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Watching the Atlantic surf crash down on the rugged east coast of this richly diverse island and, for a moment, you may feel you could be on the Cornish coast but the moment you hear the waves of gospel singing emanating from a tiny local church you realise you could not be anywhere else but Barbados.
While, over on the sheltered west coast, the glorious beaches are pure Caribbean. And there are more beaches and a lot more bars, cafés, restaurants and clubs creating a vibrant 24/7 lifestyle on the south coast, too.
In the capital and cruise port, Bridgetown, there are intriguing signs of its British colonial past while, across the island, you are really spoilt for choice. You can enjoy every watersport under the sun; stunning nature walks and bike rides; or maybe a trip to the uniquely magnificent Harrisons Cave underground complex of caverns, waterfalls, stalactites and stalagmites.
Here, in the beautiful archipelago of the British Virgin islands, the motto is: “The best thing you can do is do nothing.” The “nothing” that Tortola offers you consists of swimming in opalescent waters, basking in glorious sunshine and strolling along beaches of shimmering white sand.
La Romana boasts the graceful resort of Casa de Campo, the ambitious project of designer Oscar de la Renta, which offers you Olympic scale swimming, Wimbledon standard tennis and Epicurean restaurants. Or you can spend the day swimming and relaxing on charming Catalina Island.
An island with a split personality, this is one of the few places in the Caribbean where the European powers co-existed peacefully. Hence, this lovely island is a mixture of Dutch, French and Caribbean tastes and delights.
With over 365 beaches, there is a slice of white sand heaven for every day of the year – even a leap year – on the idyllic Caribbean holiday island Antigua. Antigua played host to Admiral Horatio Nelson’s fleet in the late 1700’s. Nelson’s Dockyard now bustles with crew and guests from yachts and cruise ships sailing these waters for pleasure rather than for King and Country. The main port, St John’s, is also the capital and a vibrant hub for shopping as well as being within easy range of some of the best beaches – at Fort James, Deep Bay, Galley Bay and Hawksbill. Almost perfect weather conditions and low humidity, due to the warm prevailing trade winds, allows Antigua to boast of being the sunniest of the Eastern Caribbean islands with the lowest annual rainfall. It is also the largest of the English-speaking Leeward Islands although it is only 14 miles long and 11 miles wide. Still, with a population of less than 70,000, this means there are lots of wide open spaces – especially on those gorgeous beaches.
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