, boasting a vibrant restaurant and bar scene. It’s also possible to catch a Vegas-style show, shop and indulge in some golf here.
Horseshoe Bay, Bermuda
This beautiful corner of Bermuda is known for its powdery, pink-tinted sand and turquoise waters. It has a sub-tropical climate, making the weather more temperate than that of its counterparts.
Orient Beach,St. Martin
This beach hosts hundreds of trendy restaurants that spill out onto the sand. Be warned that clothing is only optional on the south end of the beach.
Cane Garden Bay, Tortola, the British Virgin Islands
Two kilometres of silvery white sand make up this area. Its sheer expansiveness will delight joggers or people who prefer a more spacious beach experience.
Eagle Beach, Aruba
Noted for its clear shores and powdery sands, Eagle Beach is perfect for swimmers. It’s also free to the public and much quieter than its neighbouring beaches.
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Montego Bay retains a low-key and relaxed vibe. It’s also a renowned beach for snorkelling, and notable areas of interest include Doctor’s Cave, Fletcher’s Beach, and the famous Widowmaker’s Cave.
Conception Island, the Bahamas
This island is located far out into the ocean, and offers some dramatic views of the sea. It’s a fantastic beach for nature enthusiasts and is home to many tropical birds and endangered sea turtles.
Dawn Beach, St. Maarten
True to its name, Dawn Beach boasts some gorgeous sunrises over the sea. It’s also well equipped to host a variety of water sports.
Jalousie Beach, St Lucia
This beach provides a vivid impression of the Gros and Petit Piton volcanoes. The 1800ft drop-off at the base of these volcanoes is a dazzling reef for adventure-seeking snorkelers.
Clearwater Beach, Bermuda
Here, you’ll find hiking trails that display panoramic views of the ocean and surrounding islands. It’s also fairly off the beaten tourist track, making it an ideal spot for families or couples in search of privacy.
Payne’s Bay, Barbados
Located along the famous Gold (or Platinum) Coast, Payne’s Bay is considered the best place in Barbados for swimming. It’s also good for catamaran sailing and jet skiing.
Playa Paraiso, Cayo Largo del Sur, Cuba
Known for its breath-taking stretches of crystalline sand, this beach is for the romantic at heart. It’s a quiet spot with only one beachside restaurant, making it an idyllic haven for those who want to get away from the crowds.
Shoal Bay, Anguilla
In contrast, Shoal Bay is a buzzing place with many beach bars and eateries. It also has dense off-shore reefs that enclose many kinds of psychedelic fish.
Flamenco Beach, Puerto Rico
This beach isn’t too far from the Puerto Rican mainland, making it a great weekend destination for locals as well as tourists. It is surrounded by lush, green hills. Since this beach is located within a wildlife reserve, it’s a top spot for nature-lovers.
Casuarina Beach, Palm Island, the Grenadines
Similarly, Palm Island is home to thousands of iguana, especially on the beautiful Casuarina Beach. It’s a small island with only a handful of private homes and resorts.
Les Salines, Martinique
This beach is known for its tall, swaying palm trees and expansive ocean vistas. It’s a popular area for families and day-trippers.
Englishman’s Bay, Tobago
This beach forms a flawless crescent moon shape, and is trimmed with thick, verdant forests. It is perfect all year round for snorkelling and swimming.
Seven-Mile Beach, Grand Cayman
This world-famous beach is home to plush resorts and condominiums, and is consistently balmy at 27 degrees in winter. The vast span of sand here makes it a popular with beach sports enthusiasts.
Nassau, the Bahamas
Here, you’ll find up to 100ft visibility in these clear, pool-like waters. The Blue Hole, in particular, is home to thousands of iridescent fish and corals – not to mention a few shipwrecks!
Cayo Coco, Cuba
This forms part of a group of islands called Jardines del Rey – Gardens of the King – and it’s easy to see why. The sky is consistently azure, the sea is a brilliant turquoise, and there’s plenty of horseback riding and fishing to do.
Dickenson Bay, Antigua and Barbuda
This quiet beach is known for its laid-back, groovy beach bars. It’s a spacious beach with tranquil waters for swimming.
Maho Beach, St. Maarten
Located on the Dutch side of the island, this unique and thrilling beach is a prime area for plane-spotters. Why? Planes here have to fly at minimal altitude, right over the beach, before they land at the nearby Princess Juliana International Airport.
Friar’s Bay, St. Martin
If you venture to the French side of this island, you’ll come across Friar’s Bay, a secluded little beach that is home to Kali’s Beach Bar. This bar is famous for its irresistible reggae grooves, bonfires and Full Moon Parties.
Boston Bay Beach, Port Antonio, Jamaica
This is the go-to place for some authentic Jamaican flavour. It’s famous with locals for its ubiquitous jerk stands, which are believed to be the best in Jamaica. Surfing is also a popular pastime.
Hadicurari Beach, Aruba
Hadicurari is similarly famous for water sports. It hosts the Hi-Winds AM Windsurf Competition, and is a top place to meet other windsurfing enthusiasts.
Rum Point, Grand Cayman
This is the home of The Wreck Bar, a famous hangout where the Frozen Mudslide cocktail was born! There is plenty of accommodation on this beach, not to mention a wide range of beach and water sports facilities.
Brighton Beach, Barbados
Brighton Beach is close to the harbour, making it the perfect option for day-trippers looking for a swim and a tan. It’s also fully equipped with all of your essential beach amenities.
Reduit Beach, St. Lucia
Reduit Beach consists of a long, silvery strip of sand, making it perfect for a romantic stroll. There are also lots of restaurants to choose from to enjoy a cheeky post-stroll sundowner.
Plalencia is reasonably priced and more relaxed in comparison to nearby beaches. It has excellent offshore coral reefs for diving.
Crane Beach, Barbados
Rated as one of the world’s best, Crane Beach is protected from the elements by some striking rocky outcroppings. The small waves are excellent for body-boarding and for bold swimmers.
Diamond Beach, Martinique
Dazzling white sands and turquoise waters make this undeveloped beach one of the most popular on Martinique. It offers an impressive view of the rocky uninhabited island, Diamond Rock.
Palominos Island, Puerto Rico
This exclusive private getaway is holds a strong allure for lovers of the high-life. Think top class spas and ice-cold cocktails. It’s only available to people staying at the Conquistador Resort and Golden Door Spa.
Mopion Beach, St. Vincent
This small swirl of white beach in the middle of the shimmering sea is the ideal spot for that dream Caribbean picnic. It can be reached from Petit St. Vincent.
Pinney’s Beach, St. Kitts and Nevis
This tranquil, azure paradise is perfect for those who want to get away from the crowds. It is also secluded from winds and tides. This is one of the best beaches in the Caribbean for horseback riding.
Elbow Beach, Bermuda
This beach gets its name from the gentle elbow-shaped curve it makes along the coast. It’s popular with the locals, and people often gather here to relax after a long day of work.
Simpson Bay Beach, St. Maarten
Here, you’ll discover a unique fishing heritage that has been passed down through the generations. Enjoy some distinct Caribbean dishes as the famous restaurant, Mary’s Boon.
Anse Chastanet, St. Lucia
This beach has some vibrant coral reefs and sea walls – right by the shore. This means that it’s paradise for snorkelers who do not wish to take a boat out to sea.
Cayman Kai, Grand Cayman
People say that this beach has all the amenities of the Seven Mile Beach, minus the crowds. Savour some great international fare at the Kaibo Beach Bar and Grill.
Brandon’s Beach, Barbados
Located on the west coast of Barbados near the harbour, this beach is great for day visitors. Weiser’s On Bay is a popular local watering hole that specialises in local dishes and cocktails.
Sainte Anne, Guadeloupe
Snorkelling, scuba diving, windsurfing – you name it, Sainte Anne has it. This chic beach is also has a distinct French flavour for those in search of some continental flair.
Grace Bay, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands
This long 8 kilometre strip pairs glittering seascapes with platinum sands. It is a vast beach, and even at peak visiting hours you’ll feel like you’re the only one there.
White Bay, the British Virgin Islands
This used to be one of the best-kept secrets of the BVI’s – until recently, when it was rated as one of the best beaches in the world. It’s a peaceful beach with plenty of shade as provided by emerald green forests.
Trunk Bay, the US Virgin Islands
Speaking of the best beaches in the world, Trunk Bay was rated by National Geographic as the world’s most beautiful. It is particularly famous for an underwater snorkelling trail that reveals some of the most breath-taking reef impressions in the Caribbean.
Canouan, the Grenadines
This is a hidden gem, consisting of secluded, Eden-like beaches and crystal waters. It is the perfect romantic getaway.
Petit Tabac, the Grenadines
If you want a different kind of romantic experience, head to Petit Tabac in the Tobago Cays National Park, and relive your favourite scene in The Pirates of the Caribbean. That’s right; Kiera Knightly and Jonny Depp filmed the famous “rum scene” right here.
Warwick Long Bay, Bermuda
Long grass and tropical scrub make this beach unique. Coral reefs just off the shore protect these tranquil waters from tides.
Happy Bay Beach, St. Martin
This beach can only be reached by hiking. That’s why it’s known as St. Martin’s ultimate hidden slice of paradise.
Baie Nettle, St. Martin
On the French side of the island, Baie Nettle is a chic little beach with lush hotels and restaurants. Try Layla’s Beach Bar for some scrumptious French cuisine.
Shell Beach, St. Bart’s
If you’re looking to get away from the boutiques and high-class services of St. Bart’s, head to Shell Beach for something a little more down-to-earth. This is an excellent beach for cliff diving, and the Do Brazil restaurant serves delicious cocktails at reasonable prices.
Owen Island, Little Cayman
This beach is almost uninhabited, and is secluded enough to offer an exciting desert island experience. Rowing and kayaking are popular activities.
Paradise Beach, Barbados
This is another top spot for snorkelling and swimming. The shallow rock formations on the shoreline are particularly intriguing.
Half-Moon Bay, Antigua
Here you’ll find the kind of buoyant surf that’s perfect for boogey-boarding. There’s also a good chance of finding reasonably-priced accommodation right on the beach.
This exclusive beach consists of luxurious private apartments and resorts. The water is transparent, the sand is white, and you can even catch a round of golf here.
Pink Sand Beach, Harbour Island, the Bahamas
This exceptionally beautiful beach consists of 6 kilometres of pink-tinted sand. The pink colour comes from crushed pieces of coral. Its clear reefs are also ideal for snorkelling and diving.
The Baths, Virgin Gorda, the Britis Virgin Islands
This stunning beach is consists of a compositionally striking collection of huge boulders, grottos, sand and palms. It’s ideal for adventurous beach-goers keen for a bit of exploration.
St. Jean Beach, St. Bart’s
This glamorous stretch of beach has been likened to the French Riviera – with its clothes on, of course. The still waters are ideal for swimming.
Bayahibe, the Dominican Republic
With three shipwrecks and magnificent coral reefs on offer, Bayahibe is a snorkeler’s dream destination. Colourful starfish populate the shoreline. It’s also a great place for bird watching.
Tahiti Beach, Abaco Island
No roads lead to this hidden gem of a beach on the south-western tip of the island. Long, rippling sandbars make for some memorable strolls.
Mullet Bay, St. Maarten
Visitors to this beach have said that the clear sea water is like that of a swimming pool. The rolling waves are ideal for strong swimmers.
Baie Aux Prunes, St. Martin
Over on the French side of the island, Baie Aux Prunes (or Plum Bay Beach) provides some of the best nude beach sunbathers with a quiet haven. It’s also home to some impressive private houses.
Treasure Beach, Jamaica
If you’re keen to get off the tourist track, head to Treasure Beach and experience the “real” Jamaica. This area still plays a major role in local fishing and farming practices, and many Jamaicans frequent the beach.
Astwood Cove, Bermuda
Located right beneath a steep and striking cliff, Astwood Cove is a fantastic place for hiking and exploring. It’s also a picturesque spot for a picnic.
La Piscina, Los Roques, Venezuela
Known as “little pool” in English, this part of Francisqui Island is a charming lagoon with dazzling reefs. The water is warm, clear and perfect for diving.
Seven Mile Beach, Jamaica
Not to be confused with the Seven Mile Beach in the Caymans, this long strip retains a distinct bohemian 1960’s feel. You can find anything from hair braiding to tie-dyeing here. Prudes beware that this beach is clothing-optional.
Grande Anse, Grenada
This beautiful beach is known for its serenity – rocks and reefs ensure that Grande Anse is tide and wind-free. It is also overlooked by lavish mansions and hotels.
Luquillo Beach, Puerto Rico
Distinguished by its gentle crescent shape and coconut grove, this pretty lagoon is surrounded by coral reefs that protect it from Atlantic currents. The powdery white sands of this beach make for some gorgeous photographs.
Harrismith Beach, Barbados
This beach is far removed from the boutique resort scene, and actually holds some important historical significance. Amongst the dramatic surrounding cliffs are the ruins of an old plantation.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
This is a great place to visit for some distinct Puerto Rican flavour. Beach bars and restaurants keep the party vibe going at night, while during the day there are hundreds of beach sports activities to get involved in.
Sandy Spit, the British Virgin Islands
This is your classic deserted island. Have a romantic picnic right by the tranquil, azure lagoon, or go diving through one of its abundant reefs.
Isla Saona, the Dominican Republic
This is actually part of the nature preserve, Parque Nacional del Este, and is therefore free of crowds all year round. The beach is home to many quaint fishing settlements, and is also well-known for introducing visitors to the vibrant local art and music scene.
Ile Tintamarre, St. Martin
Back to French St. Martin we go, and this time we’re visiting an 80 acre islet that is a top spot for nude sun tanners in search of some privacy. There are many stunning, sheltered coves on this small island.
Ilet Pinel, St. Martin
Visitors to this particular little island have called it “the picture-perfect tropical paradise.” Small, hidden beaches make for romantic settings, and there are even a few seafood restaurants.
Boca Catalina, Aruba
The shoreline is dotted with charming little beach huts, called palapas. These provide some welcome respite from the heat of the sun in the afternoons, and are excellent viewing spots for dreamy sunsets.
Grand Cul De Sac, St. Bart’s
Locals say that this beach has the calmest waters in the whole of St. Bart’s. This makes it a wonderful place for families with small children who wish to take a swim in the blue.
Sandy Point, Little Cayman
This is a very quiet beach on the east coast of Little Cayman, for people who want a desert-island adventure without being too far from civilisation! Be sure to bring your own food and drink, as there is nothing on this beach but the sand and the waves.
Crasqui, Los Roques, Venezuela
This island has some charming beachside restaurants specializing in the best local-style seafood on the archipelago. It’s also possible to rent kayaks and windsurfs.
Pink Beach, Barbuda
The pink sand of this exceptionally romantic place has become its hallmark, making it a pilgrimage for beach-lovers across the world. Its reefs are also world-class, and provide some unforgettable diving experiences.
Sandy Island, Carriacou, Grenada
It’s possible to see colourful fish swim around your feet as you stand in the clear waters of Sandy Island. Winds and storms have caused the beaches of this island to change shape, making it an intriguing exploratory destination.
Petit St. Vincent
This exclusive island is home to high-end hotels where you can admire the silvery sands and azure waters with a chilled cocktail in hand. Beaches are secluded and private.
Great Bay Beach, St. Maarten
Located in the cosmopolitan area of Philipsburg, this beach boasts exclusive hotels and even a casino. It’s possible to watch cruise ships come and go as you walk amongst the colourful umbrellas of the Great Bay Beach Promenade.
Sun Bay Beach, Isla de Vieques, Puerto Rico
This is a wonderful little place to picnic with your friends under the lazily swaying arches of tall palm trees. It’s also not too developed, giving it an authentic “desert-island” feel.
Galion Beach, St. Martin
This crescent moon-shaped beach can be found inside the protected Nature Marine Reserve. It is best explored on horseback.
Kim Sha Beach, St. Maarten
This beach has a buzzing nightlife – concerts and parties are often held right on the sand. The Buccaneer’s Bar is a particular favourite with tourists and locals alike.
Flamand’s Beach, St. Bart’s
The surf of this beach is quite lively, but it is hardly treacherous and fun for able-bodied swimmers. Body-boarders can also take advantage of the buoyant waves.
Smith Cove, Little Cayman
This tranquil but fully equipped lagoon has excellent snorkelling facilities. This South Sound cove is also protected from winds and tides.
Mullin’s Beach, Barbados
This is another popular spot for day visitors, and comes fully equipped with water sports facilities, deck chairs and restaurants. Of these is the famous Mannie’s Suga Suga Beach Bar.
Playa Grande, Costa Rica
Here, you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of some of the world’s rarest sea turtles. The colour of the find sand changes consistently, from white to grey to silver.
Guana Bay, St. Maarten
The rolling surf of this beach is fun for surfers and body-boarders. Indeed, it provides photographers with some striking images of ice-blue curling waves.
Gouverneur Beach, St. Bart’s
This is another secluded beach for people who like to tan in the buff. You’ll experience some gorgeous views of neighbouring islands Saba, St. Kitts and St. Eustasius.
Colombier Beach, St. Bart’s
A longer stay on St. Bart’s deserves a visit to Colombier Beach, which is haven for locals and tourists looking to get away from the bustle of the capital. Some parts of the beach are completely deserted, and camping is even permitted.
Curtain Bluff, Antigua
This wide, golden expanse of sand is surrounded by mangrove swamps, making it a wonderful place for bird-watchers and wildlife enthusiasts. Settle down in one of their cosy waterfront palapas and watch the sun set.
Saltwhistle Bay, Mayreau, St. Vincent and the Grenadines
This pretty little curve of talcum sand is framed by tall, languid palm trees. Set up a picnic and watch the yachts anchor in. It’s also close to the beautiful uninhabited Tobago Cays.
Dos Playa, Aruba
This is isolated beach, made up of platinum sand, has an otherworldly appeal with writhing cacti growing out of the rocks. The strong waves are excellent for windsurfing.
Playa Rincon, Dominican Republic
Rippling sands and multi-coloured waters make this beach a secret treat. Sample some fresh seafood at one of its rustic restaurants, or bring a picnic basket and enjoy your own private slice of paradise.
Manzanilla Beach, Trinidad
This is another one for wildlife-lovers. Water buffalo are known to stroll along the golden sand and it’s also possible to spot egrets and herons here.
Whitby Beach, Pumpkin Bluff Beach, Horse Stable Beach, North Caicos, Turks and Caicos Islands
Catch a half-hour ferry ride from the more populous Grace Bay Beach, and head to North Caicos. The beaches here are empty, and have vast areas for snorkelling. They even host the occasional lively flock of flamingos.
Honeymoon Beach, St. John
This forms part of the Virgin Island National Park, and offers an unspoiled tropical island experience. Make yourself comfortable on an empty stretch of sand and watch colourful sailboats carve through the sea.
Rendezvous Bay, Antigua
This beach is aptly named for the exclusive privacy it offers – and it can only be reached on foot. Your physical effort will be well-rewarded at the Dune Preserve, a quirky local bar run by a local reggae artist.
La Sagesse, Grenada
This wonderfully rustic beach is a great place to sample some hearty, no-frills local grub. You can also browse through some of the many book stalls that are located in and amongst the coconut trees.
Bathsheba’s Soup Bowl, Barbados
Strong Atlantic waves make the waters of this beach white and foamy – almost like the rich baths of milk that Queen Bathsheba took to preserve her beauty. It has been rated as one of the best beaches for surfing in the Caribbean.