The Caribbean, Mexico and Central America certainly deliver when it comes to beaches. Whether it’s that postcard-perfect white sand of the Caribbean, Bermuda’s unique pink- hued shores, the long expanses of golden sand on the Pacific Coast, or even Costa Rica’s black-sand beaches, the product of lava deposits from the country’s more than 50 volcanoes, the beaches of these regions come in all sizes, shapes and colours.
Here’s a list of some of our favourite beaches (and some resort pairings so you can stay right on or near each gorgeous stretch of sand):
1. Playa del Amor (Lover’s Beach)
There isn’t a resort directly on this beach (or its immediate neighbour, Divorce Beach, on the Pacific side) but it is awe-inspiring and secluded and not to be missed. Access to this beach is only by water taxi or glass bottom boat from the Cabo San Lucas marina, or if you stay at the Breathless resort on Medano Beach, you can rent kayaks. Located right where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean, this is where you can get up-close to Land’s End, Los Cabos’ iconic arch-shaped rock formations. The waters off this beach are rich with sea life and are ideal for swimming and snorkelling. (If you walk over to neighbouring Divorce Beach, while it offers many breathtaking vistas, resist the urge to take a dip; the currents here are very strong, making it dangerous for swimming.)
2. Crane Beach
Considered by many to be one of the island’s most beautiful beaches, and named “Best Caribbean Beach” by USA Today’s ‘10 Best Readers Choice Awards’ for 2015 and one of the ‘Top 25 Sexiest Beaches in the World’ by the Travel Channel, Crane Beach on Barbados’ southeast shore is definitely ‘pretty in pink’! Pink-hued, powder soft sand, lush coconut grove swaying in the breeze, expansive shoreline, and inviting turquoise water make this beach a little piece of paradise. Protected by a natural coral reef, Crane Beach also boasts one of the best swimming areas on the island, with a gentle and smooth descent, and its playful waves make it perfect for boogie boarding and body surfing. Fully enjoy it with a stay at the The Crane Resort!
3. West Bay Beach
One of the most stunning stretches of fine white sand in the Caribbean, West Bay Beach in Roatan, a Honduras hotspot, checks every box. The water here is perfect – clear and calm, and you can walk out for miles. Even better, it is home to amazing underwater delights just a few steps offshore, so be sure to bring a snorkel and mask. The beach and the hotels found here – including the Parrot Tree Beach Resort – are also close to the action, while still giving the feeling of being blissfully ‘away from it all.’
4. Seven Mile Beach
Jamaica’s world-famous Seven Mile Beach, found in Negril on the island’s northwest coast, offers miles (seven to be exact!) of soft white sand and calm, inviting turquoise waters. While there is plenty of room, it is a public beach and a popular spot, so expect to share it with others. And when the sun goes down, this sandy spread becomes a popular nightlife hot spot. If you are travelling as a couple, consider a stay at Couples Swept Away, an adults-only escape, or if you are heading there with kids, be sure to check out the award-winning Beaches Negril – both resorts are located on Seven Mile Beach.
5. Palm Beach
This renowned 3km-long strip of perfect talc-soft white sand offers calm, crystal- clear waters, and is home to a number of fantastic resorts, such as the Riu Palace Antillas and Riu Palace Aruba. Dotted by water sports concessions, piers, beach bars, restaurants and shops, you’ll never get bored on Palm Beach. From sunrise walks to candle-lit, barefoot dining, this beach is located at the centre of all the action, but is also big enough to never feel too crowded.
6. Horseshoe Bay Beach
Bermuda’s south shore is known for its gorgeous pink sand beaches, and Horseshoe Bay Beach is the jewel in that crown. This curved stretch of sand against the backdrop of the blue waters of the Atlantic, is framed in by limestone rocks and provides great snorkelling experiences if you are willing to go a little offshore. Stay at the wonderful Fairmont Southampton, located on the same shore approximately 3.5 km away, and ask the concierge to pack you a picnic for a day at the glorious Horseshoe Bay Beach.
7. Playa Juanillo
Punta Cana is a destination known for it beautiful beaches. It has 10 of them, or 35 kilometres, all boasting clean white or golden yellow sands, and the gorgeous palm-filled coastline of Playa Juanillo is a definite highlight. A secluded beach towards the south end of Punta Cana, in the Cap Cana area, it isn’t as crowded as some of the other beaches here, and is well-kept – it is cleaned daily by the Sanctuary Cap Cana resort staff. There is a beautiful beach restaurant here with luxurious cabanas and beach lounge sofas. Spend a day, or better yet, a week (or more!), with a stay at the Sanctuary Cap Cana.
8. Playa Paraíso
Situated just north of the Tulum ruins, the wide white sands of Riviera Maya’s Playa Paraíso makes a relaxing and utterly enjoyable topper to a day exploring the area ruins. Popular amongst daytrippers, what this beach doesn’t boast in seclusion, it makes up for in activity – you’ll find plenty of opportunities for snorkelling and scuba diving, along with a few hammocks, lounge chairs and umbrellas to choose from (if you get to the ruins early, you’ll arrive at the beach in time to secure one), and a handful of great beach bars should you find yourself in need of some refreshment. At the end of your fun-filled day, return to the all- butler, all-gourmet Generations Riviera Maya, where you and your family will enjoy some well-deserved pampering.
9. Playa Manuel Antonio
A trip to Costa Rica is not complete with getting out and exploring some of the many astounding natural attractions, and the Manuel Antonio National Park is a ‘must-see’ when you visit the northern Guanacaste region. Located on the Pacific coast, this park is internationally recognized as being one of the most biodiverse parks on the planet, and along with the lush tropical forests, lagoons, mangroves and wildlife found here, you also have the amazing Playa Manuel Antonio (among other beaches). This huge stretch of sand sneaks up on you as you follow a lush path through the park, marvelling at the bold capuchin monkeys that call this place home. Walking along, you follow a path on the right and emerge of on this glorious beach. If you are travelling as a couple or with friends, consider making the lovely adults-only Secrets Papagayo Costa Rica your home base; if you have kids in tow, the Dreams Las Mareas Costa Rica is a great choice.
10. The Beaches of Parrot Cay
You really can’t go wrong in the Turks & Caicos when it comes to beaches; this island nation is full of glorious white sand wonders! But if you happen to stay at Parrot Cay by COMO, an award-winning luxury resort set on the private island of the same name, you have hit the beach jackpot. Delivering what they call “foot- in-the-sand luxury,” all rooms, suites and beach villas on the 1,000 unspoilt acres that make up this island – including the almost 2 km-long pristine beach – are the very definition of Caribbean luxury. This resort, which invites families, friends and couples alike, offers holistic therapies, yoga, diving and world-class, gourmet cuisine. Enjoy!