Lesser Antilles - Leeward Islands
Spotlight on Lesser Antilles- Leeward Islands: Dominica, Guadeloupe, St. Barts, St. Kitts, St. Maarten/St. Martin, Tortola (BVI)
The British Leeward Islands consist of Antigua, Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, Montserrat, Saint Kitts, Nevis, Anguilla and Dominica. Anguilla is for relaxing and being pampered at elegant Caribbean accommodations. St. Martin is a unique island divided by two nations where visitors enjoy sports, casinos, shopping, nightlife, and great restaurants. St. Barts is like a chic Caribbean French Riviera. Saba is for divers, ecotourists, nature lovers and those looking for the road less taken. St. Eustatius is a scenic volcanic island with few beaches. St. Kitts and Nevis have lush volcanic peaks, black-sand beaches, and breathtaking views of island neighbors. Antigua has fabulous beaches, modern shopping areas, nightlife, and a little local scene and history. Barbuda is flat coral island with long pink or white beaches. Montserrat is a volcanic island popular for yachts, charter boats, some small cruise ships, and hikers. Guadeloupe is known as the 'Island of Beautiful Waters'. Dominica is the 'Nature Island' with tropical rainforests and mountains, rivers, and a boiling volcanic lake. Martinique is named 'the island of flowers'. St. Lucia's beauty has been compared to islands in the South Pacific. Barbados is nicknamed 'Little England'. St. Vincent is a rugged volcanic island with rushing rivers and waterfalls and black sand beaches. Grenada is the 'Spice Island' of the Caribbean.
Dominica - an English-speaking Windward Island not to be confused with the Dominican Republic - is a naturalist's heaven. The rugged, unspoiled landscape of mountain peaks and valleys is covered with lush rain forests, impressive waterfalls and exotic flora. Accordingly, hiking, mountain climbing and exploring are popular visitor pastimes. Although most of the beaches are not the white sandy variety of other Caribbean destinations, scuba diving is great around the coral reefs and shipwrecks, and inland rivers offer wonderful swimming.
Guadeloupe (Fr.) - Get an overview of this very French island as you visit both Grande Terre and Basse Terre, the two islands which make up Guadeloupe. On Grand Terre, you'll marvel at the gorgeous beaches, and be thrilled by the great shopping and Parisian charm of Point-a-Pitre. Discover the beautiful south side of Basse Terre with its banana plantations and rain forest. A 30 minute hike will bring you to picturesque Carbet Falls where you can take a swim in the warm waters and enjoy Mother Nature at its best. Or perhaps you'd like to take a walk through the beautiful lush national park, followed by a visit to the Severin Distillery Rum Factory, in existence since 1802. Here you will tour the distillery, which is still run by the water wheel and, of course, you won't want to leave without tasting the delicious rum.
St. Barts (Fr.) –(Saint-Barthélemy) - The tiny island of the French West Indies, commonly called St-Barth, is one of the Caribbean’s precious gems. Red-roofed bungalows dot hillsides and secluded coves and pristine beaches lure day-trippers in ever greater numbers. For a long time, St-Barts was a well kept secret of the rich and famous rather than a destination for the budget minded. The island retains a certain exclusivity and remains a place for the style-conscious - casual but chic. The island’s size makes it possible to get a good introduction as well as enjoy a variety of outdoor activities and discover attractions of Gustavia, the island’s tiny capital located around a magnificent harbor. As a reminder of its past as a Swedish colony some of the street signs still show names both in French and Swedish. Today, the quaint, charming capital of Gustavia is a favorite spot frequented by chic residents and visitors.
St. Kitts, also known more formally as Saint Christopher Island (Saint-Christophe in French) is an island in the West Indies. The west side of the island borders the Caribbean Sea, and the eastern coast faces the Atlantic Ocean. Saint Kitts and the neighboring island of Nevis constitute one country: the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis.
St. Maarten / St. Martin - The island of St. Martin is divided between French St. Martin in the north and Dutch St. Maarten in the south. Although the cultural flow transcends any borders, each side manages to retain its own distinct flavor. This 37-square-mile island promises beautiful vistas, first-rate water sports and stunning beaches. Philipsburg is the capital of Dutch St. Maarten. Its two main streets, Frontstreet and Backstreet, are bustling thoroughfares lined with shops and restaurants.
Tortola (B.V.I.) became notorious as the haunt of buccaneers; nearby Norman Island is said to have provided the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. Approximately 80 percent of the population live on Tortola, the largest island in the archipelago. The capital, Road Town, is the administrative and business center of the B.V.I. Its Main Street features typical island-style buildings. Banks, government offices and a small craft village are built on filled land, named Wickhams Cay. While scenic and rugged Tortola offers a number of attractions, the main focus are the beautiful waters surrounding the island. They attract a large number of sailing vessels throughout the year. The annual Spring Regatta is held in Sir Francis Drake Channel, considered one of the best sailing venues in the world. Visitors keen on watersports and swimming will find beautiful white sand beaches and clean, warm waters.