Lesser Antilles - Leeward Antilles & Windward Islands

Spotlight on Lesser Antilles- Leeward Antilles & Windward Islands:  Aruba, Curaçao, Barbados, Grenada, Martinique, St. Vincent & Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago

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.

Aruba (Neth.)- The charming Dutch island of Aruba has outdoor markets with excellent shopping, beautiful beaches, lush gardens and colorful architecture. Walk along Wilhelminastraat lined with Dutch colonial buildings that typify the early days of Aruba. Frenchmen's Pass is the site of a historic battlefield and where gold was discovered in 1824 and Aruba's first industry began. On the windward side of the island, see the curious Divi Divi Trees and the famous Natural Bridge sculptured by wind and sea. Experience the gardens of Casibari and the quaint village of Noord. Stop at St. Ann's Church to see the lovely oak altar hand carved in Holland.

Curaçao (Neth.) - Curaçao has its own brand of island spirit and style: friendly people, lively casinos and warm breezes mix with a Dutch flavor and a dry landscape reminiscent of the American Southwest. A charming capital city rich in architectural style and a diverse national park brimming with flora and fauna further enhance this intriguing island.

Barbados -  Experience the very British isle of Barbados during a visit to Tyrol Cot Heritage Village, a living museum and chattel house village and market. Tour Gun Hill, a restored signal station, and St. John's Church, rebuilt in 1836, 800 feet above sea level on the edge of a cliff overlooking Bathsheba and the picturesque east coast. Stop in Bridgetown or Pelican Village for excellent duty-free shopping. In Barbados, High Tea is one of the many British traditions. Cricket is another. The subterranean stream passages of Harrison's Cave are among the island's many attractions.

Grenada - Dubbed the 'Spice Island' because of its impressive production of nutmeg, mace, cinnamon, ginger and cloves, Grenada has a rugged mountainous interior of rainforests and waterfalls and an indented coastline with protected bays and secluded beaches.

Martinique (Fr.) - The charming and very French island of Martinique offers the serenity of secluded beaches and uncrowded dive sights. There's excellent shopping and sightseeing in the historic port capital, Fort-de-France. Travel up the coast past fishing villages, including one where Columbus landed. Visit St. Pierre and the ruins of the city that was destroyed when Mt. Pelee exploded in 1906.

St. Vincent & Grenadines - St Vincent & the Grenadines form a multi-island nation well known to wintering yachties, aristocrats and rock stars, but off the beaten path for most other visitors. Despite its pockets of lotus-eating luxury, for the most part it's a refreshingly rugged and raw-edged backwater. The 30 islands and cays of the Grenadines are among the most popular cruising grounds in the Caribbean. They reach like stepping stones between St Vincent and Grenada and are surrounded by coral reefs and clear blue waters ideal for diving, snorkelling and boating. Fewer than a dozen are inhabited, and even these are lightly populated and barely developed. Although some of the Grenadines, like Mustique and Palm Island, cater to the rich and famous, others, like Bequia and Union Island, attract an international crew of sea salts and beachcombers and offer decent places to stay and eat.

Trinidad & Tobago - The twin islands of Trinidad and Tobago are the Caribbean's odd couple. Trinidad is a densely populated, thriving island with a cosmopolitan population and strong regional influence. It's famous for hosting the loudest, wildest, most popular Carnival in the Caribbean. In contrast, 'little sister' Tobago is relaxed, slow-paced and largely undeveloped. There are claims Daniel Defoe had Tobago in mind when he wrote Robinson Crusoe, and travelers who enjoy its beaches, reefs and birdlife still tend to think of the island as the last undiscovered gem in the Caribbean. Located at the end of a 620-mi sweep of islands on the eastern boundary of the Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago are just 6.8 mi and 19 mi off the coast of Venezuela. Despite this, there's surprisingly little South American influence - instead the country draws most strongly from its British, African and East Indian heritage.


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