Focus on
the Caribbean

How do we describe such a beautiful, if not, the most beautiful and vibrant regions on Earth, the Caribbean?   


Born and raised in the Caribbean I’ll admit to being biased when talking about it. There are at least 28 Island nations and more than 7,000 individual Islands in the Caribbean. This includes Islands off the Coasts of South and Central America, as well as those in the Leeward and Windward Islands and the major Islands of Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola (home to Haiti and the Dominican Republic), and Puerto Rico.

The Caribbean is a multi-racial, multi-cultural region, with varied beliefs, culinary, musical, and artistic elements. Its intellectual and historical heritage makes the Caribbean a melting pot of cultures giving it a unique cultural distinction. The people, places, food, lush beautiful beaches, majestic mountains, volcanos, spices, fruits, and yes, the music, like calypso, salsa, soca, and reggae are all part of the Caribbean’s charm.

Reggae originated in the beautiful Island of Jamaica. Anywhere in the world you go, you can hear the sweet sound of Jamaican Reggae music, the sweet rhythms that speak to your soul. As Bob Marley said, “when it hits you, you feel no pain”. Bob is celebrated as one of music’s true legends who circled the World with this magnetic music, that captures the imagination and the soul. Calypso and soca music get you dancing and “whining” to its famous Carnival tones. The steel drum, invented in Trinidad and Tobago, gives that sweet symphonic sound you can listen to all day or night. Rumba, samba, and salsa originated with our Latino brothers and sisters and it keeps your feet and hips moving to its beats.

Let us elaborate a little about the foods of the Caribbean. Starting with Jamaica’s famous Jerk poultry, meats, or fish, a gastronomic delight that cannot be missed. We can also tantalize your tastebuds with Roti and Pilau from Trinidad, Griot from Haiti, Fish and Fungi from the Virgin Islands, Conch from the Bahamas, Fajitas from Cuba, and Callaloo soup from St Martins, just to name a few. If you should go Island hopping your pallet will certainly be satisfied. Your thirst will be quenched with delicious cocktails, mixed with Caribbean rum and fruit juices that taste like no other in the World.

The Beaches in the Caribbean are so beautiful that there are no words to describe them. They are like Heaven on Earth. The tranquil sceneries, white or brown sandy beaches, water that is so blue, it seems like the sky and the Ocean collide and shines like rear blue diamonds. Beaches like Magen’s Bay in the USV, Negril Beach in Jamaica, and dare I say Treasure Key in the Bahamas, Silver sands in Barbados, Tropical Beach in Antigua, and Grace Bay Beach in Turks and Cacaos must be experienced by everyone.

When you dream of paradise, dream of cocktails with the best tasting rum, relaxing beaches, and sunshine that feels warm on your body, music to make you sway or gyrate, and foods to satisfy your pallet. The Caribbean boasts a rich culture, that will take a hold of you and never let you go. Want to get away?Make it the Caribbean!! And take in a little of everything these islands have to offer. Open up your heart and taste paradise, especially our music and foods. Mmmm!! Calypso and Roti, Salsa and Tostones Rellenos, and of course reggae music and jerk dishes. Let’s Go!

The Island

The Caribbean region consists of over 700 Uninhabited and inhabited Islands in the Caribbean Sea. Caribbean people are…

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The Island Traditions

The Caribbean region consists of over 700 Uninhabited and inhabited Islands in the Caribbean Sea. Caribbean people are those born in one of the Caribbean Islands or who currently reside in any of the approximately 100 inhabited Islands of the Caribbean Sea. It could also be the people of Caribbean descent living outside the Islands. The Caribbean region was initially populated by Amerindians from several different Kalinago and Taino groups until the Spaniards came, followed by the English, the French, and the Dutch. The latter groups brought African Slaves that now account for the largest ethnic group in the region. Other ethnicities found in the Caribbean are Groups of Indigenous peoples, East Indians, Europeans, Chinese as well as Portuguese, Arabs, and Jews. Of the Indigenous peoples, the earliest known inhabitants were the Caribs, Arawak, and Ciboney groups who migrated from South America. When describing the peoples of the Caribbean, you have to look at the culture, customs, folk traditions, music, foods and sports, and contributions to the world at large. The Caribbean culture is authentic and rich. It’s contrived from a rich mixture of all the past and current people groups that come together to form a spicy and enticing blend. From the early days of the Pirates and merchants to the present, the region has been home to great artists, athletes, as well as renowned intellectuals. Some of our great artists include Bob Marley and his family of Jamaica, Wycliffe John of Haiti, Rhianna from Barbados, and The Mighty Sparrow from Trinidad. Our well-known athletes include Marlene Ottey, Shelley Ann Fraser Price, and from Trinidad and Tobago Hasely Crawford and Ato Boldon, to name a few, and needless to say, one of the greatest sprinters of all time Usain Bolt. Our intellectuals include Nobel Prize winner Sir Arthur Lewis, an economist from St Lucia. Monique Mendes the first female to graduate with a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Rochester is a Jamaican National, and our new VP of the US Ms. Kamala Harris has a Jamaican father.

Caribbean people are diverse in their languages, religions, values, and customs. Their creative nature and tenacity passed on from their ancestors can be seen in the unique dialects, foods, arts and crafts found on each Island. In the Caribbean, traditional celebrations comprise a big part of everyday life. Events like Carnival, Passa Passa, and Junkanoo masquerades are enjoyed in all the Islands as well as other nations throughout the world. Of course, international traditions like Easter and Christmas are celebrated throughout the region.

Although influenced by other countries such as the US, the people of the Caribbean remain authentic, self-sufficient, creative, and culturally diverse trendsetters. They possess the zeal to learn while still maintaining their joyful enthusiasm. This well-rounded and extraordinary group of people live life their way. Get to know the people of the Caribbean through their numerous contributions to this global society

The Tropics

What would island-hopping be without our delicious liquid indulgences? You don’t need a reason to celebrate but when…

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Taste the Tropics

Caribbean cuisines are tasty, mouth-watering, satisfying, and leaves you wanting more. The food is derived from a combination of African, French, Indian, Chinese, English, Portuguese, and Spanish influences, and varies from island to island. Some dishes are common to all the islands such as rice and peas (beans). There are some specialty dishes associated with specific islands and are even designated as national dishes like ackee and saltfish from Jamaica, or fish and fungi from the USVI.

One of the most famous and delicious foods associated with the Caribbean is the Jamaican jerk, which now has its own day. Jerk is a method of seasoning and cooking foods. Whether you like it spicy or not, this mouth-watering poultry, pork, or seafood, seasoned with allspice and Scotch bonnet peppers along with other island spices and slow-cooked, will leave you wanting more. Pelau, a dish with East Indian influence, is a combination of meat, vegetables, peas, and rice from Trinidad. Doubles is also one of the more popular foods of Trinidad and Tobago made with two pieces of fried dough (bara), topped with curried chickpeas (channa), and cucumber chutney. Conch chowder is most commonly found in the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos. It is a simple tomato-based dish that starts with a mixture of carrot, onion, and celery. Conch is a tropical marine mollusk found in the Caribbean Sea and it also makes a delicious salad. You can find one of the most delicious one-pot dishes in Grenada, called “oil down” (pronounced “ile dung”). It is made of stewed chicken, dumplings, and coconut milk seasoned with local island spices. As you island-hop over to St Lucia and taste their green fig and saltfish or bounce to Barbados for some Macaroni Pie you can satisfy even the most discerning palates with amazing indigenous spices.

What would island-hopping be without our delicious liquid indulgences? You don’t need a reason to celebrate but when you find one you can go all out with a wide variety of mixtures. For example, Christmas is not the same without Caribbean Black Cake with Jamaican rum and sorrel drink or rum punch. Experience a plethora of thirst quenchers such as the Bahama Mama from the Bahamas, Bajan Punch from Barbados, Pina Colada from Puerto Rico, and Mojito or Daiquiri from Cuba. There is the Painkiller from the British Virgin Islands or you can grab a Dark and Stormy from Bermuda. Your thirst will be quenched, your pallet will be satisfied and before you leave you will be missing all that you’re leaving behind, the most tantalizing taste experience you’ve ever had. Ah! the delight of Caribbean cuisine. Once you’ve tasted, you’ll never forget.

Music Rich

As some may say, “music is food for the soul”. If that is the case then Caribbean music is a delicious mouthful. The styles …

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Music Rich Culture

As some may say, “music is food for the soul”. If that is the case then Caribbean music is a delicious mouthful. The styles of Caribbean music are as diverse as the people themselves. Each island having one or two styles that can be defined as their own, while embracing the wide variety that is offered throughout the region. From Reggae music originating in Jamaica to Calypso and Soca from Trinidad and Tobago, the world has embraced the music of the Caribbean. Other music coming out of the region include Merengue from the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rican Mento and Reggaeton, Zouk of Guadeloupe and Martinique., Bouyon of Dominica, and Punta of Honduras and Nicaragua. Although all the genre of music from the Caribbean has its fans, it would be safe to say that the most popular music from the region is Reggae! Reggae is believed to be derived from Ska music also originating in Jamaica in the 1960s. It features an upbeat tempo, aggressive use of horns, vocal harmonies, and staccato riffs. Its biggest hit came from stars such as Prince Buster, The Skatalites, Millie Small, and Desmond Decker and the Aces. Ska exported its influence to Britain and to a lesser extent the United States. The music began to change in the late 1960s and solidified with the growth of the Rastafarian movement in the 1970s. It was music about Black freedom and unity and emphasized Jah and African repatriation, especially to Ethiopia. The language was raw and seductive and exposed the international audience to “Patois”, the unofficial language of Jamaica. Reggae combined the freedom of ska with the characteristics of New Orleans rhythm and blues. Bob Marley and the Wailers made Jamaican Reggae an international phenomenon. The syncopated beat of the music, is emphasized on dragged drum beats also known as the “one-drop” and the bass guitar is prominent as it assists the drums in giving the heavy, pounding sound that we all know and love. Reggae music and its younger derivative, dancehall, is one of the best-known of the Caribbean music styles. This music is extremely popular in the US, Britain, and Africa and can be heard in almost any nation of the globe that you may visit. Other greats such as Jimmy Cliff, Third World, and Beres Hammon along with Buju Banton, Koffee, and Shaggy, just to name a few, have taken up the mantel and helped to advance this unique brand of music. As Bob once said,” when it hits, you feel no pain”. Reggae stars Bob Marley and the Wailers are internationally known. The group had many hits including ‘Buffalo Soldier’ ‘Get Up, Stand Up.’ And stir it up.

Caribbean music is colorful and diverse and comes from a myriad of influences. It has grown out of traditions from African cultures intertwined with New world experiences. Calypso is considered Afro-Caribbean music. It developed out of West African tribal songs that came to the islands of Trinidad and Tobago when French settlers brought African slaves to Trinidad. Calypso plays a huge role in Carnival celebrations in Trinidad and Tobago and is driven by the steelpan (steel drum) developed in the 1930s. Among noted calypso singers is Aldwin Roberts, better known as Lord Kitchener, who recorded more than 40 albums and wrote hundreds of calypso songs between the 1940s and his death in 2001. Slinger Francisco better known as Mighty Sparrow, is a Grenadian calypso vocalist, songwriter, and guitarist. Known as the “Calypso King of the World”. Who can forget the unmistakable pioneer women like Calypso Rose who won the title “Calypso King” in a Grenadian contest with her first recorded song “Cooperation” in 1978? The Latin-speaking Caribbean has also made its mark on the music world with its salsa and meringue which is enjoyed even by those who don’t understand the language. Artists such as Celia Cruz, the Cuban diva who reigned as Queen of salsa until her passing in 2003, Marc Anthony and Shakira are still blazing on the Latin and international charts. Eddy Herrera of the Dominican Republic rules the chart as one of the best in the merengue music genre.

Caribbean music is like the people, the food, and the Islands. It’s rich, diverse, deep, creative, talented, and moves like the music itself, with the rhythm of life. If you sample it, you will take it home and make it a part of your everyday life. Here, take a mouthful and be transported to paradise!!

...There are at least 28 Island nations and more than 7,000 individual Islands in the Caribbean. 

Caribbean People

The Island Traditions

...combination of African, French, Indian, Chinese, English, Portuguese, and Spanish influences, and varies from island to island. 

Caribbean Palettes

Taste the Tropics

....Caribbean music is a delicious mouthful. The styles of Caribbean music are as diverse as the people themselves. 

Caribbean Sound

Music Rich Culture

Written By

Janet Young