by Trip Advisor
What makes this little Caribbean island the Travelers’ Choice top beach destination for the second year in a row? Families love it for its uncrowded beaches at Taylor Bay and Grace Bay. Divers and snorkelers flock there to explore the bountiful barrier reef, including Smith’s Reef and its ocean floor walk. And newlyweds find it a perfectly romantic place for a honeymoon.
Inhabited since the year 1000, Aruba is an island rich in history and culture. Eagle Beach is an idyllic Caribbean beach, with white sands and turquoise waters, and is frequented by water sports enthusiasts. Palm Beach, on the island’s west side, offers perfect swimming conditions and powdery sand. Those more concerned with conditions under the waves won’t want to miss the wreck of the torpedoed tanker Pedernales, a popular diving site. Aruba is only 20 miles long, thus easily explored by bike or moped.
Sure, you can leave the sunny sands in favor of a crocodile watch or horseback ride, but when the main strand is called Seven Mile Beach, it’s clear what draws most visitors to Negril. Depending on how much sun you want, you’re welcome to go topless or even sunbathe in the buff in some places.
This is what Caribbean postcards are made of: 25 miles of white sand, swaying coconut trees and crystal-clear water. An affordable tropical getaway, Punta Cana is known for its many all-inclusive resorts. Long a getaway for European tourists, Americans are now catching on to this Dominican Republic hotspot.
Cuba’s top beach destination sits on a 13-mile-long peninsula with powder soft sands lapped by waters of the Kawama Channel. Resort hotels teem along the shore that U.S. celebrities and gangsters, including Al Capone, discovered in the 1920s. Sip a refreshing mojito to cool off from an all-day beach-baking session or deep sea fishing excursion.
Treat yourself to the good life at a Cayo Coco luxury resort. Here in the islands called Jardines del Rey (King’s Gardens), picture-perfect skies meet powder-white beaches and calm seas. Explore the beaches, plan a fishing trip, go horseback riding… it’s all here.
Just 10 miles east of La Romana lies the fishing town of Bayahibe. Bayahibe offers spectacular coral formations and three shipwrecks: the Atlantic Princess, St George and Coco. It’s no wonder diving is one of its most popular attractions! Snorkeling in the gorgeous, clear water is a must for viewing the abundant starfish. In the national park, nature enthusiasts will find lagoons and wildlife, including a variety of birds. There is much to do, but the inviting, soft white-sand beaches are perfect for the traveler seeking relaxation.
The gleaming beaches and vibrant coral reefs of Nassau and neighboring Paradise Island draw vacationers from all over the world. Bahamian culture dictates a carefree atmosphere that extends from the flavorful nightlife to the powdery sands. With 17 beaches to choose from, there’s truly something for everyone, from the leisurely loungers to adventure-seeking divers, snorkelers, parasailers and windsurfers.
Low-key and relaxed, Mo-Bay (as the locals call it) offers sun, fun and tons of activities on the golden Jamaican sands or in the sparkling Caribbean waters. Swim and snorkel in water that sparkles every shade of blue at Doctor’s Cave and Fletcher Beach. Braver souls can dive in the ominously named Widowmaker’s Cave. The rewards are worth the risk; multicolored corals and schools of unusual tropical creatures.
The historic beaches of San Juan offer something for everyone, from families to laid-back vacationers to rum-scented party-hoppers. Popular Ocean Park Beach buzzes with activity—and plenty of locals. Kite-surf, toss a disc or enjoy an ice cream while strolling beneath swaying palm trees.