By NAN Travel Editor
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Jan. 6, 2016: Three Caribbean beaches have made the top 12 list globally as having the clearest water according to TripAdvisor readers. They are:
Flamenco Beach (Playa Flamenco)
The Flamenco Beach in Culebra, Puerto Rico came in at fourth on the top 12 list with a five star rating for its really clear water. Culebra 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.
There are two main ways to get to Culebra Island: by airplane or by ferry. Airplanes depart from Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport (SJU) and arrive at Culebra´s airport. From there take a taxi to Flamenco Beach. By ferry, you have to arrive at Fajardo and from there take the ferry to Culebra. The ferry route takes around 50 minutes. Once you arrive at Culebra´s port you take a taxi to Flamenco Beach.
The beach has bathroom facilities, showers, and bathrooms. There are about a half-dozen kiosks selling local food. This includes Piña colada, mango smoothies, rice-and-beans burritos and all manner of seafood, from conch salad to fish skewers. Flamenco Beach also has a designated camping area for a fee which provides potable water, bathrooms and shower facilities.
The Francis Bay beach in St. John, US Virgin Islands, Caribbean came in at fifth and earned a four-and-a-half star rating from TripAdvisor readers for its waters. Francis Bay beach doesn’t get the crowds that some of the other beaches get. It is one of the longest beaches on St. John and offers plenty of space with ample shade. Unlike some of the other St John beaches – Francis has a wide beach regardless of tides. Shaded parking provides convenient access to the beach. Snorkeling is good on both sides of the bay – with the eastern side offering slightly more diversity. On the west side you’ll find rocks extending form the shoreline with a mix of hard and soft corals. The center of the bay is mostly sea grass beds and home to turtles, rays and sometimes gigantic manta rays! Along the eastern side you’ll discover some beautiful underwater terrain covered in corals and sea fans, schools of fish, tangs, parrot fish and reef squid. The Francis Bay Trail runs along a salt pond and also offers great bird watching.
Getting there: Once on St. John, take North Shore Road ( RTE 20) past Maho Bay beach. The road divides just beyond the end of the beach. Follow the road until you reach a “Y”. You’ll keep left. Right takes you to Leinster/Waterlemon and the Annaberg Sugar Mill Ruins. About a 1/4 mi. down this road you’ll see the entrance on your right. Take this dirt road to the end. Depending on the time of day – you can park a short walk away from the beach.
Coming in at 11th was Shoal Bay in Anguilla. This two-mile expanse of feathery white sand that glitters in the sun and offers up the clearest turquoise waters is truly breathtaking. While this beach is popular it’s not that hard to find a quiet spot to relax. Shoal Bay east sees a lot of daytrippers from St. Martin-St. Maarten, so there are plenty of bars and restaurants, plus rental equipment for snorkeling, parasailing and scuba diving.