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10 facts you didn't know about the Caribbean

Tuesday 4 June 2024

View of the colourful roofs in St John’s Antigua

A location of breathtaking natural scenery, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and a tapestry of tantalising flavours, there is no doubt that the Caribbean is one of the most popular holiday and cruise destinations in the world.

Made up of hundreds of tropical islands, much of the Caribbean is undiscovered and untouched, allowing the true beauty to glisten. In this guide, we uncover 10 facts about the Caribbean, from boiling lakes to magnificent coral reefs; get excited ahead of your upcoming Caribbean cruise.

1. The Caribbean only has two seasons

Unlike the UK and many other places in Europe, the Caribbean has two seasons, as opposed to four. The dry season and the wet season split the year in half across the Caribbean, with the dry seasons typically running from December through to May and the wet season usually between June and November. If you’re heading off on a Caribbean cruise, you’ll most likely be visiting between December and April when the weather is mild but dry, ranging between 21 and 25 Celsius. Although the weather tends to be rainier during the wet season, temperatures are often hotter at an average of 29 Celsius.

2. The Caribbean has a Boiling Lake

This is as weird as it sounds, but on the island of Dominica, you can find the Boiling Lake. The second largest of its kind in the world, the Boiling Lake is a flooded fumarole from a volcano in the area known as the Valley of Desolation. This magnificent natural wonder is 200 feet wide and resembles something from another planet, with bubbling blue water that is superheated from the 2,000-year-old magma that sits below the surface.

For those brave enough, guided hikes can be organised to get a glimpse of this wonderous spectacle, and it is said that the views from the summit are nothing short of breathtaking.

3. The Caribbean has over 7,000 islands

It may sound unbelievable, but the Caribbean is made up of over 7,000 islands. Of course, not all these islands are inhabited, with only about 2% of them being called home by locals. The vast expanse of islands has conjured up a melting pot of cultures where you’ll find British, Spanish, French, Dutch, African and Creole influences. This multicultural atmosphere is one of the many reasons the Caribbean is one of the most intriguing locations when it comes to cuisine, music and art.

READ MORE: The best travel apps for cruisers

4. The Caribbean has 19 active volcanoes

There are said to be 1,500 active volcanoes worldwide, and 19 of these are in the Caribbean. The last volcano to erupt in the Caribbean was on St Vincent and is called La Soufriere, but it hasn’t erupted since 2021 and luckily no one was harmed. It is important to note that all of the islands with active volcanoes are safe to visit, and there is no sign of any imminent disruption.

5. Cuba is the biggest island in the Caribbean

Of the 7,000 or so islands that make up the Caribbean, Cuba is the largest of those islands and the second most populous, with over 12 million people calling it home. The island spans 111 thousand square kilometres, nearly 60 thousand square kilometres more than the Dominican Republic,  which is the second-largest.

Cuba, and especially Havana, are popular with cruisers due to its fascinating culture, delicious Caribbean cuisine and rich history and architecture.

6. Jamaica has the highest concentration of churches in the world

Jamaica actually holds the Guinness World Record for having the most churches per square mile, with the island having over 1,600 of them, quite a magnificent feat for one of the smaller islands in the Caribbean.  

Aerial view of some of the Mesoamerican Reef7. The Caribbean is home to the second-largest coral reef system

When you think of coral reefs, your mind might instantly jump to The Great Barrier Reef, but the Caribbean is home to some of the world’s most outstanding reefs that are often overlooked. The largest of the Caribbean coral reefs is the Mesoamerican Reef region, which lies alongside Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras and spans 700 miles.

8. Seventy-one brands of rum are produced in Caribbean distilleries

If there is one thing that the Caribbean is synonymous with, it’s rum! It is said that there are 71 brands of rum that are produced and distributed in the Caribbean, and it is no surprise because it is known to be among the best spirits in the world. Some famous rums distilled in the Caribbean include Mount Gay Rum, Havana Club, Appleton Estate and many more.

READ MORE: 8 reasons to book a world cruise

9. The Caribbean is split into the Greater Antilles and the Lower Antilles, Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands

As mentioned above, the Caribbean is split across 7,000 islands, but it is also split into four groups: the Greater Antilles, and the Lower Antilles, Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands, with many of the major islands being part of different groups.

10. Parts of all four of the Pirates of the Caribbean films were indeed shot in the Caribbean

As the name would suggest, the Pirates of the Caribbean films are set amongst the Caribbean Islands, but as with any major movie, often these are filmed on sets or with green screens. However, parts of all four movies were actually filmed on the islands. These islands include Saint Vincent and Grenadine, St. Lucia, remote isles in Tobago Cays, and other smaller and unknown islands.

If the Caribbean has always enticed you and you’re tempted by a cruise holiday with Ambassador Cruise line, then why not join us on one of our 2024 cruises? For more travel inspiration and articles like this, make sure you check our blog.

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Ambassador Cruise Holidays Limited is a company registered in England and Wales. Registered number: 13299365