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Caribbean

Photo © Utrecht

Travel Guide Caribbean

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Introduction

Batibou Beach

Batibou Beach

© All Rights Reserved Utrecht

The Caribbean is commonly known as one of the best places in the world to go diving, snorkelling and relaxing at one of its many beaches. It's also a popular stop-off for cruises. Of course, there's more to the Caribbean than just beaches, beaches and more beaches - head a little further inland and you'll discover interesting historical cities and mountainous areas with great trekking opportunities. Lots of people come here on package trips but for the independent traveller who likes to explore more, countries like Cuba and the Dominican Republic are big enough to spend weeks travelling around.

If you would like to travel between the islands, one of the great ways to travel around the Caribbean is by ferry or boat. For more information please read the article about Caribbean ferries. Some islands can not be reached by ferry though, but there are quite a few airlines like LIAT which serve many islands in the Caribbean region.

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Geography

The Caribbean is the area which includes the Caribbean Sea, which is located to the southeast of the Gulf of Mexico, and to the north of South America. Many of the 7,000 or more islands form a huge arch around the Caribbean Sea, making it a natural borderline. North of the this line, the Bahamas are also regarded as part of the Caribbean. In the north of the Caribbean you can find the bigger islands, like Cuba, Hispaniola and Puerto Rico. A string of smaller islands runs from Puerto Rico to the mainland of Venezuela. Many of the countries surrounding the Caribbean Sea also have islands in front of their coast. At the center of the sea, you will find only a couple of remote islands, sometimes nothing more than rocks.

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Subregions

The Caribbean can be divided into two subregions, the Bahamas and the Antilles.
The Antilles form the greater part of the West Indies. The Antilles are subdivided into the:

  • Greater Antilles (Cuba, Hispanionala, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Cayman Islands)
  • Lesser Antilles

The Lesser Antilles are again subdivided into:

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Sights and Activities

Major Cities

Although compared to most other regions/continents in the world there are almost no real big cities, several are worth a visit of their own, most notably Havana. Others are mentioned because of the fact that they (can) act as a gateway to the Caribbean, more than other places.

Landmarks

See also: Famous Landmarks

  • Montserrat is not your typical Caribbean destination, but more so for the adventurous types who would like to experience something different. During an eruption of the Soufriere Volcano in 1995 and another one in 1997 almost half of the island was destroyed, including the capital Plymouth.
  • Trinidad is one of the best preserved historical cities in Cuba.

Activities

With beautiful warm water and generally fantastic visibility, Caribbean Scuba Diving and Snorkelling is an experience you don't want to miss.

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Learning Caribbean Languages

These language phrasebooks were created by Travellerspoint members to help travellers pick up some basic phrases, grammar and pronunciation skills before their trip:

Find out about contributing to or starting a new phrasebook on our project page: Venezuela.

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Getting There and Around

There are just a few options to get to the Caribbean by ferry, mostly options from either Venezuela or from Florida. By far the best way is to fly in from places in the USA, Canada, Central America, South America or Europe.

Most of the cruises leave from Miami and take around seven to ten days, though there is a large variety of other US ports one can take a cruise from. This popular zone is divided into three areas. First there is the Western Caribbean including Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula, South Florida and the Keys, Jamaica and Grand Cayman. The islands of the Eastern Caribbean compromise Puerto Rico, Leeward and the Virgin islands. And finally there are the islands in the Southern Caribbean which covers Martinique, Saint Lucia, Dominica and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines also passing by Trinidad and Tobago, Aruba and Curacao. It's more a relaxed way of getting around if you like spending some time on the islands as well as having everything arranged for you, including transport and full board. You can also travel around yourself on some of the Caribbean Ferries.

Contributors

as well as dr.pepper (2%), Herr Bert (2%), GregW (1%), OceanFl (1%)

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Caribbean Travel Helpers

  • Utrecht

    Travelled around the Caribbean islands a few times, visiting quite a few islands including Saba, Dominica, the British Virgin Islands, St. Kitts and Montserrat. Also several others and the biggest of them all: Cuba. Wrote the Caribbean Ferries article here on TP and know quite a bit about transport in general.

    Ask Utrecht a question about Caribbean
  • Jason225

    Wonderful place to visit Do not leave the Dominican without visiting the beautiful Island of Saona. Very pristine, wonderful excursion, no worries, just an enjoyable place with great food and entertaiment
    http://www.puntacanapascher.com

    Ask Jason225 a question about Caribbean
  • susannj

    I grew up with parents who were travel agents and used to travel a lot in the caribbean. I now continue to visit the caribbean at least once a year with my husband.

    Ask susannj a question about Caribbean
  • Sherwinator

    I am originally from Guyana and later moved to Jamaica for 14 years. I consider my self West Indian. I have spent a lot of time visiting other countries in the region (and I don't mean cruise ship), these include Bahamas, St. Croix, Aruba, Saba, St. and Maartin/Marten.

    Ask Sherwinator a question about Caribbean
  • Lenny p

    spent 4 month in the Eastern Caribbean sailing up and down from the BVI's to Martinique

    Ask Lenny p a question about Caribbean

This is version 51. Last edited at 7:23 on Aug 14, 12 by Utrecht. 152 articles link to this page.

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