The eastern Caribbean region includes the Bahamas, Turks & Caicos, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Leeward and Windward chain of islands.  This report focuses on six of the islands: St. Maarten – St. Lucia – Barbados – Martinique – Dominica – St. Thomas (U.S. Virgin Islands) – Half Moon Cay. 

The origins of the global economy lay in the European colonization of the region that began with Columbus’ discovery of it.  The Spanish, French and English competed for dominance – the Dutch and Danes also settled numerous islands.  The interest was the planting of sugar cane and other agricultural crops that produced the world’s wealthiest men in the 18th Century. 

The information and images presented in this web page are from my tour of the eastern Caribbean March 10 – 21, 2013, and from Wikipedia and World Atlas.

Saint Maarten

The major city and capital of Saint Maarten is Philipsburg – it has 1,338 inhabitants (2006).     

Philipsburg street scene

St. Lucia

Part of the Lesser Antilles, St. Lucia is located northwest of Barbados and south of Martinique.  Britain and France fought for control and exchanged ownership seven times each – the island culture reflects its mixed heritage.  The geography is extremely mountainous and covered with lush tropical vegetation.

Population:  173,765 (2009)

Capitol:  Castries, population 60,263

View of Castries from hill overlooking city.

St. Lucia is famous for the Twin Petons – the mountains are three miles apart and overlook Soufriere Bay. 

St. Lucia has the only active volcano in the eastern Caribbean region. 

Picture of the last working plantation in St. Lucia that doubles as a botanical garden.

Palms of all types are farmed in St. Lucia – pictured are banana palms.  When the fruit is ripe, farmers cover the bananas in blue plastic bags to protect them from insects. 


Barbados was discovered by the Spanish but established and colonized by the British.  The country is located in the Windward Islands and lies outside the Atlantic hurricane belt. 

Barbados is a leading tourist destination and one of the region’s most developed islands.

Population:  277,821 (2010)

Capitol: Bridgetown – 110,000 (2014)

Atlantic coastal view – beach town of Bathsheba.

Large rock’s base has eroded from constant pounding of surf – located in Bathsheba.

The last working wind-driven sugar cane mill on the island is located near the northern point.

North Point inlet with hidden beach and small pools for bathing. 

View of Bridgetown from Police Training Academy hill. 


France claimed Dominica in 1635 – the English took it over in 1763.  It was the last island colonized in the region due to rugged terrain and fierce resistance from the Carib native islanders.  The island is mountainous and covered with thick, lush tropical vegetation.

Population:  72,660

Capitol:  Roseau – 16,571 (2010)

View of Roseau entering the harbor.

Northern view of Roseau

Southern view of Roseau and crafts vendors market. 

Picture of street mural on side of Roseau building reflects culture of the people.


Martinique is an island in the Lesser Antilles with a land area of 1,128 square kilometers.  It is an overseas region of France – one of the Windward Islands – and is located north of St. Lucia, northwest of Barbados, and south of Dominica.  It’s currency is the Euro and is part of the European Union (EU).

Population: 386,486 (2010)

Capitol: Fort-de-France, 163,969

Fort-de-France is a business and administrative center – inhabitants and tourists swim across the harbor in Point de Bout where the hotels and beaches are mainly located.

The people of Fort-de-France enjoy shopping in the colorful outdoor markets in the center of the city.  The vendors provide an amazing array of fruits, vegetables, and fresh flowers.

A close up view of some flowers for sale in the open air market. 

Picture of a colorful mural painted on to the side of the a commercial office building.

St. Thomas – U.S. Virgin Islands

The Virgin Islands were originally settled by the Dutch (1657) and were conquered by Denmark in 1666.  The U.S. purchased the islands in 1917 to protect the eastern Caribbean and Panama Canal. 

The three main islands are St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John.  The island’s terrain is fairly rugged and covered by lush, tropical vegetation. 

Population:  51,634

Capitol:  Charlotte Amalie – population 18,481 (2010)

Picture of western side of Charlotte Amalie.

Picture of the eastern side of Charlotte Amalie.

Picture of Charlotte Amalie marina. 

View from cruise ship of the eastern most point of the Virgin Islands. 

The heart shaped Magens Bay Beach is rated by National Geography as one of the ten best beaches in the world –

The other side of Magens Bay Beach.

Full frontal view of the bay. 

Half Moon Cay, Bahamas

Half Moon Cay was formerly known as Little San Salvador Island.  It was purchased by Holland American Lines in 2003 as a private island for its ship passengers.  Tourists experience what it’s like to have one’s own private island.

Panorama of Half Moon Cay

Picture of the lagoon – fenced off area serves as a Manta Ray holding pen.

Picture of the Manta Rays in their holding pen.

Tropical Flowers of the Eastern Caribbean Region