One-week trip

With only one week to spare it is best to stay on one island and take things easy. If you are basing yourself on an island with good links by ferry then a day trip to a neighbouring island would be plenty. For example, you could stay on Anguilla and hop across to the shops on St-Martin; base yourself on Providenciales and go sightseeing on any of the Caicos Islands; go to Antigua and fly or sail over to Barbuda to see the frigate bird sanctuary or fly to Montserrat to see the volcano.

Two-week trip

Two weeks gives you time to explore two or three small islands or a large one in depth. You need more than two weeks to see everything the Dominican Republic has to offer. You will probably have exhausted all there is to do on a small island in a week, so choosing a split destination is a good idea. For transport and immigration reasons this is usually easier if you choose places like Antigua and Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, which are one country. Alternatively you could explore the British Virgin Islands or St Vincent and the Grenadines with a week ashore and a week on a yacht.

One month

A month gives you serious time to get to know parts of the region. You could visit all the French islands, or all the Dutch islands; cover Cuba from top to toe; investigate both sides of Hispaniola: the Dominican Republic and its neighbour, Haiti.

Two months

The Caribbean is your oyster and where you go will be determined by the size of your budget. You could sail through the arc, stopping in where you felt like it and spending nights on shore at whim. There are those who have spent a couple of months cycling through the islands. Alternatively, set yourself a task: learn Spanish in the Dominican Republic and then put your skills to the test on any of the Spanish-speaking islands, or enrol on a salsa dancing course in Cuba and once you've mastered the art, you'll be in demand at all the bars and clubs as you travel around.

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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