THE LESSER ANTILLES are the chain of twenty or so small islands and numerous uninhabited cays stretching from the Virgin Islands in the North to the coast of Venezuela in the South. Each island has its own particular style and charm, shaped by their unique combination of geology, history and attitudes. They all offer much more than just sea, sand and sun. Trinidad, Tobago, Grenada and Dominica are all situated in this part of the Caribbean and in addition to these; we can help you plan holidays in virtually all of the other islands.
Antigua is a great place to start, as it is very well-served by all the airlines and is therefore a natural hub from which to visit many other islands. It is a relaxing island, where water-based activities especially sailing abound and deciding which of the 365 beaches to spend your day, is about as complicated as things get. Yet it is distinctly unique thanks to its history and sites such as Nelson’s Dockyard are well worth visiting.
Barbuda, 25 miles to the north, is the other half of this dual-island nation. It is quiet and almost deserted except for its 1200 or so inhabitants and a few visitors. These are mainly birdwatchers, who come to see the amazing frigate-bird colony, as well as a few travellers who venture over from Antigua to enjoy the clear waters and stunning pink sand beaches.
Montserrat lies just 27 miles south west of Antigua, is lush and green and totally unspoilt. Go for the peace and quiet, fascinating walks, the diving, the awesome spectacle of its active volcano and the rich bird life, which includes the very rare Montserrat Oriole.
Barbados is another regional hub and there are many good reasons why it remains the most popular destination in the Caribbean. This is a coral island with broad vistas, magnificent beaches and gently rolling hills covered with a patchwork of sugar cane fields and scattered with an impressive range of colonial sites, old plantation houses and wonderful gardens. The warm Bajan hospitality, wide selection of hotels and sophisticated dining have made it a tourism success story, but this also means that much of the island is highly developed. It is nevertheless still possible to go off the beaten track and we have found some lovely places to stay in very special locations.
St Vincent & the Grenadines is a nation of 32 impossibly gorgeous cays and islands, with no mass tourism but a lot of old-style Caribbean charm. This is a yachtsman’s paradise and a wonderful destination for walking, observing the many species of protected flora and fauna and just relaxing.
St Kitts & Nevis are two lovely little gems of tropical islands that remain unspoiled, in spite of recently discovering what they have to offer the discerning traveller – deserted beaches, a relaxed way of life and a rich historical past. Away from the natural scenery, the delightful capital towns of Basseterre and Charlestown will charm you with their colonial-era architecture. These islands have something for everyone, with accommodation that range from historic plantation inns to mountainside villas and five-star resorts.
Anguilla is a tranquil, little British outpost, situated at the top of the Leeward Islands chain. This remote coral island of empty beaches with powdery white sand, untouched reefs and cays, and salt ponds that attract abundant bird life has no mass tourism; but instead attracts a more discerning, up-market visitor. There is an amazing selection of first rate accommodation and restaurants and the islanders are deeply committed to protecting their natural and historical assets.
THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC is perhaps best known for its luxurious beach resorts, but it is an amazingly diverse island with so much more to offer. The diversity of its people, culture, cuisine and music is projected upon the most varied landscape in the Caribbean region. From a startling beautiful coastline and turquoise seas, to the Caribbean’s highest peaks, to cactus-studded deserts and the colonial streets of its capital, the Dominican Republic will challenge any stereotype.
The island of Hispaniola is the second largest island in the Caribbean, with the Dominican Republic occupying the eastern two thirds and Haiti the western third. Columbus landed here on his first voyage of 1492 and the island has been essentially colonized from that time on. With such a long history of European settlement it should be no surprise that much of the island is fundamentally altered, but the natural wildlife habitat has been incorporated into large expanses of national park and beyond the beach resorts tourism has had little impact. There is much here to offer the avid birder and general naturalist!