is the world's playground. To most people it conjures up
visions of palm-fringed beaches and crystal-clear waters. Every day the tropical sun beats down,
every evening boasts a vermilion sunset and every activity is carried out at the slow
pace synonymous with island living.
And whilst these clichés are true in many respects, the reality is far
more complex … and interesting. The Caribbean archipelago actually consists of many different
islands spread over thousands of miles of ocean. And whilst most of these islands boast
the scenic attractions and way of life that epitomize relaxed tropical living, all of them
have their own history, culture and traditions. Not to mention completely different standards
of resorts, restaurants and recreational possibilities.
They are also quite different scenically. Some are volcanic in origin and very lush and
tropical, whilst others are coral formations which rely upon their pristine white sands to
attract their visitors. Some are little more than undeveloped islets with a few coconut palms,
whilst others are cosmopolitan countries boasting fashionable shops and exciting nightlife.
Some proudly retain their French or Spanish traditions, whilst others revel in a West Indian
lifestyle only slightly influenced by their English heritage.
So when planning your Caribbean island holidays, it's important you choose the island and resort
that's right for you. Or at least right for you at that particular time.
If you're going on honeymoon, you're probably looking for a romantic getaway where little will intrude upon your
time alone together. If you're travelling with your family, you'll feel more relaxed if there's
plenty to keep the youngsters occupied. If you tend to get bored with beaches, you'd do well to
ensure the island has enough places of interest and also that it's easy and safe to get around.
Trying out different restaurants on your Caribbean holidays
may be one of your passions, so make sure
culinary variety is one of the islands plus points and as nightlife can vary from international floorshows
to listening to the treefrogs, make sure you do your homework before you get on the plane.
Similarly if golf is important to your island holiday, check there's
an 18-hole course with recognised standards. Scuba-diving, sailing and windsurfing are definitely better
in some islands than others and whilst spas are gradually being introduced throughout the Caribbean, they
do vary in quality, as well as the range of treatments on offer.
In general, however, the standard of holiday hotels are improving every year.
Long gone are the days when hoteliers relied upon the quality of their beaches to attract their visitors.
Or when they felt a luxurious room and a spectacular view could make up for average food and
sluggish service. Competition from the Indian Ocean and Far East has put paid to such
complacency and nowadays its luxury resorts live up to their tropical settings and can vie
with the best in the world.
There is possibly no better way to discover the best of the Caribbean than
with a Caribbean cruise.
There are many high quality cruise companies that send their ships to
Caribbean islands and here are some recommended ones.
We hope this guide will provide all the information you need to make the correct decisions when
deciding the destination of your Caribbean holiday.