25 Best Beaches in the Caribbean | Islands

25 Best Beaches in the Caribbean

Editor’s Note: Some of the information below may be out-of-date. Anguilla, Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, St. Barth, St. Maarten/St. Martin and the U.S. Virgin Islands were all heavily impacted by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria. Please visit caribbeantravelupdate.com for updates.

Our editors, photographers and contributors have landed on literally hundreds of Caribbean beaches on purpose or by accident, and these 25 rise to the top as our favorites.

25 Best Beaches in the Caribbean | Most Beautiful Beaches in the World | Best Island Beaches | The Baths BVI

1. The Baths, BVI

It isn't just the trees off the beach that provide shade — the boulders offer cover too, and how many places this side of the Seychelles can claim that? It's possible to get to The Baths by car or by boat (preferred, if you charter one). Then you squeeze between the rocks to claim a very cool slice of the Caribbean's best beach.

Access: 10

Privacy: 8

Texture: 9

Shade: 9

Castaway Factor: 9

Total Score: 45

Zach Stovall

25 Best Beaches in the Caribbean | Most Beautiful Beaches in the World | Best Island Beaches | Playa Zoni, Puerto Rico

2. Playa Zoni, Culebra, Puerto Rico

It costs all of $4.50 (roundtrip) to take a ferry from mainland Puerto Rico to Culebra, which thankfully is enough to keep a host of visitors from jumping on board. Those who do make the trek typically go to the beach closer to the ferry dock on Culebra, Flamenco. So we always invest in a 20-minute drive across island to this quieter find.

Access: 9

Privacy: 10

Texture: 9

Shade: 7

Castaway Factor: 9

Total Score: 44

Zach Stovall

25 Best Beaches in the Caribbean | Most Beautiful Beaches in the World | Best Island Beaches | Little Bay, Anguilla

3. Little Bay, Anguilla

Anguilla has half a dozen candidates for our top 25, but Little Bay is an easy choice. It involves an easy little trail hike, which keeps it uncrowded. When the trail opens up, it's all cliffs and marine life (bring the snorkel gear).

Access: 8

Privacy: 9

Texture: 9

Shade: 7

Castaway Factor: 10

Total Score: 43

Zach Stovall

25 Best Beaches in the Caribbean | Most Beautiful Beaches in the World | Best Island Beaches | Bathsheba, Barbados

4. Bathsheba, Barbados

Those iconic rocks aren't boulders that washed ashore. They’re remnants of an ancient reef. Their mushroom-like appearance is the handiwork of Bathsheba's waves, which surfers love. At low tide, pools form at the base of the rocks that are perfect for exploring, cooling off, and rum punch parties. Yes, a rum shop is nearby. It rubs elbows with a church. Both are reminders Bathsheba isn't just a photo op 14 miles away from Bridgetown. It's a fishing community, and a friendly one.

Access: 9

Privacy: 8

Texture: 6

Shade: 10

Castaway Factor: 9

Total Score: 43

Shutterstock

25 Best Beaches in the Caribbean | Most Beautiful Beaches in the World | Best Island Beaches | Low Bay Barbuda

5. Low Bay, Barbuda

In our books, the hard-to-get sister island of Antigua has the very best sand in the Caribbean — good enough to be ferried to other islands known for perfect beaches. Low Bay sits along what is essentially an 17-mile sandbar so pink and so soft that photographer Zach Stovall says he has "sunk in it up to my calves."

Access: 6

Privacy: 10

Texture: 10

Shade: 5

Castaway Factor: 9

Total Score: 40

Zach Stovall

25 Best Beaches in the Caribbean | Most Beautiful Beaches in the World | Best Island Beaches | Pink Sands Beach Bahamas

6. Pink Sands Beach, Harbour Island, Bahamas

Frankly, this 3-mile stretch of Bahamian coastline frustrates us. Its famous pink hues – a mix of white sand and red shells of forminifera – are unbelievably vibrant in person. They're also unbelievably difficult to capture in photos. Of course, if Pink Sands Beach presented itself as well in photos as it does to its visitors, a sea of loungers would cover its rosy sands.

Access: 8

Privacy: 8

Texture: 9

Shade: 7

Castaway Factor: 7

Total Score: 39

Zach Stovall

25 Best Beaches in the Caribbean | Most Beautiful Beaches in the World | Best Island Beaches | Carriacou

7. Anse La Roche, Carriacou

It takes a GPS to find this beach, either via hike through the woods or via boat through the Grenadines. It's on the least traveled end of Carriacou, which says something considering the island has only one gas station and qualifies as an exotic Caribbean outpost even at its busiest dock (which is nowhere near here). The easiest way to see it? Come with us on our next dream trip. The beach is one of seven stops we'll make aboard Sail Windjammer's Mandalay in October, 2015.

See trip details at islands.com/ioa.

Access: 3

Privacy: 9

Texture: 9

Shade: 8

Castaway Factor: 10

Total Score: 39

Jon Whittle

25 Best Beaches in the Caribbean | Most Beautiful Beaches in the World | Best Island Beaches | Grace Bay Turks and Caicos

8. Grace Bay, Turks and Caicos

When it comes to the color of water and the brightness of sand, Grace Bay is the clear winner. Development along the coast in recent years has not diminished the aesthetics. Amazing.

Access: 10

Privacy: 5

Texture: 8

Shade: 9

Castaway Factor: 7

Total Score: 39

Zach Stovall

25 Best Beaches in the Caribbean | Most Beautiful Beaches in the World | Best Island Beaches | Saltwhistle Grenadines

9. Saltwhistle, Mayreau, Grenadines

There must be something special about this part of the Grenadines, because Mayreau is on the same Sail Windjammer route as #7 Anse La Roche. When the access of a beach ranks as a "3" out of 10 that's actually a good thing (read: you're among the lucky few).

Come to this exact spot with us in October.

Access: 3

Privacy: 9

Texture: 9

Shade: 8

Castaway Factor: 10

Total Score: 39

Jon Whittle

The Caribbean's 25 Best Beaches

10. Pinel Island, St. Martin

Getting here requires a $12 boat ride that takes about five minutes, but the scene here (food, paddleboarding, weird shore wagons) more fun than it is peaceful. We don't sit much, so the $25 charge for beach chairs and umbrella doesn't really faze us. Lounging types, bring cash.

Access: 8

Privacy: 6

Texture: 8

Shade: 8

Castaway Factor: 8

Total Score: 38

Zach Stovall

25 Best Beaches in the Caribbean | Most Beautiful Beaches in the World | Best Island Beaches | White Bay, BVI

11. White Bay, BVI

This beach on Jost Van Dyke is famous thanks to the Soggy Dollar Bar, whose fame is tied to the Painkiller drink, which was born here in the 1970’s. The rum cocktail has its own fan club, and its recipe on our website is visited more than our entire BVI online guide. As for White Bay Beach itself, there’s no better place to get soggy sipping painkillers.

Access: 7

Privacy: 7

Texture: 9

Shade: 8

Castaway Factor: 7

Total Score: 38

Zach Stovall

25 Best Beaches in the Caribbean | Most Beautiful Beaches in the World | Best Island Beaches | Exumas Bahamas

12. Exumas, Bahamas

The Exumas compare favorably with the Maldives, except this part of the Bahamas is a heckuva lot closer. From overhead these beaches go on and on, an endless series of empty sandbars. From water level it's hard to tell if they've been claimed by any living beings beyond the pigs that swim out from a few of the cays.

Access: 5

Privacy: 10

Texture: 9

Shade: 4

Castaway Factor: 10

Total Score: 38

Shutterstock

25 Best Beaches in the Caribbean | Most Beautiful Beaches in the World | Best Island Beaches | Sandy Island Anguilla

13. Sandy Island, Anguilla

Four hurricanes in the past 20 years have left their marks on this islet off of Anguilla. Locals like to say the storms reshaped Sandy Island into the sculpture it is today. Unlike the majority of beaches on our list, this one has a sit-down restaurant ... with grilled lobster. Oh yeah.

Access: 7

Privacy: 9

Texture: 8

Shade: 5

Castaway Factor: 9

Total Score: 38

Zach Stovall

25 Best Beaches in the Caribbean | Most Beautiful Beaches in the World | Best Island Beaches | Isabela, Puerto Rico

14. Isabela, Puerto Rico

The northwest corner of Puerto Rico is a beacon for surfing at dawn, organic food at lunch, and sunsets that seem to make the day go on and on. People who live in Puerto Rico, or who used to live on the island, will hear the mention of Isabela and start into a dreamy echo: "Oh, I love Isa ... bell ... ah."

Access: 9

Privacy: 7

Texture: 8

Shade: 8

Castaway Factor: 6

Total Score: 38

Zach Stovall

25 Best Beaches in the Caribbean | Most Beautiful Beaches in the World | Best Island Beaches | Arashi, Aruba

15. Arashi, Aruba

Of all of Aruba’s iconic beaches, why did we pick this one? For starters, it isn’t in the hotel zone. It’s just a short, $2.50 bus ride away. A few yards offshore there’s fantastic snorkeling. On the beach you’ll hear locals speak Dutch, Papiamento, Spanish and English in a single sentence. And while there are no facilities, there are palapas. On weekends, arrive early to secure one.

Access: 8

Privacy: 5

Texture: 7

Shade: 8

Castaway Factor: 9

Total Score: 37

Shutterstock

25 Best Beaches in the Caribbean | Most Beautiful Beaches in the World | Best Island Beaches | The Baths BVI

16. Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman

Among Islands followers, this beach (officially 5.5 miles) beat out all Caribbean rivals. That could be because of the staggering number of visitors it hosts. But our bet is it has to do with Calico Jacks, an iconic beach bar on the north end. It’s a favorite among locals, celebrities and Sports Illustrated swimsuit models. But its real draw is a bearded bartender named Marty, who pours with a heavy hand. The proof is in this video in which Marty shares his recipe for a Cayman Lemonade.

Access: 10

Privacy: 5

Texture: 8

Shade: 8

Castaway Factor: 5

Total Score: 36

Zach Stovall

25 Best Beaches in the Caribbean | Most Beautiful Beaches in the World | Best Island Beaches | Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman

17. Hanslollick, St. Thomas

It takes some determination to get onto this sand. Photographer Zach Stovall has rented a boat to do so, and he wasn't disappointed in the end result. The sand is more yellow than white (the jokes about yellow snow do not apply here) and the exclusivity is the main attraction. One of the ideal places for a Caribbean picnic.

Access: 3

Privacy: 9

Texture: 8

Shade: 7

Castaway Factor: 9

Total Score: 36

Zach Stovall

25 Best Beaches in the Caribbean | Most Beautiful Beaches in the World | Best Island Beaches | Anse de Grande Saline, St. Barths

18. Anse de Grande Saline, St. Barths

To say this beach just over a sandy path is "natural" might be missing half the point. No development, got it. No clothes, oh my. We lock our eyes on the horizon beyond the horseshoe-shape cove — it's quite a sight ... out there.

Access: 9

Privacy: 7

Texture: 8

Shade: 4

Castaway Factor: 8

Total Score: 36

Zach Stovall

25 Best Beaches in the Caribbean | Most Beautiful Beaches in the World | Best Island Beaches | Playa Breton, Dominican Republic

19. Playa Breton, Dominican Republic

Along the north shore of the DR (far east from the crowds in Cabarete and way west of Punta Cana, is a buffet of beaches that, at least during the week when we visited, were just waiting for someone to step on. Playa Breton isn't as huge as most beaches on our list, but it doesn't need to be. Just up the embankment from the sand we found almond trees, noni trees, and enough natural sustenance to keep us going in a real food crisis.

Access: 9

Privacy: 5

Texture: 5

Shade: 9

Castaway Factor: 8

Total Score: 36

Jon Whittle

25 Best Beaches in the Caribbean | Most Beautiful Beaches in the World | Best Island Beaches | Frenchman's Cove Jamaica

20. Frenchman's Cove, Jamaica

On the opposite side of the island from Montego Bay is this relatively quiet find among rock outcroppings. It sits at the end of a clean river, too, so we use the fresh river water to rinse off the sea salt before heading into Port Antonio.

Access: 7

Privacy: 7

Texture: 7

Shade: 6

Castaway Factor: 8

Total Score: 35

Zach Stovall

25 Best Beaches in the Caribbean | Most Beautiful Beaches in the World | Best Island Beaches | Tulum

21. Tulum, Riviera Maya

It's about 80 miles south of Cancun and seems to be walled off from the major development taking shape elsewhere along Mexico's Riviera Maya. Those who know about Tulum, like Islands photographer Zach Stovall, would like to see it kept that way, partly for the hidden appeal that's here now and also out of respect for the stone ruins that sit high above the beach.

Access: 9

Privacy: 7

Texture: 7

Shade: 6

Castaway Factor: 6

Total Score: 35

Shutterstock

25 Best Beaches in the Caribbean | Most Beautiful Beaches in the World | Best Island Beaches | Sandy Spit, BVI

22. Sandy Spit, BVI

You need a boat. Forget about facilities. And as for a beach walk, you’ll circle back to your starting point in about seven minutes. So what gives? This beach, spitting distance from Jost Van Dyke, taps a reservoir of island fantasies deep in our psyche: lost and loving it; marooned by choice. We've all dreamed of such things. It's why Sandy Spit, which measures less than a half acre, has landed on the the cover of Islands several times.

Access: 2

Privacy: 10

Texture: 8

Shade: 4

Castaway Factor: 10

Total Score: 34

Shutterstock

25 Best Beaches in the Caribbean | Most Beautiful Beaches in the World | Best Island Beaches | Les Saintes Guadaloupe

23. Les Saintes, Guadeloupe

Our specific pick among Les Saintes is Plage de Pompierre on the little island of Terre-de-Haut. There isn't much foot traffic on this lonely island, so the beach is secluded, yet there's just enough need for business to score a crepe en route to Pompierre on a motorbike.

Access: 3

Privacy: 9

Texture: 7

Shade: 8

Castaway Factor: 7

Total Score: 34

Shutterstock

25 Best Beaches in the Caribbean | Most Beautiful Beaches in the World | Best Island Beaches | Magens Bay, St. Thomas

24. Magens Bay, St. Thomas

You could make cases that Waterlemon Cay on St. John or Turtle Beach off St. Croix should also be representing the USVI on our list. But we have to give the nod for this spot Magens Bay, with a public beach that sits back in a deep cove where the water is as brilliant as it is warm.

Access: 10

Privacy: 4

Texture: 7

Shade: 8

Castaway Factor: 4

Total Score: 33

Zach Stovall

25 Best Beaches in the Caribbean | Most Beautiful Beaches in the World | Best Island Beaches | Maracas, Trinidad

25. Maracas, Trinidad

It's the classic look that makes anyone north of the Florida Keys drool. Tall palms, rolling hills, wide swaths of sand, classic Caribbean water. But this one scores enough points to make our top 25 because the food stalls are serving up Trinidadian fish sandwiches here — beaches make us hungry.

Access: 7

Privacy : 5

Texture: 6

Shade: 7

Castaway Factor: 6

Total Score: 31

Zach Stovall

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