Antigua and Barbuda is an independent Commonwealth country comprising its 2 namesake islands and several smaller ones. Positioned where the Atlantic and Caribbean meet, it’s known for reef-lined beaches, rainforests and resorts. Its English Harbour is a yachting hub and the site of historic Nelson’s Dockyard. In the capital, St. John’s, the national museum displays indigenous and colonial artefacts.
Barbados is an eastern Caribbean island and an independent British Commonwealth nation. Bridgetown, the capital, is a cruise-ship port with colonial buildings and Nidhe Israel, a synagogue founded in 1654. Around the island are beaches, botanical gardens, the Harrison’s Cave formation, and 17th-century plantation houses like St. Nicholas Abbey. Local traditions include afternoon tea and cricket, the national sport.
The Comoros is a volcanic archipelago off Africa’s east coast, in the warm Indian Ocean waters of the Mozambique Channel. The nation state’s largest island, Grande Comore (Ngazidja) is ringed by beaches and old lava from active Mt. Karthala volcano. Around the port and medina in the capital, Moroni, are carved doors and a white colonnaded mosque, the Ancienne Mosquée du Vendredi, recalling the islands’ Arab heritage.
Dominica is a mountainous Caribbean island nation with natural hot springs and tropical rainforests. Morne Trois Pitons National Park is home to the volcanically heated, steam-covered Boiling Lake. The park also encompasses sulphur vents, the 65m-tall Trafalgar Falls and narrow Titou Gorge. To the west is Dominica’s capital, Roseau, with colorful timber houses and botanic gardens
The Dominican Republic is a Caribbean nation that shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti to the west. It’s known for its beaches, resorts and golfing. Its terrain comprises rainforest, savannah and highlands, including Pico Duarte, the Caribbean’s tallest mountain. Capital city Santo Domingo has Spanish landmarks like the Gothic Catedral Primada de America dating back 5 centuries in its Zona Colonial district.
Grenada is a Caribbean country comprising a main island, also called Grenada, and smaller surrounding islands. Dubbed the “Spice Isle,” the hilly main island is home to numerous nutmeg plantations. It’s also the site of the capital, St. George’s, whose colourful homes, Georgian buildings and early-18th-century Fort George overlook narrow Carenage Harbour. To the south is Grand Anse Beach, with resorts and bars.
Haiti is a Caribbean country that shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic to its east. Though it’s still recovering from a 2010 earthquake, many of Haiti’s landmarks dating to the early 19th century remain intact. These include Citadelle la Ferrière, a mountaintop fortress, and the nearby ruins of Sans-Souci Palace, the baroque former royal home of King Henry I.
Jamaica, a Caribbean island nation, has a lush topography of mountains, rainforests and reef-lined beaches. Many of its all-inclusive resorts are clustered in Montego Bay, with its British-colonial architecture, and Negril, known for its diving and snorkeling sites. Jamaica is famed as the birthplace of reggae music, and its capital Kingston is home to the Bob Marley Museum, dedicated to the famous singer.
Saint Kitts and Nevis is a dual-island nation situated between the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. It’s known for cloud-shrouded mountains and beaches. Many of its former sugar plantations are now inns or atmospheric ruins. The larger of the 2 islands, Saint Kitts, is dominated by the dormant Mount Liamuiga volcano, home to a crater lake, green vervet monkeys and rainforest crisscrossed with hiking trails.
Saint Lucia is an Eastern Caribbean island nation with a pair of dramatically tapered mountains, the Pitons, on its west coast. Its coast is home to volcanic beaches, reef-diving sites, luxury resorts and fishing villages. Trails in the interior rainforest lead to waterfalls like the 15m-high Toraille, which pours over a cliff into a garden. The capital, Castries, is a popular cruise port.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a southern Caribbean nation comprising a main island, St. Vincent, and a chain of smaller islands. With yacht-filled harbors, chic private isles and volcanic landscapes, it’s known for its major sailing destinations such as reef-lined Bequia Island off Admiralty Bay, bordered by white-sand beaches like Princess Margaret. The main island is home to the capital, Kingstown.
São Tomé and Príncipe, an African island nation close to the equator, is part of a volcano chain featuring striking rock and coral formations, rainforests and beaches. On the larger island, São Tomé, is the Lagoa Azul lagoon. Ôbo Natural Park, a biodiverse jungle preserve, covers much of São Tomé and is distinguished by Pico Cão Grande, a skyscraperlike volcanic rock.
Trinidad and Tobago is a dual-island Caribbean nation near Venezuela, with distinctive Creole traditions and cuisines. Trinidad’s capital, Port of Spain, hosts a boisterous carnival featuring calypso and soca music. Numerous bird species inhabit sanctuaries such as the Asa Wright Nature Centre. The smaller island of Tobago is known for its beaches and the Tobago Main Ridge Forest Reserve, which shelters hummingbirds.