Caribbean Travel Guide
The Caribbean, an enchanting region of cerulean seas, powdery beaches, and fiery sunsets, invites you to embrace its rhythmic heartbeats. Its islands, each uniquely carved by history and nature, tell tales of pirate legends, age-old traditions, and rich cultures that blend seamlessly with the modern world.
Bask in the sun, dive into the depths, or dance the night away – the Caribbean promises an unforgettable collection of experiences that awaken the soul.
Discover our travel tips and articles for the Caribbean !
Below are listed all the countries and territories belonging to the Caribbean.
Caribbean Countries & Territories
Quick Facts About The Caribbean
- There are 23 recognized countries and territories that make up the Caribbean region.
- Cuba dominates the Caribbean in landmass, offering a rich blend of history, culture, and nature. It is also the most populated country in the region.
- Saint Kitts and Nevis, a dual-island nation, holds the title for the smallest in terms of land area, but it’s packed with vibrant culture and pristine landscapes.
- Montserrat, with its active volcano and unique geology, has one of the smallest populations in the Caribbean.
- Key geographic facts:
- Diverse Landscapes: The Caribbean boasts a range from flat sandy islands (such as the Bahamas) to mountainous terrains (like in Dominica).
- Remarkable Waters: The Caribbean Sea is one of the world’s largest seas, covering an area of approximately 2.75 million square km.
- Highest Peak: The Dominican Republic’s Pico Duarte stands tall as the Caribbean’s highest point, offering breathtaking views for adventurous trekkers.
- Island Formation: Many Caribbean islands are volcanic in origin, while others, like the Bahamas, are coral-based.
- Linguistic Mosaic: The Caribbean hosts a mix of languages, including Spanish, English, French, Dutch, and various Creole tongues.
- Papiamento: A unique Creole language, Papiamento is spoken in Aruba, Curaçao, and Bonaire, showcasing the linguistic diversity of the region.
- Creole Varieties: Creole languages, influenced by African, European, and indigenous languages, are spoken widely, especially in Haiti, Dominica, and Saint Lucia.
- Predominant Faith: Christianity is the predominant religion, with Catholicism being especially influential in territories like Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
- Religious Melting Pot: Trinidad and Tobago stands out for its diverse religious practices, including Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam, a testament to its multicultural heritage.
- Spiritual Practices: Syncretic religions, combining African spiritual practices with Christian beliefs, like Obeah, Vodou, and Santería, have significant cultural importance in various Caribbean nations.
The Caribbean, A Region of Many Records
- Largest Island: Cuba stands out as the largest island in the Caribbean and boasts a rich heritage of culture, history, and landscapes.
- Deepest Point: The Puerto Rico Trench is the deepest part of the Atlantic Ocean, plunging to a depth of 8,648 meters (28,373 ft).
- Smallest Active Volcano: Kick ’em Jenny is an underwater volcano near Grenada and holds the record as one of the smallest yet most active volcanoes globally.
- Oldest European Settlement: Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic was established by Christopher Columbus’s brother in 1498 and serves as the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the Americas.
- Richest Biodiversity: Despite its small size, Dominica is home to a rich variety of plant and animal species, earning it the moniker “Nature Isle of the Caribbean.”
- Highest Waterfall: Angel Falls in Venezuela, close to the Caribbean coastline, stands as the world’s highest uninterrupted waterfall.
- Largest Carnival: Trinidad and Tobago’s Carnival is not only the largest in the Caribbean but is also internationally recognized for its vibrant displays of culture and festivity.
10 Handpicked Caribbean Highlights
10 fantastic places and experiences in The Caribbean, in no particular order.
- Havana’s Historical Streets (Cuba): The pulsating heart of Cuba, Havana, with its vintage cars, colonial architecture, and soulful music, offers an experience that transports visitors back in time.
- Jardin de Balata (Martinique): This botanical paradise located in the hills above Fort-de-France offers a breathtaking spectacle of tropical flora. Wander through paths lined with hundreds of species of tropical plants, palms, and flowers. The garden’s suspended bridges also give visitors a unique canopy view of Martinique’s lush rainforest, offering a tranquil experience amidst nature’s finest displays.
- Swimming Pigs of Exuma (Bahamas): The crystal-clear waters of Exuma are famously inhabited by a colony of friendly swimming pigs, offering a unique beach experience.
- Piton Mountains (Saint Lucia): These twin volcanic spires, rising majestically from the sea, form the island’s iconic backdrop and offer challenging hikes with rewarding views.
- The Historic Garrison (Barbados): A UNESCO World Heritage site, it stands as a testament to Barbados’ colonial history and its pivotal role in the British colonial empire.
- Brimstone Hill Fortress (St. Kitts and Nevis): Dominating the St. Kitts skyline, this well-preserved fortress narrates tales of European battles for control over the Caribbean’s valuable islands.
- Bio Bay Kayaking (Puerto Rico): Vieques Island offers kayakers a magical experience in its bioluminescent bay, where every paddle stroke lights up the waters with a fluorescent glow.
- Seven Mile Beach (Cayman Islands): Widely regarded as one of the world’s best beaches, its powdery white sand and clear waters make it a paradise for sunbathers and swimmers alike.
- Dunn’s River Falls (Jamaica): A series of cascading waterfalls, it’s a popular spot for tourists looking to climb its terraced steps or just revel in its natural beauty.
- Nelson’s Dockyard (Antigua and Barbuda): The world’s only Georgian-era dockyard still in use, it tells stories of naval history, Antiguan heritage, and the age of sail in the Caribbean.
When to Go to The Caribbean
The Caribbean, a land bathed in sunlight and kissed by tropical breezes, enjoys a warm climate year-round. However, when planning your visit, there are a few factors to consider:
Dry Season (December – April): Often considered the best time to visit, the Caribbean sees its most idyllic weather during these months, attracting tourists worldwide. This is the high season, with prices peaking and accommodations being booked well in advance.
Rainy Season (May – November): Though showers can be frequent, they’re typically short-lived, giving way to the sun shortly afterward. This is a quieter period to visit, often with fewer tourists and more attractive prices.
Hurricane Season (June – November): The region can be susceptible to hurricanes, particularly between August and October. It’s wise to monitor weather updates if planning to visit during this period.
Traveling to The Caribbean
- Stay Informed: Research current conditions and advisories before traveling.
- Avoid Risky Areas: Some islands or areas, especially in larger countries, may have neighborhoods best avoided by tourists.
- Sun Protection: The Caribbean sun is intense. Always use sunscreen, wear hats, and stay hydrated.
- Mind the Sea: Beware of strong undercurrents and always heed local warnings about swimming.
- Watch Your Belongings: Petty theft can be an issue, so always lock up valuables and be cautious in crowded areas.
- Stay Alert: Though the Caribbean is generally safe, always be aware of your surroundings.
- Natural Hazards: Familiarize yourself with local emergency procedures in case of hurricanes or other natural disasters.
- Travel Insurance: Ensure you have comprehensive travel insurance that covers all your planned activities.
- Respect Local Laws: Remember, laws and regulations might differ from what you’re accustomed to.
- Stay Hydrated: With the tropical heat, it’s easy to get dehydrated. Drink plenty of water, especially if you’re indulging in the region’s rum-based cocktails.
Getting There and Around
- By Air: Major airports like Sangster International Airport in Jamaica, Punta Cana International Airport in the Dominican Republic, and Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in Puerto Rico cater to numerous international flights. Many islands have direct flights from the US, Canada, Europe, and other Caribbean islands.
- By Sea: Cruises are a popular way to explore the Caribbean, stopping at various ports of call. Ferries also connect some islands, such as between Saint Kitts and Nevis.
- On Land: Public buses, taxis, and car rentals are common across the islands. On smaller islands, renting scooters or bicycles is also an option. Always agree on taxi fares
The Caribbean boasts a range of accommodation options, from luxurious beachfront resorts to charming guesthouses. Prices can vary significantly based on the location, season, and type of accommodation.
All-inclusive resorts are popular in areas like Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. For travelers on a budget, local guesthouses and B&Bs provide authentic experiences at a fraction of the cost. Vacation rentals, including villas and apartments, are increasingly popular, offering more space and amenities.
Always check reviews and ratings to ensure the quality and safety of your chosen accommodation.