Getting around

In general, you will not find a remote hideaway on islands like Antigua and Sint Maarten, which receive transatlantic charter flights. However, they are useful jumping-off points for smaller islands. If you have a tight budget, it is worth investigating where cheap flights go to from your country and then finding out which islands can be easily reached from there. For example, there are often cheap charter flights to Antigua, Sint Maarten or St Lucia from Europe, which connect with flights to the British Virgin Islands and all the Leeward and Windward Islands. Connections are good between France and Guadeloupe and Martinique, which could combine with a visit to Les Saintes and Dominica. There are lots of flights from the USA to Puerto Rico, which again has links with nearly all the other Caribbean Islands.
Air Jamaica
uses Montego Bay as its regional hub and is increasing the number of flights to other islands, including the Dutch Antilles. Only Cuba has rather poor inter-island links, both by air and by sea, but then there is enough to keep you busy on such a large island for you not to need to combine it with anywhere else.

Transport links between islands are fine if you want to fly everywhere, but after several hours in an aeroplane getting to the Caribbean from Europe, South or North America, you may prefer to travel by sea, which is usually cheaper but takes longer and can be either fascinating or unpleasant if you suffer from seasickness in rough weather. In the Windward Islands there is a ferry between Dominica, St Lucia and the French islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe, well used by local shoppers as well as tourists, offering you the chance of combining the nature tourism of Dominica and the beach resorts of St Lucia with the flavours of France in the Caribbean. You can travel from St Vincent down through the Grenadines to Grenada by mail boat, fishing boat and hovercraft, a cheaper alternative to chartering a yacht and doing it yourself. A car ferry links the Dominican Republic with Puerto Rico and there are ferries between the US and British Virgin Islands letting you visit a number of islands without having the work of sailing your own yacht. In the Leeward Islands, Sint Maarten/Saint-Martin is a useful hub for transatlantic flights from where ferries go out to Anguilla, St-Barts and Saba like spokes of a wheel, allowing you to sample English, French and Dutch islands. A few days on each island would be plenty, as they are small and compact. Links with Venezuela tend to come and go, but there is a ferry from Trinidad to G├╝iria.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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