The very words "Western Caribbean" conjure up images of blue crystal seas, white sands, and waving palm trees casting cooling shadows in the glorious sunshine of this paradise region. An ideal destination for a honeymoon, second honeymoon or just that idyllic holiday you always dreamed of, this area features perfect weather, delicious regional food and so much to do and see.
There are 7,000 islands in the Caribbean, ranging in size from Cuba to tiny isles too small to support a population, and so much to explore. So much of this region is devoted to pleasure that you are bound to find many things that will make you sorry to go home at the end of your stay. Go scuba diving in the morning, eat fresh lobster for lunch and then loll in the afternoon sun before getting dressed for dinner and dancing in the evening.
Wherever you hail from, luxury liners will take you to destinations in a ring of ports that are strung like pearls along the Caribbean coastline, with stopovers at each place so you can explore and discover the delights of these sunny and friendly places.
Beautiful Belize City on the mainland offers untold delights, including tropical rainforests packed with birds of paradise, ancient Mayan sites to explore, kayaking, cave walking and scuba diving – check out the amazing sea life around the largest coral reef in these seas. The locales are friendly and speak English, and the local cuisine is spicy and colorful.
Bright stimulating Havana offers shopping and sights for visitors, followed by nightlife in a city that never sleeps. Tour the city and see its traditional sights, and you will always find something to surprise and delight you. This is the home of big cigars, rum, salsa dancing and voodoo, but never boredom.
Get a warm Jamaican welcome at Montego Bay, where reggae music will greet you as you come ashore to its glittering beaches, good restaurants and nightclubs. Scuba diving, snorkeling, boat trips, and guided tours to the pirate locations of this historic place are all waiting. On the north coast, visit Ochos Rios, part of the "garden parish" of St Ann, so called because of the lush forest that clothes the surrounding countryside.
The Caymans are what the western Caribbean is all about. The best known is Grand Cayman, where in George Town you can find amazing retail opportunities and food to dream about. Grand Cayman also has astonishingly beautiful scenery, including the famous Seven Mile Beach of white sand. The other two islands, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac, are also breathtaking, with their palms, tropical wildlife and stunning coral sea setting.
The Bay Islands
The Bay Islands, including exotic Roatan, also have gleaming beaches and hidden coves, with blue seas and coral reefs to visit. The nightlife is great here and the eating fabulous, especially if you love fresh fish, lobster and shrimp, followed by tropical fruit and served with mouth-watering cocktails.
Ixchel, Mexico's answer to the goddess Aphrodite, lived on Cozumel – and who can blame her? If she is still around, she probably spends a lot of her time enjoying the unique shopping opportunities this sunny island and its only town St Miguel has to offer. Mayan ruins, sometimes some of Ixchel's temples, are waiting here to be explored, and divers can enjoy the astonishing Palancar reef and the other reefs nearby.