Caribbean Islands

We polled over 425,000 people on Instagram, between 3 accounts (@tropicals, @tropicsdaily & @tropikaia) asking them what questions they had about the Caribbean.

We set out with one goal: to make the most helpful/ informative resource about the Caribbean.

Think of it as the Caribbean Islands’ most frequently asked questions.

P.S. We’re always adding to it, so feel free to email us your question & we’ll get it answered. Or, if you find any errors, let us know. Click here to email us.

Alright, let’s get into it… here are the most popular questions, according to you.

Contents: (Click to skip)

Countries

Are the Caribbean Islands considered countries?

The Caribbean is made up of thousands of islands spread across (about) 2,000 miles. Not each island is its own country, in fact, there are many political ties that come into play.

A few are under the ownership of the USA, while others by European countries.

How many countries are in the Caribbean?

As stated in the previous question, there are islands that are under the ownership of other countries. However, here’s a list of the Caribbean islands that are independent.

Sovereign States

Antigua & BarbudaHaiti
The BahamasJamaica
BarbadosSaint Kitts & Nevis
CubaSaint Lucia
DominicaSaint Vincent & The Grenadines
Dominican RepublicTrinidad & Tobago
Grenada 

Are the Caribbean Islands part of the USA?

Not all of the Caribbean Islands are part of the United States of America. In fact, there are only a few that are part of the US. They include…

USA Caribbean Islands

Puerto RicoSaint Croix (USVI)
Saint Thomas (USVI)Saint John (USVI)

What Caribbean islands are British?

There used to be many Caribbean Islands that were under the ownership of the United Kingdom. The islands were referred to as the British West Indies (BWI). However, after several years some were granted independence.

The remaining that are dependent under the UK include…

British Caribbean Islands

Anegada (BVI)Montserrat
AnguillaTortola (BVI)
Cayman IslandsTurks & Caicos
Jost Van Dyke (BVI)Virgin Gorda (BVI)

Which Caribbean Island is closest to the United Kingdom?

The British Virgin Islands, Antigua & Barbuda, and Anguilla are the closest Caribbean islands to the United Kingdom.

However, all of the Caribbean Islands are close to each other. So if you’re willing to travel to either of the islands listed above, don’t limit yourself. There are several other islands to checkout as well.

What Caribbean island is closest to the USA?

Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico are the closest Caribbean Islands to the USA.

However, you should also consider looking at the Florida Keys. The Keys are similar in climate/geography, yet closer to the USA.

Currency

What Caribbean Islands use the US dollar?

The US dollar is the official currency in Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Thomas, St. Croix & St. John)  and the British Virgin Islands. On most islands, even if it’s not the official currency, it’s still accepted.

What Caribbean Islands use Euros?

Euros are the official currency in Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Barth and Saint Martin (French Side).

What Caribbean Islands use the Eastern Caribbean Dollar?

The Eastern Caribbean Dollar is used in Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Saint Kitts & Nevis, and Saint Lucia.

Time Zones

What time zone are the Caribbean Islands?

The Caribbean Islands are split between the Eastern Standard Time Zone (EST) and the Atlantic Standard Time Zone (AST).

Cayman Islands, Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, and Turks & Caicos all fall within the EST and the rest within AST.

Do the Caribbean Islands have daylight savings?

The islands don’t follow daylight savings, in-fact when the clocks are turned back from March-October, both timezones become the same time.

Geography

Which Caribbean island is closest to the US?

It all depends on where you’re located in the USA. However, the closest islands to the United States are in the Bahamas, Jamaica & Puerto Rico.

Specifically, Bimini (Bahamas Island) is the actual closest to Miami.

What is the most populous / biggest country in the Caribbean?

Cuba is the most populous/ biggest country in the Caribbean.

How wide is the Caribbean?

Stretching over 2,000 miles, the Caribbean is divided into three groups of islands: the Greater Antilles, Leeward Islands & Windward Islands.

Greater Antilles Islands

CubaDominican Republic
Cayman IslandsTurks & Caicos Islands
JamaicaPuerto Rico

Leeward Islands

AnguillaSt. Martin
St. BarthélemySt. Kitts & Nevis
U.S. Virgin IslandsGuadeloupe
The British Virgin IslandsAntigua & Barbuda

Windward Islands

ArubaMartinique
CuraçaoSt. Lucia
GrenadaBarbados

How many islands are in the Caribbean?

There are technically over 7,000 individual islands in the Caribbean, however, not all of them are their own nations.

Are Caribbean Islands Volcanic?

Most of the islands in the Eastern Caribbean have active volcanoes.

Which Caribbean Islands have active volcanos?

The following volcanoes are considered active or potentially active by some scientists:

You may have heard of Kick ‘em Jenny, one of the Caribbean’s most active volcanoes. But this one isn’t located on an island – it’s under the ocean approximately five miles north of Grenada in the Eastern Caribbean.

How were the Caribbean Islands formed?

We can thank the collision of tectonic plates for the creation of the Caribbean Islands. When one plate slips below the other, land is pushed up to the surface. In addition, the volcanic activity helped build up the islands. 

Will the Caribbean Islands sink?

It’s a possibility. As climate change continues and glaciers and ice sheets continue to melt off, the sea levels will keep rising.

In recent years, the water has been rising an approximate .13 inches per year. Some estimate the sea level will rise anywhere from 10 to 30 inches by the year 2100. So while eventually, some islands could be in trouble of going underwater, it will take a long time, and there are a lot of variables that could influence their fate until then.

How many Caribbean islands are inhabited?

The Caribbean has over 7,000 islands, with the three primary island groups being the Lesser Antilles, the Greater Antilles, and the Lucayan Archipelago. The term island is being generous for some of these patches of land – some are tiny areas of rock, sand, or even coral which would be difficult to inhabit.

Only approximately 2 percent of the Caribbean’s islands are inhabited, by some estimates.

Which Caribbean isle is called ‘the nature island”?

The island, Dominica is referred to as “the nature island. This is because, compared to the other Caribbean islands, Dominica doesn’t have as many beach resorts.

Instead, the main draw is to explore the lush tropical jungle, decorated with waterfalls, volcanoes & exotic species.

Species

Are Caribbean sea urchins edible?

All sea urchins can be eaten, but that doesn’t mean they taste the same. In the Caribbean, you generally see a black, spiny sea urchin, and these aren’t as tasty as some of the other varieties you can find elsewhere.

The edible part of sea urchins is their gonads, which tend to be meatier in colder water temperatures.

Which animals live there?

There are many animals that call the Caribbean home. We’d be here forever if I was going to list all of them. Here are a few that are native to the Caribbean.

Language

How many languages are spoken across the Caribbean?

While decades worth of tourism to the Caribbean has made English the most widespread language amongst the islands, the colonial powers that governed them over a century ago still dictate what else is spoken in a particular destination. This means that Spanish, French, and Danish are still used as well. While these four languages are the most used among Caribbean natives, each island also has its own creole dialect that is a mash-up of their former colonial language, those of other immigrant groups and the language of the island’s indigenous people. These creole languages are distinct to each island and are part of each Caribbean destination’s unique culture.

How many Caribbean countries speak Spanish?

Strictly speaking, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic are the three Caribbean islands where Spanish is spoken. However, Central American countries that speak Spanish and have a Caribbean coast include Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, Columbia, Belize, and Venezuela. Mexico can also be included on this list, as the tip of its eastern coast is on the Caribbean Sea.

What Caribbean islands speak french?

Five Caribbean islands still count French as a native language: Haiti, Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Martin et numero cinq, St. Barts.

Caribbean Sea

What is the Caribbean sea?

The Caribbean Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean, bordered by Central America to the South and West, Cuba, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico to the North and the eastern Caribbean islands to its East.

The Caribbean Sea’s warm, salty waters vary little in its temperature throughout the year and are home to the second-largest barrier reef in the world as well as a vast array of sharks, whales, dolphins, seals, and tropical fish. But it’s the color of the Caribbean Sea that makes it unforgettable: that beautiful, clear aquamarine blue comes from the way the sunlight is scattered off the white sand of its shallow waters.

How is Caribbean water so clear?

The Caribbean water is so clear for a few reasons. First, there are many parts that are shallow, making the water more turquoise color. The deeper the water, the deeper / darker the color.

Check out our article that explains why the Caribbean water is so blue.

Safety

Which is the safest Caribbean island?

How many times have we heard travelers utter the phrase “don’t leave the resort,” when discussing safety in the Caribbean? Sadly, tourist-related tragedies are often high-profile stories that can paint an island’s safety and security in a negative light. That being said, many of these island nations do have violent crime rates that are higher than those in North America. While it goes without saying that you should use common sense and keep your wits about you while traveling, there are some Caribbean islands that are safer than others. The top five safest islands with the lowest murder and crime rates according to tripsavvy.com are:

What Caribbean islands are Zika free?

Zika free is a tricky term because no Caribbean islands have been untouched by Zika. But, although they may have had current or past transmission, there are many Caribbean islands with no Zika outbreak right now, according to the CDC.

They include but are not limited to, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Curacao, Dominica, Martinique, Montserrat, Saba, Saint Kitts, and Nevis, Sint Eustatius, and the United States Virgin Islands.

Because the threat level can change constantly, you should check the CDC website for updates before booking travel or making a trip to any Caribbean island if you’re worried about the threat of Zika.

Weather & Timing

When is the Caribbean summer?

Caribbean summer in June, July and August can certainly give you a taste of the tropics. While June is generally considered a rainy month, July and August are the middle of hurricane season and can be hot and humid, with temperatures in the mid to upper-80s.

Steamy temps make for great discounts though: with the decrease in tourism due to the heat and increased threat of hurricanes, you’re most likely to find cheaper flights and accommodations during the summer.

What month is high season in the Caribbean?

Mid-December through mid-April is generally considered the high season in the Caribbean, with scores of people fleeing frigid winter temps to stick their toes in some warm sand. During these months the threat of hurricanes and humidity is low and temperatures hover in the mid-80s. But you pay a price for warm toes in the winter: hotel prices and airfare can skyrocket (especially around holidays) and those gorgeous beaches and tourist destinations quickly get crowded.

Cost

Which Caribbean island is the cheapest to visit?

You can typically find a deal on most Caribbean islands, however, the cheapest islands are Cuba, Dominican Republic,

What are some budget tips?

If you want to travel to the Caribbean without spending an arm and a leg, don’t worry – it’s possible! Here are a few tips to help you budget.

Food

What’s some traditional Caribbean food?

The Caribbean is home to some unique and tasty food. Here are a few items you’ll likely stumble across:

Recommendations

What is the best beach in the Caribbean?

This is a tricky question because it’s based solely on opinion and there are SO many beautiful beaches in the Caribbean.

How about we list our top 3 favorite beaches in the Caribbean?

International

What Caribbean Islands don’t require a passport?

If you’re looking for a spontaneous, passport-free getaway where all you need is your wallet, a bathing suit, and a few wardrobe changes, these two Caribbean destinations should be on your bucket list: