best cultural experiences and
attractions of the Caribbean
Interested in the culture of the Caribbean? Here's BCD's big picture, followed by our "places to go & people to see" package of articles, interviews and videos!
There are more than 700 islands in the Caribbean Sea, encompassing the Greater Antilles (Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Jamaica and Cayman Islands) and Lesser Antilles (including Barbados, Dominica, Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Grenada, Virgin Islands, St. Martin, St. Kitts, Trinidad and Tobago, and Guadeloupe). Culturally, the Caribbean islands are a melting pot reflective of the region's history as a base for exploration and colonialization, a hub of the slave trade, and waves of migration. Influences are far-reaching: African, AmerIndian, Asian and European.
The Northern Caribbean island of Puerto Rico offers incredible hospitality and history, with pristine beaches, lush mountain forests, and sherbet-colored Spanish Colonial architecture. Puerto Ricans' lineage includes Taino Indians, Spanish Colonists and African slaves, and their culture includes dominoes, dancing, wood-carving and mask-making. Old San Juan is sun-drenched city of Spanish Colonial architecture flanked by immense fortresses, full of secret squares and a multitude of museums. On the south coast, the city of Ponce features a whimsical collection of architectural styles, of which the centerpiece is the distinctive Bombas firehouse.
The island of Curacao, 35 miles north of Venezuela, is more than pristine white sand beaches and turquoise waters. The isle has a rich cultural heritage that includes sherbet-colored Dutch architecture in the capital of Willemstad; the oldest Sephardic Jewish community in the Western hemisphere; the joyful songs of Tumba, a form of music with its roots in slavery; and a deep knowledge and long tradition of botanical healing.
Trinidad is the southernmost island in the Caribbean and lies seven miles off the coast of Venezuela. The island has one of the largest Hindu populations outside India concentrated within its 1,864 square miles of coastline, offering the opportunity to experience Divali in the Western Hemisphere; the festival celebrates light over dark, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance. Trinidad is sometimes called the "Rainbow Island" because of its cultural diversity; it is home to numerous spiritual communities — a vibrant faith is practiced by Catholics, Shouter Baptists, Amerindians, and Muslims.
Click on the link below for a collection of pieces about the culture of the Caribbean!