As snow swirls outside your cubicle window and temperatures drop 20 degrees to the wrong side of zero, you decide you've had enough and it's time to sip rum from a coconut shell under a palm tree on a sandy island beach. With your spur of the moment beach vacation plans, you instantly become a hero at the water cooler.
Heading to a sunny Caribbean beach resort for a vacation in the dead of winter may seem like a dream come true, but in high season your week of paradise is going to cost you a good chunk of coin. You'll want to make sure every part of your trip is perfect, so you can remain the envy of the office after you get back, and not have co-workers snickering behind your back as you complain bitterly.
Although resort accommodations and service are a big part of your all-inclusive Caribbean beach holiday; the quality of the beach is equally important. After all, what is a beach paradise holiday without long strolls along a sandy beach at sunset?
Here are some of the more popular Caribbean destinations and the best beaches you'll find on each island:
With Communism's grip on this island loosening, Cuba has become an increasingly popular destination for winter sun and sand seekers. Part of the reason for Cuba's popularity is the fairly consistent standard of quality for a good price. Another reason to go to Cuba is for the beaches. Be careful, however, as not all beaches in Cuba are created equally.
At the western end of Cuba you will find Playa Paraiso and Playa Sirena. These wide, pristine white beaches touch the crystal waters of the Caribbean Sea the length of Cayo Largo del Sur. The resort town of Varadero offers some of the best beaches you will find in the Caribbean. Being among the best, however, means that this beach is built up with a steady line of resort hotels and North Americans roasting themselves on the sand. For a similar atmosphere and beach experience without the crowds, try Guardalavaca.
Also a popular tourist destination, the Dominican Republic boasts miles of white sandy beaches and crystal blue Caribbean waters. Most visitors to the Dominican end up at one of the all-inclusive resorts that line the beach at Punta Cana. These beach resorts have everything most sun and sand seekers are looking for: swim-up bar, beach service and a disco to dance the night away.
For a more secluded beach vacation in the Dominican Republic, you need to head to the country's northern coast. Here you will find Play Dorada, a region of both white and beige sandy beaches without the party loving crowds of Punta Cana.
Negril boasts the best beaches on Jamaica, and with such bounty, it has its fair share of resorts as well. Negril has a reputation, however, as one of the most hedonistic destinations in the Caribbean, so be prepared to bare all along certain strips of this 11km beach. Another draw back to Negril is that it is a fair distance from the main airports in Montego Bay and Kingston, making for some beautiful, if not hair raising drives along mountain roads.<
Montego Bay Offers a more traditional beach experience in Jamaica. However, with the country's rising crime rate, tourists are cautioned to stay on the resort. As such, most resort beaches are fenced off and man made, making them fine for sunbathing, but limiting pleasure walks in the surf.
Aruba is blessed with a number of white sandy beaches that allow you to dip your feet in the Caribbean's clear warm waters. The most popular beach on the island is Palm Beach. Although it can get pretty crowded in Aruba's resorts in the winter, during the off-season you can find a good deal and have plenty of beach to yourself.
No matter which side of this island you find yourself on, French or Dutch, you're going to be in for a treat. The divided island boasts over 30 sandy beaches with world-class resorts waiting to cater to your needs. Many visitors will also rent a car to travel the island, sampling what both cultures have to offer, especially in the island's world-renowned restaurants.</p>
<p>No matter where you end up in the Caribbean, you're going to be in for a treat. Taking a few minutes to research islands and beaches before you book your holiday will ensure that your beach vacation will be one of a lifetime.