For many travelers, the Caribbean represents the ultimate escape. Over 7,000 islands await exploration, surrounded by turquoise waters and home to pristine white beaches. On land, visitors can hike through vivid emerald wilderness, spot sunshine-yellow parrots and glimpse fiery-red orchids, and fish of every color dart through corals in shades of purple and orange under the crystal-clear waters. Bold and colorful in every sense of the word, the Caribbean beckons with its splendid scenery, delectable foods, friendly people and boundless opportunities for exploration, adventure and relaxation.

Due to the close proximity of many Caribbean islands to their neighbors, many travelers today “island hop” around the region, going from shore to shore to experience a variety of scenery and culture in one trip. The first “island hoppers” were actually the Arawaks, Amerindians who ventured west and north throughout the region, from Cuba to the Bahamas. Little else is known about the Arawaks, who lacked a written language, but one Arawak invention can be seen on the beaches of the Caribbean to this day – the hammock.