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Welcome to Caribbean Comeback, in which TPG shines a post-hurricane, pre-season spotlight on the region. Stay tuned for new content publishing throughout the week, and be sure to share tips in the comments if you’re planning an upcoming trip.
As TPG reported earlier this week, some islands fared better than others during the hurricanes that swept through the Caribbean this fall. And for those destinations ready to welcome visitors, tourism will be hugely important in helping reboot the local economy; according to the Caribbean Development Bank, a 1% reduction in tourist arrivals corresponds to a $137 million in lost revenue. And if that’s not reason enough to visit the region in the upcoming months, consider these two little words: secret beaches.
Here now, 10 of our favorites:
1. Klein Curacao, Curacao
A tiny uninhabited island south-east of Curacao is known for its white, powdery sand and spectacular diving conditions (read: sprawling masses of coral and underwater caves). To get there, you’ll need to either charter a boat or book a group tour with an operator like Bounty Adventures. Once you explore the lighthouse, swim with sea turtles, and snorkel around a shipwreck, you — like that Dutch Instagrammer above — will also be asking, “Can I go back?”
2. Sugar Beach, St. Lucia
Volcanic peaks, lush rainforest, white sand beaches: Sugar Beach, on St. Lucia, is truly a paradise, found. The cozy spot — one of the best places on Earth to escape the cold — is set between the towering Pitons, which serve as a dramatic volcanic backdrop for lounging under palm trees or taking a dip. You can spend the night here at the magnificent Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort, or visit by boat on a day-trip.
3. Flamingo Beach, Aruba
Okay, it might not be quite as much of a closely guarded secret anymore thanks to Instagram, but Flamingo Beach is still worth a visit. The private beach, situated on Renaissance Island — part of the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino, an excellent points option in this region — is home to the only pink flamingos in Aruba. Hotel guests have free access, but a limited number of day passes are available for particularly motivated visitors willing to shell out for selfies.
4. Spotts Beach, Grand Cayman
Surrounded by cliffs, this picturesque beach on Grand Cayman is great for spotting sea-turtles, and its location — the south coast of the island — makes it prime for watching the sun rise and set. Best of all, there’s limited parking and only a few homes and condos nearby, so you won’t be climbing over sunbathers, nor will you be competing for space at the picnic tables or grills.
5. Gold Rock Beach, Grand Bahama
Referred to as a “welcome mat” during low tide because you can sit on the sand bar, Gold Rock Beach is part of The Lucayan National Park, which you have to walk through to get to the sandy shores. You’ll only see a couple of other beachgoers at this hidden gem, and you can explore Lucayan’s underground caves nearby — that is, if you can tear yourself away from the sunshine.
6. Button Beach, Jamaica
Nothing embodies secrecy and privacy more than James Bond — and there’s no better place to find it than GoldenEye, Ian Fleming’s former estate, where the author dreamed up the suave secret agent. Today the property operates as a hotel, effectively a series of private villas offering guests access to a secluded beach and lagoon. GoldenEye’s unmarked entrance is tucked behind a private gate — and let’s face it, that’s about as top-secret as it gets.
7. La Sagesse Beach, Grenada
Clear water and soft sand are two of the many reasons people seek out this peaceful, palm tree–dotted slice of Granada coastline, which has but a single hotel. You can rent beach chairs and kayaks, and be sure to explore the tropical gardens of the La Sagesse Nature Center, located less than a quarter-mile down the road.
8. Half Moon Bay, Antigua
Antigua’s Half Moon Bay tends to be more deserted than others on the island; there’s no sign identifying the mile-long stretch of pink and white sand. Once you find it, though, you’re in for a crowd-free euphoria. The beach has something for everyone — windsurfers flock to the center to take advantage of the waves, while snorkelers float around the calmer water near the edges.
9. Banana Bay, St. Kitts
The untouched beach at Banana Bay is a bit hard to get to, and that’s just the point. You’ll follow one road that goes to St. Kitts’ southeast coast, where white sand, beautiful views of neighboring islands, and wildlife awaits. In certain seasons, the off-the-beaten-path destination is known for its flying fish and turtle-hatching.
10. No Name Beach, Klein Bonaire Island
The uninhabited island, located a half-mile off Bonaire, doesn’t have any buildings or people. What you will find, however, is a stunning reef, bright blue waters, and unspoiled white-sand beaches. Best of all, No Name Beach is protected by a national park, which means it will never be overrun with hotels and visitors.
Featured image of Half Moon Bay, Antigua by Marc Guitard / Getty Images.
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