Posted by Carib Car Rental on September 02, 2020 at 01:08 PM

When thinking of the Caribbean, most people tend to think of the same combination of tropical forests, pristine blue sea, and white sand.

Of course, vague descriptions such as these, vastly undersell what this unique region of our planet has to offer, and misleads people into thinking the Caribbean Is a single thing with little to no variation between its Islands.

Today, we are going to dash these rumors by offering a crash course on Caribbean Geography explaining the most essential things you need to know about this unique region of our planet.

What Makes a Caribbean Island?

Exactly what makes an Island part of the Caribbean is not set in stone, however, there is a consensus that any mass of land with its coast bathed by the Caribbean Sea is a part of the region.

However, there are exceptions to this rule, like Guyana, that despite not being physically in the Caribbean, has several Cultural ties to the Region and is therefore considered a part of it.

What few people realize is that several countries in South and Central America are also considered part of the Caribbean like Venezuela, Belize, Honduras, and even Colombia, even if they fall into a similar situation to Guinea.

Western Caribbean

Western Caribbean is a subregion of the Caribbean that encompasses everything to the west of Hispaniola, (the Island shared by the nations of Haiti and The Dominican Republic). It encompasses the Islands and Nations of Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Belize, and the Honduran island of Roatán, along with bigger masses of land like Venezuela, Central America, and Mexico.

A hallmark of Western Caribbean is the presence of independent indigenous peoples, along with vestiges of sea incursions by the Mayan Empire, of which ruins dot many of the Islands.

Eastern Caribbean

The two main features of the eastern Caribbean are its larger number of Islands in relation to its western counterpart, along with its relatively greater political unity in the form of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States Eastern Caribbean comprises Puerto Rico, Anguilla, St. Martin, St. Barts, Antigua, and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados.

Eight of these Islands are part of the OECS, a multi-national organization focused on strengthening local economies with a dollar of its own.

South Caribbean

The sub-region known as the southern Caribbean is one of the smallest in this list, being mostly used for cruise-planning, and it hosts only three Caribbean islands, these being Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao.

All of these Islands lie on the coast of South America, and often when cruising through this region, tourism cruises will direct themselves towards Islands like Dominica, Martinique, and St. Lucia, showing the interplay that exists between eastern and southern Caribbean.

The Antilles

The Antilles are an archipelago of the Caribbean Islands to the south and west of the Gulf of Mexico, which is divided into the Greater and Lesser Antilles.

The Greater Antilles are the names given to the five Islands and six countries of the Cayman Islands, Cuba, Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic), Puerto Rico, and Jamaica. Meanwhile, the Lesser Antilles are all Islands that form the arc-like archipelago which defines the eastern edge of the Caribbean Sea.

They are Anguilla, Antigua, and Barbuda, Aruba, Barbados, the British Virgin Islands, Bonaire, Curacao, Dominica, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Montserrat, Saba, St. Barts, St. Maarten, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, Trinidad, and Tobago, the U.S. Virgin Islands, along with several Caribbean Islands belonging to Venezuela.

The word “Antilles” derives from the Spanish word “Antillia”, which refers to an ancient forgotten Island of Legend.


Hopefully, this article has helped you by providing some orientation for the planning of your next vacation, be it for a cruise or a more “boots” on the ground experience.

Knowing about the geography of the region you are about to visit is a great way to plan your trip because it gives you a good notion of distance and therefore time.

Another way in which knowing the geography of your next destination can serve you really well is by letting you know how you’re going to traverse it, and no matter the terrain, you can count on Carib Car Rental to provide you with the best method of transportation. If you are looking at visiting the tropical island of Grenada, make sure to stop by the best car rental in Grenada for all your car rental needs!


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