The Caribbean is a region of the Americas that consists of the Caribbean Sea, its islands and the surrounding coasts. The region is southeast of the Gulf of Mexico and the North American mainland, east of Central America, and north of South America.
Jamaica is the Caribbean’s third largest island with six main tourist regions – Montego Bay, Negril, Mandeville and The South Coast, Kingston, Port Antonio and Ocho Rios. There are numerous tranquil places to visit: The 7,402 foot Blue Mountain Peak is a challenge to all serious island trekkers, and bird watching is increasingly popular with more than 200 native species, including at least 25 species that are endemic. Jamaica is also reputedly home to more than 3,000 species of flowering plants, some 720 of which are found nowhere else. Jamaica is rich with formal gardens, too, such as Hope Botanical Gardens, Shaw Park Gardens, Coyaba River Garden and the Cranbrook Flower Forest.
Trinidad and Tobago
The famous Trinidad Carnival typically falls in February, but those who arrive at other times can still enjoy the lively beat of calypso and soca music, and the city’s many nightclubs offer a lively mix of the throbbing island beat. Despite its proximity to Venezuela, life on Trinidad is defined more by its colonial roots – African, Indian, Chinese, British and French – than by Latin American culture. The island’s ethnic diversity is particularly evident in Trini food.
Escape the capital to the beaches along the north coast, or the vast forest in the interior. The Asa Wright Nature Centre & Lodge draws birdwatchers with its oilbirds, the only nocturnal fruit-eating birds extant. At the Caroni Bird Sanctuary, boat tours bring visitors within viewing distance of the rare scarlet ibis, and the Nariva Swamp features howler monkeys. Divers will find the world’s largest known brain coral, as well as rocky canyons and deep caves populated with barracudas, dolphins, whale sharks, orange ball anemones, porpoises and manta rays.
Castries, the island’s capital, is a busy hub of island commerce and culture. An active cruise-ship port, visitors can invest a few hours at one of two duty-free shopping pavilions along the waterfront. Artists showcase paintings and sculptures in several galleries. Just a few steps fromthe harbour is the market, where vendors have gathered for more than 100 years to sell a bounty of fresh produce alongside fishermen hawking king mackerel, mahi-mahi and wahoo.
Most of St. Lucia’s resorts are found north of the capital along the west coast where there are several white sand beaches, notably Rodney Bay. With accommodations ranging from massive all-inclusive to luxury resorts to family-run inns, there’s something for almost any taste or budget. Nearby Rodney Bay Marina serves as home base for many of the charter yachts heading south to the Grenadines. While the whitesand beaches are found in the north, few come to St. Lucia without touring the south, where the island’s natural attractions are concentrated. The drive down the west coast to the town of Soufrière at the base of Petit Piton, the shorter and steeper of the twin pinnacles, is one of the most scenic in all the Caribbean.
Famed for forests fragrant with cinnamon, allspice, cocoa and nutmeg, Grenada is actually a three-island nation including Carriacou and Petite Martinique in the Grenadine chain of islands. Carriacou is a mecca for scuba divers and snorkelers and on Petite Martinique, many inhabitants build boats or make their living by fishing.
Turks and Caicos Islands
The Turks and Caicos Islands, archipelagos comprised of 40 low-lying and mostly undeveloped islands boast miles of white powdery beaches, superb diving, accommodations, and gourmet restaurants. Much of the underwater excitement is found off the Turks, where wall dives are outstanding, and along West Caicos and Provo. Sport fishing is a big international draw, and the mangrove salt flats offer a prime habitat for bonefish.
Visiting the Caribbean on vacation can be so much fun as there exists a lot of things to do, which is exactly why you would want to create your bucket list before setting out.