We love the Caribbean. With white sand beaches and turquoise waters that are crystal clear and invitingly warm, it seems like every place you research is just as pristine as the next! So, how do you choose from a list of seemingly similar and equally as impressive tropical getaways? Well, according to Trip Advisors Travel Choice Awards for 2022, these are the top eight to choose from, and we’ll highlight what makes them unique!
Take a look and see which one is best suited for you and your one last escape from the cold:
8) Playa Pilar
Starting our countdown at number eight on the list is Playa Pilar. Located in Cayo Guillermo, Cuba, this beach is known for its abundance of starfish! If you are staying at a resort in the area, it has easy access to the beach via shuttles or taxis.
If you are heading down for the day, there is no need to haul a bunch of stuff with you. There is an amazing boardwalk leading down to the sand that passes restaurants and bars to satisfy all your food and beverage needs. Once you’ve arrived, you can rent a lounge chair for just $5, then get settled in for a nice day of relaxation.
7) Bavaro Beach
This beach is in Bavaro, Dominican Republic. You will be surrounded by a positive atmosphere where visitors and staff alike are happy, helpful people. How could you not be in a place like this? The beach has a long list of water sports to choose from and all the amenities one may need for a day of fun in the sun. If you are someone who likes to look and not touch, then you can enjoy long walks (or runs) on the vast stretch of beach that goes on for miles!
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6) Magens Bay
As we move further east, we come to Magens Bay, St. Thomas, in the U.S. Virgin Islands. This beach has extremely calm waters that are great for the kids to play in without having to be worried they will get crushed by the waves. It is part of a National Park, so there is a fee to enter, but with that comes well-kept bathrooms and garbage-free sand.
Be warned. This is a popular stop for cruise ships. So, if you are looking for a more peaceful visit, make sure to scout out the arrival times and plan around them! If you do end up sharing the beach with more of a crowd, the views it provides will be well worth it.
5) Maho Bay Beach
Once again, look a little further east to Cruz Bay, St. John. If you’re seeking out a snorkeling adventure on this trip, this is the spot to do it. You can easily spot sea turtles, rays, and lots of brightly colored fish! The drive down to the beach from Cruz Bay is spectacular. Once you arrive, you will be greeted with live music and a vibrant atmosphere that is nicely tucked away in the bay to protect you from any wind.
4) Trunk Bay Beach
The U.S. Virgin Islands National Park in St. John holds not one, but two of the beaches on our list. Also located in the National Park, Trunk Bay Beach has begun to gain some serious popularity over the years. With a marked snorkeling path around a gorgeous coral reef, it is not hard to see why.
If this is what has you and so many others traveling to explore, then rent your gear for $6 and get out there nice and early to enjoy the coral in solitude. Another perk about this beach is that there are plenty of shady spots to take a nap once you have all that snorkeling under your belt.
3) Eagle Beach
This beach in Palm-Eagle Beach, Aruba will have you feeling like a local with insider information about a secret slice of paradise. There is no resort access to this stretch of beach, so forget your concern about overcrowding and set up camp with all the room you could want. The water is the clearest you have ever seen, even when you are further out. Then, to satisfy your hunger, check out the highly recommended Ricardo’s restaurant. Don’t forget to take your picture in front of the infamous Noni Tree!
2) Varadero Beach
We all know that Cuba is known for its cool old cars, but did you know that a lot of them have been converted into taxis? Jump in one and head to Varadero Beach, where the sand juts out in such a way that you can watch the sunrise and the sunset!
Make sure you take a look at what the local weather has been like because, after a big storm, you will see a ton of jellyfish washed up on shore. When it has been clear for a few days, however, you can walk far out into the shallow waters and see an amazing array of fish without needing any snorkel gear!
1) Grace Bay Beach
Rent a car, and travel to the number one Caribbean beach on the list, Grace Bay, Turks and Caicos. Grace Bay Beach benefits from its offshore reef that acts as protection from any big waves. The result is calm water, great for the kids, and getting some ocean swim time in.
The serene waters also allow for some mild water activities like paddle boarding, kayaking, and snorkeling way out at the reef! If being active is what you are trying to avoid on your vacation, then take a load off and enjoy the peace and quiet that the area provides.
And there you have it! Hopefully, this helps narrow your search as you plan your mid-winter blues vacation, and no matter which beach you choose, don’t forget to pack the sunscreen!
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com