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best beach?
Old 11-05-2012, 12:47 PM   #1
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best beach?

I am a beach bum at heart. What, in your opinion, is the best beach destination in the general Caribbean/Central America area? I'm limiting it to those to keep flight times and time zone changes minimal for most of the US. I'm intentionally not specifying more to keep it open to whatever matters most to you -- best beach period, best value, easiest access, and so on.

In terms of purely best beach, I'd vote for Grace Bay Beach on Provo, BWI.
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Old 11-05-2012, 01:15 PM   #2
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Orient Beach on St Martin was wonderful.

They have an offshore coral reef so the water near the beach is calm. The waves then don't churn up sand and particles and the water there is this crystal clear turquoise baby blue color.
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Old 11-05-2012, 01:17 PM   #3
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St. Martin/Marteen has been on the list for a while. Isn't Orient Beach the clothing (highly) optional beach?

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Orient Beach on St Martin was wonderful.

They have an offshore coral reef so the water near the beach is calm. The waves then don't churn up sand and particles and the water there is this crystal clear turquoise baby blue color.
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Old 11-05-2012, 02:42 PM   #4
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St. Martin/Marteen has been on the list for a while. Isn't Orient Beach the clothing (highly) optional beach?
Yes, the far end is clothing optional. But up by where the smoothy huts and restaurants are it's not. Don't go down there expecting beautiful young maidens showing off their wares though. It's mostly really old fat guys. Nothing special about that.

I forgot to mention. The sand (being made of coral) is that powder white color. So between the clear calm turquoise blue water and the white sand it's pretty spectacular.



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Old 11-05-2012, 04:45 PM   #5
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Orient Beach is great. There's a shack at the end of the beach serving BBQ and beer (Joe's??)

If you want seclusion, total privacy and complete decompression, our favorite beach is Peter Island. They even have a completely secluded beach they can take you to and you're the only one there; they pack you a lunch and drop you off. Pricey, but, oooh!
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Old 11-05-2012, 05:49 PM   #6
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Best beach I've been to (other than Florida Gulf Coast) is Gold Rock Beach in the Bahamas.

It's a 45-minute drive from the hotel district, so it has relatively few visitors. It's a national park, so no vendors, no amenities. It was virtually empty.

At one end is an old dock area where - if you pretend you can't read "no trespassing" signs - you can walk around taking a close look at a ship's hull used for filming one of the Pirate's of the Caribbean movies.

Gold Rock Beach - Lucayan National Park - Reviews of Gold Rock Beach - TripAdvisor

We went to the island via a cruise ship (ferry, in reality) that runs from Ft. Lauderdale to Freeport. Very cost effective for a family trip, but neither the transportation or the hotels were what anyone would call luxurious. The trip was going to be a B- until we rented a car for the day and drove to Gold Rock. We were so impressed, we went back every day we had left on the trip. It easily raised the vacation grade to an A.
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Old 11-05-2012, 06:23 PM   #7
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I'm partial to Mexico south of Playa del Carmen. If you look up Almaplena resort south of Mahahual costa Maya.

We met the couple who just opened the place maybe a year ago (from Italy, Neopolitan, I think) They allowed us to tent on their beach to the north of them. There is like no other people out there.

The reef is truly untouched and you can swim from the beach with no problem and you can really get lost in the nature there. If you like snorkeling, diving or spearfishing, go there for sure.

Warning, you will be alone out there, so be prepared for this. Other than their place, the next town is 15 miles north of there for the most part.

To get there, you fly to Cancun, drive south to Mahahual and turn right at the gas station prior to reaching Mahahual. Go about 10 miles south to the first road and turn left. Go to the end of that road and turn left and it's about 1/4 mile on the right.

A true gem in the Caribbean.

You can get a room in Mahahual for $40-60 usd for basic rooms or stay on site for $150-200 if I remember correctly.
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Old 11-05-2012, 06:37 PM   #8
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I'm partial to Mexico south of Playa del Carmen. If you look up Almaplena resort south of Mahahual costa Maya.

We met the couple who just opened the place maybe a year ago (from Italy, Neopolitan, I think) They allowed us to tent on their beach to the north of them. There is like no other people out there.

The reef is truly untouched and you can swim from the beach with no problem and you can really get lost in the nature there. If you like snorkeling, diving or spearfishing, go there for sure.

Warning, you will be alone out there, so be prepared for this. Other than their place, the next town is 15 miles north of there for the most part.

To get there, you fly to Cancun, drive south to Mahahual and turn right at the gas station prior to reaching Mahahual. Go about 10 miles south to the first road and turn left. Go to the end of that road and turn left and it's about 1/4 mile on the right.

A true gem in the Caribbean.

You can get a room in Mahahual for $40-60 usd for basic rooms or stay on site for $150-200 if I remember correctly.
The wife and I spent a wonderful afternoon in Majuhaul which is also (besides Orient beach) a truly great spot. I even posted about Majuhaul briefly on this forum:

Sanitized Foreign Travel

We went before hurricane Dean (a Cat V hurricane - the highest category) leveled Costa Maya and Majuhaul in 2007. It would be interesting to return now and see the difference.

However if I had to pick but one best beach place it would still be Orient beach on St Martin
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Old 11-05-2012, 08:19 PM   #9
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Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii -beautiful with a little bit of everything you want in a beach
Elbow Beach in Bermuda- the softest, coolest sand, beautiful waters, parrot fish
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Old 11-06-2012, 09:43 AM   #10
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The wife and I spent a wonderful afternoon in Majuhaul which is also (besides Orient beach) a truly great spot. I even posted about Majuhaul briefly on this forum:

Sanitized Foreign Travel

We went before hurricane Dean (a Cat V hurricane - the highest category) leveled Costa Maya and Majuhaul in 2007. It would be interesting to return now and see the difference.

However if I had to pick but one best beach place it would still be Orient beach on St Martin
Yeah, we got to spend a week's time in the area. If you go south on the dirt road a mile or so, you get out of the "city". We had some of the best Italian food from a dive of a hotel.

The diving 10 miles south is where it's at. We saw the biggest parrot fish I've seen and probably 30 more types of fish, lobster, turtles, etc.

I like Hawaii, but on a budget, you can't beat this place and the water is to die for. Also, you can get a boat ride to Belize from the area. Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker is just south of there and way cool too, but not for beaches, just diving. The beaches turn to mangroves as you go south.
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underwhelmed by Hawaii
Old 11-06-2012, 10:47 AM   #11
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underwhelmed by Hawaii

I'm sure I'll get stoned by the Hawaiian mod contingent, but both DW and I were underwhelmed with Hawaiian beaches, pretty much across the board. Factoring in the long flight times, we probably won't return unless it's for something other than beaches.

Orient Beach is definitely moving up the list.... I figured the nude end would not be full of frolicking supermodels, so it's good to know the other end is more typical.

Peter Island and the other private island resorts look intriguing but their pricetag is pretty steep. Those who have gone to one, is it worth one week there when the same money could get 2-4 weeks at other very nice but more typical places?
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Old 11-06-2012, 01:31 PM   #12
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Old 11-06-2012, 01:45 PM   #13
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Coki Beach in St. Thomas
Trunk bay in St. John
Grace Bay in Providenciales

Eagle Beach in Aruba

Taylor Bay in Prodenciales

Siesta Key in Florida
Cancun Beach in Mexico
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Old 11-06-2012, 03:04 PM   #14
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Playa Manuel Antonio in Costa Rica, clean white sand $10 charge to go into Manuel Antonia National Park, keeps the numbers of people down.

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Old 11-07-2012, 08:06 AM   #15
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Joebloe, how does Siesta Key (FL) compare to the likes of Grace Bay and Eagle Beach? Both in terms of beach and water quality, and the general atmosphere. It would be easier and often cheaper to stay in the country, but so far the closest I've seen to the Caribbean beach quality is the Miami area, and that's definitely not our cup of tea.
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Old 11-08-2012, 10:42 AM   #16
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Siesta Key Beach is very pretty. It was voted the prettiest beach in the U.S. but for a more laid back beach that is also very pretty try Anna Marie Island.
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Old 11-08-2012, 09:24 PM   #17
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I'd vote for Flamenco Beach, Culebra PR or Magens Bay St. Thomas.
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Old 11-10-2012, 05:57 PM   #18
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Gulf Shores, Alabama...look it up. Great white sand beach, friendly folks, awesome food and music....and reasonably priced.
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Old 11-11-2012, 01:59 PM   #19
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You can't go wrong going to St. John. Fly into St. Thomas and stay there long enough to get to the other side of the island so you can take the 10 minute ferry to St. John. Salomon and Honeymoon Beaches are like owning private million dollar beach front properties. Many times we were the only ones there as people are too lazy to walk through the state park trail to get there. Most tourist people go to Trunk Bay, which is very nice, but has all the people there. St. John is safe, relaxing, and uncrowded. I have learned to rent a condo through someone on VRBO, better deals.
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Old 11-13-2012, 11:44 AM   #20
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I'm sure I'll get stoned by the Hawaiian mod contingent, but both DW and I were underwhelmed with Hawaiian beaches, pretty much across the board. Factoring in the long flight times, we probably won't return unless it's for something other than beaches.
Unless you live in Las Vegas or westward, you are probably right, the long/expensive flights are probably not worth it, but the Hawaiian islands have terrific beaches, just not necessarily the most popular ones in the tourist guides or the resort areas. Waikiki and Poipu on Kauai come to mind as over hyped. I do go there more for other scenery and culture as well. From here (Los Angeles), flying to the Caribbean is longer, but probably cheaper than Hawaii.
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