The Caribbean

Prestige issue 273, April 2016

Landscapes, beaches, sun and relaxation in an Azur Paradise

People dream of the Caribbean. Always sunny, fine sand stretching as far as the eye can see, idyllic landscapes, exotic nature … many destinations of the Caribbean charming paradise to attract travelers looking for escape and relaxation. The Caribbean space is located off of Central America, in the Caribbean Sea separating the American continent from the Atlantic Ocean. It includes the Lesser and Greater Antilles formed by the islands of Cuba, Haiti, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Saint-Martin and many former European colonies. The sea called sometimes the Mediterranean of the New World is very praised by the tourists for its beautiful scenery, coconut trees lining its shores, its primary forests and its sleepy or restless volcanoes … Dozens of islands scattered to the four corners of the Caribbean form an archipelago of remarkable diversity. Which island to choose? Large or small, near or far, civilized or savage? From Cuba to Saint Lucia, through the Virgin Islands, a stay in the Caribbean takes you to hundreds of dream destinations. Guided tour with Prestige.

 

Beach beach

© Photos: Sarah Bahsali

The Dominican Republic

Called the Pearl of the Caribbean, on the island of Hispaniola, closer to Latin America, the Dominican Republic is a dream destination. Here nature is queen and generous. Featuring a rich colonial history and a strong Hispanic culture, this great country is full of natural treasures and idyllic beaches with white sand and turquoise blue waters. The hinterland is large with impressive mountains. Do not forget to visit the capital Santo Domingo, the largest seaside resort Punta Cana, Manati Park and the Marinarium.

 

Guadeloupe and Martinique

Known as the Butterfly Island, Guadeloupe includes several islands. Surrounded by the Caribbean Sea, the five French islands of Guadeloupe: Grande-Terre, Basse-Terre, Marie-Galante, Les Saintes and Désirade are natural paradise with coconut palms, where the atmosphere and the landscapes are different. • Fort-de-France is the great capital of Martinique. Views on the Atlantic, heavenly beaches, lagoons, coves of Salines or Arlet, old rums, embankment of Preacher, bridge of Potiche river, hikes in nature, open markets, rich gastronomy and conviviality which form finally the heart of this Caribbean destination.

 

drapeau france

Guadeloupe and Martinique are since 1946, French overseas territories. Since 1982, they have acquired the status of Regions. © Photos: Sarah Bahsali

 

Antigua and Barbuda

Nearby Guadeloupe, with its 365 beaches, this state of the Antilles, a Commonwealth monarchy of 442km2 and 92,000 inhabitants, is composed of two main islands, Antigua and Barbuda and some small islands. Antigua is the largest 280km2, and the most populated, 72,000 of which 24,000 live in the capital St. John’s. The climate is hot and tropical, with pleasant temperatures all year round. • At Barbuda, in the north, far less populated, less than 2,000 inhabitants live in Codrington, the largest city. Every year in early May, is held the week of Antigua, an international regatta open to many classes.

 

antigua

With its rich colonial past, Antigua is the main island of the English archipelago of Antigua and Barbuda. © Photos: Sarah Bahsali

 

Saint Lucia and Saint-Martin

The island St. Lucia seems to arise from water towards the clouds. Two emerald rocky peaks, World Heritage of Unesco, plunge into the waters of intense blue of the Caribbean Sea. Discover on the island, the rainforest, climb to the assault of rocky peaks or just enjoy an idyllic cove and taste ti’punch with the inhabitants and their warm smile. • Bursting with natural and cultural riches, Saint-Martin Island, with the 37 most famous beaches of the Caribbean, is the gastronomic capital of the Caribbean par excellence. It is shared between French occupying the northern part and the Dutch who occupy the southern part. Its fauna and flora are exceptional, a «Friendly Island» that has retained its Creole charm.

 

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Two rocky peaks in St. Lucia, on the list of World Heritage of Unesco. © Photos: Sarah Bahsali

 

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Welcome St. Martin paradise. White sand beaches and crystal clear waters. © Photos: Sarah Bahsali

 

Virgin Islands

They are 40 islands and islets typically Caribbean with stunning white sand beaches and turquoise waters. The diverse wildlife makes these islands a paradise for Scuba divers who discover many species of fish around coral reefs. Visitors can even see humpback whales reproduce.

 

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A paradise for birds and tourists. © Photos: Sarah Bahsali

 

Cuba

Stretching over 1.200km long, this enormous and gigantic island like no other, has a population of 2,256,000 inhabitants. Cuba is the country of Che, cigars and salsa. Its capital, Havana, founded in 1519 by Diego Velasquez, is the largest city in the Caribbean and is itself worth several days of exploration. Havana is the main port and economic center of the country. Its old town, the Plaza de Arma, Palacio de Los Capitanes General, the Castillo de la Real Fuerza, cathedral and a car tour to Cayo Santa Maria, passing through Cienfuegos, Trinidad and Santa Clara, well worth the detour. Santiago, the second city of Cuba, includes the Parque Cespedes, the Museum of Carnival, the Basilica Nuestra Senora de la Caridad del Cobre, the location of the most important pilgrimage of the island.

 

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Meeting the Cuban nature and its rivers. © Photos: Sarah Bahsali

 

Cuba is full of natural wonders on the coastline as well as in the heart of tobacco plantations.

 

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The different facets of Cuba,

with unique architectural beauty.