Caribbean

Geography

The Caribbean is a region of the Americas consisting of the Caribbean Sea, its islands, and the surrounding coasts. The climate of the Caribbean mainly varies between subtropical to tropical. The islands of the Caribbean are sorted into three main island groups: The Bahamas, the Greater Antilles, and the Lesser Antilles.

The Bahamas – 700 islands and cays, only about 30 of which are inhabited

The Greater Antilles – Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico

The Lesser Antilles – Islands that are not a part of the Bahamas, the Greater Antilles. Further grouped into the Windward (north) and Leeward Islands (south)

  • The Leeward Islands – the Virgin Islands, Anguilla, St. Martin, Saba (Netherlands Antilles), St. Eustatius (Netherlands Antilles), St. Barthélemy, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat, Guadeloupe, and Dominica.
  • The Windward Islands – Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Barbados, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Culture

Each of the Caribbean islands has a unique and distinct cultural identity that was molded by early European colonialists, the African slave trade, as well as indigenous Indian tribes. Puerto Rico is one of the most modern and developed islands in the Caribbean exhibiting both American and Spanish influences. Modern buildings are situated on the island representing western influence. However, Guadeloupe, a famous tourist destination in Puerto Rico shows a more French influence with a little African touch. Other islands display Dutch and British influence.

Transportation

Air

Although costly, traveling by plane is the best selection for a quick trip to the Caribbean. Many major airlines have regular flights to the Caribbean departing from all over the world. You can even book airline transportation along with your lodging for a package deal.  In recent years, as Caribbean tourism has become more and more popular, airlines have increased their trips to the region and lowered prices.

Water travel

Cruises, ferries, and private boat are available in the Caribbean. A private budget boat or a luxurious yacht is an option depending on your budget. Cruises offer a fantastic experience for vacationers and romantic couples. Ferries are an awesome selection for visitors who want to save money. Plan ahead of time and do research ahead to avoid delays and poor service.

Cars

For those over 25 years of age and have a valid driver’s license from your home country, rental cars offer the most freedom to explore the Caribbean.  Taxis in the Caribbean are not distinguishable from other cars. A good way to differentiate a cab from a regular vehicle is though the color if the license plates. Taxis are available in each country in the Caribbean. You can call a local company if there is seems to be no taxis around the airport or your hotel. It can be expensive but offers great and convenient service.

Buses

Most large cities have buses that run from areas heavily congested by hotels to huge attractions and beaches, and some time to the airports. Always be prepared to have cash ready for payment since bus services typically only accept cash as payment method.

Food

Caribbean cuisine is influenced by Chinese, Indian, Dutch, French, Spanish, British, and Amerindian food. Local residents have also developed distinct dishes. Chicken, goat, and curry are popular foods, particularly in Tobago, Trinidad, and Guyana. Rice served with beans and different sauces is a staple food throughout the Caribbean. A traditional goat stew is recognized as the national dish of the area. Cuban and Puerto Rican eat a lot of spicy and flavored foods. Guadeloupe and Haiti serve a more French-influenced cuisine. Seafood is also commonly served is the Caribbean