If you’re looking for a holiday to take you away from the hustle and bustle of your everyday life, and you also fancy immersing yourself in a tropical paradise, then a trip to the Caribbean is the only choice for you. The islands in this region are all unique but what they all have in common are sandy beaches, beautiful blue seas and the warmest hospitality you can imagine. Here are some facts you might not know about the Caribbean:

Caribbean - Playa del Carmen

What’s in a name?

The name ‘Caribbean’ comes from the Caribs, the Native American group who were the first to come into contact with the Europeans in the 15th Century. They gave us the word karibna meaning ‘person’ which went on to become ‘cannibal’ in English and many people used to think this was exactly what the Caribs were – a theory that’s proven to be more than a little fanciful!

Carnival rules!

There are carnivals to be found in the Caribbean all year round, though there seems to be one on almost every island on Ash Wednesday. If you like to eat, drink and be merry whilst marvelling at the colourful costumes and fabulous floats then check out which of your preferred Caribbean islands holds a carnival and when. All you need to do is turn up and you’ll soon be pulled into the party!

St Lucia is unfortunate when it comes to the Olympics

St Lucia has never won an Olympic medal, which is a big surprise when you think about the vast expanses of sparking seas and the peaks of the Piton Mountains, which are made to ramble around in. Whether it’s swimming or sprinting, this island should be churning out some very fit people! Antigua, on the other hand, has given us a staggering amount of cricketers from Sir Vivian Richards and Andy Roberts, to Curtly Ambrose and Richie Richardson, while Jamaica is birthplace of Superstar sprinter Usain Bolt!

Movie magic happens all over the region

The Amber Museum in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, boasts one very famous exhibit and that’s an amber stone holding a prehistoric mosquito which was made infamous in Jurassic Park, one of the biggest films of the 90s. Not to be beaten, Cuba has had two Bond movies filmed there – Die Another Day and Goldeneye, and don’t forget that the film franchise Pirates of the Caribbean owes its name to this idyllic area.

Where Bond belongs

Ian Fleming’s self-designed home ‘Goldeneye’ in Oracabessa, Jamaica is the place he wrote ten of his James Bond novels! Now you can experience it for yourself as it’s been turned into a hotel complex. Other authors got their inspiration from the islands too and Ernest Hemingway wrote two of his most famous works ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ and ‘The Old Man and the Sea’ while living in Cuba.

Cruise around Cuba in a vintage car

You might think that all the vintage cars are simply there to add to the charm of Cuba, however, the reason that the island is packed with pre-50s cars isn’t romance, it’s that only pre-1959 cars seized from their original owners can be privately owned, the rest are owned by the government.

So whether you head to Jamaica for its friendly locals and breathtaking scenery, the Dominican Republic for sightseeing in the sun by day and living it up in the casinos at night, Cuba for vintage cars, cigars and a wealth of historical sights, or St Lucia to simply lay back and relax in unforgettably idyllic surroundings – there’s a Caribbean island for you.

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