Photos: Caribbean way of life

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  1. Barbados

    This undated photo courtesy of the Barbados Tourism Authority shows Harrismith Beach, Barbados. Sun, surf and sand are the main draws on this tropical Caribbean island. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Barbados

    This undated photo courtesy of Barbados Tourism Authority shows The Watering Hole rum shop in Barbados. The rum shops on the island are good places to sample local food and drink, watch a game of dominos, or just get to know the friendly and hospitable Bajans. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. St. Lucia

    Developed, beautiful and situated in the Eastern Caribbean, St. Lucia is accessible from Europe and Canada, and reachable -- albeit not as easily -- from the United States. St. Lucia is known as a romantic destination. The island gets plenty of visitors, including wedding parties. (Holger Leue  / Lonely Planet Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. St. Lucia

    Cocoa pods lie on the ground ready to be processed at Fondoux Plantation in Soufriere, St. Lucia. Cocoa is one St. Lucia's main produce alongside the more obvious banana crop. (Chris Jackson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. St. George's

    The capital of Grenada, St. George's is considered one of the prettiest harbor towns in the Caribbean. Grenada's unique layout includes many finger-like coves, making the island a popular sailing destination. (Richard Cummins  / Lonely Planet Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. The Cayman Islands

    The Cayman Islands very popular attractions, Stingray City and the nearby shallows known as the Sandbar, provide the only natural oportunity to swim with Atlantic Southern Stingrays. (David Rogers / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Stingray City

    The Cayman Islands very popular attractions, Stingray City and the nearby shallows known as the Sandbar, provide the only natural oportunity to swim with Atlantic Southern Stingrays. (David Rogers / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. St John's

    In high season, up to five cruise ships visit St John's, Antigua, each day. The boats unload mostly American and European passengers who fan out across the island visiting the casinos and beaches. Antigua is easily accessible, and can offer good values for tourists. (Chris Jackson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Antigua

    Antigua, located in the Northeastern Caribbean, is a popular tourist spot. While there are high-end, stylish hotels, the island also features a large number of mid-priced options. Visitors will find beach bars, restaurants, casinos and shopping. (Richard I'Anson  / Lonely Planet Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Antigua

    People walk along an area known as Devils Bridge in Indian Town Point, Antigua. Antigua is a wintertime destination for many visitors from the north. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Dominica

    Not as well known as other Caribbean islands, Dominica is green, fertile and mountainous. Visitors will find some opportunites to scuba dive, but watersports are not its main draw. The island does, however, offer a slew of rainforest trails -- great for hiking and sightseeing. (Greg Johnston  / Lonely Planet Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Dominican Republic

    An old church building is seen in La Romana, the third-largest city in the Dominican Republic. (Wayne Walton / Lonely Planet Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Belize

    Belize gets more than 850,000 visitors each year. The hot spot allows watersports such as kayaking and snorkeling, as well as inland activities like hiking and birding. The Mayan ruins of Altan Ha, pictured, are easily accessible from Caye Caulker. (Andrew Marshall / Lonely Planet Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. La Tortuga

    A fisherman repairs his nets on Cayo Herradura, off the island of La Tortuga in Venezuela. The country offers visitors a variety of activities to choose from, but remains undervisited -- especially compared to its South American neighbors. (Lynne Sladky / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Cuba

    Cuba blends the fantastic attractions associated with other Caribbean destinations with an amazing history. Tourists can stroll white sand beaches, take in the incredible architecture and party into the early-morning hours. (Javier Galeano / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. St. Barthelemy

    St. Barthelemy is a vacation spot of stars and millionaires. Trendy, chic and sexy, St. Baarths is safe for tourists, but expensive to visit. About 8,700 people reside on the island. (Mark Mainz / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Puerto Rico

    A man climbs to a 40-foot waterfall at the south side of the Caribbean National Rain Forest, commonly called El Yunque, near Naguabo, Puerto Rico. Most visitors hike the well-marked paths in the northern half of the park's rain forest but the trails in the south allow hikers and nature lovers to explore the only tropical forest in the U.S. national forest system. (Herminio Rodriguez / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Puerto Rico

    The cupola of San Juan Cemetary as well as colorful homes sit next to the ocean in Old San Juan, the original capital city of San Juan, Puerto Rico. The old city is a historic district of seven square blocks made up of ancient buildings and colonial homes, massive stone walls and vast fortifications, sunny parks and cobblestoned streets. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Puerto Rico

    Men play dominos in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. Old San Juan is a well-preserved colonial city that allows tourists a peek into the past. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Guadeloupe

    Guadeloupe isn't as developed as some other Caribbean islands, but it offers a variety of beaches -- some active with watersports, some secluded. The island also offers beach bars, restaurants, mid-range hotels and other tourist amenities. (Marcel Mochet / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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By
updated 9/20/2005 4:03:59 PM ET 2005-09-20T20:03:59

Visit Trinidad and its sister island of Tobago in the West Indies for their food, for their calypso and steel band music, or just for a chance to chill out on one of their sunny beaches.

Beaches? There's a guide to spots such as Blanchisseuse and Maracas Bay at Discover Trinidad & Tobago - http://www.meppublishers.com/online/discover/ - under "Things to See & Do." That section also has a guide to the islands' diving opportunities, with addresses of dive operators, and other water sports. Give a glance to the calendar for holidays, festivals and horse races. And you'll need to read the brief welcoming introductions to the two islands and their guides to entertainment, food and shopping. Too bad they don't have photographs.

The smaller (26 miles by 7 miles) island of Tobago - http://www.exploretobago.com/ - boasts of natural wonders including the birds that fill its protected rain forest. Check out "Adventures" for details on the Buccoo Reef marine park, wildlife sanctuaries and historical spots including Fort King George, build in the 1770s. If you prefer to be on the water, "Fishing" has a brief description of wahoo that average 65 pounds, and sailfish that often weigh more than 100 pounds.

Take a look at "Off the Beaten Track" at Tobago Guide - http://www.tobagoguide.com/ - to learn more about beaches on the smaller island. And while you're in that section, dip into "Eco Adventures" for more info about forest preserves, Turtle Beach where leatherback turtles nest, and Argyle Falls. Scuba diving and golf are described under "Ways to Enjoy Tobago" and you'll need to visit "Travel Planning" for vacation package deals and basic details.

Take a more detailed tour, with photos, at the official Trinidad & Tobago -http://www.visittnt.com/ - but there's a catch: You have to download electronic "eBrochures," and you'll need patience if you try it over a slow dial-up Internet connection. If you're willing, go to "Create Your Brochure" and try the standard brochures, including a recipe book, or choose sections on festivals, towns, sports, beaches, cruises and night life. Don't worry, they have plenty of other information that doesn't have to be downloaded. Too bad we've missed the "Taste T&T" food festival, held in May, but you can start making plans now for Carnival in February.

More helpful information is available from Trinidad Hotels Reservations - http://www.tobagoguide.com/wc/trinidad/touristinfo.htm - including some cautionary dos and don'ts for travelers planning to hit the islands during Carnival. You could easily pass up their "Trinidad Image Gallery," which leads to a subscription photo service.

As with just about any travel outside the United States, you might want to see what the State Department - http://travel.state.gov/ - has to say. Look for "Consular Information Sheets" and scroll down to Trinidad & Tobago for the latest health and safety suggestions.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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