With its gorgeous coral reefs and shimmering, clear, turquoise waters, the Cayman Islands have long been a popular playground for travelers. The islands are particularly popular among divers, and excellent scuba diving and snorkeling sites abound.
This UK overseas territory has a population of around 55, people. Its capital is George Town, which is located on Grand Cayman, the largest island. The Cayman Island dollar is the official currency, but American money is widely accepted. English is the predominant language, but many here speak local creole dialects. The highest point in the Cayman Islands, The Bluff soars up to feet. That may not sound very tall, but it stands out a lot due to the overwhelmingly flat terrain of the country.
They then scatter across the three main islands to enjoy a variety of exciting attractions. The cuisine of the Caymans is dominated by conch, fish and turtle. When most people picture the Cayman Islands, they envision white sand beaches, glitzy shopping centers and wealthy people from around the world discreetly playing with their riches while sipping cocktails. That describes life well in George Town, the capital city.
There, cockerels welcome the day by crowing at dawn, a Caribbean charm enchants and impromptu parties erupt at all hours on the beaches. Located on the island of Grand Cayman, George Town is the perfect mix of Caribbean paradise with a wealth of activities, restaurants and shopping. The cultural and natural histories of the Cayman Islands come alive at the National Museum. Located in the Old Courts Building, the museum is opened to visitors each day with the ceremonial blowing of a conch shell.
Inside, everything from Catboats and coins to stamps, fantastic stuffed birds and traditional clothing provide visitors with a great introduction to the rich history of the Caymanian people.
Life was very different in the islands during the 18th century, and visitors can share the experience of the early settlers at the Mission House. The national historic site includes a two-story home built in the traditional Caymanian style.
Once the home of missionaries, families and teachers who grew the Presbyterian ministry in Bodden Town, the original capital, the building takes visitors back to an earlier time while recreating the islands' history. Genuine artifacts fill the bath, dining, living and bedroom, many of which were owned by the Watler family who called the place home for more than seven decades. A sense of family is evident in each room, and visitors understand the many challenges of missionary life as they walk the halls.
The surrounding grounds are also worth exploration. The world-class park is abundant with lush flora growing in themed gardens. A cotton-candy-pink cottage sits in the Heritage Garden, surrounded by white sands, fruit trees, medicinal plants, traditional crops and a separate cook room. Walking through the paths, visitors get a sense of life in the islands during the early 20th century.
While meandering the Floral Color Gardens, visitors pass by a rainbow of flowers arranged by hue. Bright pinks give way to vivid reds, fiery oranges, sunny yellows, serene whites and cool blue, mauve and lavender shades. In the center of the brilliant profusion is a gazebo surrounded by a tranquil lily pond. The stretch of white sand is one of the reasons why the Cayman Islands are celebrated as the epitome of an island escape and a premier Caribbean destination.
Visitors from all over the world flock to the beach to explore the clear waters and coral sands. Walk past the hotels, villas, resorts, beach bars and shops that line the sand, work on your tan under the warm sun, relax while watching the waves roll in, or take a more adventurous route by diving, snorkeling, and boating in the crystalline waters.
The Cayman Turtle Farm is not far from the beach. One of the most exciting attractions in all of the Caribbean, the farm allows visitors to interact with and observe native flora and fauna, including sharks, eels, birds and over 10, green sea turtles. George Town is located on the western shore of Grand Cayman, the largest island in the Cayman Islands.
George Town is the largest city in the Cayman Islands with a population of approximately 31, English is the official language of the Cayman Islands and is spoken by the majority of the population.To read our full methodology, click here. Melia Robinson contributed to an earlier version of this post. Located in the heart of the Caribbean Sea, the island chain of St.
Vincent and the Grenadines is made up of 32 islands and cays. The relatively deserted islands offer travelers a combination of rainforest adventures, water sports, luxury accommodations, and miles of powder-white sand beaches. The island chain has a moderate beach-density score of 0.
In the aftermath of the earthquake, Haiti has undergone recovery efforts that have brought travelers back to the history-rich island. It has a low beach0density score of 0. In Anguillayou'll find miles of white sand and pristine waters — hence its high beach-density score of 0.
With romantic beaches like Rendezvous Bay, this is a destination where you can swim and sunbathe year-round. Its list of activities range from swimming with dolphins to sailing on glass-bottom boats. Once the world's most treasured source of exotic spices, Grenada aptly has earned the nickname of Spice Island. Today, it's home to lush and mountainous terrain where you can fish, sail, hike, or bike.
It has a modest beach-density score of 0. Plus, there are nearly 40 incredible diving sites to choose from, despite its relatively low beach-density score of 0.
Its two main islands include Grande-Terre, where beach towns offer white sands and a variety of water activities, and the mountainous Basse-Terre, where you can visit the breathtaking Guadeloupe National Park. I t has a low beach-density score of 0.
The British Virgin Islands offer different activities to travelers, with about 60 different islands to choose from. Check out the ruins and rum distilleries in Tortola, venture into underwater coves in Virgin Gorda, or enjoy a drink at a swim-up bar in Jost Van Dyke. The two islands that make up Trinidad and Tobago offer travelers top-notch bird-watching, diving, and rainforest-hiking opportunities.
Trinidad is home to lush hills and a bustling nightlife, while Tobago has palm-lined beaches and a serene setting. In St. Its sulfur springs are ideal for DIY spa treatments, while intimate beaches like Anse Mamin give you the chance to experience your own private paradise. In Montserratyou can explore stunning volcanoes, ruins, and pristine beaches. The island also has the most affordable hotel rooms on our list. Montserrat has a moderate beach-density score of 0. In Antiguayou'll come across narrow roads and colorful villages filled with historic sites.
Barbuda also has its charm, with reef-filled waters and a large bird population. There are different activities to choose from and such a wide variety of beaches that you could visit a different one each day of the year and still not repeat yourself. Its capital, Fort-de-France, boasts a more urban feel, while its northern region has plenty of rain forests, mountains, and miles of beaches.Most Beautiful Caribbean Islands - The Grenadines - S4:E32
It's a paradise for outdoor lovers, with around outdoor activities to indulge in. It's also home to 25 historic landmarksincluding the birthplace of Napoleon's empress Josephine.Situated largely on the Caribbean Platethe region has more than islands, isletsreefs and cays see the list of Caribbean islands. Island arcs delineate the eastern and northern edges of the Caribbean Sea:  The Greater Antilles and the Lucayan Archipelago on the north and the Lesser Antilles and the on the south and east which includes the Leeward Antilles.
Geopoliticallythe islands of the Caribbean the West Indies are often regarded as a region of North Americathough sometimes they are included in Central America or left as a region of their own. From December 15,to October 10,there was a country known as the Netherlands Antilles composed of five states, all of which were Dutch dependencies. The West Indies cricket team continues to represent many of those nations.
The region takes its name from that of the Caribsan ethnic group present in the Lesser Antilles and parts of adjacent South America at the time of the Spanish conquest of the Americas. Most authorities of the last century preferred the stress on the third syllable. The word "Caribbean" has multiple uses. Its principal ones are geographical and political. The Caribbean can also be expanded to include territories with strong cultural and historical connections to Africa, slaveryEuropean colonisation and the plantation system.
The oldest evidence of humans in the Caribbean is in southern Trinidad at Banwari Tracewhere remains have been found from seven thousand years ago. These pre-ceramic sites, which belong to the Archaic pre-ceramic age, have been termed Ortoiroid. The earliest archaeological evidence of human settlement in Hispaniola dates to about BC, but the reliability of these finds is questioned. Consistent dates of BC appear in Cuba. A lack of pre-ceramic sites in the Windward Islands and differences in technology suggest that these Archaic settlers may have Central American origins.
Whether an Ortoiroid colonization of the islands took place is uncertain, but there is little evidence of one. They expanded up the Orinoco River to Trinidad, and then spread rapidly up the islands of the Caribbean. Some time after AD another group, the Barancoidentered Trinidad. The Barancoid society collapsed along the Orinoco around AD and another group, the Arauquinoidexpanded into these areas and up the Caribbean chain.
Around AD a new group, the Mayoidentered Trinidad and remained the dominant culture until Spanish settlement. Trinidad was inhabited by both Carib speaking and Arawak-speaking groups. These early colonies brought gold to Europe; most specifically England, the Netherlands, and France. These nations hoped to establish profitable colonies in the Caribbean. Colonial rivalries made the Caribbean a cockpit for European wars for centuries. The Caribbean was known for piratesespecially between and The term " buccaneer " is often used to describe a pirate operating in this region.
The Caribbean region was war-torn throughout much of its colonial history, but the wars were often based in Europe, with only minor battles fought in the Caribbean. Some wars, however, were born of political turmoil in the Caribbean itself. Haiti was the first Caribbean nation to gain independence from European powers see Haitian Revolution. Some Caribbean nations gained independence from European powers in the 19th century.
Some smaller states are still dependencies of European powers today.
25 Best Caribbean Islands to Visit
Cuba remained a Spanish colony until the Spanish—American War. Between andmost of the British-controlled Caribbean became the West Indies Federation before they separated into many separate nations. The United States has conducted military operations in the Caribbean for at least years. In the early part of the 20th century this influence was extended by participation in the Banana Wars. Victory in the Spanish—American War and the signing of the Platt Amendment in ensured that the United States would have the right to interfere in Cuban political and economic affairs, militarily if necessary.From the alabaster-white beaches of Bermuda in the north to the cactus-topped desert inland of the ABC Islands in the south, the windswept coves and surfing reefs of Dominica in the east to the jungle-dressed tips of Cuba and the Antilles in the west, the Caribbean has long been a treasure trove of things to do and see.
See you in the rum bars! Source: flickr. Further in the east and the mighty Blue Mountains rise in verdant swathes of jungle, Jamaican boas swinging from the vines and the scents of coffee beans wafting along the undergrowth. Then, on the inland hills, visitors can seek out the birthplace of legendary Bob Marley at Nine Mile, or simply opt to flit between the rum bars of Kingston listening to the master and his steel-drum, Rasta off-beats.
Also see : Best things to do in Jamaica. And why not? This U-shaped speck of land comes fringed by alabaster-white Grace Bay, punctuated with luxurious five-star resorts, imbued with old pirate carvings from the 19th century, and ringed by coral gardens just waiting for the intrepid SCUBA diver. Further afield and the TIC offers up uber-romantic honeymoon suites on their own private island, beaches like Malcolm Beach, and the glowing turquoise currents of Chalk Sound to boot!
Also see : Best things to do in Turks and Caicos. Instead of settling down to be overgrown by mangrove and palms, it rose and rose, peaking with the mighty duo of the Pitons, or rising to a whopping meters with the jungle-dressed Mount Gimie at its heart. Then there are the bubbling volcanic springs and mud pools, forever carving and changing the interior of the island around Soufriere. Also see : Best things to do in St. A tumultuous past and political penchant for communism has meant Cuba has remained something of an off-the-beaten-track option for travelers in the Caribbean until only recently.
The latest news is a loosening of travel and import restrictions from America, both expected to bring hordes of new tourists to the so-called Pearl of the Antilles.
Also see : Best things to do in Cuba. In St. For the best intro to the rest of Antigua the larger of the two islandsmost travelers will scale up to Shirley Heights Lookout, where the pearly-white of beaches, the deep green of the palm forests and the occasional bloom of bougainvillea spread out to reveal Falmouth and English Harbour — two of the earliest colonial towns here.
Stone churches atop cliffs belie the English influence, while old sugar plantations await inland. Also see : Best things to do in Antigua and Barbuda. A mecca for yachters, the trio of Saint Croix, Saint John and Saint Thomas, together with countless smaller specks of rocky land like Water Island, Thatch Cay and Hassel Island, offer up a pick and mix of little coves and cliff-backed inlets to explore by boat.
Rum distilleries come ten to the penny too, while pretty remnants of Danish rule still stand above the palm trees and the ferns.
After all, this gem-shaped island on the far southern reaches of the region is closer to the mainland than it is to many of the other salt-washed islands of the Caribbean.
The days of sun and soothing shore waters ensure a steady stream of snowbirds from the US, who can be seen reclining on the sands of Baby Beach in the south, the windblown rocks of Hadikurari, shaded Arashi, or the reef-ringed likes of Boca Catalina right throughout the year.
Also see : Best things to do in Aruba. From the swaying palms and rugged cliffs of Los Haitises in the east to the old mineshafts and dusty trailheads of the Sierra de Bahoruco in the west, the surfing hotspots of Cabarete and Puerto Plata in the north to the urban sprawl of Santa Domingo and its concomitant colonial treasures in the south, the Dominican Republic has plenty of tricks up its sleeve! For most, the piece de resistance is Punta Cana, where strips of white sand run along the windward coast like glistening ribbons in the moonlight, punctuated only by the occasional luxury resort, its infinity pools butting up right to rollers of the Atlantic.
Others will aim for the beautiful coast of Cibao, and hop between fishing towns and salt-washed cays. The choice is yours! Also see : Best things to do in the Dominican Republic. Grenada is the Spice Isle: a land of nutmeg and vanilla pods and fragrant wafts of cinnamon that twist and turn in the sultry Carib air, rolling down in breezes with the trade winds to the pretty bays of Grand Anse and the shiny white sands of Morne Rouge Beach.
Volcanic in origin, the island spikes and dips with the cones of Mount Saint Catherine and the grass-rimmed crater lakes of Grand Etang alike. Waterfalls gush and carve the landscapes too, running swiftly over the rocks at Royal Mount Carmel and flowing in moss-clad steps at the Seven Sisters, accessible only by winding hiking trails through the mountains. Also see : Best things to do in Grenada.
Spread out over a whoppingsquare kilometers of ocean between where the beaches of northern Cuba give way to the Lucayan isles, The Bahamas connect the Caribbean with the coastal reaches of the United States — and more specifically, the Sunshine State of Florida. Since the late 18th century, these glistening cays and sand bars have been joined with the Commonwealth. The British made a colony here after ousting bands of buccaneers and pirates from the shores, leaving the elegant neoclassic looks of the Bahamian Parliament and the juggernaut walls of Fort Charlotte in their wake.
More recently, the rich and famous came, settling their yachts between the coves of New Providence and the beachfront villas of Paradise Island, or slapping poker chips on the Atlantis casino floor. Also see : Best things to do in The Bahamas. Cut in two halves by an international border, the pretty island of St.For related lists, see below.
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United States Virgin Islands. Cayman Islands. Saint Kitts and Nevis. Turks and Caicos Islands.The capital, Charlotte Amalieis on Saint Thomas.
The following two countries of the Lucayan Archipelago are the portion of the Caribbean islands that do not border the Caribbean Sea. These three island territories form the Virgin Islands. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Wikimedia list article. This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.
See also: Category:Islands of Colombia. Main article: List of islands of Cuba. Main article: Guadeloupe. Main article: List of islands of Haiti. See also: List of islands of Honduras. Main article: Islands of. Main article: List of islands of Puerto Rico. Main article: List of islands of the Bahamas.
Main article: List of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Archived from the original on Retrieved Retrieved 30 August Kingdom of the Netherlands Netherlands Antilles. Outline Index Bibliography. Dominican Republic Haiti.
Virgin Islands. Federal Dependencies of Venezuela Nueva Esparta. Bahamas Turks and Caicos Islands. Colombia Venezuela. Territories in italics are parts of transregional sovereign states or non-sovereign dependencies.
Usually grouped with Northern American countries based on proximity; sometimes grouped with the West Indies culturally. Afro-Caribbean Territorial evolution.There are 13 sovereign states and 17 dependent territories in the Caribbean, and the predominant languages are English, Spanish, French, Dutch and Antillean creole. The Caribbean sprawls across more than 1.
They are located in the northern part of the West Indies. The Caribbean is the holiday destination to go when you need a break from the fast, hectic pace of everyday life. It is one of the most prestigious tourist destinations in the world. Read more about The Caribbean. The Caribbean islands are located in the region of the Caribbean Sea. The mainland countries of Belize, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana are often included as Caribbean Islands due to their political and cultural ties with the region.
The Caribbean islands are made of 25 independent countries and other territories. For many travelers, the Caribbean represents the ultimate escape.
Over 7, islands await exploration, surrounded by turquoise waters and home to pristine white beaches. On land, visitors can hike through vivid emerald wilderness, spot sunshine-yellow parrots and glimpse fiery-red orchids, and fish of every color dart through corals in shades of purple and orange under the crystal-clear waters.
Bold and colorful in every sense of the word, the Caribbean beckons with its splendid scenery, delectable foods, friendly people and boundless opportunities for exploration, adventure and relaxation.
Little else is known about the Arawaks, who lacked a written language, but one Arawak invention can be seen on the beaches of the Caribbean to this day — the hammock. Life in the region changed forever when, in October,Christopher Columbus landed on the shores of the Bahamas.
10 of the best Caribbean islands to visit
He also island-hopped and developed the first European settlement on the island that today is split between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Columbus and his fellow conquistadores recognized the riches in the region and saw money when they gazed upon the bountiful seas and fertile land. They exploited both the natural resources and the native populations, claiming lands as their own and enslaving the people of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and other islands.
The English followed suit in the 17th century, claiming St.
Kitts, Barbados, Antigua and other lands, and the French soon followed, claiming Guadeloupe and Martinique. The Dutch also wanted a piece of the Caribbean, settling St.
Martin, Saba and Sint Eustatius. For the next two centuries, the Europeans battled for control of the islands, and possession frequently changed hands.
The 25 best Caribbean islands, ranked
The colonial infighting between European powers created an opportunity for locals to fight for their own independence. Haiti led the way, declaring independence from its colonizer inand Cuba and the Dominican Republic followed, along with other smaller islands in the region. Some islands, such as Puerto Rico and Guadeloupe, still maintain strong neocolonial relationships with their parent nations.
Modern Caribbean culture has been heavily influenced by the culture and traditions of Europe, along with hints of African culture and others that have come to the islands through immigrant populations. These various waves of migration have formed a truly unique blend of cuisines, music, art, customs and traditions in the region. One of the most recognizable aspects of Caribbean culture is the region's music.
Although they have roots in both European and African culture, the sounds of reggae, meringue, calypso, rumba and zouk music are distinctly Caribbean. Although the Caribbean islands share aspects of a common culture, each nation offers something unique and distinct to visitors.