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Beach Island

The 8 Caribbean Destinations with the Cleanest Beaches

Editor’s note: Due to COVID-19, the U.S. State Department is encouraging potential visitors to reconsider all travel abroad. Read more here for updates on the situation and information on when it might be safe to travel again to destinations like the ones below.

In a world where we’re all trying to be a little more environmentally-conscious, these eight Caribbean destinations are doing their part in keeping themselves as clean as can be.

The Caribbean’s Cleanest Beaches

So, if you’re dreaming of white sand beaches and crystal-clear water, here’s where you’ll find the cleanest beaches in the Caribbean.

We used information from the Ocean Health Index and an ocean health study done by Get Going Travel Insurance for this story.

The Bahamas

beach chairs on a bahamas beach.

The Bahamas rank highest in the world out of all the Caribbean nations on the Ocean Health Index, with its 84-point score coming in at 11th. Explore its untouched Out Islands for an even more pristine landscape.

Antigua and Barbuda

antigua caribbean pristine beach.

The two-island nation is positioned where the Atlantic meets the Caribbean, so its ecosystem is incredibly unique with reef-lined beaches and rainforests. Its beaches are among the purest in the Caribbean, with an overall Ocean Health Index of 80 and rated 27th in the world.

Aruba

Straw umbrella Eagle Beach Aruba.

Aruba’s waters come in 31st in the world with an Ocean Health Index of 79. Its biodiversity and protected coastline help Aruba rank among the best countries to visit for its beaches in the Caribbean.

Turks and Caicos Islands

caribbean providenciales island in turks and caicos.

Turks and Caicos’ Grace Bay consistently ranks as one of the top beaches in the world, so it’s no surprise that the country has some of the cleanest and most enjoyable beaches in the Caribbean. The islands come in at 35th in the world, with an overall Ocean Health Index of 79.

The U.S. Virgin Islands

Coral Bay St Johns U.S. Virgin Islands.

With an overall Ocean Health Index of 76, the U.S. Virgin Islands places 47th in the world (the listing is combined with Puerto Rico). The island chain is also ranked at number 10 on Get Going’s study, making it one of the cleanest oceans in the Caribbean.

Saba

saba island caribbean.

This Caribbean island is among the least-visited, which means fewer tourists to pollute its beaches. It’s known as the “Unspoiled Queen” of the Caribbean and its overall index score is 73, ranking 60th in the world on the Ocean Health Index.

Curacao

Grote Knip beach Curacao Netherlands Antilles.

It’s no wonder why Blue Curacao liqueur uses the country’s beaches for its color inspiration. Get Going ranks Curacao’s beaches as 11th in the world, and the country has an overall Ocean Health Index of 73, ranking 61st in the world.

Isla Mujeres, Mexico

aerial view of isla mujeres in mexico.

While the country of Mexico doesn’t place very high on the Ocean Health Index (166th, with an index of 67), Get Going’s study positions Isla Mujeres as 15th in the world for its underwater experience, and as one of the best places to swim with whale sharks during their peak season. Located off the coast of tourist-filled Cancun, the island feels thousands of miles away (when it’s really only eight).

More from SmarterTravel:

Ashley Rossi is always ready for her next trip. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram for travel tips, destination ideas, and off the beaten path spots.

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By Ashley Rossi

Ashley Rossi is always ready for her next trip. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram for travel tips, destination ideas, and off the beaten path spots.

After interning at SmarterTravel, Ashley joined the team full time in 2015. She's lived on three continents, but still never knows where her next adventure will take her. She's always searching for upcoming destination hotspots, secluded retreats, and hidden gems to share with the world.

Ashley's stories have been featured online on USA Today, Business Insider, TripAdvisor, Huffington Post, Jetsetter, and Yahoo! Travel, as well as other publications.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "A reusable filtered water bottle—it saves you money, keeps you hydrated, and eliminates waste—win-win."

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