If you know me, you know that I love the beach. Water is my happy place where I go to relax and let the waves wash away any built-up stress... My cousin would say that it's because I am a water sign but I think it has more to do with early memories of going to the beach in Puerto Rico as a child.
I thought it would be cool to show you many of the beaches that I've been to in the Caribbean. I have been lucky enough to go to the vast majority of the Caribbean because, living in Florida, we have access to lots of cruises for a relatively low cost. However, some of the most beautiful beaches actually required me to fly somewhere.
Lots of people do their "Top 10" lists or "Best Beaches for Lovers" lists, but I'm not gonna do that for now. I just want to share with you the magic that happens when the sea meets land! I'll share them with you by country.
Also, it's kinda fun to see how photo quality has changed throughout the years! You will likely find "prettier" photos online, but I'm glad I get to share my photos with you.
Antigua's Ffryes Beach
This gorgeous beach is about a 20-minute ride from the city of St. John's near Orange Valley's historic Sugar Plantation. The beach appeared to not be too busy, probably because it was a bit of a drive away, but we easily got here with a taxi who provided round trip service (you pay on your way back so they don't leave you).
The water was warm and calm and has a light blue color that appears to be milky. Ugh, it was so relaxing! A sprinkling of trees offer some much-needed shade when you're not in the water.
Aruba's Eagle Beach
I'm realizing that I am showing some of the best beaches first... But who cares! Eagle Beach is consistently on the list of top beaches in the world. We made our way here using public transportation; yea, the city bus.
Partially because I'm cheap and partially because I refuse to be ripped off by scammy taxi drivers near cruise ports. Looking through my photos of Eagle Beach I realized that they just didn't do it justice, so here's a short video. Talk about a postcard view!
The Bahamas: Nassau's Junkanoo Beach
Junkanoo Beach is located on the other side of the bay where all of the cruise ships dock. This beach isn't advertised as some great beach in The Bahamas, but I like it because it's close to the port, not a lot of tourists (mostly residents hanging here), and it is next to my favorite place to get food in Nassau: Fish Fry Street!
The Bahamas: Coco Cay
Coco Cay is Royal Caribbean's private island in The Bahamas. Although I have been there many times, it has since undergone a massive re-concepting and redesign to what is now marketed as "Perfect Day at Coco Cay". I haven't been back since this change, so my photos are a bit outdated.
However, I have lots of fond memories at Coco Cay just relaxing on the Southside of the island taking in all that Caribbean sun with free drinks (because the cruise drink's package applied on the island). Cheers!
Bermuda's Horseshoe Bay
Do you know that Beach Boys song, Kokomo? I visited lots of the Caribbean and even lived in the Florida Keys for a few years as a kid. I realized a few years ago that if I go to Bermuda I would have hit all of the countries in that song!
So that was a goal of mine. This tiny island is very remote but you wouldn't know it when you are there. Horseshoe Bay is a famous beach where the sand has a pink hue. Here's a video where that color really shines during "magic hour" lighting!
I didn't really get to explore much of Bonaire. This island embodies the epitome of island living. Bonaire is the "B" of the "ABC Islands" part of the Netherlands Antilles, formerly the Dutch Antilles, consisting of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao. The Dutch influence is prevalent throughout from street names to the snacks available at the many shops and cafes. I'd love to go back and really get to know more about this quaint destination.
Cayman Islands' 7 Mile Beach
By looking at the photos below you can see why 7 Mile Beach is an immensely popular destination within the Cayman Islands. The colors of the water have all the quintessential greens and blues that are synonymous with the Caribbean. This beach can get a bit busy, but I managed to take a short walk further away, and as you can see I had my own little slice of paradise!
Haiti's Labadee Beach
Labadee is Royal Caribbean's exclusive destination near Labadie, Haiti. In true Caribbean fashion, there was a mix of sun and clouds when we were at port, but the beach and landscape were still beautiful.
The transition from the cruise experience to the experience on the island was somewhat seamless, but in my opinion, this location left a lot to offer, but that's not really the point of going here. I hope to go back to Haiti and really get to experience the culture more than just what I managed to glean from the employees at Labadee.
Mexico's Playa del Carmen in Quintana Roo
I've been to Cozumel a few times, but the first time I went was in December of 2013. Not really knowing much about the island, I figured I would book an excursion on the mainland to see the Mayan ruins at Tulum. To get to the Yucatan Peninsula you have to take a ferry from the island of Cozumel over to Playa del Carmen.
Again, here I was going somewhere without doing much research, and I was blown away by the beauty of the beach at the endpoint of the ferry. Check out the amazing aquamarine color of the sea!
Mexico's Playa Uvas on Cozumel
On a different trip to Cozumel, I decided to hang on the island and have a relaxing day by the sea. It was a pretty cloudy day but you can see that the sea still draws you in with its beautiful colors that gradient from light green to dark blue as the sea deepens. I went to a small private beach called Playa Uvas, and it was a nice escape.
Despite the weather, doesn't being by the beach just have a way of dissolving all that stress we carry with us?! The beach at this location was a bit rocky so it wasn't pleasant getting into the sea. Once inside, however, that warm Mexican sea was EVERYTHING!
Mexico's Playa Ruinas in Tulum
I've always made my cell phone buying choices based on the camera quality. Hey, we all have our preferences. When I took the picture below it was just amazing, but looking at it 7 years later, we can see how far we've come. Despite the bit of graininess, look how epic this photo is!
The sand is almost completely white, with a bit of yellow mixed in, and the sea has that beautiful gradient that is now, for me, synonymous with Mexico's beaches. The coolest thing about this location is that it is right behind the amazing Mayan ruins of Tulum. I guess the Mayans loved the beach as much as I do - maybe this was their vacation spot?
I'm sure I just offended someone... My bad. Oh, and check out my model for the photoshoot on the bottom right corner. This is still one of my favorite shots I've ever taken!
Puerto Rico's Caja de Muertos in Ponce
Caja de Muertos is a protected island just south of the city of Ponce in my beloved Puerto Rico. It's accessible by private boat and there are also some small tour companies that take you to the island for the day and include food and drinks; that's what I did. It was a little cloudy the day I went so the water doesn't quite shine but it was welcomed because it kept the temperature super comfortable.
What wasn't comfortable was that there were jellyfish in the water, which apparently happens sometimes. That was a bummer because we couldn't really enjoy our time there to the fullest. The tour company ended up giving everyone a partial refund, but I didn't think that was necessary.
Puerto Rico's La Poza de Las Mujeres in Manatí
This small beach is special to me and my family. The large rock formations on the ocean side of the beach break the crashing waves of the Atlantic to form this beautiful and relaxing pool. Several real estate developments in the area have made access to this pool a bit difficult (you gotta traverse some precarious rocks) but the payoff is worth it, as you can see below. One of my cousins uses this relaxing pool as a teaching ground for kids with autism to learn to become more confident swimmers.
St. Croix's Lagrange Beach
St. Croix is very close to Puerto Rico so the beaches felt very familiar even though I had never visited the island before taking the photos you see. The sand is coarse and yellowy-brown. The water gets deep pretty quickly once you get in and is warm at the surface and a bit cool down low, which is typical for the Atlantic side of the Caribbean islands. Lagrange Beach is very close to the cruise port, as you can see, so attendance peaks when a ship is at the port.
St. Lucia's Soufriere Bay
St. Lucia was truly a gem in the Southern Caribbean. I actually spent my 30th birthday here and made sure that the group that I was with celebrated with me! It was a day full of lots of activities in nature (and lots of local beer and rum runners) and Soufriere Bay was the amazing location where we enjoyed a delicious lunch. It overlooks The Pitons at the other side of the bay and the sand is dark, reminding you of the volcanic activity on the island. This place is certainly worth a visit!
St. Martin's Friar's Bay
I have been lucky to have had the opportunity to visit St. Martin a couple of times and really love it. Both sides of the island, the French and the Dutch side, have some great offerings - especially the beaches! Friar's Bay really has the true Caribbean feel.
It is located in a quiet part of the island with a small scattering of private homes on the hills. I had an incredible lunch here and the only thing better than enjoying tropical drinks with a tropical breeze is the breathtaking views you can see below.
St. Martin's Maho Beach
Maho Beach is likely the most popular beach on St. Martin. Not only is it stunning on its own, but it also has a really cool novelty that you might have heard about. The international airport for the island is literally a two-lane road between the crystal sea and the runway, which is long enough to service 747's! I have a really fun video to show you all on a different post where a big jet is taking off and the engine exhaust literally blows you away. I recommend visiting this beach at least once to get the experience of seeing the planes flying low.
St. Martin's Oyster Pond
If you are in St. Martin and looking for some sea-based adventure, Oyster Pond is where you should go. The water was relatively shallow in a reefy portion and deeper on the other side of the rocks. There you could see wind and kite surfers using the uninterrupted wind from the Caribbean to propel them quickly across the placid pond and sometimes over 10 feet into the air!
St. Thomas' Magens Bay Beach
What a great place to end this list! Magens Bay is a beautiful beach with lush green hilltops on either side scattered with beautiful homes. This beach is on the Atlantic side of the island, so the water was very similar to what I am accustomed to Puerto Rico's beaches.
St. Thomas is part of the US Virgin Islands and is accessible via quick flights from Puerto Rico. I had always wanted to visit here because I used to fly over it a lot when I was a kid playing Flight Simulator and there was always a cruise ship on the other side of the island. If you are ever stressed, just play the video below and it will surely melt away...
I'd love to know which of these beaches were your favorites and if you've ever visited. If you have any questions about these locations, hit me up! I look forward to sharing more about these places and more on upcoming posts.
Want to know more? Are you interested in becoming a contributor for Pedacitos? We'd love to hear your stories! Send me a message and I will get back to you!