A volcanic island fully encircle by shallow reefs, the language, culture, and cuisine of St. Barts is almost exclusively French. It has an extremely high standard of living that stems from its high-end tourism industry supported by luxury hotels and villas and has often been referred to as a “playground for the rich”.
This transcontinental island (its considered part of South America and the West Indies) lies just off the coast of Venezuela. It is widely known for its diving, especially the characteristic drop-off of the sea floor known as the “blue edge” only several hundred feet from shore. Soon though, it may really set itself apart as a tourist hotspot when XCOR Aerospace and Space Experience Curacao start launching people into space.
Guadeloupe is an overseas territory of France, well known for its accomplishments in sports and literature. Although tourism (80% of which comes from France) is the main industry, there is a significant agricultural aspect to its economy. This unfortunately leads to some serious setbacks during hurricane season.
Trinidad and Tobago
When it comes to Caribbean islands, Trinidad and Tobago is very unique. Its economy consists primarily of industry and there is a lot of cultural diversity owing to its long history of conquest. In fact, a good amount of its population can trace its roots back to India when the English brought people over to work as indentured servants. Other ethnic groups on the island come from Africa, Europe, and South America.
St. Kitts and Nevis
As the smallest sovereign state in the America’s, St. Kitts and Nevis was one of the first to be settled by Europeans and has thus adopted the title of “Mother Colony of the West Indies”. Interestingly enough it is not hard to acquire citizenship of this small country and as long as you are willing to make an investment into an approved piece of real estate it will be willingly bestowed upon you.
A part of the Netherlands, Bonaire is very small and only has two official towns. The island, however, is a nature lovers paradise and the economy is almost exclusively centered around diving and snorkeling. License plates on Bonaire even read Diver’s Paradise in English.
Turks and Caicos
These former pirate hideouts and British Territories are a favorite getaway for tourists, particularly Canadians. In fact, there was even a debate at one point as to whether Canada should annex the islands.
As part of France, Martinique is also a part of the European Union. The island consists of several volcanos, one of which is currently active and as a result the geography is very mountainous. Although there is a significant amount of tourism to the island it has a varied economy that revolves around agriculture and services as well.
Known as the “Island of Spice” due to its production of nutmeg and mace, Grenada has been known to dodge the annual Caribbean hurricanes due to its extremely southern location. It is a land of diversity, with beautiful beaches along the coasts and a mountainous interior laced with picturesque waterfalls.
Lying outside of the Caribbean hurricane belt, Aruba makes for an excellent tourist destination. It is much flatter than most of its island counterparts and due to it geographical location managed to evade many of the effects of the slave trade. Because it is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the primary language on the island is Dutch.