Close your eyes and think of the Caribbean. What comes to mind? For many, scenes of the most beautiful beaches, lush vegetation and an explosion of Carnival colour and creativity will top the list. However, there’s still so much to uncover when it comes to the melting pot of cultures that is the Caribbean.

Here are five things that you may not know about this captivating region.

CARIFESTA

The Caribbean Festival of Arts (CARIFESTA) reinforces Caribbean unity and celebrates the region’s rich diversity. For the past 34 years, the diaspora used this celebration to promote the arts as the most dynamic force for reflection on our dreams. It aims to increase participation in the arts and strengthen the bond among Caribbean artists and people. First held in Suriname, this year CARIFESTA takes place in Trinidad and Tobago from August 16 to 25. Participating nations will “Connect, Share, Invest” in an impressive display of talent in the visual and literary arts, storytelling, fashion, body art, dance, craft, theatre, film and new media.


Only 2 % of the Caribbean islands is populated

87,258 square miles, close to 700 islands and islets and only 2% inhabited? Yes, it’s true. In spite of the large expanse of the region, the current population stands at almost 44 million people. It may sound like a lot but it’s less than 1% of the total world population. The Caribbean nations with the smallest populations are the Caribbean Netherlands, Anguilla and Montserrat. But though we may be but little, we are fierce! Our food, culture, music, literature and athletic talent are some of the biggest players on the world stage.

Camel Safari, Jamaica

Who knew that there were camels in the Caribbean? This unbelievable attraction can be found at the Yaaman Adventure Park in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. The British brought camels to Jamaica in the 18th century to work on the sugar plantations. Today, these docile animals are a great source of joy to the park’s visitors with relaxing tours through the countryside. The tour lasts for 2.5 hours and children and adults are welcome to cuddle with and take pictures with these friendly animals after.

Underwater Sculpture Park, Grenada

Get your snorkeling gear ready the next time in Grenada. The beautiful Spice Island boats the world’s first underwater sculpture garden. Located in the Molinere Beauséjour Marine Protected Area, the sculptures are made from concrete and rebar. This provides the ideal conditions to support marine life. The artificial reef is now the home of a dazzling variety of corals and algae. In fact, the developing marine life along with sea surge, wave action and currents contribute to an intriguing and ever-evolving sculptural display.

Two Nobel Prize Winners, St. Lucia

St. Lucia has not one, but two Nobel Laureates: Sir W. Arthur Lewis and Sir Derek Walcott. Lewis, who graduated from the London School of Economics, died in 1991. His passion led him to zealously pursue the economic development and evolution of university education in the Caribbean. Literary genius and poet Derek Walcott was born in Castries on 1930. He received the 1992 Nobel Prize for Literature. After his passing in 2017, The Walcott Festival was created in his honour. Held in Trinidad and Tobago, the last installation of the Festival takes place from September 26 – 29 with the re-enactment of Walcott’s play, Ti Jean and his Brothers.

This just goes to show that the Caribbean region is so much more than just sun, sea and sand.