By NAN Travel Editor
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. July 6, 2018: With temperatures sweltering across many U.S. states, it certainly seems like a great time for a beach vacation somewhere – especially in the Caribbean. Here are the best beaches in the Spanish Caribbean nations you should know according to TripAdvisor travelers.
1: Varadero Beach
Taking the number one spot for the Spanish Caribbean and second for the Caribbean region is Varadero Beach in Varadero, Cuba. Varadero Beach stretches almost uninterrupted for 13 miles along a shoreline framed by mangrove forests. Varadero is best known as a tourist resort town, with more than 20 km of white sandy beaches. Soak up the sun while sitting on the soft, white sand, enjoy long walks and cool off in the alluring blue water. Spot colorful aquatic creatures on snorkeling trips and join sailing charters to remote cays. Varadero also has natural attractions such as caves and a chain of easily accessed virgin cays. It is also a free port that possesses facilities for scuba diving, deep-sea fishing, yachting and other water sports. Sun loungers and palapas (thatched-roof umbrellas) are available to rent. Hotels also offer these facilities to guests free of charge. Many hotels have direct access to the beach. There is parking available, for a fee, for those arriving by rented car on day trips.
2: Bavaro Beach
Ranking at number 2 for the Spanish Caribbean island and 6th regionally, is Bavaro Beach in Bavaro, Dominican Republic. Bávaro is located in La Altagracia province, the easternmost province of the Dominican Republic and was developed together with the resort area and tourist region of Punta Cana, as a town for resort workers. As hotels started to rise along the east coast, north from Punta Cana, Bavaro itself became a center of services. This beautiful area has a high concentration of beaches with white sands and turquoise blue colored waters that are so beautiful that they seem unreal. Bavaro beach also has jungles of mangroves and coconut trees. A coral reef helps protect the beach. The resorts Barcelo Bavaro Beach and Palace Deluxe Resorts share a section of the Blue Bander. The Punta Cana International Airport is 20 kilometers away from hotels and hotel complexes.
3: Playa Paraiso
At third and seventh region-wide, is Playa Paraiso beach in Cayo Largo, Cuba. This beach has grown extremely popular with Playa del Carmen and Cancún daytrippers, as well as Tulum vacationers. Here you will find plenty of opportunities for snorkeling and scuba diving plus a few hammocks, lounge chairs and umbrellas to choose from that you can rent. For about 200 pesos (about $11), you’ll get a couple chairs, an umbrella and parking.
4: Flamenco Beach
Flamenco Beach in Culebra, Puerto Rico takes the fourth spot and 8th in the region. This is a public beach on the island of Culebra that is known for its shallow turquoise waters, white sand, swimming areas, and diving sites. It stretches for a mile around a sheltered, horseshoe-shaped bay. Playa Flamenco is a popular beach destination for both Culebra and Puerto Rico. The waters off Flamenco beach are home to species of parrot fish, blue tang, multiple species of wrasse and other Caribbean sea fish. Crustacean species such as Ghost Crab are also observed. Some 50,000 seabirds visit Culebra’s Flamenco Peninsula each summer to nest – mostly sooty terns and other migratory species. Summer visitors to Flamenco Beach are familiar with them as they often feed in the area in large numbers. One of the most distinctive views of the beach include two rusting carcasses of old Sherman Tanks that were left behind by United States Navy in 1975, when they left after using it as weapons testing ground for more than 30 years.
5: Playa Pilar
Ranking at fifth and 12th in the wider Caribbean, is Playa Pilar in Cayo Guillermo, Cuba. It is dubbed one of the most spectacular beaches in Cuba. This pristine beach is located at the north-western end of the island of Cayo Guillermo. It is about 1 km long and faces north and is known for its powdery white sand and shallow and calm waters that are perfect for swimming and water sports but there is natural shade at Playa Pilar. You can rent lounge chairs for 2 CUC per day and sunbeds for 10 CUC per day that comes with 3 drinks and palapas. A water sports center where you can rent many types of equipment is also located here.
6: La Chiva
La Chiva takes the sixth spot for the French Caribbean and ranks at 15th regionwide. It is located on Isla de Vieques in Puerto Rico and is voted as one of the best beaches in Vieques. The waters are a deeper turquoise with tones of navy blue on the horizon. The first few stops on the west side of La Chiva beach are great spot for those who want the most solitude since most beach goers head to the other end to snorkel.
As you begin to walk to the east end of the beach, the color of the water gets lighter. By the time you get to the parking spot 15, the waters are crystal clear almost like glass on a clear day with no clouds. La Chiva Beach is great for snorkeling but bring lots of sunscreen. The best spots for snorkeling are along the rocky areas and near the small cay at the end of the road. Restrooms are available at the entrance of the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge. The roads leading to La Chiva are covered in gravel and you can travel here by scooter or car. Stay off La Chiva Island as it is prohibited to enter this area.
7: Caracas Beach
Ranking at 7th for the French Caribbean and 17th regionally is Caracas Beach in Isla de Vieques, Puerto Rico. Playa Caracas, previously known as ‘Red” Beach,’ is a family friendly beach accessible on the National Wildlife Refuge on the south side of Vieques along the Caribbean Sea.
The waters have beautiful tones of turquoise, and the sand is a very soft and light white coral. The waters offer gentle waves offering fun for children wanting to do a little boogie boarding. The beach is wide offering plenty of sand for families to spread out and have fun, on Sundays you may often find families playing beach volleyball. Facilities include gazebos for picnics. There aren’t many so get here early, especially on the weekends to grab one. Take bags with you for trash and kindly drop it on the trash bins provided. There are no bathroom facilities at the beach, a short drive back to the entrance of the refuge you may use the bathrooms at the office of the Wildlife Refuge. Get here off Route 997. Caracas is the first beach on the refuge that can be accessed by car. Look for the sign and drive all the way down to the end of the road and enjoy.
8: Juanillo Beach
Rounding out the Best Beaches for the Spanish Caribbean list is Juanillo Beach in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, which ranks at 23rd in the wider Caribbean. It is actually located in a former fishing village on the east coast of the Dominican Republic but today is one of the region’s most desirable stretches of white-sand beach. Juanillo Beach is located in Cap Cana, about 15 minutes from Punta Cana International Airport by road. The easiest way to reach the beach is by taxi or on a catamaran ride from Punta Cana.
It is considered a hidden gem for its wide open, powdery soft, and lined with palm trees, which run from Cap Cana Marina to the Sanctuary Cap Cana Golf & Spa Resort. While open to the public, the beach is only accessible through Cap Cana Resort, making it a calm and quiet place to soak up some rays. Cabanas and loungers are available for rent along the beach but public restrooms are not available on the beach. Take your ID as you might need it when entering Cap Cana Resort.