The Caribbean is an island paradise attracting tourists from around the world, who come to experience the beautiful beaches and turquoise waters. The islands stretch from near the southern tip of the United States to just off the northern coast of South America and encompass a culturally and naturally diverse landscape. Travelers can find everything from secluded sun drenched beaches to tropical rainforests, and eco lodges to beautiful luxury resorts. The towns and cities are full of history, with many retaining lovely colonial architecture and old forts.
Many of the islands show a unique mix of cultural traits, with strong European influences. In Aruba the Dutch influence can be seen in the colonial buildings of Oranjestad, while in Martinique’s Fort-de-France travelers will see a mix of West Indian Creole traditions and French culture. From the British Virgin Islands in the north, to Grenada, or Trinidad and Tobago in the south, tourists will find vastly different cities and landscapes.
There are many popular travel destinations in the Caribbean. Beginning in the north, the Bahamas are popular with cruise ships, and Nassau attracts large numbers of visitors who come to enjoy the resorts. Cuba offers a wealth of history and natural beauty, from the city of Havana to the beaches of Varadero. Jamaica and the Dominican Republic are well known for their beach resorts offering all inclusive packages. Further east, Puerto Rico reveals a slice of America in the Caribbean. The historic capital city of San Juan is also a major cruise ship port.
The Eastern Caribbean Islands are a string of small islands with black and white sand beaches, quaint towns, and unique cities and ports. Among the main destinations here are Antigua and Barbuda, Martinique, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Barbados. There are many other islands in this chain, including some private, ultra exclusive islands where many of the world’s rich and famous people come to relax.
Just as the cultures vary from island to island, so do the natural landscapes. Depending on the region, travelers may find lush tropical rainforests or dry desert like conditions, mountains or flat almost barren islands, white or black sand beaches, and a range of wildlife or marine life.
While most travelers fly to individual destinations in the Caribbean, it is also an incredibly popular area for cruises, with many ports of call. Ferries do offer service between some destinations but it is not typically common practice for travelers to take ferries between the various island nations. More common transportation for island hoppers is the use of small planes that service some of the smaller islands.
The main travel season in the Caribbean is from late fall until spring, roughly from December through to March or April. January, February, and March are generally the busiest months. During the summer months, which also correspond to hurricane season, resorts see mainly local tourists. There are often some deals to be had in the shoulder seasons, such as prior to Christmas and the month of April.