Best Running in the Caribbean

Tens of millions visit the Caribbean islands annually, to enjoy the sun, magnificent beaches, warm water, and tropical terrain. But finding a good place to run on these islands can sometimes be a challenge: roads tend to be narrow, lacking a decent shoulder/sidewalk, and there isn’t much of an infrastructure of multi-use paths. So, we’ve been hard at work developing running guides for each of the major Caribbean islands – the most scenic and runnable roads, beaches, trails, and paths. To celebrate, here’s our list of ‘Bests’ (and worsts!) for the Caribbean: Best and worst islands for running, and some of our favorites by theme: Beach, Coastal Road, Off-Road Path, and ‘Unique/One-of-A Kind’ runs.

Five Best Islands for Running

Aruba: Recent development in infrastructure has created some great new waterfront paths. Also lots of decent beach running and a huge national park.
Barbados. Nice variety of good beaches for running, some small boardwalks, quieter coastal roads, and accessible hills.
Cayman Islands. Several good beach and coastal road options, several with new sidewalks.
Cozumel. FABULOUS for running, owing to the 65 km cycle path that circles the southern part of the island, much of it with ocean views.
Puerto Rico. San Juan is the best city for running in the Caribbean. Beautiful historic center, and numerous waterfront and path running options.

Honorable Mention: US Virgin Islands. Award for the best variety of trail running.

Worst Caribbean Islands for Running

Bahamas. Most exclusive, few public spaces.
Jamaica. Lots of traffic and congestion. The best routes aren’t that close to the major resort locations.
St. Lucia. A victim of its dramatic (but scenic) geography – since it’s so hilly, running is a real challenge.  Few longer beaches or quiet coastal roads.
Cancun. The beach is good for running, but there aren’t many other scenic options. From the multi-use path in the hotel zone, you see mainly…hotels.

Best Beaches for Running                               Best Off-Road Paths

Eagle Beach, Aruba                                        Aruba: Palm Beach Sightseeing Path
Cattlewash, Barbados                                    Barbados: Speighstown/Port St. Charles
Carolina Beach, San Juan                             D.R.: Malecón in Puerto Plata, Santo Domingo
Paradise/Palancar Beach, Cozumel           Cuba:  Malecón Havana
Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman             Nassau: Waterfront Path
Punta Cana, DR                                               San Juan: Paseo del Morro
Seven Mile Beach, Jamaica                          Jamaica: One Love Trail, Reservoir Dam
Diamant Beach, Martinique
Magen’s Bay, St. Thomas
Grace Bay Beach, Turks (Providenciales)

Best Coastal Roads for Running                 Best ‘Unique’ Runs in the Caribbean

Barbados: East Coast Road                           Aruba: Hooiberg Challenge
Cayman: Queens Highway                            Cozumel: Run Among the Ruins, Tulum
St. John: Great Cruz Bay Road                     Barbados: Cherry Tree Hill/St. Nicholas Abbey
Turks: West Harbor Buff                                 Samana, D.R.: Bridge to Nowhere
St. Lucia: Bay Rd. to Pigeon Island              Cuba: Tour of Habana Vieja

Below, our 20 favorite runs in the Caribbean (not in order).

Palm Beach Sightseeing Path

Aruba

Covering the northwest coast of the island, Aruba’s Sightseeing Path stretches for about 13 km out and back from the Palm Beach area to the scenic California Lighthouse. Great water views!
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Arikok National Park

Aruba

Paved roads, dirt roads, and trails abound in Arikok National Park, which covers over 18% of the country’s landscape. Something for every runner here.
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South Sound Road

Cayman Islands

This brand-new paved boardwalk near the Cayman Crossing neighborhood is calling runners to the south shore of Georgetown, with its unparalleled coastal views. The boardwalk is 1,500 feet, but South Sand Rd. stretches for 4.5 km.
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Queens Highway

Cayman Islands

The ocean views are incredible on this 5 km (one way) stretch of road near Barefoot Beach on the quieter eastern end of the island. One of the most scenic spots for a run in the Caymans.
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Cozumel

Cancún/Mayan Peninsula, Mexico

This resort island 12 miles east off the east coast of the Yucatán Peninsula is FABULOUS for running, owing to many dozens of km of dedicated, waterside paths. Oceanfront running on both the more developed west side and the more rugged east side.
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El Malecón

Havana, Cuba

Locals will tell you the Malecón is pretty much the only running option in Havana, and it is by far your best choice. This cement walkway stretches for 8 km along the seawall from Old Havana in the east to the ritzy Miramar neighborhood in the west.
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One Love Trail (Ocho Rios)

Jamaica

The “One Love Trail” in Ocho Rios is a paved seaside walkway with great views, stretching 4.9 km from the cruise ship pier to beautiful Dunn’s River Falls. A great 10k out and back and one of the prettiest runs on the island.
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La Caravelle Peninsula

Martinique

La Caravelle Peninsula is considered one most beautiful areas of Martinique. There is great running along the D2 where it turns to dirt, or an 8 km trail run through the Caravelle Nature Reserve.
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Nassau Waterfront

Nassau, Bahamas

The Nassau waterfront offers some nice running, with good water views. A paved walkway runs between Malcolm’s Park and the Harbour Bay Marina. Can also run northeast out to Smugglers Beach, 7.5 miles round-trip.
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Frederiksted Waterfront

St. Croix, USVI

Located on the western end of St. Croix, the “Freedom City” of Frederiksted is a sleepy port town with a rich history and a fabulous 1 mile (1.6 km) long waterfront walkway, a pier, and a quiet road to Sandy Point Refuge.
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Providenciales

Turks and Caicos

Best places to run in Providenciales include sandy Grace Bay Beach, the long sidewalk along Grace Bay Road, roads around the Venetian Road Settlement, and several quiet, dirt roads in the west side of Provo.
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