When going to a new destination, many of us stick to the beaten path; we’ll go where the other tourists are going for the first time around. But once you’ve been to Cancun, or Montego Bay, or any other well-touristed beach spot, you may be more interested in heading somewhere a tad more under-the-radar on your next visit to the area. Or perhaps you’re the type who opts to skip the crowds the first time around. Either way, we love these seven underrated beach destinations; they’re rarely a traveler’s first choice, but perhaps they should be.
Instead of Cancun, head to Riviera Nayarit
With over 190 miles of beautiful sandy beaches, wonderful resorts, and world-class golf, it’s surprising that Riviera Nayarit is so much less known than Mexican resort destinations such as Puerto Vallarta (its neighbor to the south) and Cancun. Punta Mita and Nuevo Vallarta are the most popular towns here, but there are also a number of charming little beach towns such as Sayulita and San Pancho that offer visitors a more authentic Mexican experience. Read More »
The Inn on the Blue Horizon is one of our favorite B&Bs in the Caribbean.
We love the quaint, homey vibe that comes with bed-and-breakfasts. And when they’re located beachside, where mega-resorts are more often the norm, they feel even more like hidden gems. Plan your next getaway — or just dream about it — by clicking through our slideshow of the best B&Bs on the beach. Many dot New England’s coast, but some, like this first one, are further flung — and just as fabulous.
The Brentwood Bay Resort & Spa is just one of our favorite eco stays!
For eco-minded couples, choosing the right getaway means finding a spot that pleases both your partner and Mother Earth. Some couples opt for an au natural vibe on their trips, while others just want to practice a clean-conscience approach to travel. For those who love tree-hugging just as much as they snuggling up with that special someone, we’ve found the best hotels for environmentally-friendly duos who don’t want to skimp on the romance.
Far from more culinary capitals such as New York City and San Francisco, beach destinations are rarely the first stop on an epicurean getaway. But plenty of tropical locales boast impressive chef creations, from farm-fresh plates, to straight-from-the-ocean cuisine. And just because you appreciate a quality Porterhouse cut and kicking back on the beach with a mai-tai shouldn’t mean you have to sacrifice one for the other. Whether you’re looking for a truly delicious all-inclusive plan, or some mouthwatering organic delights, we’ve got the best foodie beach destinations for all palates.
For All-Inclusive Dining…
From the family behind Le Cirque comes some of the best inclusive cuisine in the D.R.
To foodies, all-inclusive resort dining just means sloppy buffet lines and leftover à la carte “crab meat” (and to be fair, it often does). But luckily some resorts don’t mind offering some actually decent, and often delicious, menu options that you’ll look forward to chowing down on. These resorts may be pricey, and few and far between, but they’re worth the visit. Your taste buds — and stomach — will thank you!
Stay: Casa De Campo, Dominican Republic
The five-pearl Casa De Campo is one of the top properties in the D.R. With over a dozen dining options, the resort’s all-inclusive rates include renowned eateries such as the waterfront Beach Club and the Mediterranean-inspired La Caña, both from the famed family behind Le Cirque restaurants in New York and Las Vegas. So whether you’re craving spicy rack of lamb or fresh grilled seafood, this resort won’t make you shell out extra for a good meal.
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The pool area is an inviting, romantic spot ready to be transformed into a picturesque reception site.
Owned by the same couple for decades, the historic Gallery Inn is a charming boutique hotel in Old San Juan, perfect for an intimate exchanging of “I dos.” Run like an informal B&B, guests at the Gallery Inn are greeted by name, much of what the restaurant serves is grown in the garden, and no two rooms are the same (though they do share lots of Spanish-style charm). But also like a B&B, the hotel lacks amenities such as TVs and a fitness center. The property’s main draws include the convenient Old San Juan location, ocean views from the wine deck, and the artsy, laid-back feel. The pool is also a picturesque spot: Built around ancient walls that have stood on the property for hundreds of years and featuring two water falls, the space is utterly unique. The innkeepers are both artists, and it’s evident they put thought into every detail of the restoration — expect beautiful old-world details like brick floors, wood beam ceilings, rich rugs, sculptures, and antique knickknacks.
Weddings at The Gallery Inn are as unique as this eclectic property. The inn’s dramatic spaces — including the candlelit Sunken Wedding Garden, panoramic rooftop deck, and Ventian-style music room — serve as the romantic backdrops for wedding parties. Weddings held here can be intimate affairs of just ten people or large parties of 150 guests (though with just 26 rooms on-site, some attendees will have to seek lodging elsewhere). An on-site event coordinator will aid couples in customizing a menu, arranging table settings, and selecting florists, photographers, and musicians. Check out more wedding inspired photos of The Gallery Inn here »
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Spring break is just the kick-off to a season of partying till dawn. You may or may not want to go as crazy as these girls, but either way you’ll want to check out these ten party hotels that won’t bust your budget.
It's a non-stop party at this SoBe landmark.
Built in 1938, the Clevelander has been a South Beach landmark for more than 70 years, known as much for its come-one, come-all parties as for its official duties as a hotel. A 60-room crash pad for fraternity-types, the Clevelander features nonstop parties raging at its three bars and two rooftop terraces all day and all night. The drinks are never watered down and clothing often tends to be optional — or at least, articles have been known to go missing after a few rum runners.
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Some destinations always come to mind when people think of beach getaways: Waikiki Beach in Hawaii, Miami’s South Beach, and the crowded sands in Cancun. Some spots, however, are often overlooked and it makes them that much better. Fewer people, untouched nature, you name it; underrated beach destinations are hidden gems that can be just what you’re looking for. Check out our list of nine underrated beach destinations — and make a trip before the secret is out!
Vieques Island is surrounded by gorgeous, clear waters.
This unique little island offers travelers pure, undeveloped land, mainly thanks to the US Navy’s former use of a good portion of the island. The Navy left in 2003, however, and the land it once occupied is now a national wildlife refuge. Tourists to Puerto Rico often don’t leave the mainland as it takes an extra puddle-jumper to get to Vieques and there are few tourist attractions. Instead, attractions are nature-oriented: The island’s stunning, untouched white-sand beaches and famous bioluminescent bay are the highlights, but it also features walking trails, 300-year-old trees, and some of the top snorkeling spots in the country.
Where to Stay: The quaint Inn on the Blue Horizon is a smaller, more affordable option compared to the nearby W Vieques. The inn features phenomenal ocean views, pretty Mediterranean-style architecture, and wild horses roaming the grounds.
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There’s nothing quite like the sense of discovery one feels when arriving at a hidden gem hotel — a truly special spot that is intimate, remote, underrated, or all of the above. Some people like to brag to their friends about their insider find; others prefer to keep it all to themselves. Of course, we at Oyster have never been good at keeping secrets.
It’s time to get your spring break plans in order, and if you’re looking for some fun in the sun, the Caribbean is a prime destination. But with thousands of islands (although only a few dozen are inhabited) to choose from, that doesn’t narrow things down much. That’s why we at Oyster have created an A to Z (well, actually, an A to V) guide to the Caribbean, so choosing your island and resort will be a piece of cake. First stop: Anguilla.
The boutique Anacaona has two pools.
Anguilla is a tiny British territory that covers fewer than 40 square miles and is a popular spot for couples and celebs (Sofia Vergara went on a girls’ trip to the island) due to its small size and upscale vibe. Visitors must either fly to St. Martin and take a short ferry to the island, or fly in directly (by way of a small seaplane) from San Juan, Puerto Rico. Thus, getting to the island can be pricey. So once you’re there, we’d recommend staying at the boutique Anacaona in the island’s West End. Though its not quite as luxe as the CuisinArt or Viceroy, it offers access to the same gorgeous white-sand beach as the neighboring Viceroy – through an off-property path — as well as to the nearby Greg Norman’s golf course and a few restaurants, and its prices are considerably lower. With two small pools, a great restaurant serving Caribbean fare with a twist, and a massage hut on the beach, the hotel is a good pick for value.
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Winter may be firmly upon us now in the Northeast, but that doesn’t mean we have to write off warm weather entirely. The Caribbean isn’t too far away (especially for us East Coasters), and some island hotels are featuring wonderfully affordable rates this time of year. You may have to forgo a few luxuries to stay on budget, but designer toiletries are highly overrated, right? So pack your bags and get ready to hit the beach for a few days — or a few weeks! Oyster has the skinny on the Caribbean’s best value stays.
Dive right into the Caribbean Sea from your room at the Rockhouse.
The Rockhouse is a lush, laid-back Jamaican resort offering gourmet dining, morning yoga, a premium spa, and best of all, a gorgeous cliff-side location on Negril‘s coast. Sure, there’s no fitness center and rooms lack TVs and Wi-Fi, but its unplugged vibe is just why some guests come. Plus, with rates usually falling below $200, it’s a steal compared to similar resorts — such as the slightly chicer Caves — in the area. (NB: Children under 12 are not allowed on the property.)