Known collectively as the Lesser Antilles and Trinidad & Tobago, the islands of the Eastern Caribbean make a 1000km long north-south sweep, beginning east of Puerto Rico and coming to a halt just off the coast of Venezuela. The Lesser Antilles include the Leeward Islands (from Anguilla to Dominica), the Windward Islands (from Martinique to Grenada) and Barbados.
The islands are mountainous, with rainforests and black-sand beaches. The coral limestone fabric of the outer arc of islands, extending from Anguilla to Barbados, reveals their marine origins. White-sand beaches, indented coastlines and low, scrubby hills characterize these islands. The islands of the inner arc, extending from Saba to Grenada, have volcanic origins, and craters and hot springs still steam, bubble and pungently belch their sulfuric gases. Volcanic activity has ceased on most of the islands with Montserrat the rumbling exception. Trinidad & Tobago have different origins again, having broken off from the South American continent. Trinidad's soils include deposits from Venezuela's Orinoco River, and its northern range is an extension of the Andes.
Philipsburg, In St. Maarten’s Dutch capital, one of the favorite yachting destinations of the Caribbean, you can crew on a former America’s Cup contender or ride in a submarine to see the underwater wonders. This duty-free port is a paradise for shoppers too. St. John, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Long John Silver and his band of pirates made their home in the Virgin Islands. Almost all of St. John is protected by the US Virgin Islands National Park, a pristine tropical wilderness-mostly under water. St. Thomas, Take a ‘jeepney’ ride up the twisting spiny ridge of the island to Drake’s Seat. This is where Sir Francis supposedly spied on and made plans to attack the treasure-laden Spanish fleet as it made its way through the lovely archipelago of the Virgin Islands.
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