Caribbean Islands

It is difficult to describe the Caribbean islands in geographic terms. What we now call the Caribbean (West Indies) is a region comprised of many island countries, dependencies and territories.

This region starts just south and east of the Gulf of Mexico (below the Straits of Florida - USA), extends west to the Atlantic Ocean.

Click here to view a map of the Caribbean (West Indies). (For reference, note the tip of Miami, Florida in the upper left corner.)

The Caribbean Sea is bound on the east and south by the land mass of Mexico, Central and South America.

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Nassau, Bahamas

The Caribbean islands are separated from the Atlantic Ocean by three main island groups:

  1. Bahamas (to the north)
    • The Bahamas consist of over 3,000 individual islands and reefs.
    • The most popular of these islands are Nassau and Freeport.

  2. Greater Antilles (centrally)
    • Cuba
    • Jamaica
    • Puerto Rico
    • Hispaniola
      • Haiti (occupies roughly 1/3 of the island)
      • Dominican Republic (occupies the balance)

  3. Lesser Antilles (southeast) – divided into two groups

    1. Leeward Island
      • Antigua and Barbuda
      • St. Kitts and Nevis
      • British Virgin Islands – about 50 (mostly uninhabited)
        • Anegada
        • Tortola
        • Virgin Gorda
      • Anguilla
      • Montserrat

    2. Windward Islands
      • Dominica
      • St. Lucia
      • St. Vincent and the Grenadines
      • Grenada
      • Barbados

    Click here to view a map.

    More Destinations

    British Virgin Islands

    Netherlands Antilles – part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

    • Bonaire – located off the coast of South America

    • Curacao – located off the coast of South America

    • Saba and St. Eustatius – in the northeastern Caribbean, below Anguilla

    • Saint Maarten – in the northeastern Caribbean, below Anguilla – on the opposite side of island (south) from St. Martin. The French and the Dutch peacefully share this 37 square mile island.

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    Oranjestad, Aruba

    Aruba – an autonomous member of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Aruba is located off the coast of South America.

    French West Indies

    • Martinique – south of Dominica and a French overseas department.

    • Guadeloupe – north of Dominica and a French overseas department.

    • St. Barthelemy (St. Barts)

    • St. Martin – on opposite side of island (north) from Saint Maarten. The French and the Dutch peacefully share this 37 square mile island.

    British West Indies

    • Cayman Islands – south of Cuba

    • the Turks and Caicos – north of Haiti, approx. 600 miles southeast of Miami

    • Also in this group are the British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, and Montserrat - listed above under Leeward Islands.

    US Virgin Islands

    • St. Croix

    • St. John

    • St. Thomas

    San Andres – off the coast of Nicaragua, but belongs to Colombia

    Mexico – Conzumel, Cancun, Playa del Carmen

    Belize - Central America

    Bermuda – approx. 900 miles east of Charleston, South Carolina

    Click here to view a map.

    PS: Get more in-depth information by visiting our link partners:

    The U.S. Virgin Islands; America's Caribbean Paradise:
    Travel and vacation info. Insider tips and secrets to the best places to visit in the U.S.V.I.

    Cayman Islands Cruises
    Cayman Island cruises offer several different options, learn the best way to plan your cruise.

    Other Destinations of the Caribbean Islands
    (In the southeastern Caribbean)

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    Martinique

    Grenada

    Margarita

    Martinique – a French overseas department

    St. Vincent and the Grenadines

    Trinidad and Tobago

    Click here to view a map.

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