The Caribbean area is comprised of islands spanning from the southern seaboard of the US to the eastern seaboard of Venezuela. Some islands are volcanic, but most are inactive. The many islands are independent countries while some are still territories of major countries. Currencies therefore differ. The coastlines and beaches also vary from black sand to white sand to rugged mountainous coasts with coves. The Caribbean Sea has a diverse biodiversity of marine mammals and fish of every variety and species. Among the hundreds of Caribbean Islands, the Bahamas, Hispaniola, Jamaica, Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic, US Virgin Islands, Aruba, and St. Martin are tourist favorites.
The Caribbean's Biggest
Many Caribbean Islands today have gained autonomy and independence. This fact has enabled their economies to flourish with continued agricultural development, financial services, and manufacturing industries. However, in a majority of the islands here, tourism is the number one industry. This brings in the much needed US dollars to boost their foreign exchange markets. Some islands in the Caribbean are larger than others, but economies vary not according to land area size but the dollars brought in by tourism and exports.
Top of the list is Cuba with about 40,852 square miles of land area. Cuba depends on its agricultural exports and skilled labor to prop up its economy. The government here is Marxist-Leninist one-party republic. Cuba has a population of about 11,239,004 of which 64.1% are white, 26.6% are Mulatto, and 9.3% are black. Second on the list is Hispaniola with 29,529 square miles of the land area comprised of two independent nations namely: Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Haiti has a population of 10,604,000. Its economy is about tourism, remittances, foreign aid, and agricultural exports. The Dominican Republic has a population of about 9,980,243. Its economy is driven by tourism, manufacturing, and construction. Third on the list is Jamaica with a land area of 4,320 square miles. Population is about 2,950,210. Its economy is driven by tourism, manufacturing exports, mining, financial services, and insurance services. The fourth is Puerto Rico with 3,435 square miles of land area. Fifth is Trinidad, Trinidad and Tobago with 1,863 square miles of land area. Sixth is North Andros Island, the Bahamas with 1,328 square miles of land area. Seventh is Isla de la Juventud, Cuba with 863 square miles of land area. Eighth on the list is Great Inagua Island, Bahamas, with 596 square miles of land area. Ninth is South Andros Island, Bahamas, with 559 square miles of land area. Finally, tenth on the list but all the same, a great place to visit is the Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas, with 530 square miles of land area.
The Caribbean Tourism Industry
North Americans and South Americans, even Europeans have heard or been to the Caribbean Islands and expect to visit again. Ecotourism is a big thing in the islands as well as regular tourism accounting for about $22.9 billion of revenue in 2008. Some Caribbean islands are also a tax haven for the very rich. Snorkeling, scuba diving, sailing, and game fishing are also popular with tourists. Cruise ships are a mainstay of some Caribbean ports. Vacation rentals and timeshares are also popular in the Caribbean. Several Carnivals in some of the islands rival those in Brazil and Argentina. Cuba is a popular destination now that it has revived diplomatic relations with the US again.