Looking for a warm paradise island to escape to for your next vacation? With nearly 50 unique destinations, the Caribbean truly provides a wide variety of tropical isles that will appeal to even the most eccentric of tastes. Beach-goers will fall in love with the white sand beaches found throughout most of the Caribbean. Wave lovers will want to stay on the eastern side of the islands, closet to the Atlantic, while snorkelers and scuba divers will prefer the calmer, clearer waters of the beaches facing the Caribbean Sea. What ever your passion -- surfing, scuba diving, sailing, windsurfing, or swimming with the dolphins! -- you're sure to find a beautiful Caribbean islands that meets you're unique vacation style.
Popular Caribbean Island Destinations
Want learn more about a particulare isle? The following is a list of the most popular Caribbean island destinations. All islands listed below maintain adequate travel ammentities and island infrastructure to support your Caribbean adventure.
An Introduction to The Caribbean Islands
In addition to beautiful beaches and water activities the Caribbean Islands provide excellent shopping and entertainment opportunities as well as beautiful scenary and tropical rainforests that are home to hundreds of plant and bird species. Golf courses, hiking and horse stables provide some other activities that the Caribbean is known for. The Caribbean islands also range in size and popularity; some attract cruise ships, shoppers, or families, while others are small and secluded — perfect for visiting on your honeymoon and for a romantic annivarsary trip. All in all, there are about 50 islands in the Caribbean, ranging from small coral outcrops to large nations.
The Windward Islands include St. Lucia, Grenada, Dominica, and St. Vincent. These islands made up of volcanic peaks face the Trade Winds are know for their breathtaking beaches and crystal clear water. While no longer owned by France, French culture is still strong in the Windward Islands. In addtional to French heritage there is also heavy African infuence -- as many of the islands' inhabitants are descendants of African slaves. Of the four islands, St. Lucia is the most developed as well as the most popular among tourists. Grenada is also a popular tourist destination, especially for divers and sailors. Dominica is known for both its scuba diving and nature torism. Of all four islands, St. Vincent is the most primative and untouched.
The second set of Caribbean Islands are known as the Leeward Islands. There are six Leeward Islands that lie in two lines. To the west lie the rain-forested peaks of a volcanic change with include Nevis, Montserrat, and St. Kitts. To the east lies the range of Antigua, Barbuda, and Anguilla -- which are known for their coral limestone reefs as well as the most picturesque beaches in world. For many years the Leeward Islands were British colonies but today all the islands, with exception of Anguilla and Montserrat, are independent. The main source of income of the Leeward Islands is tourism, and consequently the local economy really caters to tourists. Due to their British heritage, English is spoken throughout the islands.
One of the most visited regions of the Caribbean is the Virgin Islands, which are divided between the United States and Britain. The British Virgin Islands (BVI) are quite secluded while the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) offer many ammenities and attractions that oriented towards tourism. St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix make up the three main United States Virgina Islands. And while the British Virigin Islands are composed of several small islands the two largest and well known are Tortola and Virgin Gorda. Even though the United States Virgin Islands cater to tourists the British Virgin Islands of Tortola and Virgin Gorda offer some of the most exquisite beaches, snorkeling and scuba diving in the entire Caribbean.
The fourth set of Caribbean Islands are known as the French Antilles. The French Antilles, as the name denotes, exude French culture, food and lifestyle. The French Antilles span nearly 350 miles between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, and include two of the only actively volcanic islands in the Caribbean. The French Antilles are composed of two regions: the larger island of Martinique, and Guadeloupe, which include the six islands of La Desirade, Les Saintes, Marie-Galante, Saint-Barthelemy, and St. Martin. The Islands are well colonized and cater to tourists. However, unlike some tourist areas in the Caribbean the French Antilles are still known as some of the most serene, peaceful and truly authentic islands in the entire Caribbean.
One of the most well known regions of the the Caribbean is the Netherlands Antilles which is comprised of the islands of Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Saba, St Eustatius, and St Maarten. The Dutch islands are best known for their world-class beaches as well as some of the Caribbean's best preserved natural reefs. As the islands were orginally settled by the Dutch you can still see a lot of Dutch influece throughout the islands today. Their currency, food, and architecture is greatly influenced by their Dutch heritage. The Netherlands Antilles is one of the only regions of the Caribbean that actually have their own language, called Papiamento. Papiamento is mix of Spanish and Dutch, with Portuguese, English and African influences.
In addition the islands and regions listed above their are a number of other Caribbean states which include Puerto Rico, Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands as well as Barbados, Dominican Republic, and Trinidad and Tobago. Each of these Caribbean destinations has its own government, culture and unique tourist attractions.