Our picks for the perfect Caribbean beach holiday
Written by: Julia Hammond
For many, a holiday spent relaxing on a palm fringed beach of soft ivory sand gently lapped by the clearest of turquoise waters is the true embodiment of paradise. It’s hard to think of a part of the world that offers more in this respect than the Caribbean. Whatever your preferred vacation style, this region has the perfect spot for everyone…
Perfect for romance
If the sublime scenery that characterises the Turks and Caicos isn’t enough to inspire a bit of romance between you and your beloved, then resorts such as the Amanyara are sure to tip the scales in favour of love. Its chic pavilions are the ultimate honeymoon choice. Located in popular Providenciales, its 800 metre beach offers a discreet alternative to the three more public miles of nearby Grace Bay beach, itself regularly voted one of the best in the Caribbean. Whether on land or in the water, the landscape is certain to delight: inland, a dry tropical forest to delve into or warm waters teeming with turtles, tropical fish and even humpback whales for those who explore its coastal reefs. Whichever you choose, you’ll be glad you chose to holiday there with someone special to make enough memories to last you a lifetime.
Perfect for luxuriating
If money’s no object, then this is one part of the world where there’s no shortage of places that can offer you a hefty dose of luxury for your money. Petit St Vincent, or PSV as it’s known locally, part of the Grenadines’ island chain, is a private resort offering the ultimate in luxury and seclusion. Choose a cottage on the waterfront, throw open the floor-to-ceiling glass doors and step straight out onto your own private deck located right on the edge of the ocean. Discretion is the watchword here, as is detachment – there’s no WiFi or television on the island so guests get to have a digital detox thrown in for free.
Perfect for the budget-conscious
Contrary to popular belief it’s possible to achieve a Caribbean beach holiday on a tight budget. In addition to easy-on-the-pocket Dominican Republic and Cuba, Jamaica offers excellent value for money, with a wide range of packages as well as plenty of accommodation for independent travellers. Negril is a fully-fledged resort with all the facilities that brings, with stunning sunsets that ensure a day at the beach ends on a high. In contrast, but equally entrancing, Frenchman’s Cove is a delightful secluded bay flanked by two verdant headlands, considered by many to be the prettiest beach in the country.
Perfect for families
Safe St Lucia is a great family choice, with lots to do that will entertain kids of all ages. The bustling resorts of Rodney Bay offers a wide range of water sports as well as a wide sandy beach perfect for building sandcastles. When you want to drag your children away from the water, you’ll have no problems enticing them away with promises of drive-in volcanoes, mud baths and hikes that explore the lushly forested Pitons, St Lucia’s iconic twin peaks. Let a guide take you on a tour of Fond Doux plantation, where you can see first-hand how cocoa beans become chocolate – from the pods to the drying racks and even roasting the beans over an open fire. Something similar is offered by the Hotel Chocolat-owned Rabot Estate; ask for their tree to bar experience. If your family like something a bit more adventurous, then they’ll be pleased to know there are several ziplines on the island. Try Treetop Adventure in Dennery for the longest lines, Rainforest Adventures for a combo tram and zipline activity or the Morne Coubaril Estate for ziplines with views of the Pitons.
Perfect for the indecisive
The Antiguan Tourist Board claims that on its beautiful island there’s a beach for every day of the year. If you’re looking for a different spot each day, then its 365 beaches offer myriad alternatives. For the liveliest atmosphere, then the place to go is Dickenson Bay on the island’s more developed north-west coast; there you’ll find everything from glass-bottom boat trips, banana boat rides and jet skis for hire. Pigeon Point is a great place to relax after exploring historic Nelson’s Dockyard in the south, with calm waters making it safe for swimming. The best spot on the island’s east coast is surely Half Moon Bay, now a National Park, which is protected by a reef and often deserted.
Now there’s only one question to ask: which would you choose?