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Caribbean Holidays

Sun, sea, sand and gently swaying palms. Life's a breeze on Caribbean holidays, especially when you're relaxing in an All Inclusive hotel, cocktail in hand.

Blissful sun on blessed beaches

When describing the Caribbean, it's almost impossible to avoid using cliché brochure phrases such as 'white, sandy beaches' and 'shimmering turquoise waters' but that's exactly what this part of the world is filled with; the atypical image of paradise.

But that's not to say all Caribbean islands are the same, in fact far from it. As well as their classically 'beautiful, palm-fringed beaches' and 'glittering shores' each island has its own deep-rooted traditions, customs and cultures. Take a look at what each country, island and resort can offer and you're bound to find the perfect destination for you.

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Different island styles

While the beaches are golden and smooth, there is so much more to see and experience while enjoying holidays to the Caribbean. These nuances ready for you to discover could be the coolest beach bars of Jamaican resorts, the thousands of whales off the coast of the Dominican Republic, the hundreds of desert islands of the Cays in Cuba, or even the floral forests found in Barbados.

Each island has a distinct cultural personality, beautiful nature, stunning diving opportunities, mystical caves, fascinating history and so much more. Each island does relaxation and excitement in equal measures meaning that each destination is adaptable to the type of holiday that you want.

Hovering above the equator

From the fully developed, modern metropolises to the rural retreats, each island has a unique appeal. Lying between the two Americas, the Caribbean Sea is the world's second largest sea, and there are officially over 7,000 islands.

The lifestyle in the Caribbean is appreciatively slower due to the laidback nature of the residents. The chilled vibes are contagious and works as a perfect combination with the tropical backdrop of these paradise islands. Jamaica especially is known as the king of cool and tourists are always invited and encouraged to embrace the tranquil atmosphere.

Hushed evenings or huge nights out

The tourism industry has really taken off in the Caribbean meaning that the quality of hotels and accommodation has gone from strength to strength. Entertainment within these hotels is usually fun for the whole family though some resorts are better for adults and feature lively nightly parties.

Around the islands, you're bound to find the evening spot you've been craving, whether that is the pumping tunes of a manic nightclub, or the quiet confines of a beachside bar.

Most of Barbados 's resorts feature venues to chat in until the nights wind down to a gradual hush while Cuba has some resorts where the parties last long into the night within spectacular settings.

Jamaica and the Dominican Republic have a host of locations that offer both of these options while the tiny island of Aruba has a modern evening offering of bars, lounges and all-night casinos.

Caribbean cuisine

It's a wonder that Caribbean cuisine has yet to enter the mainstream back home because the food on offer across the islands is exquisite.

Many venues offer the freshest of sea foods, caught right off the coast. Look out for tropical fish dishes such as a flying fish in Barbados or ackee and saltfish in Jamaica. Of course you can't visit Jamaica without trying some delicious jerk chicken as well as plenty of other spiced and seasoned meat dishes.

Deserts often incorporate each island's home-grown foods so expect lots of exotic fruits like mangoes, bananas and coconuts.

To accompany your meal you can enjoy fine island wines but a more popular choice is the countless variations of rum cocktails. Rum is distilled on many Caribbean islands and there is plenty of bottles tempting you to take them home as souvenirs.

Craft markets

Caribbean markets are fantastic places to find a keepsake with unique island charm to remember your holiday. Hand crafted ornaments, clothing, sculptures and artwork are proudly displayed and offered to tourists while the entire atmosphere and experience of the market place is often worth the visit alone.

The larger cities in the countries often host better retail selection with commercial malls and plazas complimenting the presence of independently owned boutiques and stalls.

Getting there

Non-stop flight times from the UK usually take around ten hours to the closer of the Caribbean Islands while Aruba, which is just above South America, will take around 14 hours.

Fortunately once you land, the islands are so small that transfers from the airport to your resort will be blissfully short. If driving from the airport, you should be checked into your hotel and relaxing within the hour.

Car hire services are available from airports as well as most of the larger cities but many of the islands feature convenient public bus services and taxis.

Where to stay in Caribbean

Best time of year to visit

Temperatures in the Caribbean provide a perfect climate almost all year round with the average hardly leaving the twenties in degrees Celsius.

The summers are tropical so it is considered to be the wet season across most of the islands but these are often short bursts of heavy rain meaning you won't be kept from the beach for too long. The wet season can vary depending on which country you're in.

Many of the islands hold their own traditional celebrations across the year so click on a destination to find out more about when you should enjoy your holiday to the Caribbean.

Places to Visit

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