From the arrival of the first settlers in the 14OOs, the history of the Caribbean was shaped by colonialism and slavery. Some islands changed hands up to 20 times before the political changes of the 1960s created the modern, independent Caribbean of today. Because of the many historical conquests, the region has an incredibly diverse multicultural heritage with influences from all over the world.
The Caribbean is renowned for its year-round sunshine and tropical climate with average temperatures between 22°-30°c every day. The dry season is between December and May coinciding nicely with the charter season, whilst rain showers can be expected between June and November ensuring the islands stay lush and verdant.
Caribbean food is the original fusion cuisine, with influences from all over Africa, Europe and Asia. Popular dishes vary from island to island, but common ingredients like rice, chicken, plantains and papaya are found in many recipes. The islands are full of incredible restaurants and the choices are endless, eat a gourmet meal in the sophisticated Café Martinique on Nassau or grab a plate of freshly caught conch fritters from Da Conch Shack in the Turks and Caicos. From fresh seafood to jerk meat or goat stew, Caribbean food is spicy, bursting with flavour and best enjoyed in the sunshine.
The Caribbean has something for everyone, enjoy world-class water sports in the Bahamas, soak up the sun on the pristine white beaches of Barbados, dive stunning coral reefs in the Windward Islands or go golfing in Jamaica. No two islands in the Caribbean are alike, St Lucia offers visitors exotic rainforests overrun with wild orchids and ferns whilst Bonaire is famous for its world-class offshore diving. Jamaica’s downtown urban culture and street food stalls contrast wildly with the luxury boutiques and gourmet restaurants of St Maarten and the Virgin Islands, much of which is still only accessible by boat is the ultimate cruising ground for yachts.
Caribbean nightlife is legendary, whether you are looking for a quiet sundowner or a wild all-night party, the islands are the place to go. Drink spicy rum punch and listen to calypso music in a beach bar, dance in the streets during a colourful carnival or watch the sun go down poolside with a cocktail in hand, the choice is yours.
The Caribbean region is home to eight percent of the world’s coral reefs Only about 2% of the Caribbean islands are inhabited The Caribbean has 6 official languages: Spanish, French, English, Dutch, Haitian Creole and Papiamento