Important features in the caribbean: 10 Facts About The Caribbean Region
10 Facts About The Caribbean Region
During the media coverage of hurricanes Irma and Maria last September, it became apparent that many are not familiar with basic facts about the Caribbean region. Some consumers and even journalists were mispronouncing the country names, and others couldn’t distinguish one island from another and were confusing the Dominican Republic with Dominica and Barbados with Bermuda. This lack of awareness and knowledge of basic facts about the Caribbean is shocking as the region is well-traveled with over 30+ million stay-over tourists visiting each year; plus an additional 27+ million visiting via popular cruise ports in the Cayman Islands, Bahamas, and Turks & Caicos – all of which are open for business.
Thus, at the Caribbean State of the Tourism Industry Conference held in Grenada shortly after the hurricanes, the Caribbean Tourism Organization indicated that they would be raising funds to launch a marketing campaign to assure consumers that most of the Caribbean destinations are now open for business and educating them on facts about the Caribbean. As while it is the sun, sand, and sea that draws people in, the Caribbean region has a rich history. With that in mind, below are ten facts about the Caribbean region.
Grenada: View of Carenage, a scenic inlet.
1. Origin of Caribbean Name
One of the main facts about the Caribbean region is that it is called the Caribbean as when Christopher Columbus and his men were exploring the area during their second voyage, they stumbled upon a native tribe who resisted them, and so they deemed them aggressive and also falsely accused them of being cannibals. Columbus called this native tribe Carib, and over the years the name for the region evolved to be the Caribbean. Interestingly, when Christopher Columbus first arrived in the Caribbean, he thought they had reached India, and so named the first inhabitants he met Indians. It wasn’t until his third voyage to the region that he realized he was nowhere near Asia.
Note that the first land in the Caribbean region Columbus saw and visited on 12 October 1492, he named San Salvador Island now part of The Bahamas. This island San Salvador was originally named Guanahani by the native Lucayan inhabitants. To commemorate this first landing by Christopher Columbus, there is a simple white cross on Long Bay Beach in San Salvador, The Bahamas.
Bahamas: A simple white cross in Long Bay to commemorate the first Caribbean land sighted by Christopher Columbus on his first voyage in 1942. Photo Credit: © Bahamas Ministry of Tourism.
2. Caribbean Geography
The Caribbean region is located southeast of the Gulf of Mexico and the North American mainland and measures around 1,000 miles from north to south and over 2,500 miles from east to west. Much of it is an ocean and the Caribbean region includes about 700 islands, islets, reefs, and cays in and surrounding the Caribbean Sea. Across the Caribbean region, there is diverse topography including coral reefs, mountains, tropical forests, low-lying plantations, valleys, waterfalls, and volcanoes.
Only about 2% of the Caribbean region is inhabited, and so when most speak of the Caribbean region, they are referring to about 32 countries. Their size ranges from 40,852 square miles for Cuba all the way down to 5 square miles for the island of Saba. Interestingly, Saba has the shortest commercial airline runway in the world at only 1,312 feet long with one side flanked by high hills and with cliffs that drop into the sea at both ends. So not for the faint of heart!
There are four main island groups in the Caribbean region including the Greater Antilles, Leeward Islands, Leeward Antilles, and the Windward Islands.
- The Greater Antilles includes Cayman Islands, Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico.
- The Leeward Islands include Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, Guadeloupe, Montserrat, Saint Martin, Saba, Saint Eustatius, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Kitts & Nevis, and U. S. Virgin Islands.
- The Leeward Antilles includes Aruba, Curacao, and Bonaire.
- The Windward Islands includes Barbados, Dominica, Grenada with sister island Carriacou and Petite Martinique, Martinique, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent & The Grenadines, and Trinidad & Tobago.
Note that the Leeward Islands, Leeward Antilles, and the Windward Islands combine to create the Lesser Antilles. Also, beyond the groupings, there is also the Lucayan Archipelago known as the Bahama Archipelago, comprising The Bahamas and Turks & Caicos Islands.
Map of the Caribbean Region
3. Beyond Caribbean Geography
Another of the main facts about the Caribbean is that beyond the islands in and surrounding the Caribbean Sea, there are other countries that are also associated with the Caribbean region mainly due to their cultural, economic, and political history. This includes the island of Bermuda located in the North Atlantic Ocean, a mere 665 miles from the state of North Carolina in the United States, and Belize also located on the North American continent. Finally, Guyana, Suriname, and Venezuela, three independent countries on South America’s North Atlantic coast.
All five are members of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) which was established in 1972 to promote economic integration and cooperation between member states. Belize, Guyana, and Venezuela are also current members of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, the official body promoting tourism in the Caribbean region.
Guyana: Kaieteur Falls, the world’s largest single-drop waterfall. Photo Credit: © Fotonatura via Guyana Tourism Authority.
4. Independent vs. Dependent Rule
Except for Cuba which has a one-party political system, all other Caribbean countries now have two or more political parties, and their ways of governing can be traced back to their colonial roots. Some are independent democracies like Haiti which became the first black republic in the world and the first country in the Western hemisphere to abolish slavery after breaking free from France on January 1st, 1804. Others are still dependent territories of France, the Netherlands, the United States and the United Kingdom.
The breakdown of independent Caribbean countries and the year obtained:
- Independence from France: Haiti (1804)
- Independence from Haiti: Dominican Republic (1844)
- Independence from Spain: Cuba (1902)
- Independence from the United Kingdom: Antigua & Barbuda (1981), The Bahamas 1973), Barbados (1966), Belize (1981), Dominica (1978), Grenada (1974), Guyana (1966), Haiti (1804), Jamaica (1962), Saint Kitts & Nevis (1983), Saint Lucia (1979), Saint Vincent & the Grenadines (1979), Suriname (1975), and Trinidad & Tobago (1962).
The breakdown for dependent Caribbean countries include:
- Dependent on France: Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Barthelemy (St Barts), Saint Martin
- Dependent on the Netherlands: Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saint Maarten, Saba, and Saint Eustatius.
- Dependent on the United States: Puerto Rico, United States Virgin Islands
- Dependent on the United Kingdom: Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, and Turks & Caicos Islands.
Haiti: The Citadelle Laferrière aka Citadelle Henry Christophe aka The Citadelle, a large mountain fortress at the top of Bonnet a L’Eveque. Photo Credit: © Haiti Tourism.
5. Caribbean Population
Another of the major facts about the Caribbean region is that over 42.5 million people live in 30+ main islands. Many in larger islands like Cuba with 11.4 million, Haiti with 10.8million, the Dominican Republic with 10.6 million, Jamaica with 2.8 million, and Trinidad & Tobago with 1.3 million people. And at the opposite end is Saint Martin with 31,500, the British Virgin Islands with 30,600, Anguilla with nearly 15,000, Saint Barthelemy with 7,200 and Montserrat with just 5,200 people post-eruption of Soufrière Hills Volcano.
Cuba: A couple in a small sailboat in Cayo Coco, a tropical island in the Jardines del Rey chain, off central Cuba. Photo Credit: © Cuba Tourism Board.
6. Caribbean Ethnicities & Culture
Early inhabitants of the Caribbean region were from the South American continent more than 7,000 years ago and were members of the Maya, Taino, and Kalinago tribes who settled on the various islands throughout the Caribbean region. When the European started colonizing the Caribbean region beginning in 1492 with Christopher Columbus for Spain, the indigenous population was decimated by disease and war.
As the Europeans built up profitable cotton, tobacco, and later sugar plantations, over 5 million enslaved West African were brought to the Caribbean region to work. And today, the majority of the 42.5 million people who live in the Caribbean region are descendants of these 5 million enslaved West African. Now, you will also find other ethnicities in the Caribbean including Asian Indians, Chinese, Syrians, Lebanese, Jews, Portuguese, Europeans, Amerindians, and various mixes and combinations which makes the culture and traditions quite diverse. For example, in Trinidad & Tobago, based on the last census, descendants of enslaved West Africans are 36.3% of the population and Indo-Trinidadians are 37.6% of the population – so pretty much neck and neck. Indo-Trinidadians are descendants of indentured workers from India who were brought over after slavery was abolished.
That said, while the majority of the region’s inhabitants are descendants of enslaved West Africans, its long history of colonization from European powers including the Spanish, English, French, and Dutch, has resulted in a diverse culture across the region. Sure there are similarities, but each country has its own traditions and rich history worthy of exploration.
Martinique: The Grand Ballet dancers in traditional dress. Photo Credit: © Antoine Omere via Martinique Tourism Board.
7. Caribbean or West Indies
The Caribbean region is sometimes referred to as the West Indies. This term was used initially by Christopher Columbus and referred to the islands which he claimed for the Spanish crown. Remember, he thought he had arrived in India, and so he named the island grouping the West Indies to distinguish from the East Indies.
The West Indies term was later adopted by other European colonizers, and so some Caribbean countries are referred to as being former members of the British, French, Dutch, or Danish West Indies. The term is mostly now used in sports with the West Indies Cricket Team which is a multi-national cricket team representing the Caribbean region. Beyond cricket which is a legacy of British colonization and known as the Englishman’s game, the other major sport in the Caribbean is football. Sadly, no Caribbean football team has won the World Cup trophy.
West Indies Cricket Team: 2012 T20 World Champions. Photo Credit: © Windies Cricket.
8. Languages Spoken in the Caribbean
The majority of the 42. 5million people who live in the Caribbean speak English as much of the region was colonized by the British. In total, there are six main languages used in the Caribbean region, and some islands like Puerto Rico and Haiti have more than one official language.
- English is the official language of Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, Saint Maarten, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos Islands, and the United States Virgin Islands.
- Spanish is the official language of Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico.
- French is the official language of Guadeloupe, Haiti, Martinique, Saint Barthelemy, French Guyana, and Saint Martin.
- Haitian Creole is also an official language of Haiti.
- Dutch is the official language of Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, St. Eustatius, Saint Maarten, and Suriname.
- Papiamento, a Portuguese and Spanish-based Creole language is also an official language of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao.
Beyond these six main languages, you’ll also find on many of the Caribbean islands a version of creoles and local patois – broken English being spoken.
Cayman Island: Diver with a massive green sea turtle. Photo Credit: © Cayman Islands Department of Tourism.
9. Biodiversity of the Caribbean Region
The plant and animal life in the Caribbean region is quite diverse. There are tons of beautiful flowers and wildlife including rare birds throughout the Caribbean region. In fact, there are over 500 species of bird, including 172 species that are found nowhere else in the world.
There are also about 189 different species of amphibians, 497 species of reptiles, and 164 mammals that live in the Caribbean region. Plus, there are lots of coral reefs, including the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef which is the largest marine habitat in the Caribbean. It has hundreds of fish species, marine turtles, and sharks, including more than 65 species of stony coral, 350 species of mollusk, and more than 500 species of fish.
Montserrat: Oriole Bird once endangered. Photo Credit: © Montserrat Tourism Board.
10. Caribbean Tourism
Finally, one of the major facts about the Caribbean region is that tourism is one of the leading, if not the leading sector on most Caribbean islands. Contributing over US$56.4billion to the region’s GDP which represents 14.9%, it’s important to have visitors return to the region. Not just for sun, sand, and sea, which is a primary appeal, but so much more. The regions’ rich history, biodiversity, cultural attractions, and events, afford visitors who explore a rich and rewarding experience. This includes:
- An expanding list of approved and pending UNESCO World Heritage Sites
- Music festivals like the St Kitts Music Festival that has been going strong for 21+years
- Food festivals like the Grenada Chocolate Festival
- Masquerade dance, a Caribbean cultural treasure created over 300+ years ago
- Hundreds of museums and other historic sites across the region
- Hundreds of rare bird and beautiful flora along hiking trails
- Sporting event you can participate in like 25 marathon/half-marathons or 27 triathlons
- Seeing wildlife close up and even participating in unique experiences like swimming with pigs in the Bahamas
- Enjoying delicious food and Caribbean Rum
These are just a few of the reasons to visit the Caribbean region with 75% of the destinations currently open for business and welcoming visitors post hurricanes, Irma and Maria. So now that you are a little more information, here is hoping to see some of you in the region soon.
Trinidad & Tobago: Carnival Revelers. Photo Credit: © Trinidad & Tobago Tourism
NOTE: If you’d like to learn more facts about the Caribbean region, I’d recommend the books below, all of which I have in my library:
- The Sugar Barons: Family, Corruption, Empire & War by Matthew Parker
- The Caribbean: A Brief History by Gad Heuman
- A Concise History of the Caribbean by B. W. Higman
- Caribbean Art (World of Art) by Veerle Poupeye
- Wild Caribbean: The Hidden Wonders of the World’s Most Famous Islands by Michael Bright
- The Caribbean Central and South American Cookbook by Jenni Fleetwood & Marina Filippelli
These and other Caribbean-related books contain a wealth of facts about the Caribbean and can be purchased via my Caribbean & Co. Amazon affiliate store.
Like this post?
Caribbean Sea | Definition, Location, Map, Islands, & Facts
Read a brief summary of this topic
Caribbean Sea, suboceanic basin of the western Atlantic Ocean, lying between latitudes 9° and 22° N and longitudes 89° and 60° W. It is approximately 1,063,000 square miles (2,753,000 square km) in extent. To the south it is bounded by the coasts of Venezuela, Colombia, and Panama; to the west by Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Belize, and the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico; to the north by the Greater Antilles islands of Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico; and to the east by the north-south chain of the Lesser Antilles, consisting of the island arc that extends from the Virgin Islands in the northeast to Trinidad, off the Venezuelan coast, in the southeast. Within the boundaries of the Caribbean itself, Jamaica, to the south of Cuba, is the largest of a number of islands.
Together with the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea has been erroneously termed the American Mediterranean, owing to the fact that, like the Mediterranean Sea, it is located between two continental landmasses. In neither hydrology nor climate, however, does the Caribbean resemble the Mediterranean. The preferred oceanographic term for the Caribbean is the Antillean-Caribbean Sea, which, together with the Gulf of Mexico, forms the Central American Sea. The Caribbean’s greatest known depth is Cayman Trench (Bartlett Deep) between Cuba and Jamaica, approximately 25,216 feet (7,686 metres) below sea level.
The geologic age of the Caribbean is not known with certainty. As part of the Central American Sea, it is presumed to have been connected with the Mediterranean during Paleozoic times (i.e., about 541 to 252 million years ago) and then gradually to have separated from it as the Atlantic Ocean was formed. The ancient sediments overlying the seafloor of the Caribbean, as well as of the Gulf of Mexico, are about a half mile (about one kilometre) in thickness, with the upper strata representing sediments from the Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras (from about 252 million years ago to the present) and the lower strata presumably representing sediments of the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras (from about 541 to 66 million years ago). Three phases of sedimentation have been identified. During the first and second phases the basin was free of deformation. The Central American Sea apparently became separated from the Atlantic before the end of the first phase. Near the end of the second phase, gentle warping and faulting occurred, forming the Aves and Beata ridges. Forces producing the Panamanian isthmus and the Antillean arc were vertical, resulting in no ultimate horizontal movement. The sediment beds tend to arch in the middle of the basins and to dip as landmasses are approached. The younger Cenozoic beds (formed during the last 65 million years) are generally horizontal, having been laid down after the deformations occurred. Connections were established with the Pacific Ocean during the Cretaceous Period (from about 145 to 66 million years ago) but were broken when the land bridges that permitted mammals to cross between North and South America were formed in the Miocene and Pliocene epochs (about 23 to 2.6 million years ago).
The existing sediment cover of the seabed consists of red clay in the deep basins and trenches, globigerina ooze (a calcareous marine deposit) on the rises, and pteropod ooze on the ridges and continental slopes. Clay minerals appear to have been washed down by the Amazon and Orinoco rivers, as well as by the Magdalena River in Colombia. Coral reefs fringe most of the islands.
All About Oceans and Seas Quiz
What is the world’s largest inland sea? Where is the Puerto Rico Trench? Find out how deep your knowledge of oceans and seas goes with this quiz.
The Caribbean Sea is divided into five submarine basins, each roughly elliptical in shape, which are separated from one another by submerged ridges and rises. These are the Yucatán, Cayman, Colombian, Venezuelan, and Grenada basins. The northernmost of these, the Yucatán Basin, is separated from the Gulf of Mexico by the Yucatán Channel, which runs between Cuba and the Yucatán Peninsula and has a sill depth (i. e., the depth of the submarine ridge between basins) of about 5,250 feet (1,600 metres). The Cayman Basin, to the south, is partially separated from the Yucatán Basin by Cayman Ridge, an incomplete fingerlike ridge that extends from the southern part of Cuba toward Guatemala, rising above the surface at one point to form the Cayman Islands. The Nicaraguan Rise, a wide triangular ridge with a sill depth of about 4,000 feet (1,200 metres), extends from Honduras and Nicaragua to Hispaniola, bearing the island of Jamaica and separating the Cayman Basin from the Colombian Basin. The Colombian Basin is partly separated from the Venezuelan Basin by the Beata Ridge. The basins are connected by the submerged Aruba Gap at depths greater than 13,000 feet (4,000 metres). The Aves Ridge, incomplete at its southern extremity, separates the Venezuelan Basin from the small Grenada Basin, which is bounded to the east by the Antillean arc of islands.
Subsurface water enters the Caribbean Sea across two sills. These sills are located below the Anegada Passage, which runs between the Virgin Islands and the Lesser Antilles, and the Windward Passage, which stretches between Cuba and Hispaniola. The sill depth of Anegada Passage is between 6,400 and 7,700 feet (1,950 and 2,350 metres), whereas that of the Windward Passage is between 5,250 and 5,350 feet (1,600 and 1,630 metres).
Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content.
North Atlantic deep water enters the Caribbean beneath the Windward Passage and is characterized by its rich oxygen content and by a salinity of slightly less than 35 parts per thousand. From there it divides to fill the Yucatán, Cayman, and Colombian basins at depths near 6,500 feet (2,000 metres). This Caribbean bottom water also enters the Venezuelan Basin, thus introducing high-oxygen water at depths of 5,900 to 9,800 feet (1,800 to 3,000 metres). Subantarctic intermediate water (i.e., water differing in several characteristics from the surface and bottom layers of water that it separates) enters the Caribbean below the Anegada Passage at depths of 1,600 to 3,300 feet (500 to 1,000 metres). Above this water, the subtropical undercurrent and surface water enter. The shallow sill depths of the Antillean arc block the entry of Antarctic bottom water, so that the bottom temperature of the Caribbean Sea is close to 39 °F (4 °C), as compared with the Atlantic bottom temperature of less than 36 °F (2 °C).
Surface currents, bearing both high- and low-salinity water depending on the source, enter the Caribbean mainly through the channels and passages of the southern Antilles. These waters are then forced by the trade winds through the narrow Yucatán Channel into the Gulf of Mexico. The wind-driven surface water accumulates in the Yucatán Basin and the Gulf of Mexico, where it results in a higher average sea level than in the Atlantic, forming a hydrostatic head that is believed to constitute the main driving force of the Gulf Stream. Of the water passing through the Yucatán Channel each second, only about one-fourth represents the deeper Subantarctic intermediate water. The remainder is the surface water that passed over the Antillean arc at depths of less than 2,600 feet (800 metres).
The climate of the Caribbean generally is tropical, but there are great local variations, depending on mountain elevation, water currents, and the trade winds. Rainfall varies from about 10 inches (25 cm) per year on the island of Bonaire off the coast of Venezuela to some 350 inches (900 cm) annually in parts of Dominica. The northeast trade winds dominate the region with an average velocity of 10 to 20 miles (16 to 32 km) per hour. Tropical storms reaching a hurricane velocity of more than 75 miles (120 km) per hour are seasonally common in the northern Caribbean as well as in the Gulf of Mexico; they are almost nonexistent in the far south. The hurricane season is from June to November, but hurricanes occur most frequently in September. The yearly average is about eight such storms. The Caribbean has fewer hurricanes than either the western Pacific (where these storms are called typhoons) or the Gulf of Mexico. Most hurricanes form in the eastern Atlantic near the Cape Verde Islands and follow the path of the trade winds into the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico, although the exact path of any hurricane is unpredictable. In 1963 one of the deadliest hurricanes on record, Flora, caused the loss of more than 7,000 lives and extensive property damage in the Caribbean alone. Such storms also have been a major cause of crop failure in the region.
sea, countries, population and life on the islands
Where is the Caribbean
The Caribbean is located in the western part of the Atlantic Ocean. In the south and west, the region borders on the coast of Central and South America, in the north and east it ends with a chain of Caribbean islands.
The Caribbean includes about 700 islands, including the famous Bahamas, Greater and Lesser Antilles. The total area of all the islands is about 245,000 km². This is comparable to the territory of Great Britain.
The historical name of the Caribbean is the West Indies. This is how the first European navigators called the region, mistakenly believing that they sailed to India
When people talk about the Caribbean, they mean a region that includes 35 countries. Of these, 26 are island states, and nine are part of the continents of South and North America. The coasts of all countries are washed by the Caribbean Sea.
Some Caribbean states are considered overseas territories of other countries, such as Martinique, a region of France. We give in the table all the countries and territories that are washed by the Caribbean Sea. The history of each of these states began long before becoming a dependent territory.
|Belize||22,966 km²||About 420,000 people||English|
|Venezuela||916 445 km²||About 29.7 million people||Spanish|
|Guatemala||108,890 km²||About 18. 8 million people||Spanish|
|Honduras||112,090 km²||About 10.1 million people||Spanish|
|Columbia||1,138,910 km²||About 52.1 million people||Spanish|
|Costa Rica||51 100 km²||About 5.2 million people||Spanish|
|Mexico||1,972,550 km²||About 11.3 million people|| Languages of Mexico
The Mexican government recognizes 69 separate indigenous languages
|Nicaragua||129,494 km²||About 6.8 million people||Spanish|
|Panama||75,517 km²||About 4.5 million people||Spanish|
|Anguilla (UK)||102 km²||About 15,000 people||English|
|Antigua and Barbuda||442 km²||About 100,000 people||English|
|Aruba||193 km²||About 125,000 people|| Dutch,
|Barbados||431 km²||About 290,000 people||English|
|Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (Netherlands)||322 km²||About 25,000 people||Dutch|
|Virgin Islands (UK)||153 km²||About 30,000 people||English|
|Virgin Islands (US)||346 km²||About 105,000 people||English|
|Haiti||27,750 km²||About 11. 6 million people|| French,
|Guadeloupe (France)||1628 km²||About 415,000 people||French|
|Grenada||344 km²||About 115,000 people||English|
|Dominica||754 km²||About 72,000 people||English|
|Dominican Republic||48,442 km²||About 11.2 million people||Spanish|
|Cuba||110 860 km²||About 11.4 million people||Spanish|
|Curacao||444 km²||About 165,000 people|| Papiamento, English,
|Martinique (France)||1128 km²||About 375,000 people||French|
|Montserrat (UK)||102 km²||About 5000 people||English|
|Cayman Islands (UK)||264 km²||About 70,000 people||English|
|Puerto Rico||9104 km²||About 2. 9 million people|| Spanish,
|St. Barthelemy (France)||21 km²||About 1000 people||French|
|Saint-Martin (France)||53 km²||About 35,000 people||French|
|Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||389 km²||About 110,000 people||English|
|Saint Kitts and Nevis||261 km²||About 55,000 people||English|
|Saint Lucia||617 km²||About 190,000 people||English|
|Sint Maarten (Netherlands)||34 km²||About 45,000 people|| Dutch,
|Trinidad and Tobago||5128 km²||About 1.4 million people||English|
|Jamaica||10,991 km²||About 3 million people||English|
How to get to the Caribbean
Traveling to the Caribbean largely depends on the epidemiological situation in the world: due to the coronavirus, countries either open or close their borders. Therefore, before traveling to the region, it is better to check the information on the official websites of the embassies and consulates of countries.
International flights from the USA, Canada, European countries, Turkey are carried out to the airports of major Caribbean countries. So, from New York, you can get on a direct flight to Cuba or Haiti, Mexico or Antigua. And to get from New York to Dominica, you will have to change trains in another Caribbean country, for example, in Saint Lucia.
There are also no direct flights from Russia to the Caribbean. Usually, Russians get to the islands by plane or cruise ship, which depart from European countries. Russians can visit most of the Caribbean islands freely, to travel to overseas territories you will need a visa, for example, a Schengen visa to enter Martinique, an English tourist visa for Anguilla.
How many days can Russians stay in the Caribbean without a visa?
Up to 90 days — Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Venezuela, Haiti, Guatemala, Honduras, Grenada, Dominica, Colombia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Jamaica.
to 60 days — Dominican Republic
to 42 days — St. Lucia
to 30 days — Cuba
to 28 days — Barbados
and up to 180 days in Mexico e-visa, which can be obtained in an average of 24 hours
Why visit the Caribbean?
People come to the Caribbean to swim in the warm sea, go diving or yachting, get to know the culture of the locals and try the national cuisine. Each country is unique and keeps the history of ancestors, mainly the descendants of African slaves and indigenous Indians — Caribs and Arawaks.
Caribbean islands are resorts, long white sandy beaches and the sea around. These are high mountains and extinct volcanoes, tropical jungles and exotic animals. This is how many people imagine «paradise islands».
All about the Caribbean
Caribbean resorts. Most often, tourists fly to the Caribbean for a two-week all-inclusive vacation or visit the islands «in transit» on cruise ships.
Most tourists come to the Caribbean from the US, Canada, UK and EU countries. The American Caribbean Journal annually publishes the best Caribbean islands to visit. In 2022, the top ten were:
- Providenciales, an island in the Turks and Caicos archipelago.
- Antigua and Barbuda.
- Great Exuma, an island in the Bahamas archipelago.
- St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands.
- Nassau, an island in the Bahamas archipelago.
- Saint Kitts and Nevis.
- Middle Caicos Island, Turks and Caicos Islands.
- Cayman Brac.
Providenciales is an island in the Turks and Caicos archipelago. Considered one of the most luxurious resorts in the Caribbean, it is famous for its trendy boutiques, expensive restaurants and ideal golf courses
“One beach every day” is what they say about Antigua and Barbuda. It is believed that there are about 365 beaches in the country, and each is good in its own way. In the photo — Morris Bay beach
Great Exuma — an island in the Bahamas archipelago. Here are the whitest beaches of the Caribbean
St. Thomas is an overseas territory of the United States, so Americans like to relax on the island. There are many quiet picturesque bays, evergreen hills and cozy chalets
Nassau is the capital of the Bahamas. The island is known for its international port, where the largest cruise ships call, clean beaches and coral reefs
Diving. The Caribbean Sea is popular with divers, with the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef attracting the most underwater lovers. This is a unique natural phenomenon that is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The length of the Mesoamerican barrier reef is about 965 km: it starts in the north of the Yucatan Peninsula, runs along the east coast of Central America and ends in the coastal waters of Honduras. The longest part of the reef — about 300 km — is called the Belize Barrier Reef.
Another reason to go diving in the Caribbean is to see sunken pirate ships. There are many myths about pirates: it is believed that they first appeared in the Caribbean in the 17th century. Pirates robbed ships passing at sea, sank ships and hid treasures on the islands.
Yachting. The Caribbean is a maritime region where many yachtsmen register their boats to save on taxes and maintain privacy. Foreigners can register a yacht in Caribbean countries only through a legal entity.
In the Caribbean, you can rent a yacht and go on a sea voyage or take part in a regatta. The region hosts about 20 international and local regattas a year. The next international race — RORC Transatlantic — starts on January 8, 2023 in Grenada.
Fishing. People from all over the world come to fish in the Caribbean. About 450 species of fish live in the waters of the Caribbean Sea, including sharks, barracudas, rays and moray eels.
Fishing regulations vary by country. For example, in Saint Lucia, an amateur fishing license is issued only to citizens and residents of the state. Its cost is about 19$.
Tournaments and professional fishing competitions take place in the Caribbean. So, in April 2022, the 2nd annual fishing tournament in Aklins was held on the Bahamian island of Aklins. It lasted seven days: during the day the fishermen competed, and in the evening they had fun at the festival.
The Belize Barrier Reef in the Caribbean Sea: about 130,000 travelers come to see it every year0005
All water sports can be practiced in the Caribbean Sea. SUP surfing has been gaining popularity lately
Horse tours in Antigua and Barbuda. Seeing natural attractions is sometimes faster and more convenient on horseback
Life in the Caribbean
The Caribbean boasts comfortable natural conditions for life, developed infrastructure and a large selection of places for recreation. Spending your whole life in the Caribbean is a plan that will suit lovers of a measured life, warm weather and water sports.
The climate of in the Caribbean is hot tropical: the air temperature in the region rarely drops below +20 °C during the year. But from June to November, the rainy season passes, in some countries it coincides with the season of the Atlantic hurricanes. For example, hurricanes pass through Dominica every year, while Grenada is most often bypassed.
The most comfortable months for life and recreation are from December to May — before the start of the rainy season. At this time, the Caribbean is relatively cool, there are occasional rains.
Nature In the Caribbean amazing: Tropical jung extinct volcanoes, mangroves along the coast and natural black sand beaches.
About 13,000 plants grow in the Caribbean, half of which are endemic. They cannot be found in any other country in the world. About 450 species of fish live in the Caribbean Sea, including sharks and rays. Also off the coast of the Caribbean islands you can meet whales, turtles, sperm whales and dolphins, and in Jamaica — manatees and seals.
Almost 500 species of reptiles live in the Caribbean, such as sharp-snouted crocodiles and green turtles. It is also believed that all amphibian species in the region live exclusively in the Caribbean: some frogs and toads, poison dart frogs and whistlers.
About 165 species of endemic birds can be found in the skies over the Caribbean, such as the Grenadian dove, the imperial Amazon, the black guan or the mangrove hummingbird. Parrots, toucans, flycatchers and cuckoos also live in the jungle, and majestic frigatebirds can soar above the sea.
Dominica is the Caribbean «island of nature». Most of the pristine nature has been preserved here: European settlers cut down only about 40% of the rainforests
Fluthoryl is a fish often shared on social networks by diving enthusiasts in the Caribbean
A typical Caribbean iguana. Strict, arrogant, but not dangerous for people — feeds exclusively on plants
Frigatebirds are small birds weighing up to two kilograms, but with a wingspan of more than two meters. They spend most of their lives floating in the air
Cities and infrastructure. The Caribbean states have developed rapidly over the past 20 years. National governments are building airports, equipping harbors and piers, repairing roads and erecting new buildings in cities.
Every country has an airport — international or local. In 2021, Piarco International Airport, which is located on the island of Trinidad, was awarded the Best Airport in the Caribbean by Skytrax.
There are about 40-50 airports in the region, some of them are quite small and private, so there are no statistics and websites. The busiest international airports in the Caribbean:
- Clayton J. Lloyd Airport, Anguilla.
- VC Bird Airport, Antigua and Barbuda.
- Queen Beatrix Airport, Aruba.
- Linden Pindling Airport, Bahamas.
- Grantley Adams Airport, Barbados.
- Philip S.V. Airport Goldson, Belize.
- LF Wade Airport, Bermuda.
- Gustavo Rojas Pinilla Airport, Colombia.
- Daniel Oduber Airport, Costa Rica.
- Jose Marti Airport, Cuba.
- Las Americas Airport, Dominican Republic.
- Maurice Bishop Airport, Grenada.
- Toussaint-Louverture Airport, Haiti.
- Sangster Airport, Jamaica.
- Luis Munoz Marin Airport, Puerto Rico.
Transport. Ferries run between neighboring Caribbean islands, they replace electric trains for residents. Inside the island, urban transport is usually represented by buses, minibuses and taxis. Prices depend on the country, for example, in Dominica, a taxi will charge from $ 2.5 for 1 km.
All Caribbean countries accept US dollars. True, if you pay with them in restaurants, then the rate will not be in favor of the client. The main exceptions are Cuba, Martinique, Guadeloupe. In Cuba, you must first exchange currency, the payment is only in Cuban pesos. In Martinique and Guadeloupe — the euro. Other countries also accept local dollars, such as Haitian, Bermuda, Jamaican.
Eight countries have introduced a common currency and a unified system of financial control and management. These are Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Anguilla and Montserrat. They have a single Eastern Caribbean Central Bank.
The financial system of these countries is managed by the Eastern Caribbean Bank, the local dollar has been pegged to the US dollar since 1976.
Average Model Mountain Caribbean Carbal Course in 2021
|to the US dollar||to euros|
|0.37 $||0.313 €|