If you visit Jamaica, you must not miss Dunn’s River Falls and Park. The falls and the aquamarine sea with golden sands provide great enjoyment.
Another beautiful tropical island on the Caribbean Sea is the Blue Lagoon Island at Nassau, Bahamas. You encounter cute dolphins on this island.
When in Nassau, please also make it a point to visit Ardastra Gardens, Zoo & Conservation Center to see at one place the diverse flora and fauna of the Caribbean Country. Other attractions of Bahamas are the Bimini Islands. Relics of limestone located near the seashore led many to believe it to be the road to the lost city of Atlantis.
Rand Nature Center is a natural park that you must visit when in Bahamas. One of the greatest tourist attractions is the Gun Hill Signal Station at Barbados. Built in 1888, it gives the visitor an amazing view of Barbados.
The entire Caribbean Islands landmass of around 90,000 square miles is almost equally divided between the hills and the valleys. There are beautiful natural rocks, swamps of mangroves, coral reefs, a few active volcanoes and sand dunes.
Besides the Caribbean Sea, the country also has rivers, lakes, forests, waterfalls and geological attractions in the forms of limestone caves and cliffs. The splendor of the sunrise and sunset on the Caribbean Paradise is unmatched anywhere else.
Nature has creatively designed the flora and fauna of the Caribbean to match her geological diversity. For the bird lovers, there are flamingos, pelicans and the lesser known birds like bananaquit and barrancoli. You will find in the Caribbean the smallest humming bird and the largest butterfly. If you are lucky, you might come across rare species of animals and plants like a loggerhead turtle, shovelnose shark or cannonball tree.
Natural beauty is simply inseparable from the Caribbean. Inspired by such bountiful Nature, the Caribbean administration is encouraging eco-tourism activities like bird watching and hiking. The country has many National Parks to preserve natural environment the best example being St. John Island in the U.S. Virgin Islands which is more than two-thirds a national park.
The El Yunque rainforest of Puerto Rico is home to the endangered species of green parrot ‘cotorra’. One of the more famous active volcanoes in the Caribbean,
La Soufriere on the island of St. Lucia is a major tourist attraction. You can drive along or walk on the volcanic landscape with oozing mud if you are ready to bear the smell of sulfur fume. Diamond Waterfall is a sulfur spring nearby that keeps changing its color with the sunlight. The mineral bath that the spring offers is a tourist attraction. The Gros Piton and the Petit Piton are the two landmark mountains on St. Lucia worth visiting.
For the tourists with geologic attractions in mind, the volcanic islands of Dominica is the best bet. This island with active volcanism is aptly called the ‘Nature Island’ of the Caribbean.
The native ‘Carib’ people of the Caribbean Country inhabited the eastern Caribbean volcanic islands of Barbados, Antigua, Dominica, St. Lucia, Tobago, etc. These people were migrants from the South American mainland. Between the 16th and 19th century, the European nations like France, Spain, Holland and Britain fought with each other for taking control of the different Caribbean islands. This almost annihilated the native population of the country.
During the 18th and early 19th century, many battles were waged between France and Britain to possess the Caribbean Country. Meanwhile during the 17th century, millions of African people were brought to the Caribbean to work as slaves in sugarcane plantations. This is how the Caribbean Country became populated with African people.
The native American and European settlers in the country gradually became minority due to continuous import of slaves from Africa. Slave rebellions against inhuman treatments meted out to them by the traders became common and slavery remained no longer viable. The process of abolition of slavery began in 1803 and continued till the end of 19th century.
The United States’ occupation of the Caribbean regions started in 1898 with taking over control of Cuba and Puerto Rico and continued till 1922 during which period it occupied the Virgin Islands, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
Colonization however began to end with gradual independence of the Caribbean islands during the period 1962-1983.
The Caribbean culture has emerged unscathed in spite of centuries of brutal slavery, racial discrimination and bloodshed that the Caribbean Country suffered in the hands of the European colonizers. The culture instead of being washed away by the cultures of the European rulers got enriched with the influence retaining its own texture. While the European powers fought with each other for control of the Caribbean islands, the native tribes in those bloody wars were getting exterminated.
The original culture of the Caribs gradually disappeared to be replaced with the culture of the African slaves who populated almost the entire islands. The present culture of the Caribbean people is a fine blend of African and European cultures. The Caribbean cuisine is a mix of imperial tradition and recipes inherited from the African ancestors. The world knows about the Caribbean music like Calypso and Reggae. These had their origins in Trinidad and Jamaica respectively. Each island has its own distinctive style of music.
After achieving independence, some Caribbean islands became self-reliant and a few retained the colonial tradition. Thus the culture in the Caribbean Country has become fragmented. For example, Jamaica has retained pre-Colonial culture and is extremely self-reliant. On the other hand, British culture is so much embedded in Barbados customs that this Caribbean Island is called “Little England”.
American culture is strongly manifested in the culture of the U.S. Virgin Islands. American and Spanish culture is dominant in Puerto Rico and so is French customs in Guadeloupe.
Creole, the native language of the Caribbean people evolved during the slave era as the African words were used with European syntax. The language evolved into different regional dialects like the French Creole in Haiti and Patwa in Jamaica.
The expression of the Caribbean music, dance and religion is much influenced by the African tradition as are the spiritual practices like Rastafarian in Jamaica and Junkanoo in the Bahamas. Music is an inseparable part of Caribbean life and is characterized by a rhythm found in African drum beat. Nowhere else do people dance so spontaneously and lively as do the Caribbean.
In Trinidad and Tobago is found a multi-party system with ethnic influences by the Hindus and Muslims on the political power. In the multi-party system, elections are held to elect representatives for the legislature. This system has encouraged proliferation of political parties in the in the Caribbean islands of Haiti, Guyana and Suriname.
Similar dual and multi-party political systems have however not developed in the smaller Caribbean Countries due to small population and personal influences.
As a result, no stable political system has developed in the smaller islands. Dictatorial regimes usurp political power as happened in Grenada where a People’s Revolutionary Government ruled from 1979 to 1983 without any mandate from people. It was put to an end by the U.S. military intervention in 1983.
Although the Caribbean Country is primarily democratic, the form differs as is found in Cuba where the political system is a communist-influenced socialist democracy of one party. Like other aspects of the Caribbean islands, the political system here is also shaped by the colonial background of the regions.
The Caribbean Country offers various transportation options for the tourists. Buses are the best mode for going around the places on the islands. Hiring a car is good but not advised on those islands with bad roads or strict driving regulations. If you want to explore the islands, the better option is to hire at a reasonable fee motorbikes or bicycles. Ferries are the best transport for inter-island travels.
Public transport system in the Caribbean Country is not always dependable and proper planning is necessary before touring the islands.
ii) Use a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen factor to beat the sun. These are must at least for the first few days in the Caribbean.
iii) Public transports are uncertain and therefore hire a car to travel around.
iv) If you drive yourself, be careful about the regional driving regulations. Also drive cautiously when it rains as the roads get slippery.
v) Eat fresh fish and local recipes that are really delicious.
ii) Buy illegal products made from protected animals or plants like corals or iguanas. In fact the local flora and fauna of the Caribbean Country are protected and do not be a party to the damage to the environment.
iii) Eat sharks or turtles food or buy products made from these protected marine animals.
iv) Scuba dive or snorkel in areas where skis and boats navigate.
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