Renowned around the world for its beautiful beaches, gently swaying palms and tempting turquoise waters; the Caribbean is a lovely place to visit and vacation. Many come to soak up the sun, splash about in the sea and enjoy its wonderful watersports. While its attractive archipelagos and islands boast some captivating cities and historic sights with pristine nature reserves dotted about both on land and offshore.
Home to more than 700 islands, islets, reefs and cays, the Caribbean Sea lies in between North and South America with Central America set to the west and the endless expanse of the Atlantic Ocean to the east. While most of its tropical islands are low-lying, some are volcanic in origin with rugged mountain ranges, rainforests and waterfalls coating their interior and colorful reefs lying offshore. Although their bright white sands and warm, inviting waters may be tempting, tourists are better off avoiding some parts of the region during the balmy hurricane season which runs from June through to November.
In total, the Caribbean has thirteen incredible countries for visitors to explore with countless other British, French, Dutch and American territories also dotting its waters. Due to its long, and at times complicated history, African, Caribbean and European cultural influences are all on show with each island boasting its own unique make-up and enticing array of attractions.
The most popular grouping of islands to visit are the Greater Antilles in the north that includes not only Cuba, Jamaica and Puerto Rico but Haiti and the Dominican Republic too. Aside from being larger, and therefore boasting even more beaches, bays and reefs, they also have some of the oldest and most impressive colonial-era towns and cities.
While Havana’s colorful streets are lined by beautiful old buildings with classic Cadillacs cruising about, Santo Domingo has atmospheric churches, convents and squares to wander around with San Juan’s crumbling forts making for just as stunning a sight. In addition, many people visit Jamaica’s Kingston for its historic houses, reggae-infused streets and brilliant Bob Marley Museum.
Even further north in the Caribbean, you can find the idyllic archipelagos of the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands, while the scenic, smaller isles that make up the Lesser Antilles are strung out to the south. Particularly popular spots to relax and unwind are Barbados, Guadeloupe and Martinique with Trinidad and Tobago also being known for its colorful and chaotic carnival, which is fittingly dubbed the ‘Greatest Show on Earth’.
As almost every single one of the Caribbean’s islands boasts some absolutely breathtaking beaches, you really can’t go wrong with stupendous sun, sea and sand guaranteed wherever you go. Among the most famous beaches are those of Seven Mile, Varadero and Pink Sand with Trunk Bay and The Baths also attracting lots of people due to their spectacular rock formations.
When holidaying in the Caribbean, no visit can be complete without enjoying some of the islands’ fun watersports with everything from sailing and surfing to jet skiing, windsurfing and scuba diving on offer. While Bonaire is considered the shore diving capital of the world and the Bahamas has plenty of sharks to see, the breaks in Barbados and Dominican Republic are among the best if you want to surf to your heart’s content.