When most people think of the Caribbean, they think of the islands in the west – Jamaica, Cuba and the Bahamas. But the east and south of the area is home to some of the world’s loveliest islands boasting some of the most breathtaking beaches; you may be familiar with Barbados, but there’s a great deal more to discover.
St Kitts and Nevis is a single small country spread across two islands, each equally enchanting. St Kitts is the larger of the two, with more than three-quarters of the population, and home to the stunning seaside capital of Basseterre, set beneath verdant hills topped with fluffy clouds. But don’t forget Nevis, which is in no way the poor relation, with some equally amazing scenery and an even more relaxed pace of life.
You may already have seen Guadeloupe in its fictional guise as St Marie in the TV series “Death in Paradise”, but you have to experience it in real life to appreciate its exceptional beauty. As an insular region of France, it blends French and Creole cultures and traditions, resulting in some wonderful cuisine and music.
With a completely different European culture, the Dutch Caribbean is a network of nations that evolved from the colony of Curaçao and Dependencies. Curaçao’s capital of Willemstad has a feel completely different from anywhere else in the Caribbean, with its brightly coloured buildings recalling those of Tobermory in the Inner Hebrides. It’s little wonder that it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site – once seen, it’s never forgotten.
Then there’s Sint Maarten, sharing an island with the similarly named (but politically quite distinct) French overseas collectivity of Saint-Martin. Its tiny capital of Philipsburg – home to less than 1,500 people – is set on of the most beautiful beaches you will ever see, with turquoise sea, golden sand and lush tropical vegetation creating a stunning landscape. If you want to get away from it all, this is the place to be.