INTRODUCTION: PLACES - Caribbean: The Lesser Antilles - Insight Guides

Caribbean: The Lesser Antilles - Insight Guides (2016)


A detailed guide to the entire Lesser Antilles, with principal sites clearly cross-referenced by number to the maps.

The Lesser Antilles are made up of hundreds of islands forming a broad, sweeping arc around the eastern side of the Caribbean Sea, effectively a barrier between this sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Almost universally, the islands have calm, pretty beaches on their western shores, lapped by the Caribbean, while the eastern seaboards are buffeted by the Atlantic winds and waves, making them dangerous for swimming but a great adventure for windsurfers and kitesurfers.


Granite boulders at The Baths, Virgin Goda, British Virgin Islands.

Getty Images

While most of the islands are volcanic - green peaks of ranges peeping above the water lapping their shores - some of the northern, Leeward Islands and the southern, Dutch islands off the coast of Venezuela are principally coral atolls. So, if your priority is finding a white-sand beach, stretching as far as the eye can see, head for Anguilla or Barbuda in the north or Aruba in the south. More adventurous activities such as canyoning or hiking can be enjoyed in the mountains of Dominica, Martinique, or St Lucia.


Guana Island, British Virgin Islands.


Each island has a character of its own and conveys a different mood. In the US Virgin Islands, St John is peaceful and dedicated to nature, whereas St Thomas, only a few miles away, is consumer-driven and go-getting. Tiny St-Barthélemy is as chic as the French Riviera, while miniscule Saba next door is modest and sensible. The colonial history, immigration, topography, and environment of each island have led to startling differences. Each island is individual - unique.


The dive sites off the Cayman Islands are some of the best in the world.

Cayman Islands Department Of Tourism

The surrounding waters conceal dramatic underwater scenery with coral reefs, walls, drop-offs, pillars, and wrecks. Divers and snorkelers are spoilt for choice with numerous marine parks preserving natural treasures and sea life. Conditions are perfect for sailing and, whether you are cruising “down the islands” on an ocean liner, a yacht, a ferry or taking a sunset catamaran trip, you should spend a few hours on the water. You may want to base yourself on one island, but the Lesser Antilles are perfect for island-hopping and exploring the pleasures on offer.



Jabberwock Beach, Antigua.

Antigua & Barbuda Tourist Office