North America : Caribbean
The islands of the Caribbean Sea or West Indies are an extensive archipelago in the far west of the Atlantic Ocean, mostly strung between North and South America. They've long been known as a resort vacation destination for honeymooners and retirees, but a small movement toward eco-tourism and backpacking has started to open up the Caribbean to more independent travel. With year-round good weather (with the minor exception of hurricane season in the late summer and early fall), promotional air fares from Europe and North America, and hundreds of islands to explore, the Caribbean offers something for almost everyone.
The Caribbean islands were first inhabited by the Arawak Indians, then were invaded by a more aggressive tribe, the Caribs. Unfortunately, neither could appreciate their victory for long, for the Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, French, and British, colonised their lands. The islands have known many historic battles - and more than a few pirate stories.
To the south and southeast of Florida, are four relatively large islands (hence the name):
- Hispaniola (composed of the countries of Haiti on the western side and the Dominican Republic on the eastern side)
- Puerto Rico
Smaller islands in the vicinity of these four major islands are sometimes also treated as part of the group.
In an arc between the Greater Antilles and along the north coast of South America are dozens of small tropical islands:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Barbados - the "little England" of the Caribbean
- British Virgin Islands
- Grenada - "The spice isle"
- Martinique - the "little France" of the Caribbean
- Netherlands Antilles
- Saint Barthelemy
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Martin
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
- Virgin Islands (USA)
These countries are not in the Caribbean basin but are variously close to it, and are commonly associated with the Caribbean (e.g. members of CARICOM, the Caribbean Community).
- The Bahamas - a cluster of islands north of the Greater Antilles and southeast of Florida.
- Turks and Caicos Islands - a cluster of islands south of the Bahamas
- Bermuda - some distance to the north of the Caribbean, but commonly associated with the region.
- Several countries in South America, Central America, and Mexico have shorelines – and islands – in the Caribbean.
- From Europe to:
- Antigua and Barbuda (ANU) from London (LGW),Manchester (MAN) by BA, BMI, Virgin, XL and from Frankfurt (FRA) by Condor
- Barbados, Bridgetown (BGI) from London, Manchester by Virgin, BA, Caribbean Airlines, XL and from Frankfurt by Condor
- Cuba from London (LGW)by Virgin, Air Jamaica, from Madrid (MAD) by Iberia, from Paris (CDG) by Air France and from all three by Cubana
- Grenada, Point Saline (GND) from UK by Virgin, BA, Excel from Germany Condor
- Saint Lucia, Hewanorra (UVF) from London (LGW) by Virgin, BA, Caribbean Airlines and from Manchester (MAN) by Virgin
- Martinique Fort-de-France (FDF) from Paris by Air France, Air Caribes (cheapest from Germany ?)
- Tobago (TAB), from London (LGW) by BA, Virgin, XL and from Frankfurt (FRA) by Condor
- Trinidad, Port-of-Spain (POS) from London by Caribbean Airlines
- Turks & Caicos Islands (PLS), from London (LHR) through Nassau, Bahamas
- Air Caraibes : from Paris to Guadeloupe, Martinique
- Air France : from Paris to Guadeloupe, Martinique
- Air Jamaica: London to Jamaica and Cuba
- British Airways : from London (LGW) to Antigua, Barbados, Cayman Islands, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Tobago and from Manchaster to Saint Lucia
- Caribbean Airlines : from London to Barbados, Saint Lucia, London - Antigua, Belfast - Tobago (see BWIA Route map )
- Cayman Airways: from the Cayman Islands to multiple gateways in the US
- Condor/Thomas Cook : from Frankfurt (FRA), see Condor Route map 
- Cubana : To Cuba from Madrid, Paris, London
- Lufthansa Airlines : To Boston, Antigua, Barbados from Beijing
- Virgin Atlantic : from London to Antigua, Barbados, Grenada, Havana, Jamaica, St Lucia, Tobago and from Manchester to Barbados and St Lucia
- XL : from London to Antigua, Barbados, Grenada, St Kitts, St Lucia, Tobago
Numerous companies offer cruises, charters, and boat tours in the Caribbean.
- LIAT has connections between most caribbean islands
- American Eagle is another notable air carrier between islands
This page was last edited at 18:47, on 25 February 2009 by Ryan Holliday. Based on work by Steve Smith and brian james, Wikitravel user(s) Episteme, Soulja Nyn3, Cacahuate and Usafirefighter80401, Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel and others.