The Best Beaches of the Greater Antilles includes the islands of the Cayman Islands, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico. Visit the Greater Antilles to experience the French, Spanish, English and Creole speaking islands as well as their unique cultures. Puerto Rico is a U.S. Territory, but has a rich Spanish history. Visit its warm beaches, or spend a day in San Juan exploring colonial architecture. The Dominican Republic is a beach destination with a fascinating interior. Take in the Dominican Republic’s famous white sands. For a different kind of trip, explore the dramatic headlands that abut the coast, or hike the interior volcanoes. Jamaica is a fascinating place to visit. Tourists love the coastal resorts, inland jungles and famous waterfalls. At night, groove to the island’s best musicians and enjoy famous Jamaican-style beach parties. Nothing says vacation like crystalline blue waters, white-sand beaches and luxurious indulgence. Greater Antilles travel can provide all this and more for a wonderful beach vacation. Visit us on Pinterest!
Most travelers flock to the Cayman Islands for diving at sites like Stingray City and Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman’s marquee stretch of pristine sand. Resorts there are mainstays for many reasons—the Greg Norman-designed golf course, Eric Ripert seafood restaurant, and La Prairie spa among them. Of course with this, comes the crowds.
You won’t want to miss Grand Cayman’s Camana Bay. This is a 600-acre waterfront development that features retail spaces, landscaped boulevards, and an observation tower with 360-degree views of Seven Mile Beach, George Town, and the North Sound. The Cayman Islands is ideal for beach bums, divers, families, food snobs, and golfers. Plan your Cayman Islands Vacation Here Best Grand Cayman Hotel: Turtle Nest Inn Here are the best beaches in the Cayman Islands:
Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman
Seven Mile Beach is lined with luxury resorts, restaurants and shops and dotted with beach bars and water-sports centers offering snorkeling, kayaking, and parasailing rentals. The beach is a magnet for a variety of beach sports, particularly volleyball. Seven Mile Beach fairly bustles with activity, which is different than the rest of the Cayman Islands beaches. The surf is calm and there are some small reefs that are good for snorkeling.
Cayman Kai, Grand Cayman
Cayman Kai is a quiet beach that offers many of the same amenities and recreational opportunities as Seven Mile Beach but without the big crowds. Lined with palm trees and blessed with white coral sand, Cayman Kai has more than six miles of beaches for swimming, sunbathing, snorkeling, beach volleyball, sailing, and more. Cayman Kai has three restaurants plus tennis courts, a dive shop, and a grocery store.
Rum Point, Grand Cayman
Rum Point is a lively beach shaded by palm trees and a popular spot for beach and water sports. The Wreck Bar is one of the most famous beach bars in the Cayman Islands, in part because it’s the place where the frozen mudslide was invented. There are plenty of nearby hotels, restaurants, bars, and facilities for an enjoyable day at the beach.
Sandy Point, Little Cayman
Sandy Point offers a nice compromise between the hubbub of Seven Mile Beach and more isolated stretches of sand where you’re on your own as far as food, drinks, and other supplies. Sandy Point, a.k.a. Point of Sand, is close enough to the town of West End to stay in touch with civilization but still isolated enough to feel like a discovery. It’s a popular day trip from Cayman Brac.
Smith Cove, Grand Cayman
Smith Cove is usually a quiet alternative to Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman, with full facilities and great snorkeling in a protected cove on the South Sound. However, it occasionally gets busy when cruise ships arrive at the nearby port.
Owen Island, Little Cayman
Owen Island is a picnicker and beach lover’s paradise and offers a low-key desert island experience for visitors who swim, row, or kayak across the waters of Bloody Bay. If you’re looking for a deserted strip of sand where you can play castaways with your significant other, but still be back at your hotel in time for dinner, Owen Island is your destination.
The Dominican Republic’s resorts are the country’s primary tourist destinations. The seaside offers many charms. Snorkel, scuba or simply swim in the warm Caribbean waters. Enjoy white crescent beaches as well as the rocky headlands that jut into the sea. Try your hand at surfing, or rent a kayak for some exploration in a mangrove lagoon. Wherever you are, the Dominican Republic shines through with its own distinctive personality. Best Dominican Republic Hotel: Secrets Cap Cana Resort & Spa Plan your Dominican Republic Vacation Here Here are the Best Dominican Republic Beaches:
Playa Boca Chica
Playa Boca Chica has of fine sand with crystal clear waters that is protected by coral reefs. Playa Boca Chica is one of the most family-friendly of all the beaches in the D.R. This beach does get very crowded, so you’ll want to get here early. The beach is lined with coconut palms, and plenty of pizza stands, cafes, bars, souvenir stalls, and music all day long.
Punta Cana/Bávaro Beaches
One of the world’s greatest beach strips is centered at Punta Cana and Bávaro on the eastern coast of the Dominican Republic. This stretch of beachfront goes on for about 20 miles and is renowned for its all-inclusive resorts, the largest concentration in the Caribbean. The beaches here are wide, filled with golden sand, gorgeous, and safe for swimming all year.
On the peninsula of Samaná, along the east coast of the Dominican Republic, this island near the mouth of Bahía de Samaná lies 4 1/3 miles southeast of the town of Samaná. It can be reached easily by boat. Once on this island, beach lovers will find three beautiful strips of white sand, but little in the way of facilities. A tropical forest covers much of this hill-studded island, and when not enjoying the beach, you can go hiking along trails that are cut through the jungle-like vegetation.
On the eastern shoreline of the Peninsula Samaná, Playa Rincón is consistently hailed by Condé Nast Traveler as one of the 10 top beaches in the Caribbean, and it deserves such an accolade. Set against the 1,970 ft. cliffs of Cape Cabrón, the beach is hard to reach, but once you’re here you can wander a Robinson Crusoe tropical paradise of white sands — just don’t expect any facilities. There’s plenty of color in the sea — vivid turquoise, blues, and greens that are safe for swimming and ideal for snorkeling.
This is the most celebrated beach along the Amber Coast with a large concentration of all-inclusive resorts. The golden or white sands along its Atlantic Ocean waters — often turbulent — have been discovered, so don’t expect to be alone on the beach. Instead of depending on beach facilities, most patrons of Playa Dorada use their beachfront hotels for food, drink, toilet facilities, and changing rooms. Water-skiers and windsurfers alike take delight here. Because the waters of this beach front the Atlantic, waves can be a bit high in winter, and the waters a bit rough for swimming.
Jamaica holds many waterfront treasures waiting to be discovered by intrepid travelers. This fascinating island still retains a strong African identity, more so than any other Caribbean island, and the colorful culture can be unearthed by those seeking experiences beyond the resort-heavy beaches frequented by most visitors. Best Jamaica Hotel: Geejam Plan your Jamaica Vacation Here From standard hot spots to more hidden places filled with amazing food and authentic reggae beats, we’ve uncovered Jamaica’s best beaches:
Doctor Cave’s Beach
Doctor’s Cave Beach manages to feel surprisingly intimate thanks to its ban on radios, footballs and vendors. The bay’s sheltered location means tranquil waves at the shore, with year-round temperatures between 78 and 84 degrees. A small fee is required for admittance to Doctor’s Cave Beach, but the facilities are stellar, including clean, tiled changing rooms, and rental equipment, such as chairs, umbrellas and snorkeling equipment. Food is available at nearby beach restaurants and water sports and tour activities can be booked at the beach, including glass-bottom boat tours, sailing, kayaking and water-skiing.
Seven Mile Beach
If you’re ready to get your “Jamaican Me Crazy” party going while soaking up the sun, head directly to Seven Mile Beach in Negril, Jamaica’s hot spot for sunbathing groupies. Seven Mile beach is a 7-mile stretch of gorgeous sand, crowded with sexy sunbathers, locals, families and even a few nudists lurking in designated nude areas. Vendors wander the sand selling street food like jerk chicken, and the number of water sport activities and outfitters are vast. The party on the sands continues well into the night, with live reggae music thumping from Alfred’s Ocean Palace.
Off the beaten path along Jamaica’s southern shores lies Treasure Beach, actually a collection of 4 separate fishing villages and dark sand beaches stretching for nearly 6 miles. The Santa Cruz Mountains provide a gorgeous backdrop to waters dotted with colorful fishing vessels; the scene leaves visitors feeling like you’ve just uncovered Jamaica’s still-secret shores. Though isolated, Treasure Beach is far from dull. After sunset, hit up the Pelican Bar to toss back ice-cold Red Stripes, or Frenchman’s Reef restaurant for spicy jerk chicken and lobster at shockingly good prices.
Boston Bay Beach
With water so bright blue it almost hurts to stare, Boston Bay Beach is not only a picture-perfect cove flanked by tree-covered rocks, it’s also a surfer’s paradise and home to Jamaica’s best jerk stands, said to dish up the finest — and hottest — spicy jerk food and sauce in Jamaica. Located on the island’s eastern shore, the beach’s large waves attract surfers, and it’s possible for travelers to rent boards or for novices to get surfing or windsurfing lessons from one of the beachfront outfitters. While the sands are silky white, the water is perfect for a dip or surfing. Make sure to arrive hungry and take advantage of the food; Boston Bay is, after all, considered the birthplace of jerk food in Jamaica.
The Reggae Beach is a true hotbed of sound, as local musicians flock here to play tunes and enjoy the soft sands and crystal clear water. Flanked by cliffs on either side, Reggae Beach could hardly be more picturesque, and with waters filled with fan corals and colorful clown fish and rays, it also offers good snorkeling opportunities. Grab a cold cocktail or a jerk chicken platter at one of 3 beachfront bars, while listening to DJs or the frequent live music. Plan to visit on a Friday, when the popular after-work jam sessions are held and DJs spins tunes while a bonfire blazes ’til 1 a.m.
Prickly cactus, gorgeous beaches and a rich cultural history set Puerto Rico apart. Puerto Rico is paradise for beach-goers, surfers and snorkelers. Enjoy a hot day in the sun on a sandy beach. Listen to the roll and swell of the waves as you pick the perfect break to ride in to shore. Snorkel through brightly colored reefs and swarms of tropical fish. Smell roasting pork carried over on the hot air. Best Puerto Rico Hotel: El Colonial Plan your Puerto Rico Vacation Here Here are the top Puerto Rico beaches:
Flamenco Beach – Culebra
Clear skies above your head and warm, white sand beneath your feet is the way Flamenco beach will make you fall in love with it. This “postcard-ready” captivating beach is one of the world’s top beaches. Ideal for swimming, unwinding, and simply beach-bumming, this location is the very reason visitors choose to venture outside the mainland.
La Playuela – Cabo Rojo
This southwestern half-moon-shaped gem will leave you in awe with its breathtaking waters and scenery. It takes a little bit of hiking to get there, but you will see how magnificent its dramatic landscape is once you arrive. La Playuela is perfect for either a lazy day under the sun or an adventure exploring the astonishing surroundings.
Crash Boat – Aguadilla
This is the most popular beach in Aguadilla. With a wide range of activities to do, like swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, and -during the winter- surfing, Crash Boat is a playground for everyone. A few feet away is El Natural, a famous diving spot with a huge reef full of marine activity.
Cayo Icacos – Fajardo
The clarity of the water there is like no other on the east coast of Puerto Rico. The long strips of reefs beside the abandoned pier are home to many schools of fish and other marine creatures that you’ll get to observe while you snorkel. Whether it is by a water taxi or a private charter, don’t miss the chance to stroll around the white-sand shore of this natural reserve and have a great day of swimming, snorkeling, or paddle boarding under the sun.
Domes – Rincon
A true surfer’s haven, Domes is located between a lighthouse and Puerto Rico’s inactive nuclear reactor. With turquoise waters and golden sand, this beach is an excellent spot for whale watching during the winter. Although it is not a place to go swimming, it is a fun beach to lay back and relax, watch surfing competitions, and even take a horseback riding tour.
The most common phrase in Haiti might surprise you. It’s ‘pa gen pwoblem,’ and it translates to ‘no have problem.’ Haitians use it in a dizzying array of contexts: responding to thank-yous, asserting well-being, filling awkward silences. Tranquil beaches, tumbling waterfalls and pine-tree-capped mountains dot the varied and striking landscape, easily rivaling the natural beauty found anywhere else in the Caribbean. The world’s only successful slave rebellion happened here, and the music, art and culture that came with it make Haiti entirely unique. As those who come to assist Haiti often learn, an encounter with the soul of this fascinating, beautiful country often benefits a traveler just as much. Best Haiti Hotel: NH Haiti El Rancho Plan your Haiti Vacation Here Here are the best beaches in Haiti:
Cormier Plage is a hidden gem in Haiti. If you are staying at the beach resort, you will enjoy special access to the Plage beachfront. The sandy stretches of the beach are seated in a posh location from where you can head to the key tourist hot spots in Haiti, including the Citadelle Laferrière, a popular cultural haunt for tourists like you.
Labadee Beach is a destination you will get to see if you’re on board one of the many cruise ships passing by Haiti. Royal Caribbean privately owns the beach and resort, so naturally, this is one of the best beaches on the island. It has all the soft sand, blue sea and water sports you can ask for.
Kokoye Beach is the kind of beach you dream about, with powdery sand, sparkling ocean and low hanging palm trees lining the beach, swaying in the wind. Snorkeling is a particular highlight at this beach.
Surrounded by flat open countryside, it is an endless stretch of soft sand and the waters are some of the clearest you’ll find. Swimming and snorkeling are obvious choices here, but the food is what draws people. Local food shacks line the shore serving sea fresh, local food and drink. These places come alive with music and locals enjoying a beer together at dinner time.
Cadras Beach is quite a tiny little cove, and at the right time, you’re likely to have it all to yourself. Snorkeling and swimming are some of the best activities to do here due to the impossibly clear water where you can spot a variety of tropical fish.
Cuba is a Caribbean island nation under communist rule. It has sugar-white beaches and is dotted with tobacco fields, which play a part in the production of the country’s legendary cigars. The capital, Havana, is lined with pastel houses, 1950s-era cars and Spanish-colonial architecture in the 16th-century core, Old Havana. Salsa music plays in the dance clubs and cabaret shows are performed at the famed Tropicana. Best Cuba Hotel: Mystique Casa Perla Plan your Cuba Vacation Here Here are the top Cuba beaches:
Varadero has 8 miles of soft sand along the Atlantic shore shelving into the shallowest of blue seas. Varadero is 90mi east of Havana and is lined by large numbers of isolated all-inclusive resorts. From luxury to more modest, you’ll find plenty of choices. The town of Varadero, west of the resorts, is busy with shops, B&Bs, craft stalls, restaurants and bars.
Playa Esmeralda is a gentle curve of soft white sand found in eastern Cuba. Lounge under thatched umbrellas in this secluded haven that faces turquoise and indigo seas, then discover the best part of the region: its secret coves. Live that castaway fantasy on semi-private tiny beaches, shaded only by the branches of wild sea grape trees.
Cayo Levisa’s perfect swathe of virgin sand is one of two popular islands off the western coast of Cuba. Backed by mangroves and lined by palm trees, it attracts sun-seekers looking for a remote getaway and divers who discover its underworld first explored by writer Ernest Hemingway in the 1940s. Take a day trip by boat, easily arranged from Viñales.
A more serene retreat than it’s rowdier neighbor Cayo Coco, tiny Cayo Guillermo boasts 4 km of stunning near-deserted beaches. With such an abundance of largely untouched sand, there’s no shortage of options for a bit of solitude but one beach that shouldn’t be missed is gorgeous Playa Pilar. On the western tip of Cayo Guillermo, Playa Pilar is named after Ernest Hemingway’s yacht, Pilar, and was the author’s favorite hideaway in Cuba. With limpid clear shallows and squeaky-clean beaches, it is without doubt the top beach choice on Guillermo, if not in the entire cays.
Playa Perla Blanca
The northern cays, a network of small islets, interspersed by turquoise waters and mangrove colonies, form one of Cuba’s newest tourist resorts. The cays are linked to the mainland by an impressive 48 km causeway making the trip here all part of the adventure. At the far end of the chain lies Cayo Santa María, home to Playa Perla Blanca, one of the most splendid beaches in the area. It’s charm lies in its remote, untouched feel: it’s accessible, yet it has no facilities and is a bit of a trek to get to. But the journey, a total of 52 km from the mainland, is worth it: the sand is as fine as it gets in Cuba.