If you thought all beaches were created equal, think again. Sure, some travelers prefer the party scene but for the bonafide beach aficionado, it’s that quieter nook that is worth seeking out. What the smaller out-of-the way beaches lack in amenities, they more than make up with countless miles of buttery sand, seclusion and serenity. Plant your sun lounger by the water’s edge and check out our list of the top 10 secret beaches in the Caribbean, and try not to let the cat out of the bag.
Away from the busy beaches on the resort-lined northwest coast, Doctor’s Cave on the Hip Strip in the heart of Montego Bay is the beach less-traveled. Dating back to 1906 when Dr. Alexander James McCatty opened one of Jamaica’s first bathing clubs, the water was reputed to have healing powers when a British doctor in the 1920s noticed his many ailments disappeared after a soak in the sea. Today, the bath-warm water with year-round temperatures between 78 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit is still the perfect prescription for relaxation and the favorite sandy stretch for locals and savvy tourists who know a good beach when they find one. There are plenty of restaurants and bars on the strip, although a picnic on the sand is the recommended choice on a sunny afternoon. The beach, part of the Montego Bay Marine Park, allows visitors easy access to a boatload of water sports while a spirited underwater awaits the snorkelers in the crowd. visitjamaica.com
On the Dutch side of the dual-nation island, Mullet Bay is a word-of-mouth beach without a lot of guidebook hype. A pretty palette of teal blue and talc white, the long sandy ribbon on the southwest coast is dotted with palms and sea grape trees. It’s the go-to for surfers and swimmers who covet beaches without a lot of tourists. No frills apart from polite vendors hawking sun loungers, cold beer and rum punch, the beach is easy to find off Rhine Road near the island’s only golf course. On weekdays, there’s plenty of prime real estate on the sand while the weekend vibe is livelier with locals playing volleyball on the sand, party catamarans skirting the shoreline, and fishermen on the jetty 50 yards from shore ready to land the big one. vacationstmaarten.com
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