Best Beaches

How to Live the Good Life at the Beach

Jimmy Buffett isn’t just known for singing a song or two about living life on the beach. He doesn’t just sing about “wastin’ away again in Margaritaville,” he genuinely lives the island life. That’s why, here at CheapCaribbean.com, we’re self-proclaimed “parrot heads” and talking you through ways you can live the good life on the beach this week.

Best beaches to relax on - CheapCaribbean.com

1. Pack the Perfect Bag.

First things first, to take on the beach the right way you’ve got to make sure you have all the necessary supplies. Packing the best beach bag is an absolute must and something you might want to take on before you hit the beach.

Start by asking around for the best beach reads and make sure to stock your iPod with tons of beach appropriate tunes. Some of our favorite beach songs include “Margaritaville” by Jimmy Buffett (obviously), “Some Beach” by Blake Shelton and “One Love” by Bob Marley, for example. Our entire list of perfect beach songs can be found on our Beach Tunes playlist.

You’ll also want to make sure to include a solid sunscreen, a great pair of shades and flip flops, just to name a few things. A towel is important too, but if you’re staying at a fabulous all-inclusive resort as we suggest you do, these will usually be provided for you. You’ll just want to get with the front desk or concierge to confirm where beach towels can be located. An ice-cold beverage and great beach snacks are also important, but we’ll get to that later.

2. Find the Best Spot.

Now that you’ve got a bag full of all the essentials, the next step is to venture out to your destination’s beach and see what it’s made of! Don’t worry about bringing your own lounger, if you do the beach the right way, then a perfectly placed palapa or chair awaits with your name on it.

But you’ve got to decide what’s most important to you. Do you prefer to be closer to your resort so you can pop between the ocean and the pool? Do you need to be close to the water activities coordinator so you can plan what water sport you’re going to try next? Or are you simply looking for some good old-fashioned R&R and just need a great view and beach bar nearby? As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into the location of where you spend your day at the beach. The good news is – at the right beach, all of these options are available and ready.

3. Sample Some Beach Fare.

And of course, what could be more important than making sure you’ve got easy access to delicious grub and thirst-quenching sips? No matter how you plan on spending your days on the beach, you’ve got to stay hydrated and don’t want to go hungry.

We suggest trying something that’s local to the beach you’re at - mofongo in Puerto Rico or jerk chicken in Jamaica, for example. And when it comes to drinking, we’re big fans of a refreshing Mount Gay Rum mojito or Havana Lights Cocktail, made special at Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun. Sometimes the best experiences come from asking the locals or your resort staff for their favorites and trying their suggestions.

4. Find the Right Beach.

Perhaps the most important piece of the puzzle is finding the ideal beach to live the good life on. This is where the resort and all its amenities come into play. Here’s a few resorts that are home to some of the best beaches and make living the good life almost a given.

Live Aqua Cancun: Located right on the Cancun beach, this 5-star luxury all-inclusive is the perfect place to live the good life. There are eight infinity pools with beachfront views, plenty of beach loungers and even cabana beds that come with daily foot massages. And don't worry, there’s a full staff of cabana waiters bringing you your choice of food and beverage all day long.

Best Beach Resort - Live Aqua - Cheap Caribbean

Barcelo Bavaro Beach, Dominican Republic: This adults-only luxury fortress is located right on Bavaro Beach, one of the Dominican Republic's best beaches. Barcelo Bavaro Beach is the perfect beach if you're looking to indulge and get in some quality rest & relaxation. You can also hang out at the Bahio pool after the beach and when nighttime falls, test out your dancing skills at Disco Bavaro.

Bavaro Beach, Dominican Republic - Barcelo Resort - CheapCaribbean.com

Seven Stars Resort, Turks & Caicos: A stay at this resort and an afternoon on Grace Bay Beach is the epitome of living the good life at the beach. This resort rests upon TripAdvisor's Traveler's Choice Award for the top rated beach and promises nothing but luxe. We suggest grabbing a mojito from Sand Dollar bar, taking a dip in the heated saltwater pool and then head to claim your spot on the satin-like sands of Grace Bay Beach.

Grace Bay Beach, Turks & Caicos - Seven Sands Resort - CheapCaribbean.com

So there you have it, folks. As you can see adopting a lifestyle of a permanent beach bum or "parrot head" couldn't be easier. Just a few simple steps and you're on your way to being a beach expert. What do you think? Did we leave anything out? Let us know how you'd live the good life at the beach in the comments below.

The Best Beach for Your Budget

Believe it not, there’s a white sandy beach and empty chair with your name on it. There’s a hotel bartender longing to concoct his signature beverage just for you. And there’s even plenty of cool breezes and warm sunshine that’s just drying to wrap around you. So what are you waiting for? A trip to the beach is calling…and the good news is you’ve got plenty of options, no matter your budget. Here are a few suggestions of fabulous vacations that will accustom every pocketbook.

Quick Weekend Getaways Under $700

Sometimes the perfect vacations are ones that happen spur-of-the-moment and allow you jet set out of town for a few days. That’s what a great weekend getaway is all about. And you’d be surprised to find out that a lot of these fab getaways run under $700 per person.

The first favorite of ours is 4.5-star Now Sapphire Riviera Cancun in Riviera Maya. This luxury resort offers Unlimited-Luxury® all-inclusive, which includes in-pool lounges, adult-only pool access, premium-stoked bars and seven five-star gourmet restaurants. Don’t worry; this feature comes standard at this 496-guest room resort tucked perfectly on 5,000 feet of the whitest sands and bluest waters in Mexico. Even better, three-night getaways start at $519 per person.

Cheap Riviera Maya Vacations from CheapCaribbean.com

Another nice quick getaway option comes to you from sunny Montego Bay, Jamaica.  Holiday Inn Sunspree Montego Bay is THE place if you’re looking for somewhere to spend some good quality time together. Better yet, kids stay and eat free here. This all-inclusive beachfront property comes complete with a half-mile, sugar-sand beach, Kidspree Vacation Club, Sol Mer Spa and adults-only swim up bar. With something for everyone, five-night getaways start at $599 per person (not including the kiddos who stay and eat free).

Just the Vacation You Had in Mind Under $1000

Vacations are supposed to be just that – vacations. You shouldn’t have to stress over all the details. That’s why these recommendations have it all and include airfare, food & beverage, as well as accommodations. Any of these great getaways should run you around $1000 per person and make it even more of an excuse for you to get away…

Punta Cana is the premiere hot spot in the DR and that means it’s surely not lacking. That’s the case for the all-inclusive, adult-only Barcelo Bavaro Beach. Indulge in the scrumptious gourmet dining options, hang out at the Bohio pool bar during the day and head over to Disco Bavaro for dancing and entertainment or see a Las-Vegas inspired show at Gran Teatro Bavaro at night. Prices start at $819 per person for four nights. And one extra perk – you’ll have access to its’ sister property, Barcelo Bavaro Palace Deluxe, making it feel like two vacations in one.

Cheap Mexico Vacations from CheapCaribbean.com

In Mexico, the Iberostar Paraiso Maya is known for having it all. Located on the Playa Paraiso beach in Riviera Maya, this breathtaking resort is fully equipped with five pools, including one indoor pool and a Mayan palace-style wave pool, as well as a lazy river made perfect for floating.

Cheap Punta Cana Vacations from CheapCaribbean.com

There’s Lucy's Miniclub for the kids and there’s also a “dine around” program, which allows you to venture to all the sister hotels’ restaurants and bars for limitless all-inclusive options. Five magnificent nights here begin at $869 for August through October 2013 travel.

Go Ahead…The Vacation You Deserve Under $1500

There’s no denying you work hard and deserve a serious break. So why not take the ultimate break with a luxury, top-notch vacation? With a starting price point under $1500 per person, one of our luxury favorites will be the best escape you’ve had to date.

Le Blanc Spa Resort is the 2012 Conde Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice for a reason. It’s also been recognized as an esteemed AAA Five Diamond Resort for 2013, which is awarded based on service & staff. This resort lies along a 250-yeard beach of powdery white sand on Cancun Island’s eastern shore. Because you’re so deserving of a treat, stop by the spa which offers a full menu of treatments, 24 indoor and outdoor treatment rooms and five outdoor couples suites, making it the perfect indulgence for you and your sweetie.

Luxury Cancun Vacations on a Budget from CheapCaribbean.com

With ample gourmet dining options, evening entertainment and even better service, you’ll enter such a state of relaxation you might never want to leave. And with travel dates through August, prices start at $1499 per person.

If you still want to shop around for the right vacation for you, make sure you take advantage of our Beach Budget Finder, which can be found on the right-hand side of our homepage. It’s the perfect tool to build the vacation of your dreams.

And if you haven’t yet, be sure to help support CheapCaribbean.com in the Business Journals’ Social Madness Competition. The winning team will receive a $10,000 donation to the charity of their choice and we’re hoping to give that to Make-A-Wish. You can vote every day through June 17th here.

Prices may vary and price points are based on Ft. Lauderdale, FL departures. 

Five Fab Caribbean Beaches To Plant Your Bum by JetSetSarah

JetSetSarah blogs for CheapCaribbean.com

By: JetSetSarah

Get washed up on one of these beaches and cross your fingers that that no one comes to rescue you.

1. Bambarra Beach, Middle Caicos, Turks and Caicos Islands­

Over on Provo, Grace Bay gets all the love. But one of my favorite strands is just a 30-minute ferry and less than 35 miles away from the Turks and Caicos Island tourist hub, secreted on sleepy Middle Caicos (pop. 300). You can’t help but be captivated by the beach at Bambarra, where, for about a quarter-mile, sun-warmed ankle-deep, crystal-clear water skims a rippled carpet of ivory sand. The tiny islet of Pelican Cay beckons you from the horizon, and in no time flat you’ll be answering its call, splashing your way towards it verdant landscape. While it might take you a minute to find this gem (there’s only a half-obscured hand-painted sign to direct you off the main road and down a gravel path to this casuarina tree-fringed beauty), Bambarra is totally worth the effort.

Turks & Caicos Vacations from CheapCaribbean.com

2. Frenchman’s Cove, Port Antonio, Jamaica

My favorite Jamaican beach is one of the island’s most picturesque, with a wide white-sand strand whose placid waters wash up against a sheltered cove. A small river flows through the 48-acre property, meeting the warm sea at the beach’s western end, where children fling themselves off a rope swing into refreshing waters. Cinematically beautiful (the movie Cocktail was shot here), blissfully quiet on a weekday, and located in what I think is Jamaica’s most idyllic quarter, Frenchman’s is a beach lover’s dream come true.

3. Seven-Mile Beach, Grand Cayman

Cayman Islands Vacations from CheapCaribbean.com

Somehow the Caribbean sun seems to shine its brightest on Grand Cayman’s marquee strand, possibly the hottest beach I’ve ever had the pleasure to bask on. I love nothing better than to chillax on a chaise and watch the parade of people go by: oiled-up European tourists in big chains and tiny bikinis; conventioneers freshly escaped from the frigidly air-conditioned confines of their hotel conference rooms; cruise ship day-trippers making a bee-line for a bucket of beer at Calico Jack’s. It might be a bit of a cliché, but Seven-Mile Beach is a classic Caribbean choice  – and a great one.

4. Grace Bay, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands

What’s not to love about this 12-mile long sweep of sand bordered by warm, clear turquoise water? When I first visited Grace Bay in Provo more back in the 90s, you could step out onto the shore, look up and down, and not see a single soul. Now, of course, the scene is completely different, with swanky mid-rise hotels and restaurants bordering the shore. But the beach bum-basics are still there: sand as fine as confectioner’s sugar, gin-clear sea, and a laidback vibe that encourages you to slow down, pop open a frosty Turks Head, and take it all in.

5. Maundays Bay, Anguilla

Like all of Anguilla’s 33 beaches, Maundays Bay is public, so you don’t have to be a guest of plush Cap Juluca (the resort which has pride of place on its sands), to enjoy it. If you are, however, more’s the better. Hotel guests enjoy the services of beach butlers, who, as soon as they see you coming, will open a beach umbrella, dress your chaise with a towel and pillow, and set down a cooler of drinks for your seaside refreshment. But whether you’re staying at Cap J or not, this spectacular combo of mesmerizingly blue water and bone-white sands is yours to enjoy, whether for a few days or for just one blissful hour.

Anguilla Vacations from CheapCaribbean.com

Photo Credit by Tiare Scott

Jet Set Sarah, Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon, is a Caribbean travel expert, award-winning travel journalist, and TV personality. Former executive editor of Caribbean Travel +Life magazine, she ventures to the beach and beyond, sharing the diverse culture, relaxed lifestyle and colorful people of the world’s favorite warm-weather destination. She is also jetsetter-in-chief at JetSetSarah.com, where travel and shopping meet.

Save the Date: #CheapCaribbean Best Beaches Twitter Party, May 21st, 1-2pm CST

Mark your calendars, CheapCaribbean.com is hosting its first ever Twitter Party! This Tuesday from 1-2pm CST, join us and special guests, Matt Long, @LandLopers from LandLopers, Kara Williams, @KaraSW from The Vacation Gals and Katie Dillion, @LaJollaMom from La Jolla Mom on Twitter, as we discuss the best beaches in the Caribbean & Mexico. We'd love to hear your favorite vacation spots and what you love about the beach, as we'll be sharing insider tips on all of our favorite beaches and all the reasons why we love them.

Use the hashtag #CheapCaribbean to join in on the fun!

Use the hashtag #CheapCaribbean to jump in on the conversation!

Here's how to jump in on the fun:

  • On Tuesday, May 21st at from 1-2pm CST, log onto to Twitter and make sure you're following us at @cheapcaribbean.
  • Jump in on the conversation by answering our questions & tweeting your thoughts about the best beaches, using the hashtag #CheapCaribbean.
  • Three lucky partygoers will win the ultimate beach bum package valued at over $300! To be eligible, participants must follow @CheapCaribbean on Twitter and tweet using the #CheapCaribbean hashtag at least one time during the party. Winners will be selected at random.
Prize package includes Ray Bans, iPod Shuffle, beach bag, oversized beach towel and other beach accessories.

Prize package includes Ray Bans, iPod Shuffle, beach bag, oversized beach towel and other beach accessories.

 

Be sure to follow Matt Long at @LandLoper Kara Williams at @KaraSW and Katie Dillion at @LaJollaMom, as they share their travel insights with us. We're excited to hear what you have to say and we'll see you there! Happy Tweeting!