The Caribbean is a collection of other 7,000 islands and rocky outcrops in the Atlantic Ocean, south-east of the Gulf of Mexico. Although the region is often described by just that one word, the countries which make up the Caribbean islands each have their own personality and charms, and which one you choose to visit depends on what kind of holiday you are looking for.
One thing that all parts of the Caribbean have in common is the wonderful climate. Warm all year round, with plenty of sunshine, travellers should nevertheless be careful to avoid hurricane season. On the other hand, for those willing to risk a few tropical storms, UK tourists can get some great deals by travelling to the Caribbean at this time of year.
Most of the Caribbean islands boats beautiful scenery, but no two islands are the same. Many are volcanic, covered in rocky cliffs, crags and black sand beaches, while others are little more than a few rolling hills in the middle of the ocean, with huge sweeping bays and lush, green forests. Every type of scenery imaginable is contained within this small area and these few thousand islands and islets.
Some of the Caribbean islands are more famous and more popular with tourists than others. Jamaica and the Bahamas are among the most-visited, but smaller islands such as Aruba, St Lucia and the Dominican Republic are catching up fast. Many travellers forget that the fascinating island of Cuba is also part of the Caribbean, while the resort of Cancun, on the Mexican mainland, is also on the shores of the Caribbean Sea.
The Dominican Republic, which makes up one half of the island of Hispaniola along with neighbouring Haiti is one of the fastest growing Caribbean destinations. Home to the stunning Dunns Falls, a waterfall on the coast, visitors can swim here with dolphins or stingray fish if you are brave enough. The white sand beaches of the Cayman Islands are only a boat ride away for a day trip with a difference.
Aruba has been popular with the rich and famous for decades, but now ordinary tourists are getting the chance to see what all the fuss is about. While the natural scenery here is as stunning as any other Caribbean island, visitors tend to come to Aruba to enjoy the man-made entertainment; including nightclubs and casinos along the main promenade.
Unsurprisingly, the island of St Lucia is a common choice for those heading to the Caribbean to get married or to enjoy their honeymoon. This quiet and peaceful destination is full of romantic and secluded beaches, with stunning natural scenery and luxury resorts. Walk hand-in-hand along the white sands at sunset and you’ll never want to go home again.
Finally, Tortola is the perfect destination for young families and couples looking for an island with more in the way of sporting activities and attractions. The beaches here are always packed with locals, tourists and crowds from the cruise ships, and there is always an opportunity to try out a new water sport or take a hike into the interior and explore the island’s rainforest.