THE CARIBBEAN is divided into three different regions; western, eastern and southern. Clearly a geographic division, however it does also relate to a bit more than just the points on a compass.
WESTERN CARIBBEAN includes the three largest islands by far; Cuba, Jamaica and Hispanola (which is the home of Dominican Republic on 2/3rd’s of the island and Haiti on the other 1/3rd ) Cozumel Mexico and the Cayman Islands. These islands are very close to the US, a short flight or cruise away, and the large size of most of these islands offers a diversity with interiors that offer another dimension, unlike the smaller islands typical in other parts of the Caribbean.
Cuba is such an intriguing, exotic and unique country that we have a separate page solely on Cuba, check it out! Cuba is one of our primary specialties, an important distinction between us and most other travel agencies. First-hand experience and knowledge about Cuba is crucial for your vacation success, consult with a Cuba expert for the greatest experience possible!!
Just north of these islands are the Bahamas and Turks & Caicos which are technically not in the Caribbean but in the Atlantic. These islands provide a bit of a barrier for the Western Caribbean islands against the rough waves and weather that the Atlantic can churn up, yet they are still “Caribbean-like” in many ways offering beaches, sun and a similar lifestyle (therefore for our purposes we are including them in the “Western Caribbean” section). Due to the sheltering effect of these Atlantic islands, the northern shores of the Western Caribbean islands are not as rugged and windswept as their neighbors to the East.
EASTERN CARIBBEAN islands archipelago sweep eastward from the Dominican Republic and then curves to the south where it eventually joins up with the Southern Caribbean islands. The major islands in this eastern region include many smaller islands such as; Virgin Islands, St. Bart’s, St Martin, Anguilla, Antigua, St. Kitts, Nevis, Martinique and the fairly good sized U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. These islands are situated along the ridge that defines the border of the Caribbean Sea with its comparatively shallow waters and the deep sometimes very rough waters of the North Atlantic Ocean. This geographic position provides a sharply contrasting coastline from one side of an island to the other. The windward Atlantic side being pounded by strong waves and winds with typically rugged cliffs as beaches can’t get a foothold due to erosion, while the leeward Caribbean side offering gentle palm-fringed beaches and warmer calm waters to frolic in.
SOUTHERN CARIBBEAN (also known as deep Caribbean) includes; Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao (these three also known collectively as the A-B-C islands), Barbados, Grenada, and St. Lucia. These southernmost islands are much closer to the equator offering higher temperatures and sizzling hot sun year round. The calmer warmer waters of the Caribbean completely encircle each of these islands (especially the A-B-C islands) offering gentle beaches for your pleasure all around the entire coastline. The combination of these two factors makes these islands so very popular and also typically a bit more expensive than islands farther north. In addition, these islands are the farthest away from North America, therefore air fare and cruise prices are typically a bit higher as well.
This area is well-serviced by the cruise industry, with numerous cruises of all budget levels departing mostly from nearby Florida or Puerto Rico, even Barbados as they island hop with all day stays on different islands daily.