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The Caribbean is more than beaches and cruise ships!
Right down the bottom of the Caribbean, near the northern coast of Venezuela is the small island of Curacao, and its capital city, Willemstad. This gorgeous city is one of the best preserved examples of colonial architecture in the America's, and its brightly coloured buildings are sure to delight. The city has also won UNESCO World Heritage status.
On the 18th of July 1995 and event occurred on the idyllic island of Montserrat that would change the island forever… the previously dormant Soufriere Hills Volcano erupted. Lying right in the path of its lava flows was the islands capital city of Plymouth. The city was quickly evacuated (as was much of the island), and thankfully so, as the volcano continued to spew out more ash and lava. Eventually to the city had to be abandoned completely. Most of the islands inhabitants fled to the UK, but some remain on the north of the island where a new capital city is being constructed. Plymouth is still off limits, but heli tours enable tourists to see this amazing modern day ghost town from the air.
Ordinarily Maho Beach would be your standard Caribbean beach, but for its unique location, right at the end of the islands international airport runway. Massive jumbo’s as big as 747’s fly in from Europe and drop so low over the beach that anyone standing there is blown over by the force of the jet engines! It’s become such an attraction with aviation enthusiasts and ordinary holidaymakers alike, that hotels and vendors around the island advertise the daily arrival and departure times of the biggest jets.
The Caribbean is rightly known for its beautiful beaches, but there is a set of rather stunning mountains to be seen too, the Pitons of Saint Lucia. These two jungle covered twin peaks grace the covers of glossy travel brochures the world over, and their beauty has even earned them World Heritage status.
The Cayman Islands
Local fisherman used to gut their catch in a shallow lagoon off Grand Cayman which attracted passing stingray looking for an easy meal. It became too good a deal to give up, and unlike anywhere else in the Caribbean, the stingray here decided to stay. Locals eventually figured out it was possible to feed the stingray by hand and it promptly became a popular tourist attraction. Today you feed them, swim with them, touch them, and even give ‘em a kiss!
British Virgin Islands
Resembling something like a giant’s game of marbles, the Baths has to be the most unusual of all the beaches in the Caribbean. The golden sandy beach and its aqua blue waters are littered with uniquely eroded boulders which create natural breakwaters, rockpools, and even tunnels!
Turks and Caicos
In a region with every island boasting a beach more beautiful than the last, how do you claim the title of the ‘Best Beach in the Caribbean’? By being voted so on TripAdvisor of course! Grace Bay has been doing that for some years now and with bright white sand, crystal clear water, and a jaw dropping array of shades of blue, it’s not hard to see how.
In some of the regions darkest days, slave labour was a booming business. Slaves brought from Africa, as well as Caribbean natives, were forced to mine salt and farm sugar plantations on many of the islands. To house them, small windowless huts resembling doghouses were built. The island of Bonaire in particular, has a collection of well preserved huts open to the public.
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