There are dozens of islands scattered across the Caribbean, and despite what you might think they’re a remarkably diverse bunch! For example, pulsing, vibrant Jamaica has little in common with tourist-heavy Aruba, not just in appearance but also in what they offer to visitors. So once you’ve decided the Caribbean is your dream destination, it’s time to narrow it down and choose the island that’s right for you.
Aruba’s main attraction is a ribbon of beaches, lined with big world-class holiday resorts and backed up with shopping malls full of familiar restaurants and bars. It’s great for holidays that, once booked, require basically no planning at all. There are also a number of family resorts with plenty of attractions to entertain the little ones. Once a Dutch colony, much of the architecture – both new and original – smacks of a town in the Netherlands, bathed in pastel colours. But walk the streets and you’ll notice unmistakable Yankee sensibilities in the cuisine and lifestyle – it’s very reminiscent of parts of the USA such as the Florida Keys. Its proximity to Latin America has also added a little Hispanic fizz to proceedings, so it’s a real melting pot of history and culture – giving the island a charming blended heritage that’s both quintessentially Caribbean and utterly unique.
Trinidad & Tobago
The big and little sister islands of the Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago have both noticeable similarities and surprising differences. Trinidad is one big, pulsing Caribbean party that revels in Creole culture and boasts a serious nightlife scene that peaks during its annual carnival – one of the world’s greatest celebrations, and definitely one to add to your bucket list! Tobago, on the other hand, boasts everything its big sister lacks; including pristine walks through the jungle to swim in waterfalls, scuba diving and snorkeling, incredible wildlife, and secluded beach holidays without the buzz off the big island’s party scene. That said, you’ll definitely be able to rustle up a few rum cocktails is the need rises… Keep an eye out for one of the island’s most interesting residents – the agoutis! They’re timid creatures that look a little bit like a cross between a muntjac deer and a guinea pig.
One of the most interesting islands in the southern Caribbean, tiny Bonaire is largely unknown and so if you head here you’ll find the kind of peace and quiet that’s often missing at the tourist hotspots in the area. The one thing it is known for, however, is its spectacular diving right offshore – an absolute must for the avid diver and novice alike.