Recognised for its European influences and a medley of natural wonders the Dominican Republic is scattered with a collection of cultures as well as the celebrated laid-back Caribbean vibe. It may be off many people’s radar but it is actually the most visited island in the Caribbean. Geographically, the Dominican Republic is half of a big island called Hispaniola, and is a Spanish-speaking rich farming country draped in coffee, tobacco and cacao plantations; the other half is French speaking Haiti. It is covered with coconut-palm-scattered beaches, lush rainforests, mangrove lagoons, waterfalls and the highest mountains in the Caribbean. There are also 26 golf courses(including Aman’s first venture into Golf with the stunning Amanera Resort)!
Infused with a Spanish flavour and infectious buzz, the capital, Santo Domingo, is renowned for its charming cobbled streets, historic buildings and colonial architecture. It was the first city of the New World with the first university, cathedral, castle, monastery, and fortress and the colonial zone is recognised as a World Heritage Site; it is the largest metropolitan city in the Caribbean with a population of around 3 million people.
Grenada is the southern-most of the Windward Islands of the Caribbean and is known as the Spice Island of the Caribbean with an abundance of spice plantations. At only 135 square miles it is a little smaller than the Isle of Wight. As well as the 45 beaches and a wealth of dive sites, volcanic Grenada is also home to rainforests, gorges, waterfalls, dormant volcanoes, 2 crater lakes and 3 national parks. The island also has four chocolate factories and a couple of rum distilleries, one of which still uses the original watermill(one of the last remaining in use in the Caribbean) so there is plenty to do in this small piece of tropical paradise.
Historically, Grenada has been colonised by the English, the French and also the Spanish so there is a lot of colonial history but the island retains a really relaxed, laid back Caribbean vibe which is in stark contrast to some of the more cosmopolitan islands. The capital St George’s is a stunning harbour town full of windy streets and colourful wooden and stone homes and remains of Gothic Churches and numerous fortresses. axed, laid back Caribbean vibe which is in stark contrast to some of the more cosmopolitan islands. The capital St George’s is a stunning harbour town full of windy streets and colourful wooden and stone homes and remains of Gothic Churches and numerous fortresses.
Dominica, pronounced Domineeka, is a small island nation only 26 miles long by 19 miles wide roughly half way between Antigua and St Lucia; it forms part of the dramatic volcanic, mountainous and lush Windward Islands and is often referred to as The Nature Island of the Caribbean.
A holiday to Dominica is about the pristine tropical rain and cloud forests, the nine mountainous volcanoes, 365 rivers, 3 national parks, the longest walking trail in the Caribbean, a steam-covered boiling lake, enormous waterfalls crashing into gorges plus, of course, all that the ocean and beaches have to offer(including whale watching as Dominica is the only country in the world where Sperm Whales reside all year round). This really is a nature lovers paradise and with no cruise ship terminal or an airport runway long enough to land a commercial airliner on it is very far off the beaten track; this really is the Caribbean’s best kept secret.
St Vincent and the Grenadines is an island nation of 32 small islands, 9 of which are inhabited, situated between St Lucia and Grenada forming part of the dramatic volcanic, mountainous and lush Windward Islands. These islands, cays and lagoons have enchanted sailors for centuries with their natural beauty, pristine waters and prevailing trade winds. In the middle of this stretch of islands on the eastern side are the Tobago Cays; a marine park of 5 tiny islands, lagoons and coral reefs that holds a great diversity of marine life, including local green turtles. The whole region is famed for its outstanding sailing and diving.
The capital, Kingstown, at the southern end of the island of St Vincent is a lively, bustling small town with a population of 25,000. Known locally as the “city of arches” it is a mosaic of arches, cobbled streets, stone houses and magnificent churches blending in with the more modern functional architecture of more recent times.
It is the perfect sun filled destination not only for lazy days on the beach but also for enjoying more active pastimes, with ample scope for deep sea fishing, diving, kite surfing and much more. With its French heritage it is little wonder that St Barth’s is a gourmets delight, well known for its fine dining with a diversity of restaurants that allows for a variety of culinary styles ranging from classic French to West Indian.
Shoppers will not be disappointed while strolling among glittering jewellery stores and designer boutiques, before sitting on the terrace of a waterfront café to people watch or to gaze at the fabulous yachts moored in the harbour. St Barts is a chic island which appeals to those who indeed seek the sybaritic way of life.
Located in the middle of the Leeward Islands, roughly 17 degrees north of the equator, Antigua has an idyllic climate with long hours of sunshine, low rainfall and cooling sea breezes. It is ringed by an almost unbroken wall of coral and fine white sandy beaches which slope gently into a crystal clear sea. The capital of the island is St John’s, which is dominated by the white baroque towers of its cathedral.
The island is not only a perfect destination for beach lovers, but is a haven for sailing enthusiasts. The trade winds that once blew Nelson’s fleet into safe harbour now make it one of the best sailing venues in the Caribbean and Antigua sailing week is now one of the foremost maritime events in the world. Under the water tropical marine plants and animals are diverse and plentiful, with dives sites and reefs perfect for both snorkelling and diving. Cricket lovers will also be in their element with some of the finest players in the world heralding from here and it is still easy to see matches being played on empty ground all over the island.St John’s should not be missed for its bustling streets, with a vibrant farmers market with folk craft, tropical fruits and a buzzing crowd making for a lively morning. A leisurely drive on winding roads through colourful villages leads to Historic Nelson’s Dockyard which dates from 1745, a must see with the handsome buildings now restored and converted into a nautical museum, restaurants and shops. Home also to world class resorts, spas and restaurants, Antigua is a delight for even the most experienced traveller.