It Is a Popular Cruise Destination
While you can go just about anywhere in the world on a cruise ship, you’d be hard-pressed to find a cruise line that doesn’t have at least one package going to the Caribbean, with the most popular being an eastern Caribbean cruise. Even itineraries that focus on other locations may at least include a few Caribbean ports.
It Is Larger Than You May Think
While the United States has holdings and territories in the Caribbean, people typically think of it as something separate from and foreign to the United States. Nevertheless, Florida can be considered part of the Caribbean, meaning that any cruise that sets off from a Florida port is technically a Caribbean cruise no matter the destination. What people typically think of as the Caribbean contains over 7,000 islands (most uninhabited) and 9% of all the coral reefs in the world. The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef is second only to the Great Barrier Reef in the Pacific in size. Unfortunately, coral reefs around the world are shrinking.
There Are Multiple Indigenous Cultures
The Arawak and the Tainos are just two Indigenous groups native to the Caribbean Islands. These are two of the groups that Christopher Columbus encountered on his 15th-century voyage to find a shorter route to India from Europe. Life for Indigenous people became more difficult in the wake of colonization. Both the people and their cultures barely survived. Nevertheless, they are still important to the local traditions of the islands to this day.
Seasons Are Different
In the higher latitudes, the year is divided into four distinguishable seasons. In the Caribbean, where the temperature rarely dips below 80 degrees, there are really only two seasons, distinguished not by temperature but by precipitation. The summer is wetter while the winter is drier. This makes it ideal for tourists looking to take a vacation from cold and snow.
There Are Active Volcanoes
Not all the Caribbean Islands are volcanic. However, among those that are, there are 19 that are likely to erupt again at some point, sooner or later, making them live. That doesn’t mean that they are constantly erupting, nor is it possible to predict exactly when an eruption will occur. Some of the live volcanic centers in the Caribbean include the islands of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, St. Lucia, Grenada, St. Vincent, and Martinique. Other non-volcanic islands in the vicinity are theoretically in danger of tsunamis, ashfall, and other volcanic hazards.
Feral Pigs Have Taken Over One of the Islands
Exuma is an uninhabited island that is part of the Bahamas. Uninhabited by people, that is, but it is home to a population of feral pigs. These pigs were brought to the Caribbean by European colonists, but it is not clear how they ended up on the island. What is clear is that they love to spend their days along the beach, swimming in the water to keep cool. There are tours that take visitors to the islands to see the pigs up close. You may even be able to wade with them as long as you keep a respectful distance.
It Is the Birthplace of Rum
Historically, the Caribbean has been a major producer of sugarcane, which is distilled to make rum. The alcoholic spirit has been an economic staple of the region ever since, with the first island known to produce it commercially being Jamaica.
The Caribbean is an ancient and varied region with a complicated but interesting past. It has a lot to offer those who choose to visit, and even those who don’t can benefit from learning more about it.