Each island in the Caribbean is a little slice of paradise with glistening azure waters, beautiful sandy beaches or lush green forests to explore. Go underwater and discover a vibrant world of coral and fish or hike in the wild and climb towering mountains, there is so much adventure to be had. If you’re lucky enough to visit more than one Caribbean island you will experience how diverse they are, from olde worlde St Vincent and its tranquil waterfalls, or lively Barbados and it’s exciting night life, peaceful St. Eustatius and it’s glorious National Park, or musical Jamaica and it’s delicious cuisine.
The tropical climate of the Caribbean ensures that it is generally hot all year round. Winter in the UK is considered high season there as many people flock to one of the stunning islands to escape our chilly temperatures. This is also when rainfall is the lowest and the sea is lovely and balmy for swimming, however it can get cold in some of the northern islands. May brings rising temperatures, a lack of crowds and more affordable prices so this is optimal time to visit. Then June marks the rainy start of the hurricane season, which lasts until the end of November, but major storms are relatively rare, and the weather can still be pleasant.
High Season – December to April (Average 27˚C)
Shoulder Season – May, June and November (Average 30˚C)
Low Season – July to October (Average 32˚C)
The currency in the Caribbean varies from island to island. In most tourist areas, major credit cards and US Dollars are accepted. Make sure you check the correct currency for the island(s) you’re visiting before you go, as it is recommended to have some local cash handy.
We have included below some average costs in US dollars to help you budget for your trip.
1 Night in a Hostel dorm: under $100
1 Night in a Double Room near the sea: $150+
1 Night in a Luxury Resort Room - $400+
Local market meal - $5
Local restaurants: $10 - $30
Meal at famous restaurant: $100+
Local buses: $3
Snorkel rental: $10
Luxury excursions: $100+
Car hire per day: $50
Tipping in restaurants in the Caribbean varies in different areas but is generally 15%. It is not necessary in taxis but appreciated with anyone who provides a service.
Caribbean cuisine is a vibrant affair, with a blend of influences and ingredients to set your taste buds alight. Even the food is colourful, with rainbows of produce brightening up the local market including papaya, a delicious fruit that grows wild all over the islands and is therefore a staple in Caribbean diets. Make sure you don’t leave without trying these classics!
Seafood – All that ocean means that seafood is fresh and plentiful. The variations are endless, try grilled flying fish, grouper steaks or fish stew in one of the many fantastic local restaurants, or tuck into shellfish at a beachfront bar.
Pepperpot – Antigua’s signature dish is a warming stew of a variety of vegetables, meat and cornmeal dumplings (fungi) which are simmered in a massive pot in the homes of families across the country.
Jerk – This well-known flavour originating from Jamaica is an incredibly spicy wet or dry rub that is applied to meat (usually chicken) before it is smoked or grilled to perfection. Take a cooking class on your trip and show off your new skills to friends upon your return.
Chicken with rice – The classic comfort food of the Caribbean is a simple dish consisting of only a few ingredients; garlic, peppers, tomatoes as well as the obvious chicken and rice.
Luckily, English is a well-known language in the Caribbean, often considered its first language. However, depending on where you’re visiting the locals could be speaking a number of other European languages based on which colonial power controlled the area first or for longest.
English - Anguilla, Bahamas, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Barbados, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Montserrat, St. Lucia, and Turks and Caicos.
Spanish-language countries include Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Central America.
Dutch-language countries include St. Maarten, Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, Saba, and St. Eustatius
French-language countries include Haiti, Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Barts, and St. Martin.
1. Jamaica was the birthplace of James Bond. Ian Fleming wrote all of his spy novels about the famous fictional character at his Goldeneye Estate there each year in January and February from 1952. Some Bond movies were also filmed there, including the first adaptation, Dr No.
2. St Lucia is home to the world’s only drive-in volcano, Sulphur Springs, on the southwest coast of the island. This location has become a popular tourist destination, where people can drive up to the edge of the springs as well as take a mud bath a couple of hundred yards downstream.
3. There are 365 beaches on Antigua, one for every day of the year! Each beach is open to the public and most sit within the beautiful calm waters on the Caribbean side of the island.
Call 0161 440 6735 to explore the Caribbean for yourself!