While the Caribbean is blessed with charming coves and hidden beaches that seem to come straight out of Robinson Crusoe, the most impressive are the ‘super beaches’ that stretch uninterrupted along the shore. Many are the focal point for big hotels and restaurants, attracting the buzz of a vacation crowd, but it is incredible to discover that many more are effectively deserted throughout the year. For a superlative beach vacation, try the following…
Seven Mile Beach, Jamaica
Sheltered by a reef at Negril on Jamaica’s West Coast, Seven Mile is the island’s longest uninterrupted stretch of sand. And what sand it is. This powdery expanse of photogenic indulgence is bordered by translucent 80-degree water on one side, and drooping palm trees on the other. The beach is home to several well-known hotels, so is well stocked with watersports opportunities. At sunset, however, nature takes over – few places offer a more dramatic location to watch the sun disappear below the horizon.
Grace Bay, Provo, Turks and Caicos
Not so long ago, the Turks and Caicos were practically untouched by both tourism and modern amenities. A steady but merciful tourist boom in recent decades has added high-end luxury resorts to the mix. Grace Bay is the quintessential Caribbean landscape – exceptionally fine sand and clear water. The five-mile beach is where several luxury resorts and condominium complexes have put down roots.
17-mile Beach, Barbuda
Antigua’s sister island, Barbuda, is an almost untouched expanse of flat scrub and alluring pink sand, the remnants of the surrounding coral reef. Just a short stretch of this pristine powder would be enough to make a vacation, but seventeen miles of it is a wicked indulgence. Barbuda is reached by a ferry from Antigua and attracts a fraction of its sister’s footfall. It is possible to wander from one end of this beach to the other without encountering another soul.
Pink Sand Beach, Harbour Island, Bahamas
Regularly voted one of the best beaches in the Caribbean, Harbour Island’s Pink Sand Beach is certainly one of the most recognizable. The three and a half miles of pink powder come from broken down shells that attach themselves to the surrounding reef. The beach is home to some luxury hotels and cottages, but non-millionaires are welcome to pull up a sun lounger at any of the beachfront restaurants.
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
While Barbuda’s 17 Mile Beach is often referred to as the longest in the Caribbean, the tag really belongs to the extended strip of talcum beach at Punta Cana/Bavaro. The confusion probably stems from the fact that the coast is considered a region rather than a single beach. This 20-mile strip of idyllic sand is now home to a string of all-inclusive resorts that capitalize on the soft breeze blowing through the palm trees and the warm, shallow, reef-protected waters. Unlike the more exclusive resorts listed above, Punta Cana is a more budget-friendly, accessible region popular with families.