Although the islands are generally small and sometimes quite close to each other, you should bear in mind that there can be very large cultural and geographic differences between them.
All the islands were colonies of European nations and a few actually remain colonies or overseas/dependent territories. As a result, the official languages are Spanish, English, French, Dutch, Haitian Creole and Papiamento but there are still Creole languages or dialects in some countries.
Religions are similarly heterogeneous including Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Rastafari, Santeria and Voodoo. The population in the Anglophone, French and Dutch Caribbean is mainly of African origin with mixed-race minorities as well as people of Spanish, English, French, Portuguese, Dutch, Chinese and Indian ancestry.
Indigenous tribes include: Tainos, Kalinago, Ciboney, Ciguayo, Galibi, Garifuna, Igneri, Lucayan and Macorix.
Infrastructure, cuisine, history, crime, and local habits can all vary significantly as a result of all these differing roots – the weather may be the same in neighbouring islands but the environment and surroundings can be quite diverse. Be prepared for culture shock!
Written by Daniel Nash Segundo