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Pleasure islands

They are literally just drops in the ocean. But the Caribbean islands offer some of the world's most glorious travel options.

cricket Updated: Mar 11, 2007 17:46 IST

They are literally just drops in the ocean. But the Caribbean islands offer some of the world's most glorious travel options.

ST KITTS & NEWS

Years ago, we were forcibly acquainted with this Caribbean island thanks to the St Kitts forgery case. Now, the Cricket World Cup gives
you a better reason to know St Kitts.

With an unspoiled natural beauty, sunny skies, warm waters and white sandy beaches, St Kitts is blessed with beautiful, complex ecosystems containing a range of wildlife.

Nature lovers can trek through lava formations, tropical forest areas and seaside lagoons. Boating tours and scuba diving expeditions are also tourist favourites.

The island of Nevis is separated from St Kitts by a two-mile channel. If St Kitts is all greenery and mountains, Nevis has scenic hills, gorgeous gardens and glorious coves.

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
'Trinis', as Trinidadians call themselves, are known for their fine, French-oriented cuisine - and their use of the English language.

Bursting with spirit and a heady mix of cultural activities, beautiful people, eco adventure and culinary delights, Trinidad and Tobago has something for everyone.

If Trinidad, the larger and livelier of the islands, boasts an exciting nightlife, the smaller laid-back island of Tobago is the country's soul. Tobago is believed to be the place Robert Louis Stevenson had in mind when he wrote Treasure Island.

With its azure blue seas that lap against secluded beaches, Tobago is the perfect place to relax. Nature lovers can explore its rainforest the oldest in the western hemisphere - and adventurers can swim among the stunning coral reefs.


ST LUCIA
If Helen of Troy was "the fairest woman in the world", St Lucia's national anthem proclaims that the island is "the fairest isle in all the world". But unlike Helen, not one, but 14 blood-drenched battles have been fought between the French and the British over ownership of the awesomely beautiful island of St Lucia.

That's why St Lucia - pronounced St Loosha - is an intriguing combination of sophisticated France and nature-loving Britain. Its centrepiece is a 19,000-acre rainforest. Some 29 miles of mountain trails provide views of jaw-dropping beauty The island's bird, turtle and nature-study options leave visitors more than impressed.

The drama of St Lucia lies in its twin volcanic peaks, The Pitons. The twin peaks have been granted UN- ESCO World Heritage site status. The Pitons shelter several bird species, giant ferns and wild orchids. Coral reefs cover almost 60 per cent of its marine area. Hawksbill turtles are seen inshore, whale sharks and pilot whales offshore.

JAMAICA
Jamaica - the birthplace of Bob Marley - is the third largest island in the Caribbean. So large that it cannot be explored in just a few days. Its beauty ranges from the high peaks of the Blue Mountain to its beaches of white sand and its blue seas.

A trip to Jamaica could include activities like river rafting, waterfall elimbing, horseback riding, beachcombing, ballooning, diving, mountain biking, snorkelling or just relaxing in a hammock, watching the sunset.

There is high-energy dancing too. Jamaica's capital, Kingston, is known as the city of limbo, calypso and reggae. Marley fans rejoice! You can visit the Bob Marley Museum.

ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA
Antigua has 365 beaches, so ideally you should take a year off to explore them all! The capital city of the twin administered Antigua & Barbuda is St John's. It was a thriving seaport in the 17th century and tall sailing vessels still grace its harbour on occasion. A major centre of yachting, Antigua stages an annual sailing week.

One of the most famous ships to anchor at English Harbour in St John's is the 74-ft square-rigged topsail schooner named 'St Peter' and built in St Petersburg, Russia, from a 1780 design. After a 26-day Atlantic crossing, the St Peter was done over as 'The Black Pearl' in the Johnny Depp movie, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.

Barbuda is famous for its incredibly beautiful beaches. The island is about 30 miles north of Antigua.

GRENADA
Hikers, birdwatchers, mountain bikers and kayak enthusiasts love Grenada because of its incredible natural beauty One-ninth of Grenada's land mass is preserved in the form of parks, natural sanctuaries and wildlife preserves. These, combined with Grenada's mountainous interior and abundant wildlife, make the island a haven for outdoor freaks.

Bustling with activity and offering a wide assortment of fresh produce, spices and handicrafts, the market at the capital, St George, is the centre of island life.

GUYANA
One of the most magical ecotourism destinations on earth, Guyana's Amerindian name means 'Land of Many Waters' thanks to its network of creeks and rivers. Just beyond Guyana's picturesque capital, Georgetown, you see the most awe inspiring of rainforest creatures: lizards, iguanas colourful birds, snakes and maybe even a bush tiger The centrepiece of this beauty is Kaieteur Falls, five times as high as Niagara and noted for its shimmering rainbows in the mist and sunshine of the jungle.