Arcing along the border of the Caribbean and the Atlantic between Puerto Rico and the tip of Venezuela, the Lesser Antilles comprises the Virgin Islands, the Windward Islands, the Leeward Islands, the Netherlands Antilles, Barbados, and Trinidad and Tobago. With their miles of sugary sand beaches, perpetual sunshine, waters of crystal turquoise and rich cultural history, these coral and volcanic isles offer something for everyone, whether your preference is for being a beach potato, sailing, watching the sunset or taking a boat ride.
If you're going to the Caribbean, chances are it's for a beach vacation, and the Lesser Antilles do not disappoint. Anguilla, though hardly cheap, is lovely and welcoming. Aruba boasts sand dunes, odd boulders, diverse ecosystems, old farms (called cunucus), and caves featuring indigenous rock glyphs. Lonely Barbados, known as the Caribbean's "Little England" for its continuing cultural ties to colonial tradition, offers both expensive and moderately priced lodgings. St. Kitts offers unspoiled volcanic mountains and a panoramic view of the surrounding islands. Its sleepier sister island, Nevis, features reef-protected waters great for snorkeling and swimming. Beach hopping and kite-surfing are the pastimes of choice on St. Barts -- that is, when people can tear themselves away from the best shopping in the Caribbean. It's all duty- and tax-free!