Caribbean - A Heaven on Earth under Palm Trees
Welcome to the Caribbean, dear! A fruity cocktail in your hand, your feet in the turquoise Caribbean Sea - life treats you well here. There is a reason why many couples choose the gorgeous Caribbean islands as their honeymoon destination. But backpacking from one island to the next is also popular among young people.
Geography - A dream come true for all pirates and mermaids
Politically speaking, the region includes both numerous independent island countries - among others Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti or Grenada - and a number of islands and groups of island which belong to Europe or the USA. About 40 million people live in this holiday paradise on an area of about 220,000 km². Already the South Sea pirates, who had chosen the numerous small islands for their treasures of gold, felt comfortable in this tropical rainforest climate with pleasant average day temperatures of 20°C. The Caribbean islands can geographically be divided into the Greater and the Lesser Antilles. The exact number of islands can hardly be calculated. A majority is of volcanic origin, for example the Guadeloupe and the Martinique. Many of the islands are fully developed for tourist and yet the Caribbean is not sparing with unexplored natural and South Sea beauty.
Nature - Pure relaxation in accordance with nature
The marvellous weather all year naturally provides the perfect conditions for a lush and diverse vegetation. Almost every island has its peculiarities and its appeal. The crystal clear water of the Caribbean Sea and the magical mangrove forests are things the islands have in common. Extraordinary beauty is present in the second biggest coral reef on earth - the Belize Barrier Reef. In the Dominican Republic, on the other hand, alpinists climb the highest peak: the Pico Duarte, which is 3,098 metres high. In the numerous national parks you find not only remote islands with rugged cliffs but also straggling jungles and a rich fauna. The Bahamas are home to different types of turtles. The Caribbean sea cows, also called manatees, live at Jamaica's coasts and about 400 species of butterflies and hummingbirds populate Tobago with their magical appearance. You can best experience the original Caribbean atmosphere in one of the thatched huts at the white sandy beach.
Culture - Rum, rhythm and carnival
Somewhere around the north-west of the Gulf of Mexico, Arawak Indians first discovered the attractive island arc which is known as the Caribbean today. Not much is left of the native Arawak Indians on the Caribbean islands today. The European colonial states, however, left a distinctive mark with Spain leading the way. Therefore it is not surprising that - besides the small number of Caribbean languages - more than 70 percent of the population speak Spanish and another 24 percent use the English language. Only a few cities have more than 2 million inhabitants, among them are Havana in Cuba and Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. Wit regard to culurre, Cuba is probably the most interesting place, based on the country's turbulent history. Depending on the state or the nationality, each island has its on cultural repertoire. Some particularly popular examples are Bob Marley's music or the delicious rum from Jamaica, the world-famous rhythm of the salsa, rumba or cha-cha-cha from Cuba and the colourful carnival as it is celebrated in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
Experience - Casino Royal, shark feeding and adventures on the reef
For a long time, the Caribbean islands mostly attracted elder guests and romantic couples. Since then people have spread the word of the islands' breathtaking diversity and sportspeople, ecotourists and backpackers have grown to like it. After all, the islands became the shooting location of several James Bond films for a reason. Due to the incomparable location, water sports are at the top of the list of popular activities. Waves several meters high present excellent conditions for kitesurfing, rafting and jet skiing. The spacious coral reefs are a dream come true for divers and snorkellers. A dive to the mysterious shipwrecks near Grenada or a trip to the sharks of the Bahamas guarantee a rush of adrenaline. Leisure activities generally take place on the water: you can go sea angling or take a trip on a catamaran to the most remote islands. Some of those islands only appear during particular seasons and then vanish again into the sea. City travellers also get their money's worth, especially in Havana in Cuba. Those who want to go hiking should proceed to Haiti's mountains to enjoy a wonderful flora.
Especially the big Caribbean islands are fully developed for tourists and easy to reach with international air traffic. Those who want to have a certain mobility within the Caribbean are reliant on the inter-Caribbean air traffic. Besides the airline Aerocaribbean, a number of other airlines ensure a good connection between the islands. Boats are also a popular means of transport, especially cruise liners or smaller catamarans. Depending on which country you visit, the entry requirements differ and you may need a visa.
Unwind, rest, relax - where if not in the Caribbean? And those who do not simply want to spend their holiday in a hammock under palm trees find their occupation in one of the many kinds of water sports.