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Telegraph Travel, The Daily Telegraph, April, 23, 2015
The best Caribbean beach holidays, chosen by our experts, including options in Antigua, Grenada, Anguilla and Cuba.
The Caribbean excels at beaches above all else. Think soft golden and white sands, laid-back bars, water warm enough to stay in for hours and with shoals of tropical fish darting around your legs, and often watersports galore. Many Caribbean beaches are big or secluded enough to offer privacy and space.
Unless otherwise stated, package prices given in the following sections are per person for seven nights in low season, based on two people sharing the cheapest accommodation, and including direct economy flights and transfers. For direct bookings, rates given are for accommodation only, per night for the cheapest double room. Prices correct at the time of going to press.
1. Grand Anse, Grenada
Grand Anse is Grenada’s loveliest beach. Over a mile in length, it never feels crowded, and the sea is usually calm, so ideal for dips. The elegant and luxurious Spice Island Beach Resort ( spiceislandbeachresort.com ; from £2,328 all-inclusive) is right behind the beach; if you are on a budget, opt instead for a studio/apartment at the alluring Blue Horizons Garden Resort ( grenadabluehorizons.com ; from £899 room only), a short walk inland. Price booked with Tropic Breeze (01752 880880; tropicbreeze.co.uk ). Fred Mawer
2. Galley Bay, Antigua
The most magnificent beach on the west coast of Antigua is, perhaps, Galley Bay, a 600-yard curve of palm-backed, sumptuous blond sand shelving into turquoise water: in other words, the archetypal Caribbean strand. The Galley Bay Resort & Spa ( galleybayresort.com ), with its rooms, dining rooms, spa and watersports, hides among the palms. The sand is so sumptuous that walking to breakfast becomes aerobic exercise. Kuoni (0800 092 4444; kuoni.co.uk ) offers a week from £1,919 all-inclusive. James Henderson
3. Pink Sands, Harbour Island, Bahamas
The Bahamas’ most famous beach is the fabulous Pink Sands on Harbour Island – three incomparable miles of pink-tinged sand looking out on to the royal blue of the reef-protected shallows and the navy of the ocean deep. Perfect for a morning walk. Scott Dunn (020 8682 5020; scottdunn.com ) offers seven nights (plus one in Miami because of the flights) at The Landing ( harbourislandlanding.com ) from £1,790, room only. James Henderson
4. Trunk Bay Beach, St John, US Virgin Islands
Just under three hours’ flying time from Miami, the US Virgin Islands are a popular sunshine and cruise getaway for US citizens. I find St John the most appealing: thanks to the philanthropy of Laurance S Rockefeller, two-thirds of this green and hilly island is a national park. The long, sandy, tree-lined Trunk Bay Beach falls within this park, which means that it is often busy but also well-maintained with lifeguards and a snorkelling trail. On the west coast of the island, the 174-room well-appointed Westin St John Resort & Villas (00 1 866 716 8108; westinstjohnresort.com ; £211 per night, room only) is a spacious and family-friendly beach resort. Nigel Tisdall
5. Meads Bay, Anguilla
In my view, Anguilla has the best beaches in the Caribbean – clean, dazzlingly white sands, bewitchingly clear water and a safe, hassle-free atmosphere. You can drive the length of this nominally British island in 45 minutes and there’s plenty of good places to eat but no major sights, making it an ideal choice for beach addicts. Meads Bay, in the West End, is a mile-long strip of perfection sprinkled with hotels and restaurants, including the high-end Viceroy Anguilla (viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/en/anguilla). Booked through Exsus (020 7337 9050; exsus.com ): from £3,560 with breakfast flying via Antigua. Nigel Tisdall
6. Orient Beach, St Martin
St Martin/St Maarten is the smallest island in the world divided between two nations. The north side is a petit morceau of France, while St Maarten in the south has a Dutch heritage. This spectacular east-coast beach is a winning blend of French Riviera-style vivacity and laid-back Caribbean charm. Adorned with some 20 bars and a dazzling parade of beach loungers, Orient Beach is all about buckets of chilled beer, tempting tapas menus, watersports, massages and – at its southern end – nudity. There are plenty of hotels close to its sands, but I prefer hillside Karibuni Lodge (00 590 690 643 858; lekaribuni.com ; from £167 per night with breakfast), which has just six rooms with kitchen facilities and a small shared pool. Nigel Tisdall
7. Negril Beach, Jamaica
At Jamaica’s very western tip lies Negril beach, one of the liveliest in the Caribbean, with five miles of hotels, restaurants, bars, watersports operators and even concert venues all muscling in for beachfront space. There are a a few quiet corners, too, in which to get horizontal in a hammock, perhaps, and enjoy an excellent sunset view. Stay in funky Jamaican style at Country Country (00 1 876 957 4273; countrynegril.com, from £110 per night, room only), whose traditional gingerbread cottages jangle with tropical colours under the palms. James Henderson
8. Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman
It’s hard not to be fond of a beach as lovely as Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman, but for me it’s particularly special as it’s the first Caribbean beach I ever set foot on. And it’s as luscious and lovely as ever – a beautiful stretch of west-facing blond sand and turquoise water. Walk it at dawn and take a cocktail with you at sundown. Turquoise Holidays (01494 678400; turquoiseholidays.co.uk) is offering seven nights at Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman ( ritzcarlton.com ) from £2,299, room only. James Henderson
9. Varadero, Cuba
The most spectacular expanse of pure white sand in the Caribbean. It is so large that even when its dozens of hotels are full, there is still adequate space to lay out a towel on the sands.Watersports and trips can be booked from one of the many resorts lining the waterfront. Thomas Cook ( www.thomascook.com ) offers one week at the Melia Peninsula Varadero from £934, including flights. Fred Mawer
10. Petit St Vincent, The Grenadines
If your budget stretches to private island living, head to Petit St Vincent in the Grenadine Islands. White sands surround 115 acres of bottle-green forest on this island, and the beaches are, as the private name suggests, for residents only. It's perfect for disconnecting: the islands villas and cottages have no TVs, phones or Internet connection. There is a water sports centre and sailing boats are available for day charters. From £3,140, including flights, with Scott Dunn ( www.scottdunn.com ). Fred Mawer
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