Shh! These top beaches used to be a secret
If you thought all beaches were created equal, think again. Sure, some travelers prefer the party scene but for the bona fide beach aficionado, it’s that quieter nook that is worth seeking out. What the smaller out-of-the way beaches lack in amenities, they more than make up with countless miles of buttery sand, seclusion and serenity. Plant your sun lounger by the water’s edge and check out our list of the top secret beaches in the Caribbean, and try not to let the cat out of the bag.
Away from the busy beaches on the resort-lined northwest coast, Doctor’s Cave on the Hip Strip in the heart of Montego Bay is the beach less-traveled. Dating to 1906 when Dr. Alexander James McCatty opened one of Jamaica’s first bathing clubs, the water was reputed to have healing powers. Today, the bath-warm water with year-round temperatures between 78 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit is still the perfect prescription for relaxation. The beach, part of the Montego Bay Marine Park, allows visitors easy access to a boatload of water sports while a spirited underwater awaits the snorkelers in the crowd.
On the Dutch side of the dual-nation island, Mullet Bay is a word-of-mouth beach. A pretty palette of teal blue and talc white, the long sandy ribbon on the southwest coast is dotted with palms and sea grape trees. The no-frills beach is easy to find off Rhine Road near the island’s only golf course. The weekend vibe is lively with locals playing volleyball on the sand, party catamarans skirting the shoreline, and fishermen on the jetty 50 yards from shore.
It may be hard to find, but Little Bay Beach is a sandy secret worth discovering. The unspoiled spit is bookended by cliffs. Keep your eyes open and your camera charged as graceful pelicans fly from the beach to the sea and back.
A bonus for beach-hoppers, Playa Kenepa on the west side of the island is really two beaches rolled into one. The bigger beach, known as Grote Knip, is carpeted in white sand while the more intimate Klein Knip is favored for snorkeling. These bucket-list beaches are never crowded, apart from locals. Halfway between the two beaches is an under-the-radar cliffside lookout point.
British Virgin Islands
Lo’Blolly Bay is a blinding white beach guarded by Horseshoe Reef that, at 18 miles long, is the Eastern Caribbean’s third-largest continuous coral reef. A bonanza for bone fishermen and nirvana for scuba divers, the east end of the beach is home to springs bubbling from coral beds and piles of conch shells that once were pirates’ treasures.
Turks and Caicos Islands
Long Bay Beach is a world away and a short drive from the more popular Grace Bay Beach. A good bet for families, the water is so clear and shallow, you can easily walk (or ride a horse) hundreds of feet beyond the shoreline. The beach is big with kiteboarders and stand-up paddleboarders and worth a return visit at night when the moonscape reflected on the still water is mystical.
Despite its name, Pigeon Island is connected to the mainland and there’s nary a pigeon in sight. A placid alternative to Reduit Beach across the bay, the beach is popular with carb-cravers who rave about the rotis and Piton beer at Jambe de Bois, a rustic waterfront cafe.
It’s no surprise that the best-kept beach secret is on Little Cayman. Point of Sand is the prettiest sandy perch this side of a postcard. The beach is prime for snorkeling and swimming.
Rendezvous Bay Beach is one of 365 beaches on the island, within the national park. The 30-minute trek along a footpath from Fig Tree Hill, English Harbour or Carlisle Bay, or a boat ride from English Harbour, is well worth the effort.
Baby Beach near San Nicolas is a delightful half-moon in a lagoon. Uncrowded above the waves, down under bustles with a kaleidoscope of barracuda, parrot fish and squid that hang out towards the inlet. On a clear day, Venezuela can be spotted in the distance.
Lo’Blolly Bay beach.
Cliff divers try Playa Kenepa.