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Caribbean Islands start just off the coast of Florida with the Bahamas and stretch south to the north coast of South America. The Caribbean includes hundreds of little tropical paradises ranging from the largest, Cuba, to smaller islands like St. Lucia and Barbados.

Barbados

Barbados, known as the the pearl of the Caribbean, is the eastern-most Caribbean island. It is an ancient coral reef that was formed approximately one million years ago and enjoys 340 days of sunshine a year.

The island is a pear-shaped, 20-mile area of soft coral, which is permeated by water forming underground caverns. The coral reefs round most of the island entice tourists to its picturesque shores.

Dominican Republic

There are two sides to the Dominican Republic, as there are two sides to Hispaniola on which it is situated. The Dominican Republic shares the island with Haiti.

The other face of the Dominican Republic can be found along the country roads, among the sugar cane, coffee and cocoa bean fields.

The South Coast contains some of the country's bigger cities and national parks. The capital, Santo Domingo, was the first Spanish settlement in the Americas. Christopher Columbus initiated the first European New World settlement here in 1496.

The other tourist spots in the Dominican Republic are the northern Amber Coast region around Puerta Plata, the beautiful Samana Peninsula, and the resort communities of the east coast, where stretches of pristine tropical beach have been bought and developed into all-inclusive resorts.

Jamaica

Jamaica is the third largest island in the Caribbean covering an area of approximately 10,991 sq km, and lies 145 km off the south coast of Cuba, entirely surrounded by the Caribbean Sea. Its landscape is quite impressive, ranging from coastal plains in the south, to limestone terrain of the interior to the Blue Mountains in the east.