December tAbundant ivory-sand beaches, crystal-blue sky mirrored by the serene water below and verdant palms bending in the balmy air; the perfect paradise. The lush landscape and lavish sea of the Caribbean teem with a rare diversity of life that help make it the premier destination for travellers seeking everything from calm repose to breathtaking adventure.
Set in the glittering Caribbean Sea and comprised of more than 7,000 lush islands, the multitude of options afforded the discerning traveller through time spent in this dazzling part of the world are manifold. Soaked with sun the whole year round, this gorgeous temperate area offers ideal opportunities for sun-bathing, outdoor activities and water sports alike. No two islands are alike, all are in varying stages of development, and nothing dreamt is out of reach.
The title of ‘Caribbean’ is taken from the Carib, an ethnic group indigenous to the Lesser Antilles and areas of South America at the time of European colonization. The history of this region is rich with diverse cultures and threaded together by mesmerizing tales of conquest and wild adventures on the high-seas. The lasting impact of Colonialism and the Atlantic slave trade is omnipresent throughout these islands and often leaves travellers with the feeling of having gone back in time. The overwhelming beauty and abundant resources of the Caribbean are a thing of wonder: currently it is organized into 27 territories of dependencies, sovereign states and overseas departments.
The Caribbean sits within the crystalline Caribbean Sea which is found southeast of the Gulf of Mexico. These glittering island groups sit on the Caribbean plate and include more than 7,000 islands, islets and cays. This area is also known as the West Indies thanks to Christopher Columbus, who believed he had reached the Indies (Asia) when he landed here in 1492. Formed of verdant land-mass in beautiful arc shapes, the island groups within this area consist of the Antilles and the Bahamas.
With a similar history and geography to islands of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, the Caribbean region is composed of fragmented continents, volcanic land-mass and living coral reef. Each island is home to diverse evolutions of the native flora and fauna, and many enjoy thriving agricultural industry due to the rich soil: Tropical fruit and sugar-cane are the most prolific crops.
The area of ocean belonging to the Caribbean stretches to five million square kilometres, while the total land mass is only 240, 000 square kilometres: this is a sea to land ratio of 20:1. There are around 100 islands with permanent inhabitants, with the number of cays, whether rich in lush vegetation or sandy crags, numbering in the high thousands. No island, with the exception of Bermuda, is further from its neighbour than 200 kilometres; an intrepid explorer could spend days and weeks sailing from island to islet, endlessly discovering new areas of unspoiled tropical haven.