CARIBBEAN OVERVIEW

Last updated: 2003-02-23

Overview

The Caribbean, or the West Indies as it is also called, is the 1,000,000 square miles of the Caribbean Sea and the countries in it. The island surface area is 90,000 square miles. This region is bounded by the Greater Antilles in the north, by the Lesser Antilles in the east, by the coasts of Venezuela, Columbia and Panama in the south and by the eastern coasts of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Belize and the Mexican Yucatan peninsula in the west. By this definition, countries such as the Bahamas and the Turks & Caicos Islands are not in the Caribbean as they are in the Atlantic. They are, however, considered part of the Caribbean for reasons of similar culture and for being in the same tourist market. Furthermore, you can add Guyane, Suriname and Guyana to the Caribbean. These three ex-Guianas are more Caribbean than Latin American in outlook, despite being in South America. Indeed, Guyana has the only Test Cricket ground in South America - and cricket, as every Caribbean fan knows, is the greatest sport in the British West Indies.

Former colonial, trading and other influences are very strong and can be seen everywhere. Most obviously, perhaps, are the main languages - English, Spanish, French and Dutch - of those who were engaged in colonialism, sugarcane growing, slavery, fighting, mining and trading. And politically, here are some examples: British crown colonies are British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands and Turks & Caicos Islands; British dependent territories are Anguilla and Montserrat; the British Monarch is head of state of the independent countries of Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, St Kitts & Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines and St Lucia; Guadeloupe (with its arondissements (divisions) St Martin and St Barthelemy), Martinique and Guyane are French overseas departments; and Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles are autonomous members of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Population

30 million. The average density is 333 inhabitants per square mile, ranging from 64 (Turks & Caicos) to 1,530 (Barbados).

Countries

Greater Antilles
This area in the western Caribbean, comprising Cuba, Haïti, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Puerto Rico, has the bulk of the island land mass.

CUBA

Currency: CU Peso
Tourists should bring US Dollars in small-value notes
Departure tax: US$10
Capital: Havana
Airport: José Martí International (HAV)

Baracoa Airport (BCA)
Bayamo Airport (BYM)
Camagüey Airport: Ignacio Agramonte International (CMW)
Cayo Coco Airport (CCC)
Cayo Largo Airport: Vitalio Acuña (CYO)
Ciego de Avila Airport: Maximo Gomez (AVI)
Guantanámo Airport: Mariana Grajales (GAO)
Holguín Airport: Frank Pais International (HOG)
Las Tunas Airport (VTU)
Matanzas Airport: Kawama (VRO)
Nueva Gerona Airport: Rafael Cabrera (GER)
Santa Clara Airport (SNU)
Santiago de Cuba Airport: Antonio Maceo (SCU)
Trinidad Airport (TND)
Varadero Airports:
Juan Gualberto Gomez International (VRA), Matanzas Kawama (VRO)

HAÏTI

Currency: HT Gourde. Tourists should bring US Dollars or French Francs.
Departure tax: US$25, plus US$2 security tax
Capital: Port-au-Prince
Airports: Mais Gate (PAP), Aviation Generale

Cap Haïtien Airport (CAP)
Hinche Airport
Jacmel Airport (JAK)
Jeremie Airport (JEE)
Gonaives Airport
Les Cayes Airport (CYA)
Port-de-Paix Airport (PAX)

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Currency: DO Peso
Departure Tax: US$10
Capital: Santo Domingo
Airports: Las Americas International (SDQ), Herrera (HEX)

Puerto Plata Airport: Gregorio Luperón International (POP)
Santiago de Los Caballeros Airport: La Vega (STI)
La Romana Airport (LRM)
Punta Cana Airport: Municipal (PUJ)
Barahona Airport: Maria Montes (BRX)
Samana Airports:
Samana International Arroyo Barril (ZAB), El Portillo (EPS)

Sabana de La Mar Airport (SNX)
San Juan de La Maguana Airport (SJM)

JAMAICA

Currency: JM Dollar
Departure tax: JM$750/US$22
Capital: Kingston (KIN)
Airports: Norman Manley International (KIN), Tinson Pen (KTP)

Montego Bay Airport: Donald Sangster International (MBJ)

Ocho Rios Airport: Boscobel (OCJ)
Negril Airport (NEG)
Port Antonio Airport: Ken Jones (POT)

PUERTO RICO
(An overseas commonwealth territory of the USA)

Currency: US Dollar, locally called the Peso
Departure tax: None, but LIAT requires a security tax of US$5
Capital: San Juan
Airports: Luis Muñoz Marin International (SJU), Isla Grande (SIG)

Arecibo Airport (ARE)
Aguadilla Airport: Rafael Hernandez (BQN)

Culebra - Main village: Dewey (Pueblo)
Airport: Culebra (CPX)

Dorado Airport (DDP)
Vieques - Main town: Isabel Segunda
Airport: Vieques (VQS)

Fajardo Airport (FAJ)
Mayaguez Airport (MAZ)
Ponce Airport: Mercedita (PSE)

CAYMAN ISLANDS
(A British crown colony)

Currency: KY Dollar
Departure tax: US$10 for over 11s, payable in KY$ as well

GRAND CAYMAN
Capital: George Town
Airport: Owen Roberts International (GCM)

CI$1.8m (US$1.4m) spent by the CAA on upgrading the terminal, adding more than 18,000 square feet including expansion of the Immigration, baggage collection and Customs arrivals areas; an expanded lobby exit area and departure lounge and improved access for disabled travellers.

CAYMAN BRAC
Main village: Spotts Bay
Airport: Gerrad-Smith International (CYB)

LITTLE CAYMAN
Main settlement: South Town
Airfield: Edward Bodden (LYB)

Lesser Antilles
This area in the eastern and southern Caribbean is an arc from St Thomas of the US Virgin Islands to Aruba. It comprises the Leeward Islands, the Windward Islands, Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago.

US VIRGIN ISLANDS (US Leewards)
(An unincorporated Territory of the US Department of Interior)

Currency: US Dollar
Departure tax: US$5, included in airline ticket price

ST THOMAS
Capital: Charlotte Amalie, which is also the Capital of the US Virgin Islands
Airport: Cyril E King (STT)

ST CROIX
Capital: Chistiansted
Airport: Henry E Rohlsen (STX)

BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS (British Leewards)
(A British crown colony)

Currency: US Dollar. British visitors - take note!
Departure tax: US$8, plus US$5 security tax

TORTOLA
Capital: Road Town, which is also the Capital of the British Virgin Islands
Airport: Beef Island International (EIS)

VIRGIN GORDA
Main town: Spanish Town
Airport: International (VIJ)

ANEGADA
Main settlement: The Settlement
Airport: Anegada (NGD)

ANGUILLA (British Leewards)
(A British Dependent Territory)

Currency: Eastern Caribbean (EC) Dollar, US Dollar accepted everywhere
Departure tax: EC$15/US$6
Capital: The Valley
Airport: Wallblake (AXA)

ANTIGUA & BARBUDA (British Leewards)

Currency: EC Dollar
Departure tax: EC$35/EC$45 (CARICOM/non-CARICOM)

ANTIGUA
Capital: St John's
Airport: V C Bird International (ANU)

BARBUDA
Main town: Codrington
Airport: Codrington (BBQ)

St KITTS & NEVIS (British Leewards)

Currency: EC Dollar, US Dollar accepted
Departure tax: EC$40/US$15 for stays of 24 hours or more

ST KITTS
Capital: Basseterre
Airport: Robert Llewelyn Bradshaw International Airport (SKB)

Terminal upgrade completed mid-1998.

NEVIS
Main town: Charlestown
Airport: Newcastle (NEV)

MONTSERRAT (British Leewards)
(A British Dependent Territory)

Currency: EC Dollar
Airport: W H Bramble (MNI) - terminal destroyed by pyroclastic flows from the volcano in June 1997

DOMINICA (British Windwards)

Currency: EC Dollar
Departure tax: EC$20, plus EC$5 security service charge. Day trippers pay EC$5
Capital: Roseau
Airports: Melville Hall (DOM), Cane Field (DCF)

ST LUCIA (British Windwards)

Currency: EC Dollar
Departure tax: EC$37
Capital: Castries
Airports: Hewanorra International (UVF), George F L Charles (SLU)

ST VINCENT & THE GRENADINES (British Windwards)

Currency: EC Dollar
Departure tax: EC$20
ST VINCENT
Capital: Kingstown
Airport: Ebenezer T Joshua (SVD)

THE GRENADINES

Bequia
Main town: Port Elizabeth
Airport: James F Mitchell (BQU)

Mustique (Privately owned)
Airport: Mustique (MQS)

Canouan Island
Main settlement: Charlestown
Airport: Canouan Municipal (CIW)
Refurbishment completed in December 1998 at a cost of over EC$33m.
Union Island
Main town: Clifton
Airport: Bougainville (UNI)

GRENADA (British Windwards)

Currency: EC Dollar
Departure tax: EC$50 (child 5-12 EC$25)
Capital: St George's
Airport: Point Salines International (GND)

CARRIACOU
Main town: Hillsborough
Airfield: Lauriston International (CRU)

ARUBA (Netherlands Windwards)
(Autonomous part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)

Currency: AW Florin
Departure tax: US$20
Capital: Oranjestad
Airport: Reina Beatrix International (AUA)

Expansion due to be completed by 2000. Two new terminals will handle international and US-bound flights. A US Customs and Immigration facility will pre-clear visitors.

NETHERLANDS ANTILLES

Currency: AN Guilder

CURAÇAO (Netherlands Windwards)
(Seat of the Netherlands Antilles government)
Departure tax: US$10, or US$6 to Netherlands Antilles
Capital: Willemstad
Airport: Hato International (CUR)

BONAIRE (Netherlands Windwards)
Departure tax: US$10, or US$6 to Netherlands Antilles
Capital: Kralendijk
Airport: Flamingo International (BON)

SINT MAARTEN (Netherlands Leewards)
(Part of the Netherlands Antilles)
Departure tax: US$10, or US$5 to Netherlands Antilles
Capital: Philipsburg
Airport: Princess Juliana International (SXM)

SABA (Netherlands Leewards)
Departure tax: US$5, or US$2 to Netherlands Antilles
Capital: Windwardside
Airport: Juancho E Yrausquin (SAB)

SINT EUSTATIUS (Netherlands Leewards)
Main town: Oranjestad
Airport: Franklin D Roosevelt (EUX)

GUADELOUPE (French Leewards)
(A French overseas department)

Currency: FR Franc
Departure tax: None
Capital: Basse-Terre
Airport: Baillif (BBR) - domestic

Main town: Point-à-Pitre
Airport: Pôle Caraïbes (PTP)

St Francois Airport (SFC) - international

Terre-de-Haute
Airport: Terre-de-Haute (LSS)

Terre-de-Bas
Airport: Terre-de-Bas (HTB)

Marie-Galante
Main settlement: Grand-Bourg
Airport: Grand-Bourg (GBJ)

La Desirade
Airport: La Desirade (DSD)

Saint Martin (French Leewards)
(An arrondissement of the French overseas department of Guadeloupe)
Capital: Marigot
Airport: Esperance (SFG)
Note: International flights use SXM - see Sint Maarten

St Barthelemy (French Leewards)
(An arrondissement of the French overseas department of Guadeloupe)
Main town: Gustavia
Airport: Gustav III (SBH)

MARTINIQUE (French Leewards)
(A French overseas department)

Currency: FR Franc
Departure tax: None
Capital: Fort-de-France
Airport: Le Lamentin (FDF)

BARBADOS

Currency: BB Dollar
Departure tax: BB$50 for stays of 24 hours or more
Capital: Bridgetown
Airport: Grantley Adams International (BGI)

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO

Currency: TT Dollar
Departure tax: TT$75 in local currency only
TRINIDAD
Capital: Port of Spain
Airport: Piarco International (POS)

TOBAGO
Main town: Scarborough
Airport: Crown Point International (TAB)

VENEZUELAN CARIBBEAN (Venezuelan Leewards)

Currency: VE Bolivar
Departure tax: VEB 2,800, payable in US$ as well
Capital: La Asuncion

ISLA DE MARGARITA
Main City: Porlamar
Airport: General Santiago Mariño (PMV)

ISLAS LOS ROQUES
Airport: Los Roques (LRV)

ISLA LA BLANQUILLA

THE BAHAMAS

Currency: BS Dollar, US Dollar on par and accepted everywhere
Departure tax: US$15, under 3s exempt
NEW PROVIDENCE
Capital: Nassau
Airport: International (NAS)

GRAND BAHAMA
Main town: Freeport
Airport: International (FPO)

Deep Water Key Airfield
Grand Bahama Airfield (GBI)
West End International Airport (WTD)

THE FAMILY ISLANDS (OUT ISLANDS)
ABACO ISLANDS
Main town: Marsh Harbour
Airport: International (MHH)

Walker's Cay
Airport: Municipal (WKR)

Treasure Cay Airport (TCB)
Cherokee Sound Airfield (CQZ)
Gorda Cay Airfield
Sandy Point Airfield
Spanish Cay Airfield
Mores Island Airfield
Scotland Cay Airfield

ANDROS
NORTH
Main town: Andros Town (Fresh Creek)
Airport: International (ASD)

San Andros Airport (SAQ)
Mastic Point (MSK)

MIDDLE BIGHTS
Mangrove Cay Airport (MAY)

SOUTH
South Andros
Airport: South Andros (TZN)

BERRY ISLANDS
Main settlement: Bullock's Harbour, Great Harbour Cay
Airport: Great Harbour Cay (GHC)

Chub Cay Airport (CCZ)
Little Whale Cay Airfield
Big Whale Cay Airfield

BIMINI
Capital: Alice Town
Terminal: North Seaplane Base (NSB)

South Bimini Airfield (BIM)

Cat Cay Airport (CXS)
Ocean Cay Airfield

CAT ISLAND
Capital: New Bight
Airport: International (TBI)

Arthur's Town Airport (ATC)

CROOKED ISLAND
Main settlement: Colonel Hill
Airport: Major's Cay (CRI)

Pitt's Town Airport (PWN)

ACKLINS
Spring Point Airport (AXP)

ELEUTHERA
Governor's Harbour Airport (GHB)
North Eleuthera Airport (ELH)
Rock Sound Airport (RSD)
Powell Point (PPO)
Spanish Wells (SWL)

THE EXUMAS
GREAT EXUMA
Main town: George Town
Airport: Exuma International (GGT)

THE CAYS
Airport: Staniel Cay (TYM)

INAGUA
Main settlement: Matthew Town
Airport: Inagua (IGA)

LONG ISLAND
Main settlement: Deadman's Cay
Airport: Deadman's Cay (LGI)

Stella Maris (SML)

MAYAGUANA
Main settlement: Abraham's Bay
Airport: Mayaguana (MYG)

RAGGED ISLAND
Duncan Town Airport (DCT)

SAN SALVADOR
Main settlement: Cockburn Town
Airport: San Salvador (ZSA)

TURKS & CAICOS ISLANDS
(A British crown colony)

Currency: US Dollar
Departure tax: US$15

TURKS GROUP
GRAND TURK
Capital: Cockburn Town
Airport: Grand Turk (GDT)

SALT CAY
Main settlement: Balfour Town
Salt Cay Airport (SLX)

CAICOS GROUP
PROVIDENCIALES
Airport: Municipal (PLS) - main gateway to T&C

NORTH CAICOS
Airport: North Caicos (NCA)
Main settlement: Bottle Creek

Middle Caicos
Airport: Middle Caicos (MDS)
Main settlement: Conch Bar

South Caicos

Sole settlement: Cockburn Harbour
Airport: South Caicos (XSC)

GUYANA

Currency: GY Dollar. Cambios only exchange US$, CA$ or GB Pound
Departure tax: GY$1,500/US$13
Capital: Georgetown
Airports: Cheddi Jagan International (GEO), Ogle (OGL)

Annai Airport (NAI)
Bartica Airport (GFO)
Kaieteur Falls Airport (KAI)
Kaiture Airport (TXW)
Karanambo Airport (KRM)
Karasabai Airport (KRG)
Kato Airport (KTO)
Lethem Airport (LTM)
Mabaruma Airport (USI)
Mahdia Airport (MHA)
Orinduik Airport (ORJ)
Paramakatoi Airport (PMT)
Port Kaituma Airport (PKM)

SURINAME

Currency: SR Guilder
Departure tax: US$15
Capital: Paramaribo
Airports: Johann Adolf Pengel International (PBM), Zorg-en-Hoop (ORG)

GUYANE
(A French overseas department)

Currency: FR Franc
Capital: Cayenne
Airport: Rochambeau International (CAY)

MEXICAN CARIBBEAN

Currency: MX Nuevo Peso. Visitors should bring US$ travellers' cheques
Departure tax: US$12

CANCUN
Airport: International (CUN)

COZUMEL
Airport: San Miguel (CZM)

ISLA MUJERES
Airport: Isla Mujeres (ISJ)

Belize

Currency: BZ Dollar
Departure tax: US$12, plus security screening charge US$1.25
Capital: Belmopan
Main city: Belize City
Airports: Philip SW Goldson International (BZE), Municipal (TZA)

Belmopan Airport (BCV)
Big Creek Airport (BGK)
Caye Caulker Airport (CUK)
Caye Chapel Airport (CYC)
Corozal Airport (CZH)
Dangriga Airport (DGA)
Placencia Airport (PLJ)
Punta Gorda Airport (PND)
Santa Cruz Airport (STU)
San Pedro Airport (SPR)

BAY ISLANDS, HONDURAS

Currency: HN Lempira
Departure tax: US$11
ROATÁN (RTB)
GUANAJA (GJA)
UTILA (UII)

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Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 Roger Chung-Wee
Permission is granted to freely copy and distribute this document in whole or in part provided that it is not done for profit and that this entire copyright notice remains attached.