What to expect on your Caribbean vacation

Many dream of a vacation in the Caribbean. The tropical paradise, the uncrowded islands, and the silence are what draw people to the region. It is easy to understand why. Spending some time on a remote island with your feet in the sand sounds heavenly. There are, however, some assumptions that travellers make that are …

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Many dream of a vacation in the Caribbean. The tropical paradise, the uncrowded islands, and the silence are what draw people to the region. It is easy to understand why. Spending some time on a remote island with your feet in the sand sounds heavenly. There are, however, some assumptions that travellers make that are incorrect. Here are just a few things some travellers are surprised to learn.

Not everyone speaks English

Several hundred years ago, the Caribbean was colonised primarily by the French, Spanish, Dutch, and English. What language (or languages) are spoken where you visit will vary from territory to territory. The British West Indies has English as the dominant language, but if you go to a Dutch West Indian island like Aruba, you will hear not just Dutch but a Portugese-based creole called Papiamento. The Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico predominantly speak Spanish, and you will hear French in Haiti and Martinique, among others, and French patois in islands like Lucia and Dominica.

No two islands are the same

The islands are very different. Just because you have seen one of the Caribbean islands, it does not mean you have seen it all. They are have different terrains. Some are volcanic and mountainous, while others are limestone-based. Some are densely populated in parts, while others are much less so. At the same time, the people are different, and the culture. You will have different experiences wherever you go.

Credit cards optional

You can pay with credit cards when you are at a big resort or a mall, but if you want to shop at one of the many small roadside shops, and even some bars and restaurants, you will need cash. So hit the ATM before you go there. Also, do not forget that not all islands work on US dollars. Look into the local currency, and make sure to see what currencies are accepted, so you can make any necessary exchange before you leave.

Do not expect Wi-Fi everywhere

You are on vacation, so you should probably leave your phone or laptop aside. However, if you need to write a few replies for work, do not expect Wi-Fi everywhere. You will find it at your hotel/resort, and there are some coffee shops here and there that can provide internet, but on less developed islands, internet is not common. You will depend on your hotel to provide it.

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Some of the islands require a visa

Depending on your nationality, you may need a visa. The Dominican Republic requires a tourist card, for instance. However, that is pretty easy to obtain these days. All you need is a passport. Other things may be required as well, but you should have no trouble applying.

While the Caribbean islands may be different, if you read a little bit about them, you should be able to enjoy your vacation without anything interfering with your relaxation. The Caribbean is indeed a small piece of paradise, and you will have a fantastic vacation there.

 

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