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The first thing the word ‘Caribbean brings to mind is a white sand beach fringed by waving coconut palms. Yet many Caribbean islands have dark sand beaches, many being relative, since one may say that compared to the Pacific islands, there are not many Caribbean islands. However, be that as it may, some of the most glorious white sand beaches are located in the Caribbean.

Anguilla, Saint Martin and Saint Barths are all ringed by white sand and have all three been ‘discovered’ for their beaches. Antigua and Barbuda and Barbados are also well-endowed in that domain, as are the Virgin Islands, both British and American and last but not least the Grenadines, which used to be Princess Margaret of Britain’s playground.

Antigua beach – Coconut Beach Club

This short piece will stay with the small islands of the Eastern Caribbean and not include the Greater Antilles, so even though Puerto Rico is close, it will not be included.

Those islands already looked at are all small, Barbados being the largest, the best developed and still only 166 square miles in size.

The others, those forming the inner arc of the Eastern Caribbean are mostly volcanic, and have both dark and golden sand. Let’s take them as they come, from North to South. Tiny Saba, just five square miles is the first, with no beaches, but with some world-class diving. Then there’s Saint Eustatius, eight square miles with as few golden beaches and which is the first foreign country to have saluted the brand-new United States flag back in the eighteenth century.

Saint Kitts, officially Saint Christopher, was the Mother Colony of the West Indies. It has golden beaches and dark almost black sand beaches. Its sister in the Federation, Nevis, right door two miles away at the closest point, has golden beaches and warm water baths. Montserrat is still under the influence of an active volcano, and beaches are in short supply there.

Guadeloupe, the biggest of these small islands, and really made up of two islands, has it all. Dominica, the ‘Nature Island’, is more river than beach. Martinique is also well developed and has some golden beaches. Saint Lucia has some of the most magnificent scenery in the world, as well as its beaches.

Saint Vincent also has a volcano that erupted thirty years ago, so does not have much in the beach scheme of things. However, next door Grenada does, as does Tortola. Last but not least is Trinidad, which has some golden beaches and glorious jungle.