Best Caribbean Beaches

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Grace Bay Beach

Grace Bay Beach, by C. H. Stapen

The Caribbean is known for its glorious beaches and some of the region’s best fringe Anguilla, Turks and Caicos and Aruba. Follow this guide to some top spots.

Anguilla (which rhymes with “vanilla”) may not be pretty in the classic sense, yet it is anything but plain. Anguilla, a tiny island of just 35-square miles, delivers what many label as the Caribbean’s most beautiful beaches. Anguilla is also known for its restaurants.

Rendezvous Bay and Maunday’s Bay on the Caribbean as well as Meads and Shoal Bay East on the Atlantic are exceptionally lovely with sugar soft sands and calm turquoise waters. At Shoal Bay East kids can snorkel the close-in reef or walk along the sands looking at the tiny silvery fish caught in the tide pools. Must-dine-at restaurants include Blanchard’s, known for its contemporary Caribbean cuisine and Hibernia, in the northeastern hills, specializes in Caribbean fare with Asian influences. The island’s one-time signature hotel, Malliouhana, reopened in fall 2014 after a change of hands and a renovation.

Grace Bay Beach–12 miles of white sands—is the big draw on Providenciales, affectionately called “Provo,” the main tourist island of the Turks and Caicos chain. Despite development in recent years, Provo still offers a slow-paced beach getaway. The Princess Alexandra Marine National Park beckons off-shore from Grace Bay Beach. The best reefs for divers and snorkelers are a short boat ride away.

Oceanfront Anacaona, at Grace Bay Resort, serves island-influenced Mediterranean fare that’s tasty and also expensive. For inexpensive local food, go to Da Conch Shack. At this seaside eatery, kids can splash in the water while watching cooks cut the conch from their shells for truly fresh meals.

Grace Bay Resorts offers condos (villas) for rent and also hotel rooms. All-inclusive Beaches Turks & Caicos, a sprawling resort, features children’s and teens programs, a waterpark, and multiple restaurants.

Aruba, with near-constant trade winds of 10-20 knots plus less than 20 inches of rain per year, virtually guarantees sunny weather. On see-and-be-seen Palm Beach, a long stretch of sand fronting the island’s high rise hotels, several upmarket resorts offer supervised children’s programs. Teens like the beach’s bustling vibe plus the parasailing and other vendor offered Caribbean adventures.

The shops and cafes that face Palm Beach’s hotels on the inland side make it easy to find souvenirs as well as dining options, including inexpensive meals and snacks. The beware: some hotels lack enough chaise lounges. That motivates many guests to rise early to claim their spaces.

Good choices for big resorts with casinos include the Radisson Aruba and the Aruba Marriott Resort. Gasparito Restaurant and Art Gallery serves keshi yena (chicken with pasta) and other traditional Aruban fare. Papiamento presents a tasty fusion of Caribbean and continental fare.

 

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