The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north. From the peninsula of Florida on the mainland of the United States, the islands stretch 1,200 miles southeastward, then 500 miles south, then west along the north coast of Venezuela on the South American mainland.
The region comprises more than 7,000 islands, islets, reefs, and cays. These islands, called the West Indies, generally form island arcs that delineate the eastern and northern edges of the Caribbean Sea. The region consists of the Antilles, divided into the larger Greater Antilles which bound the sea on the north, the Lesser Antilles on the south and east (including the Leeward Antilles), the Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos Islands.
These islands are called the West Indies because when Christopher Columbus landed there in 1492 he believed that he had reached to the west of the Indian sub-continent.
Aruba is a 33 kilometer long island of the Lesser Antilles in the southern Caribbean Sea. Aruba is one of the four constituent countries that form the Kingdom of the Netherlands, together with the Netherlands, Curaçao, and Saint Maarten whose citizens share a single nationality: Dutch citizen.
The island is located 27 kilometers north of the coast of Venezuela and 130 kilometers east of Guajira Peninsula. Unlike much of the Caribbean region, Aruba has a dry climate and an arid, cactus-strewn landscape. This climate has helped tourism as visitors to the island can reliably expect warm, sunny weather.
Barbados is an island country in the Lesser Antilles. It is 21 miles in length and as much as 14 milesin width. It is situated in the western area of the North Atlantic and 62 miles east of the Windward Islands and the Caribbean Sea.Barbados is one of the Caribbean’s leading tourist destinations and is one of the most developed islands in the region. The island is outside of the principal Atlantic hurricane belt.
The country is generally split into a period of two seasons- the wet season from March to November and the dry season from December to May. The annual precipitation ranges between 40 inches and 90 inches and the average temperature ranges from 70 °F to 88 °F.
The Bahamas, officially the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, is a nation consisting of 29 islands, 661 cays, and 2,387 islets (rocks). It is located in the Atlantic Ocean north of Cuba and southeast of the United States state of Florida.
The climate of The Bahamas is subtropical to tropical, and is moderated significantly by the waters of the Gulf Stream, particularly in winter. Conversely, this often proves very dangerous in the summer and autumn, when hurricanes pass near or through the islands.
The Cayman Islands is a British Overseas Territory located in the western Caribbean Sea. The territory comprises the three islands of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman, located south of Cuba and northwest of Jamaica.
The Cayman Islands have a tropical marine climate, with a wet season of warm, rainy summers (May to October) and a dry season of relatively cool winters (November to April).
Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, 145 miles in length, up to 50 miles in width and 4,243 square miles in area. It is located in the Caribbean Sea, about 90 miles south of Cuba. The island is a British Commonwealth that gained independence in 1962.
The climate in Jamaica is tropical, with hot and humid weather, although higher inland regions are more temperate. Jamaica lies in the hurricane belt of the Atlantic Ocean and because of this the island sometimes experiences significant storm damage.
Puerto Rico, officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico,is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands. Puerto Rico comprises an archipelago that includes the mainisland of Puerto Rico and a number of smaller islands, the largest of which are Vieques, Culebra, and Mona.
Due to its location, Puerto Rico enjoys a tropical climate and also experiences the Atlantic hurricane season.
Trinidad and Tobago, officially the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is an archipelagic state in the southern Caribbean, lying just off the coast of northeastern Venezuela and south of Grenada in the Lesser Antilles. The country consists of two main islands, Trinidad and Tobago, and numerous smaller land forms cover an area 1,980 square miles.
Record temperatures for Trindad and Tobago are 100.4° F for the high in Port of Spaina nd 48.2° F in Diego Martin for the low. The nation lies outside the hurricane belt.
The Virgin Islands of the United States are a group of islands in the Caribbean that are an insular area of the United States. The islands are geographically part of the Virgin Islands archipelago and are located in the Leeward Islands of the Lesser Antilles. The main islands of Saint Croix, Saint John, and Saint Thomas, along with the much smaller but historically distinct Water Island, and many other surrounding minor islands.
The Islands enjoy a tropical wet-and-dry climate, affected by moderate trade winds.
The Caribbean consists of the following island groups.
British Virgin Islands (United Kingdom)
Aruba (Kingdom of the Netherlands)