Frigate Bay, St. Kitts
Anguilla is in the British Leeward Islands. Columbus thought this long flat island with its multitude of white sand coves looked like an undulating eel, so he named it Anguilla. The island has been a British colony/dependency since it was first settled in 1650. Except for a few half-hearted attempts at invasion by the French during the 18th century, the world has pretty much ignored the island. Recently, Anguilla has been discovered by the cognoscenti, who find the island's small upscale resorts an ideal retreat to get away from it all. Try the haute cuisine at Malliouhana, or the Arabian Nights ambience of Pimms.
This is where the slogan “life’s a beach” was coined. Anguilla’s thirty-three powdery white-sand beaches are excellent for walking, swimming or simply sipping rum daiquiris. The water in Anguilla is phenomenal: fading from cobalt blue to jade green to pale turquoise, the colors are otherworldly. You can stroll for miles and not see another soul ... truly blissful.
Antigua, Lesser Antilles
Antigua and Barbuda is an independent nation in the Leeward Islands of the West Indies (Lesser Antilles), about 260 miles east-southeast of Puerto Rico.
The Lesser Antilles (also known as the Caribbees) are a long, partly volcanic island arc in the Western Hemisphere. Most of its islands form the eastern boundary of the Caribbean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean, with the remainder located in the southern Caribbean just north of South America. The Lesser Antilles and the Greater Antilles compose the Antilles, which are in turn part of the West Indies along with the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
People say that the 'Nature Island' is the only Caribbean island that Columbus would recognize today. Virgin rainforests stand proud and tall. Waterfalls cascade from glorious heights where birds fill the forest with color and song. Dominica is a dream-like island, full of surprises. The steep mountainsides and lush jungle-like beauty might remind you of a Rousseau landscape. Glide through a steamy orchid-festooned rainforest in a fascinating boat ride up the winding Layrou River. Or, hike to breathtaking Trafalgar Falls and a bubbling lake.
Guadeloupe in the French West Indies looks like a butterfly from the air. Its giant wings are actually two islands, separated by the Rivière Salée, a natural salt water channel. Basse Terre, the southern or leeward part of Guadeloupe, is lush and rugged, dominated by La Soufrière. A stream of boiling water gushes from the top of the 4,800-ft. mountain, reminding you that this volcano is not dormant, but very much alive. Further downstream you can swim in the beautiful triple falls of Chute de Carbet. Gourmets take note - Guadeloupe is purported to have the best chefs in the Caribbean.
Isle des Saintes, Guadeloupe
The Îles des Saintes (literally, "Islands of the (female) Saints"), also called simply Les Saintes, are a group of islands within the French overseas department of Guadeloupe. They are located about 8 miles southwest of Guadeloupe and as such belong to the Lesser Antilles. Their land area is 4.9 sq. miles and they had a population of 2,883 inhabitants at the 2005 census.
Martinique is directly north of St. Lucia, northwest of Barbados and south of Dominica. Land mass is 420 square miles of which 15 square miles is water. The island is volcanic in origin. The population is estimated at approximately 390,000. Martinique owes its name to Christopher Columbus who sited the island in 1493 and later to return in 1502 naming the island Martinica.
Historically, Martinique's economy relied on sugar cane farming which has since dwindled. Today tourism is the main source of income as well as the export of bananas to France.
The island has quirky historical sites which compliment European flair and Caribbean beauty. It is fashionable and elegant with an abundance of flora. A leading destination for European vacationers, it offers gorgeous beaches, great food and a variety of accommodations. Tourism is an important economic base yet, so are banana farming, cane raising and rum to a lesser degree.
Montserrat Island, Lesser Antilles
Montserrat is a mountainous Caribbean island, part of the Lesser Antilles chain. Its Soufriere Hills volcano erupted in the 1990's causing significant damage to the south side of the island but leaving the north side unscathed. Black sand beaches, coral reefs, cliffs and shoreline caves remain intact.
Montserrat was the home of the famous recording studio founded by the Beatles producer, Sir George Martin, now deceased.
Tourists travel here to observe the devastating destruction of the south side.
Nevis, Leeward Islands
Almost completely circular, Nevis' green slopes rise in sweeping curves to the islands summit. From a distance, Nevis looks like a snow-capped mountain, but it's just clouds and mist hovering around Nevis Peak. Charlestown is a well-preserved village with plantation estates and 18th century buildings decorated with gingerbread trim. An interesting zoning law requires that no buildings be taller than the palm trees. Be sure to try the Calalloo soup while you are here.
Unlike other islands where traditional lifestyles have been stamped out by mass tourism, St. Kitts boasts a thriving West Indian culture. Her lush and forested slopes rise gracefully to mist-shrouded peaks. A worthwhile site for history buffs, the imposing 17th century fortress (Brimstone Hill) looms over green fields of sugar cane and banana trees. St. Kitts’ was the first successful colony in the British West Indies. Indeed, when viewed from the top of Brimstone Hill, the “Gibraltar of the Caribbean” appears to dominate everything in the Southern Sea. Shop in colourful Basseterre, play golf and tour old plantation houses. For the adventuresome there’s a brisk hike through the rainforest.
This island is a nature lover's paradise. Here, the dueling Piton peaks serve as an inspiring landmark for sailors. You'll have a chance to visit waterfalls, hot springs, botanical gardens, and the world's only 'drive-in' volcano. Hiking boots are what you'll need for trekking tails through the Rainforest Preserve, a favorite for bird watchers. The forest is loaded with wild orchids, giant ferns and towering stands of bamboo.