The Caribbean: The World on a Plate

The lush, vibrant Caribbeans, or “Caribbean Plate”, with its storied islands, rich history, and gorgeous climate, is an area south of the Gulf of Mexico. Featuring a chain of over 700 islands and bordering South America and Mexico, it is a jewel of the lower Atlantic and a wildly popular tourist destination. Also called the Lower and Greater Antilles, it includes the Lucayan Archipelago — with the Bahamas, and Turks and Caicos islands — and is considered part of the West Indies.

There are over 30 territories, sovereign states, sub regions, and dependent territories, with the dominant languages being Spanish, French, English, Dutch, and he native Papiamento. Creole (English and French), Hindustani, and several other indigenous languages are also spoken in various pockets of the archipelago.

In Jamaica, the legendary Bob Marley left a lasting legacy at his home in Nine Mile, where he was born, lived, and died. Now open to the public, the home features guided tours of his living quarters, bedroom, and personal effects, including his famous ‘rock pillow’. Near Boscobel, you can also visit Firefly — the vacation home of playwright Noel Coward and once the residence of pirate Henry Mogan — who late became governor of Jamaica.

Right next door stands Fort Haldane, a site famous for its key role in the five-month slave uprising of Tacky’s Rebellion in 1790 — a conflict that changed the island foever.

Grand Bahama offers guided beach tours and the stunning, fascinating Lucayan Naitonal Park, where visitors can explore the diverse bio systems and intricate cave systems of the island, while Aruba and the Caymans feature a vibrant and energetic mix of tourism with their beaches and popular nightlife, restaurants, and casinos. Cozumel, on the Yucatan Peninsula, is a haven for tourists and history buffs alike, with its rich Mayan history, artifacts, and amazingly preserved cities, including San Gervasio, where Cortez once sojourned on the way to Veracruz.

The Virgin Islands, an American territory, were named by Christophe Columbus to honor St.Ursula and her followers, and is a busy tourist and cruise destination; over 2 million visitors enjoy its warm, tropical shores each year.

With such a diverse blend of cultures, histories, food, and traditions, a visit to the Caribbeans is very much like a world tour, but in a much smaller and more accessible way and has something to offer a wide variety of travelers and interests.