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Where to See the Green Flash in the Caribbean

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Infinity Bar, Grace Bay Club. Press Photo from Property
Infinity Bar, Grace Bay Club. Press Photo from Property

The green flash might sound like the name of a comic book hero. In reality, it’s a natural optical phenomenon. It occurs, often elusively and only when conditions are right, for about two seconds. So, blink and you miss it. Those lucky enough to catch the green flash will see an unmistakable green spot appear on the upper rim of the sun as it sinks into the horizon. The two elements needed to provide the best chance of seeing a green flash are a clear day with no clouds on the horizon and a distant horizon with a distinct edge, such as in the Caribbean when looking out to sea. A third element is a great location with an unobstructed view.

Here is a sampling of five great places to gather at sunset and try to spot the green flash.

1. Grace Bay Beach, Turks & Caicos.

Located on the northeast coast of Providenciales, three-mile-long Grace Bay Beach is world-famous for sun and fun. Add Leeward Beach to the east and Bight Beach to the west, and there is a total of seven-plus miles of stunning white sands and sea with nothing in sight but the horizon. The beach itself, or any number of bars, restaurants, and resorts here, is a perfect perch for hunting the green flash. The Infiniti Bar at the Grace Bay Club is a particularly good spot. “Other good places to look for the green flash are Thomas Stubbs Point in Leeward, Providenciales, and White Sands Beach and Sand Bar, on Duke Street, both on Grand Turk,” says Sarah Meyer, publicist. gracebayclub.gracebayresorts.com

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Sunset Grille dining room at sunset
Sunset Grille dining room at sunset

2. Sunset Grille, U.S. Virgin Islands.

This beachfront eatery at the Secret Harbour Beach Resort on St. Thomas’ east end is renowned for its stunning and glowing orange and yellow hues across the horizon at sunset. “We couldn’t imagine a more ideal viewing location for catching that glimpse of the elusive green flash,” says Kristy Solt, director of marketing at the St. Thomas Restaurant Group. It’s no wonder with this setting that Sunset Grille specializes in sunset dining, often with performances by steelpan musicians, fire dancers, and Mocko Jumbies after the sun goes down. www.sunsetgrillevi.com

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Johnno’s, Anguilla
Johnno’s, Anguilla

3. Johnno’s, Anguilla.

Sandy Ground beach has a front-row west-facing view for sunsets. Iconic here is Johnno’s Beach Stop, an open-air bar, and restaurant that celebrates its 40th anniversary next year. Fresh seafood on the menu all week-long and happy hours and live music on the weekends sets the stage for watching remarkable sunsets…and green flashes. www.facebook.com/johnnosbeachstop 

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Cliff at Cap Maison, from the ocean
Cliff at Cap Maison, from the ocean

4. Cap Maison, St. Lucia.

“This stunning natural event is really hard to predict, it’s really all about focusing on the sunset a few minutes before it dips into the sea. Here, it is best spotted from L’Argent deck next to The Cliff at Cap our award-winning restaurant,” says Ross Stevenson, general manager of five-star Cap Maison Resort & Spa, on the island’s northwest side. Guests, including non-resort guests, can dine here nightly. A reservation is a must. The menu features an array of delicious cuisine, prepared using locally sourced Saint Lucien ingredients. So, whether lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the gorgeous green flash or not, guests can still enjoy the spectacular sunset from an iconic location on the island. www.capmaison.com

Basil’s Bar, Mustique
Basil’s Bar, Mustique

5. Basil’s Bar, Mustique.

It’s a key island pastime for visitors to look for the Green Flash, especially from Basil’s, located on the west side of the island at the waterfront of Britannia Bay. “Sunset Jazz at Basil’s on a Sunday evening is magical. Islanders flock to listen to live music floating across the balmy waters surrounding the world-famous overwater Basils Bar. Rays and turtles glide past, backgammon boards come out and Mustique mules are poured as the sun starts to set and the keen-eyed might hope to spot that elusive green flash… the lucky few get bragging rights at beach picnics on Macaroni the next day!” says Lucy Fleming, Basil’s press rep. basilsbar.com

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Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.

So Caribbean you can almost taste the rum...

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