The islands of the West Indies (Caribbean Islands) are divided into three geographic groups – the Greater Antilles, the Lesser Antilles, and the Windward Islands. Most islands have a similar tropical climate, with temperatures ranging from the low 80’s to upper 80’s depending on the time of year. Some agriculture is practiced with sugar cane, bananas, coffee and cocoa being the most prevalent.
Tourism is the main industry on these islands, and almost all have been developed with tourists in mind – luxury hotels and condos, lively marketplaces, dining and entertainment venues are all common features. Another commonality is the emphasis on diving, snorkeling, fishing, and other water sports since the clear waters surrounding the islands are perfect for all of the above.
Each island has its own unique flavor, however, as they were colonized by different nations with a wide variety of languages, traditions, and cultures. Love reggae music? Jamaica is the place to be. Art galleries? Try Nassau. Pristine, unpopulated beaches? St. Lucia.
Obviously transportation to the islands is by plane – most have modern airports to accommodate tourists. Cruise ships also have ports of call in the Caribbean, and this might be the way to go if you want to experience more than one island during your vacation.
In general, if you’re looking for white sand, gorgeous beaches, near perfect weather year-round, and a wide variety of things to do (especially if you’re a water sports enthusiast) the islands of the Caribbean will fill the bill!