The Caribbean offers so many opportunities for amazing holidays. Each Caribbean island is a tropical paradise and it can be hard to choose. Mountains, waterfalls, lush forests, golden sands, warm seas and lively towns. Choose the right Caribbean holiday however and there will be no need to choose.
The Caribbean is bigger than you might at first imagine. Made up of over 7,000 islands, islets and reefs there is plenty to investigate and enjoy. The waters are crystal clear and are home to any number of tropical fish species and marine life. Snorkelling and scuba diving are popular pass times as are other water sports. The Belize Barrier Reef is one of the most popular places to dive in the Caribbean. It is the largest barrier reef in the northern hemisphere and a significant site for a number of endangered species.
Although they all share many similarities, each Caribbean island has its own unique culture, attractions and of course, cuisine. A Caribbean sailing vacation will allow you to try out as many of these as possible. You will get an excellent Rum Punch at pretty much every Caribbean bar and you will no doubt soon have a favourite. If you are a coffee lover however, try Jamaica. Home of The Blue Mountains where they produce some of finest coffee beans in the world.
When taking a Caribbean sailing vacation many people stick to a particular group of islands, particularly if they are not experienced or confident in open water. However, for those who have the right experience and plenty of time, island hopping throughout the Caribbean is certainly a possibility.
The Greater Antilles group of islands is made up of Haiti, Cuba, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, amongst others. This group is popular with those who enjoy the lively cities offered by Kingston and Havana as well as the more remote regions with perfect beaches and scenery. Dunns River Falls is a must when you visit Jamaica.
The Leeward Islands is a much larger group of islands and is also a popular sailing destination. The British Virgin Islands are located here, a hot spot for celebrities. There are some pretty magnificent homes and hotels here as well as some incredible restaurants and bars. Antigua and St Kitts can also be found in this group.
The Caribbean has a long and turbulent history which includes a great deal of migration, cannibalism and slavery. Many of the islands have museums which chart this history, both ancient (The Arawaks) and modern colonial history. This latter is quite prevalent on the Island of St Martin which is still politically but peacefully divided between The Netherlands and France. This makes for an incredibly interesting culture and some amazing local dishes. St Martin has some brilliant lively resort towns renowned for welcoming to travellers and showing them how to party, Caribbean style.
The Bahamas are a great choice for those with less sailing experience. The Bahamas cover an area of around 500 miles and most of the islands are in sight of each other, allowing for easy navigation. The waters are crystal clear with plenty of reefs to explore. The towns are welcoming and offer some of the best rum punch cocktails around.
Monica Haubert is a travel writer and sailing enthusiast who regularly writes for a variety of travel magazines and websites. Monica has been on a number of Flotilla sailing holidays and has been to the Caribbean before and is this year planning a Caribbean sailing vacation.