Perhaps the most tropical atmosphere for a cruise vacation is along the southern Caribbean. Scenery and excursions here feature volcanic areas and lush rainforests. The southern most islands were affected by colonization, so Dutch, French, and British influence is seen. Cruises usually start in San Juan, Puerto Rico and travel southward and can go as far south as Caracas, Venezuela.
The larger islands and more common ports of call are Aruba, Barbados, and St. Lucia. Sometimes St. Maartan/St Martin and Antigua are included in the southern route.
These islands tend to have white/pink sand. There tends to be less “Americanization” of the area and more European consumers.
St. Lucia is known for its mountains, and tropical rainforest. You can visit Diamond Botanical Gardens. St. Lucia features the only drive-in volcano. This British island features pottery, hand screen clothing and woodcarving. You can scuba or snorkel, horseback ride, or take a helicopter tour around the island.
In Barbados surfing is popular in the famous “soup bowl”. In Bridgetown purchase jewelry and fine clothing at the many duty free shops. You can visit the rainforest. Excursions include scuba, submarine tours of the ocean bed, the Jolly Roger Pirate Ship, and catamaran cruises. Golf is an option on this British island.
Antigua, a British island features one of the most picturesque bays in the Caribbean. Its coral reef is good for snorkeling or scuba diving. Visit the rainforest and bird sanctuary, or do a zip-line eco tour. Gambling is possible at the Paradise casino. This island is a must see!
St. Maartan/St. Martin is a unique island in that it is half Dutch and half French. There is a clear difference in language, culture and foods on each half. You can shop in Phillipsburg on the Dutch side and Marigot on the French. This island features mountains and the infamous Orient Beach, one of the prettiest crescent shaped clothing optional beaches around. Casinos abound on the French side.
Aruba is well known for its winds and smooth beaches. For some this means windsurfing! Visit the National Bridge and Casibari rock formations. You can take a safari jeep tour.
Some cruises feature some of the other smaller islands that are equally or more exotic. You may want to consider the more southern route for starlight skies, volcanic islands, and lush rainforests. Use an on line travel agency to gather more information and route out the trip that pulls at your heartstring. The southern Caribbean is the perfect place for a romantic honeymoon, a relaxing back to nature vacation, or a place to explore the wonders of our earth with your children.