Nowhere in the world comes as close to the postcard-perfect image of paradise as the Caribbean, and with a diverse range of islands to visit - as well as the most beautiful beaches on the planet - it’s easy to see why some 30 million tourists visited in 2017 alone. From colourful festivals to historic towns, delicious flavours to miles of unspoilt sand, here are the top 5 reasons you visit the Caribbean.
For diverse island cultures
From colonial towns to high mountain peaks, dazzling coral reefs to beaches of rainbow sand, the Caribbean is home to around 7,000 diverse islands, comprising of 30 territories, sovereign states, overseas departments, and dependencies. Although less than 10% of the islands are inhabited, those which are offer visitors a unique array of peoples, customs and flavours to enjoy. Whether it's the intoxicating rhythm of Jamaica, the laid-back luxury of Anguilla, the Latin spirit of Cuba or the delicious cuisine served on both sides of the tiny half-French, half-Dutch island of St Martin (Sint Maarten), every island is its own little world, waiting to be discovered.
For the world’s best beaches
From pink to pure white, shell-covered to powder-soft, the Caribbean is home to some of the world's most beautiful stretches of sand. Whether you're looking to swim, snorkel, sunbathe or catch a spectacular sunset, you'll find yourself spoilt for choice in the Caribbean. Visit the famous Pink Sands Beach on Harbour Island in the Bahamas to while away the day on rose-tined sands, stroll along the Cayman Islands dazzlingly white Seven Mile Beach or sunbathe on the palm-backed perfection of Pinneys Beach on Nevis.
For delicious local flavours
With around 30 territories comprising of an array of nationalities, it's little wonder that the Caribbean is known for its diverse and delicious cuisine. Seafood and rice might be what first springs to mind when talking about the traditional food of the Caribbean, but visitors will find that the region offers this and so much more. From the street stalls of Jamaica to the luxury fine-dining restaurants of St. Martin and Anguilla, foodies will love tasting the flavours each island has to offer. Choose from Créole, French and Spanish influenced menus, or pick up your own colourful ingredients at one of the island's many vibrant food markets.
For historic port towns
Architecture, ancient sites and fortified towns, the Caribbean has a lot to offer history buffs and photographers alike. There are dozens of UNESCO World Heritage-Listed sites in the Caribbean, including Barbados' historic capital Bridgetown, the town of St George in Bermuda and the world famous Old Havana in Cuba.
For colourful local events
From the most famous festivals - like the colourful Trinidad and Tobago Carnival - to historic celebrations, including the traditional Crop Over festival in Barbados, visitors to the Caribbean will discover an array of vibrant festivals across the islands. With costume parades, music, food and drink, a local festival is one of the best ways to experience the true soul of the Caribbean.