10 Secret Spring Break Beaches in the Caribbean

Away from the crowds, but not the sun

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Travel fever sets in during spring break season — even if you aren't a high school or college student. Perhaps you just want to head somewhere warm to escape the winter weather that stubbornly refuses to give way to spring. Or maybe winter is nose-to-the-grindstone season for you, and you want to spend a long weekend lounging on a Caribbean beach as a reward for months of hard work.

Lots of people want to travel during March and April. That's great news if you're looking for a vacation spot with a lively beach scene. If you want to relax somewhere idyllic, however, a trip to the tropics may end up being disappointingly crowded and noisy. Luckily, there are still plenty of beaches in the Caribbean that don't draw many tourists (or even many locals). You may need to take a boat ride or a long hike to reach them, but these stretches of sand are delightfully quiet most of the time.

Cow Wreck Beach

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Cow Wreck Beach is a destination for travelers who don't want to spend time on a completely deserted beach but still want a laid-back atmosphere. This sandy stretch is on Anegada in the British Virgin Islands. You have to take a ferry from Tortola to get here, but you'll find a relaxed vibe. Cow Wreck features a restaurant and bar and a guesthouse. The calm, shallow water with a sandy bottom draws vacationing families, but given the size of the beach and the relatively low number of tourists on Anegada, you'll always have plenty of space to yourself.

Divers and nature-lovers will also enjoy this area. The Caribbean's third longest reef, 18-mile-long Horseshoe Reef, sits just offshore. The interior of Anegada is dominated by salt marshes, and the island's modest town, simply known as the Settlement, is a sleepy place with some interesting features.

Mullet Bay Beach

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Mullet Bay Beach is on the island of Saint Martin (Sint Maarten in Dutch). This Caribbean island is jointly owned by France and the Netherlands, and Mullet Bay is technically on the Dutch portion. Mullet Bay was once THE beach on Saint Martin because of the presence of a major resort. A hurricane destroyed the property, and the beach turned into a haven for locals (though tourists still come here). Many of the visitors are students from a nearby university.

You can enjoy a non-touristy scene with picnicking locals on the weekend, but if you're interested in peace and quiet, you can come to Mullet Bay during the week. One of the advantages of this place is that it's close to the island's core, but it doesn't get as noisy as neighboring Maho Beach, which sits right next to Saint Martin's Princess Juliana airport. Maho is best known for the section of beach next to the runway where visitors seek the cheap (and dangerous) thrill of getting blown over by the jet wash from landing planes.

White Bay Beach

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Guana Island is another of the less-visited land masses in the British Virgin Islands. The island's owners have managed to keep it in pristine condition. White Bay Beach, hidden on the leeward side of Guana, is defined by a half-mile stretch of white sand. The bay is protected by a coral reef, so the water is usually calm and there are plenty of snorkeling opportunities. Charter boats and yachts can moor in the bay (for a fee), but Guana is actually a private island, so you have to book accommodations if you want to spend the night there.

Guana's owners have created a wildlife sanctuary and have successfully brought back species that were once endangered in the area. White Bay Beach is only a half-mile long, but since the resort on the island only has 20 rooms and there are a limited number of moorings in the bay, it never gets crowded on the beach. Resort guests even have access to cabanas and self-service bars on the beach.

Klein Curacao

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Klein Curacao (that's Little Curacao in English) is a tiny, uninhabited island eight miles off the coast of Curacao. The shore of Klein is ringed with soft white sand. Though there is an abandoned lighthouse and several pavilions and shacks, no one is officially permitted to stay on the island. The pavilions are a necessity for beachgoers. A herd of goats, which once roamed Klein Curacao, ate all the vegetation, so there's little natural shade here.

Visitors can take tours from Curacao. Beach barbecues are a popular pastime for these visitors, though some people would rather just stroll the white sands and take in all the scenery and nature. Divers and snorkelers make up a majority of the visitors here. They are drawn by the coral, crystal clear water and underwater caves. Shipwrecks and abandoned boats are a common sight on the island. Most of these were swept into the windward shoreline after they lost power or ran aground.

Rendezvous Bay Beach

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Rendezvous Bay Beach has all the ingredients Caribbean vacationers want: clear water, white sand and an Eden-like tropical fringe. Why isn't this Antigua beach a bigger draw? It's so secluded that you have to hike at least a half hour to get there. Visitors can choose from multiple trails, but each takes 30 minutes or more to navigate. This means that the sand on Rendezvous Bay is never crowded. In fact, it is quite often completely empty.

You may be able to get a guide to take you here, but regardless of how you arrive, you will want to bring snorkeling gear. Virtually every travel guide that includes a Rendezvous Bay Beach listing raves about the clear water and abundant marine life, which thrives near the shore in the absence of tourist crowds.

Cote des Arcadins

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Cote des Arcadins is located in one of the largest nations in the Caribbean Sea. Haiti does not have many resort areas, but Cote des Arcadins is a standout. Haiti shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic, which is famous for beach destinations like Punta Cana. All the resorts in Cote des Arcadins together could fit within one single Punta Cana resort. For people looking for a laid-back Haitian beach vacation, that small size might be a good thing.

Cote des Arcadins is about 60 miles outside of Port-au-Prince. You can take tours that include nature walks and farm visits and even visit historic voodoo sites. Each resort has its own beach, and there is also a public beach. If you are seeking a beach destination that is not overrun by spring breakers, this could be a good choice, especially if you want to avoid the massive super-resorts that define most of this region.

Guanica

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Guanica is on the southwestern coast of Puerto Rico. This small town is within walking distance of more than a half-dozen beaches. The area is so attractive that Club Med once tried to establish a resort here, but they opted not to after strong local resistance to the idea. A boutique resort now sits in the town, but tourism crowds are generally light.

Rather than having one main beach, Guanica has several that are worth a visit. La Parguera Phosphorescent Bay has schools of tiny bioluminescent sea creatures that glow at night. The beach at Punta Ballena Reserve features wildlife including rare lizards and hummingbirds, while Caña Gorda Beach is in front of a fishing village with seafood restaurants. A small cay affectionately named Gilligan's Island sits about half-mile offshore. This spot is popular with snorkelers.

Barbuda

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Barbuda is part of the sovereign nation of Antigua and Barbuda, which is in the Leeward Islands region of the Caribbean. Barbuda was never a very crowded place. It had less than 2,000 permanent residents in 2017, but most of these people left for Antigua after Hurricane Irma destroyed 90 percent of the buildings on Barbuda.

Reconstruction continues, but the nation is seeking to bring tourists back to the white sand beaches that define most of 60-square-mile Barbuda. Actually, the most striking beaches on the island are very unusual because they have pink sand. The sand is this strange color because it contains billions of tiny pink seashells. You can travel to Barbuda from Antigua on a ferry or as part of a regional cruise. The island now has two hotels in operation.

Vieques

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Vieques is off the mainland of Puerto Rico. Until 2003, the U.S. Navy used this remote island for exercises. Now, however, it has been turned into a wildlife refuge. One of the best beaches here is Blue Beach, which is popular because of the ideal snorkeling conditions and abundance of sea life. However, there are numerous additional beaches, most of which are pristine and completely deserted. When naming Vieques one of the top 25 beach destinations in the world, Trip Advisor counted more than 40 beaches on the 52-square-mile island.

Vieques also has a variety of other attractions, include historic and nature sites. It boasts a bioluminescent bay, a black sand beach, a centuries-old ceiba tree and a full calendar of festivals and cultural events.

Nevis

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Nevis is the smaller half of Saint Kitts and Nevis, which itself is the smallest sovereign state in the Western Hemisphere. Nevis has about 10,000 residents. With a few exceptions, hotels on the islands are housed in renovated plantation homes. Because of its size and infrastructure, Nevis is never overly crowded. Most of the beaches are on the north and west coasts of the island. These beaches are known for their different colored sands.

Beach-going is not just a daytime activity on Nevis. At night and in the early morning, volunteers who are part of the Nevis Turtle Group walk the sands tagging, collecting data and checking on the sea turtles who nest on the island.