Scattered across the multi-hued, turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea, there are more than 700 islands, reefs, and cays, which collectively make up the Caribbean. Stretching from the south-eastern coastline of the USA, down through Central America and just touching the northern tip of South America, it’s not surprising the islands offer a diverse wealth of experiences, depending on where you choose.
When to Go
The climate can vary dramatically from island to island, but all are regarded as tropical. The dry season is December to May, whilst the wet season runs from May to November, but even then, the showers can pass quickly and the sunshine will return. It is worth remembering hurricane season is June to November.
Antigua and Barbuda
Positioned where the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean meet, these independent islands are known for their stunning beaches, friendly locals, and great climate. Antigua famously has 365 beaches, one for each day of the year, whilst Barbuda is surrounded by protective reefs. The islands offer a wealth of accommodation options to suit all budgets and styles, and superb places to eat, with everything from traditional street food to fine dining. For those who want to explore, off-road jeep safaris taking you into the heart of the island. The UNESCO world heritage site of English Harbour is an intriguing spot to discover.
Gorgeous Barbados gained her independence in 1966 and is a great introduction to the Caribbean. The locals are warm and welcoming and English, albeit with a Bajan dialect, is spoken. The Caribbean coast is beloved by celebrities, all flocking to the soft white sands and warm turquoise seas for winter sunshine. The east coast is washed by the cool waters of the Atlantic Ocean with dramatic scenery and rolling waves. With water based activities in abundance including surfing, windsurfing, boat trips, fishing, snorkelling, and diving along with nature, wildlife, rum shacks and outstanding food experiences, there is something here for all.
Sharing her border with Haiti to the west, the Dominican Republic, unlike many other islands, was never colonised by the British, but has French and Spanish influences alongside its Caribbean vibes. Offering wonderful beaches, superb golf courses and expansive, relaxing resorts, the Dominican Republic is a popular and affordable Caribbean island. There are national parks, mountain ranges, ancient relics and more than 250 beaches to explore, with such a rich culture the Dominican Republic offers much more than a beach holiday.
Arguably, the best known of the Caribbean islands, Jamaica is renowned for its vibrant culture, lush, mountainous, rainforest-clad interior, and reef-lined beaches. As the birthplace of reggae music, this is an island which dances to its own rhythm and offers a wealth of fabulous experiences for those who can tear themselves away from the beach. It’s the third largest of the Antilles, totally enveloped by the beautiful Caribbean Sea. Negril is ideal for first timers, whilst Montego Bay is known for its fabulous nightlife, Ochos Rios is perfect for families.
Lying in the eastern Caribbean, St Lucia is a volcanic island of contrasts with a landscape as diverse as its heritage. The rich mineral soil supports a wealth of natural wonders that the island has become renowned for. Visitors tend to base themselves in the north of the island, as whilst further from the airport, has everything you need on the doorstep including fishing villages and luxury resorts. On the west coast, you’ll find Soufrière, the original French capital and Anse Chastanet Beach, one of the best snorkelling beaches on the island. St Lucia is an island with a strong heritage and cultural identity and its rich, melting pot of cultures makes it a fascinating place to discover.
Travel to the islands of the Caribbean is extremely easy with multiple airlines offering direct flights into many of the islands. If you’re heading to one of the smaller islands, then you may need to take a flight using one of the regional airlines or continue your journey by boat, but getting there is all part of the adventure.
The the Author
It’s fair to say that travel is in my blood, I’ve spent more than 24 years exploring almost every continent on the planet. The knowledge I offer is from first-hand experience and the service I offer is personal, flexible, and tailored entirely to you. Have a look at my website www.catherineblackburntravel.co.uk you can also follow me on Facebook for more inspiration.