The Caribbean is made up of 26 different territories and countries. Cuba, the Domican Republic and the Bahamas are each countries in their own right, while Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are United States territories. Other countries with territories in the Caribbean include the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and France. With such a diverse assortment of nationalities represented in this area, it is no wonder that each island is such a unique experience.
Long established Caribbean cities are just right for exploring at a leisurely pace. Beaches, shopping and local restaurants can all be found within easy walking distance of most hotels. Imagine spending your day scuba diving among the massive, brilliantly colored coral reefs of Aruba or Grand Cayman, and then enjoying the lively nightclubs and hotel casinos.
Aruba, the Bahamas, Bermuda, St Lucia, the British Virgin islands and Martinique are just a few of the exotic islands that are located in the Caribbean. For those couples interested in eco-tourism, the Caribbean offers a nature lover's paradise. Besides volcanic mountains, you will find waterfalls, lakes, and rainforest retreats. National parks and nature preserves have been established on many islands to ensure the preservation of the natural beauty.
If you enjoy bird watching, explore Trinidad or the Bahamas. You will find unique species such as the scarlet ibis on Trinidad, and the Bahamas is home to 60,000 pink flamingos, spoonbills and ducks. Other species to look for include egrets, sandpipers, terns, parrots and pelicans. In the seas around these islands, marine life is plentiful and includes dolphins, porpoises, and turtles, as well as swordfish, marlins and barracuda. Brightly colored tropical gardens abound with passionflowers, orchids, hibiscus, poinsettias, palms and bougainvillea, and provide a lovely backdrop for these animals.
Caribbean Islands attractions include:
- On St.Lucia, find lush tropical rainforests, the world's only drive-in volcano and sulfur mineral baths.
- In the Bahamas, enjoy snorkeling, scuba diving and water sports such as windsurfing, water-skiing and sport fishing.
- Bermuda offers picturesque pink-sand beaches and coves, and trips to Crystal Caves and the Perfumery Garden.
- In Grand Cayman, the coral reefs are great for underwater photography and scuba diving. See endangered green sea turtles at Cayman Turtle Farm.
- In the Grenadines, see Grand Anse Beach, the Grand Etang rainforest surrounding a volcanic lake. Exotic spices like cinnamon, cloves, vanilla and ginger grow here, filling the air with their heady fragrance.
With so many choices, you may decide you would like to see more than one island and opt for a cruise to explore them all. On an average seven-day itinerary, you can take in about one-third of the Caribbean's geographic area. Cruises depart from various US ports in Texas, Louisiana, and Florida.
Although travel to the Caribbean is somewhat less expensive in the off-season, the volume of cruises heading for these islands attest to the fact that it's really a year-round destination. Temperatures in the Caribbean seldom vary from the low 70's to high 80's.
Hurricane season is officially from June 1st to November 30th. Bad weather during this time can occasionally disrupt travel plans; however, it is also a good time for off-season, reduced rates. Another good time for bargain hunters to travel to the Caribbean is during the first two weeks in January, during the post-holiday season.
With its unique blend of relaxing beaches, fantastic shopping and activities, it is easy to see why the Caribbean is one of the most popular honeymoon destinations in the world.