U.S. Virgin Islands
A destination of choice for cruise ships, these islands are really small. In fact, they’re no bigger than Washington DC.
Due to being a popular tax haven, this place has more registered businesses than it does people.
With one of the strongest economies in the Caribbean, this US territory is a popular cruise destination.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
In spite of a high unemployment rate this chain of islands is famous for its bananas, beaches, and also being the movie set for Pirates of the Caribbean.
British Virgin Islands
Although this British Overseas Territory used to have trouble with drug smugglers, these days it’s primary claim to fame are its scenic beaches.
Antigua and Barbuda
Nicknamed “the land of 365 beaches” tourism accounts for 50% of GDP while banking and finance account for the other half.
Widely known for its cuisine and jazz festivals, to get a hotel in this place you better book your reservation months in advance.
As one of the smallest islands in the world that is divided by two nations, St. Martin is half French – half Dutch. The Dutch side is known for its festive night life and casinos while the French side is notorious for its beaches and shopping.
As one of the eastern most islands in the Caribbean, Barbados is located outside of the typical hurricane strike zone and only gets hit on average once every 26 years. Although tourism is a huge part of its economy, Barbados has the third largest stock exchange in the Caribbean and its finance sector is well developed.
Being the third most populous english speaking country in the America’s after the United States and Canada, Jamaica has left its mark on the world with its record breaking athletes and influential music culture. In spite of a high crime rate, the islands popularity has led to tourism still being a significant part of the economy.
Occupying one of only two Caribbean islands that are shared by more than one country, the Dominican Republic is the second largest Caribbean nation after Cuba with around 10 million people. Combining a vibrant culture with diverse geography, ecotourism has been on the rise in recent years.
Composed of over 3,000 islands the Bahamas has one of the higher GDP’s in the America’s (behind the United States, Canada, and several other islands) and it is supported almost entirely by the cruise industry.
Home to what St. Lucians claim is the world’s only drive-through volcano, the island is mountainous even by Caribbean standards. Although most tourists coming to the island stay near their cruise ships in Castries, the capital, it is well worth it to go do some exploring.
Christopher Columbus named the island after the day on which he first spotted it (Dominica means Sunday in Latin). Since then, however, it has been nicknamed the “nature island of the Caribbean”, due to its unspoiled beauty.
This island is so small that it only has one road, aptly called “The Road”, and with barely 1,800 residents, Saba’s population only reaches 2,000 when classes are in session at SABA University School of Medicine. Of note, it is often listed as one of the 10 best scuba diving locations in the world.
Lying outside of the Caribbean hurricane belt, Aruba makes for an excellent tourist destination. It is much flatter than most of its island counterparts and because it is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the primary language on the island is Dutch.
Known as the “Island of Spice” due to its production of nutmeg and mace, it is a land of diversity, with beautiful beaches along the coasts and a mountainous interior laced with picturesque waterfalls.
As part of France, Martinique is also a part of the European Union. The island consists of several volcanos, one of which is currently active and as a result the geography is very mountainous.
Turks and Caicos
These former pirate hideouts and British Territories are a favorite getaway for tourists, particularly Canadians. In fact, there was even a debate at one point as to whether Canada should annex the islands.
A part of the Netherlands, Bonaire is very small and only has two official towns. The island, however, is a nature lovers paradise and the economy is almost exclusively centered around diving and snorkeling.
St. Kitts and Nevis
As the smallest sovereign state in the America’s, St. Kitts and Nevis was one of the first to be settled by Europeans and has thus adopted the title of “Mother Colony of the West Indies”.
Trinidad and Tobago
When it comes to Caribbean islands, Trinidad and Tobago is very unique. Its economy consists primarily of industry and there is a lot of cultural diversity owing to its long history of conquest. In fact, a good amount of its population can trace its roots back to India when the English brought people over to work as indentured servants.
Guadeloupe is an overseas territory of France, well known for its accomplishments in sports and literature. Although tourism (80% of which comes from France) is the main industry, there is a significant agricultural aspect to its economy.
This transcontinental island (its considered part of South America and the West Indies) lies just off the coast of Venezuela. It is widely known for its diving, especially the characteristic drop-off of the sea floor known as the “blue edge” only several hundred feet from shore.
A volcanic island fully encircled by shallow reefs, the language, culture, and cuisine of St. Barts is almost exclusively French. It has an extremely high standard of living that stems from its high-end tourism industry supported by luxury hotels and villas and has often been referred to as a “playground for the rich”.