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52Isea&iIWINTER 2011From the Virgin Islands to the Windwards to theLeewards to the Grenadines, there are hundreds ofCaribbean islands offering dramatic scenery, fantas-tic watersports, world-class cuisine, fascinating his-tory and welcoming locals. Whether cruising as a couple, as afamily or with a group of friends, the Caribbean's cruisinggrounds have something for everyone. BeachesBeaches are what the Caribbean does best. Antigua alonehas 365, one for every day of the year, and further norththe British Virgin Islands are circled with shimmering bluewater and coral reefs protecting silky soft sands. But whichbeach is right for you? Some suit families, others are onlyaccessible by yacht and are therefore perfect for those insearch of complete privacy, others are ideal for partygoersor watersports enthusiasts. The British Virgin Islands are famed for their beaches, thebest of which is said to be White Bayon Jost Van Dyke. Animmaculate crescent of ivory sand, White Bayhas a reef lyingjust offshore running nearly the full length of the beach. Blessedwith calm waters, perfect for children to swim in, the reef hasa convenient break providing access to the shore by tender.Equally impressive, and better suited to those looking foractivity and people-watching, is the one-and-a-half kilometre(one mile) stretch of white sand at Cane Garden Bay in Tortola. On to the Leeward islands and St Barths. Needless to say itis the beach scene that attracts most visitors to St Barths. Theisland has 20 to choose from, but the best for chilled relaxationand sheer beauty are Saline(an unofficial nudist beach) andGouverneur. Those looking for something a little livelier shouldhead to the cosmopolitan St Jean.A short hop away, the exclusive island of Anguillahas morethan 30 beaches, andMaundays Bayis one of its best. A longcurve of flawless white sand, the beach is located on thesouthwestern coast of Anguilla. The island has beaches that arequieter and more secluded, but Maundaysis popular foractivity, be it strolling along the water's edge, or swimming andsnorkelling in the calm waters. Further south, at the bottom of the Leeward chain, Antiguahas so many beaches it is hard to choose just one but top ofthe list are Half Moon Bayon the east coast and Dickenson Bayon the northwest corner. Both are everything you would expectfrom the Caribbean - long stretches of sparsely populatedwhite sandy beach. Just over the water, Pinney's Beachon Nevisis another perfect crescent of sugar-fine white sand. The nearly deserted stretch of Pink Beachon the neighbour-ing island of Barbuda reaches from Spanish Pointto PalmettoThe Caribbean is a playground for superyachts. Brimming with islands thatinspire and impress, it offers countless options for dining and relaxation. Here,we profile the finest beaches, restaurants, night spots and leisure highlights ByMiriam CainBest of the Caribbeanisland guide

WINTER 2011I sea&iI53Point, allowing you to walk for miles without encounteringanother footprint: barefoot luxury at its best. Further south at the bottom of the Windward islands,Grenada'sGrand Anse Beachis one of just 45 beaches on theisland, but it is fabled to be the best. Few visitors come here,and at just under three kilometres (two miles) long there isenough space to give the impression that the beach is deserted. Dining Most Caribbean islands have a handful of wonderfulrestaurants. For those seeking authentic Caribbean dishes,several good local restaurants serve up native specialitiessuch as Jamaican jerk, conch and flying fish. Beachsideshacks also offer a taste of the Caribbean in a casual setting.For those wanting a more formal experience, fine-diningrestaurants can be found in many of the resorts and towns.The BVIs are not known for fine dining opportunities but thereare exceptions. Fantastic fresh seafood dishes and an influenceof French cuisine can be found at a number of resorts, includingVirgin Gorda's Biras Creek, Bitter End Yacht Club, Little Dix Bay,and the private Peter Island Resort. With a distinctly French flavour and outstanding reputationfor gourmet dining, the Leeward island of St Barthsis theCaribbean's alternative to the Côte d'Azur. The island hascountless restaurants serving up gastronomic feasts and isknown for having the best chefs in the Caribbean. Thoselooking for French-inspired cuisine will find the best restaurantson the island to be Le Sapotillierin Gustavia, Le Gaiac at HotelLe Toiny and On The Rocksrestaurant. The latter is perched ontop of the rock of the Hotel Eden Rockand boasts panoramicviews over St Jean Bay. The hotel also has a casual lunch menuat the Sand Bar, located on the beach at St Jean. For localcuisine in St Barths, try Maya'sdaily changing menu of localCreole dishes, La Route des Boucaniersin Gustavia, or Le Grainde Selin Saline. Also in Saline and close to Saline beach, thefashionable restaurant L'Espirit Salineserves a fusion menuthat changes daily. Le Case de L'Isle at the Isle de France hotelprepares fresh grilled fish, fusion style, while La Langouste hasthe freshest lobster on the island. Across the water, Anguillais home to more than 70 restaurantsand offers true gourmet dining at restaurants the likes ofKoalKeel, Pimms, Oliver's, Hibernia, Malliouhanaand theaward-winningBlanchard's. The latter, located in Mead's Bay,is infamous on the island for its fusion cuisine and ever-evolvingmenu. For a slightly more casual affair, the Straw Hat offers aunique dining experience where seafood reigns supreme. Further south, take the tender ashore to the island of Nevisfor freshly caught lobster at the Hermitage Beach Clubon?Main picture: set on a300-acre private island,Jumby Bay lies off thecoast of Antiguaaboardashore