The Caribbean island evoke the thought of powdery white beaches, turquoise seas, and swaying palm trees, the region boasts tremendous cultural diversity across its numerous island nations. Great Britain, France, Spain, and the Netherlands all left their mark as colonial powers, but the Caribbean also possesses cultures all its own. You'll find it in the patois dialects, spicy and tangy foods, and energetic rhythms of its various musical styles. Islands alternate between bustling and sleepy, with a short boat ride often separating two distinct atmospheres. While many visitors spend their Caribbean vacation at an all-inclusive resort, there's also much to recommend the region to independent travellers. The scuba diving and fishing are world-class, mountainous national parks serve up challenging hikes rewarded by sea views, and small colonial towns welcome those looking for a break from sand and sea.