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Caribbean Travel guide

Travel to the Caribbean and discover the turquoise seas and their accompanying palm trees. Each country in the Caribbean has its own flavor: the Bahamas catering to mass-market travelers with megaresorts and the casinos in St. Martin (Sint Maarten), Nassau and Freeport, but treating those in the know to the relaxed pace and remarkable beauty of its so-called "Out Islands" the Cayman Islands and Barbados surprising first-timers with their starched Britishness.

Caribbean map
Jamaica:  The third-largest island in the Caribbean is also one of the most colorful. Idyllic white sand beaches and vibrant tropical blooms sit on a backdrop of blue mountain peaks. As the adopted home of the Rasta, Jamaica is also a riot of red, gold, and green. Renowned as the birthplace of Bob Marley, reggae remains at the island’s musical heart. Rice-and-peas, rum, coffee and cricket are its soul. Local pastimes center on oral traditions, such as discussing an idea to exhaustion, often over a fiercely fought game of dominoes on a veranda or front porch.  More about Jamaica
Bahamas:  The Bahamas gets its name from the Spanish, baja mar, meaning 'shallow sea'. The turquoise waters that lap this land are as calm and warm as its people. Throughout the 700-plus islands that constitute The Bahamas, residents tend to abide by 'island time', an affectionate term used to describe the Bahamians' laidback demeanour and their slow-moving way of life. It isn't too hard to fall into this habit: many of islands are either uninhabited or sparsely populated, and from beaches strewn with beautiful seashells to homes painted in soft pastel shades, serenity is easy to find. More about Bahamas
Cuba:  Cuba swings to a different rhythm, and at first it can be hard to get the beat. Opinions are divided on the effect of Castro, 40 years of US blockade and the collapse of the Soviet Union. They have health care, education, food and work but Cubans are still not free to say what they think.
Fortunately, the country has undergone a transformation since it opened its doors to global tourism in the 1990s. Staying at a casa particular (a private home with rooms to rent) gives the traveller a glimpse of life for the average Cubano, and opens up parts of the country that were once inaccessible or off-limits. It also frees up more money to enjoy the raucous nightlife that made Havana famous. More about Cuba
Guadeloupe:  Guadeloupe was among the islands charted by Columbus in 1493. French colonies were established in 1635 and, in 1946, the islands were given the status of Overseas Departments.
Guadeloupe still retains that enchanting mixture of French and Creole influence, apparent even down to the mix of flavors and ingredients in its cuisine. This Caribbean paradise comprises Basse-Terre, Grande-Terre and five smaller islands, all of which vary quite substantially in scenery.
Those considering Guadeloupe to merely possess a few pretty beaches may be surprised to learn that it also boats a wildlife-infested rainforest and the highest waterfall in the Caribbean. Basse-Terre has a rough volcanic relief whilst Grande Terre features rolling hills and flat plains. There are also many lush mountainous areas with stunning and unspoiled tropical scenery. The beautiful beaches vary too, from the white palm-fringed to the volcanic-created black sand. More about Guadeloupe
Cayman Islands:  It is unlikely that the British, or anybody else for that matter, would have desired the Cayman Islands quite so much when they were first discovered. Columbus originally named the islands ’Las Tortugas’ (The Turtles) because they were utterly covered in them. More worryingly, the word ’Cayman’ probably derives from the Carib word, ’Caymanas’, meaning ’marine crocodile’, suggesting that the islands were also the favored home of scores of lizards. In addition to this, the Cayman Islands have long been associated with the history of buccaneers and pirates, who once established hideouts here. More about Cayman Islands
Cayman Islands
Puerto Rico:  The island of Puerto Rico (Rich Port) has a large array of natural riches. Its central mountain range reaches 1,338m (4,390ft) at Cerro de Punta; it has the only tropical rainforest in the US National Forest System, El Yunque; and its beaches brag warm, turquoise waters and soft, yellow sand.
Just as Puerto Rico’s bionetwork boasts unique characteristics, the culture and way of life is also distinct. Many of San Juan’s buildings proudly preserve their original Spanish style. This is still an island of fiestas and paella.
Columbus ‘discovered’ Puerto Rico in 1493, but the Taino Indians were the first inhabitants. After centuries of Spanish rule, Puerto Rico was ceded to the USA in 1898. In 1917, Puerto Ricans were granted US citizenship and the island later became a self-governing ‘Commonwealth in association with the USA’. Thus Puerto Ricans can own an American passport but they do not pay US federal taxes and cannot vote in US elections.  More about Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
St Lucia:   St Lucia is a beautiful volcanic island with lush rainforests, undulating agricultural landscapes and unspoilt beaches. It is also one of the world’s breeziest places, as the trade winds blow in from the sea to the southern shore.Traditionally banana and sugar cane exports sustained St Lucia, however, the government is now focusing its efforts on the island’s fast-growing tourism sector.St Lucia boasts more than enough to keep visitors enthralled, hosting a wealth of natural wonders from excellent beaches
and mountain scenery, to the Qualibou Volcano with its boiling sulphur springs, as well as tropical flower-lined roadsides.  More about St Lucia
St Lucia
Trinidad and Tobago:   The home of carnival, steel bands, calypso and limbo dancing, Trinidad and Tobago’s blend of different cultures gives them an air of cosmopolitan excitement. Liming, or talking for talking’s sake, is a popular pastime, as is chatting about, watching and playing cricket.
Port of Spain, surrounded by lush green hills, is the capital and business hub of oil-rich Trinidad. Bazaars throng beneath modern skyscrapers and mosques rub shoulders with cathedrals. San Fernando is the island’s second town and the main commercial center in the
south. Close by is the fascinating natural phenomenon of the Pitch Lake, a 36-hectare (90-acre) lake of asphalt which constantly replenishes itself.
Tobago, some 32km (20 miles) to the northeast of Trinidad, is very different from her sister isle. The island is so beautiful and fertile that just about every western European colonial power has fought to have it. It is a tranquil island with calm waters and a number of fine beaches, each with their own flavor. More about Trinidad and Tobago
Turks & Caicos:   The Turks & Caicos Islands are a spectacular destination for those who wish to get away from it all. One of the most valuable possessions of the islands are their pristine white sandy beaches, which are complemented with crystal clear turquoise waters. In addition, there are numerous national parks, nature preserves, sanctuaries and historical sites.
Despite an increase in tourist numbers (tourism is the islands’ main source of revenue), the islands remain largely uncommercialized and unspoilt with small, personal
places to stay and a heavy emphasis on ecotourism. In addition to tourism, the Turks and Caicos economy is based on fishing and offshore financial services.
People on the islands known as ’Belongers’ are known for their friendly spirit, which will ensure this is a destination that will help people de-stress, feel comfortable and truly relax.  More about Turks & Caicos
Caicos Islands
US Virgin Islands:   The result of the US Virgin Islands’ history and location is a unique blend of Danish heritage and American modernity combined with a relaxed and friendly attitude typical of the Caribbean. Add to this miles of glistening beaches, first-class diving facilities and verdant tropical vegetation, and there is more than enough to seduce any visitor.
The Danes’ legacy is evident in Christiansted, on the largest island, St Croix, whose historic sites include Fort Christiansværn (dating from 1774) and the Old
Custom House. St Thomas too retains much of its Danish influence; in the capital, Charlotte Amalie, converted warehouses now house stylish boutiques. Those seeking unspoilt natural beauty should head to St John. With no airport, and two-thirds of the island’s deep valleys set aside as a national park, this is an ideal Caribbean retreat.  More about US Virgin Islands
US Virgin Islands
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