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Wonders of the Caribbean

Los Haitises in the Dominican Republic - one of the wonders of the Caribbean
Los Haitises in the Dominican Republic – one of the wonders of the Caribbean. / Jason Boldero, Flickr / CC BY 2.0

WorldBlue  Highlights

The Caribbean is a unique group of islands. These islands are somewhat similar – tropical islands surrounded by the blue Caribbean sea. At the same time, they are very diverse – from enormous Cuba to minuscule Saba, from dry Bonaire to jungle-covered mountains of Trinidad, from the flat Bahamas to mountainous Dominica.

The most amazing wonders of the Caribbean are:

  • Unique geological landmarks. Several geological landmarks here are truly incredible: such as Black Hole of Andros (Bahamas), Palo Quemado blue amber (Dominican Republic) or Boiling Lake in Dominica.
  • Colonial architecture. Powerful European empires clashed in Caribbean, these islands brought wealth – but also death and despair. Rich, often legendary architecture tells this history to us.
  • Unique ecosystems. Humans have depleted the rich ecosystems of these tropical islands, many animals and plants are extinct now, Nevertheless a lot remains to see and admire.

Caribbean consists of the following 32 countries and territories:

List of all countries / territories

Map with the described wonders of the Caribbean

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WorldViolet Top 25 wonders of the Caribbean

Geological wonders

Black Hole of Andros


300 m wide and up to 47 m deep round water-filled sinkhole with a layer of violet jelly layer of bacteria at 18 meters depth. Microorganisms have heated up the water to 40°C.

Cross section of South Andros Black Hole in south-north direction, compared with Boeing 747-400
Cross section of South Andros Black Hole in south-north direction, compared with Boeing 747-400 / Gatis Pāvils, basing on S.Schwabe, R.A.Herbert, 2005, CC-BY-SA-3.0
Los Haitises

Dominican Republic

Interesting karst region, covered with tropical forest. Consists of hundreds of conical, 200 – 300 m tall, steep hills. Numerous caves, underground rivers, rare species of animals, and plants.

Los Haitises limestone hills from the sea, Dominican Republic
Los Haitises limestone hills from the sea / Anton Bielousov, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0
Dean’s Blue Hole


202 meters deep sinkhole in the sea, only 25 – 35 meters across.

William Trubridge in Dean's Blue Hole, Bahamas
William Trubridge in Dean’s Blue Hole / Igor Liberti, Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0
Boiling Lake


Flooded fumarole, filled with bubbling greyish-blue water and enveloped in steam. The diameter of this lake is some 63 m. The temperature of the water is 82 – 100 C°. In the late 19th century in the center of the lake formed a geyser that was up to 18 m high. Second largest boiling lake in the world.

Boiling Lake, Dominica
Boiling Lake / Jean & Nathallie, / CC BY 2.0
Valley of Desolation


Spectacular geothermal area with steam vents, fumaroles, hot springs, and boiling mud pots.

Valley of Desolation, Dominica
Valley of Desolation / Jean & Nathalie, Flickr / CC BY 2.0
La Brea pitch lake

Trinidad and Tobago

Natural asphalt lake, the largest in the world. In some areas, one can sink into the asphalt if he stands in one place long enough. Water on the surface of asphalt may become sulfurous. Contains a unique ecosystem of microorganisms.

La Brea pitch lake, Trinidad and Tobago
La Brea pitch lake / Shriram Rajagopalan, Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Bimini Road


Unusual natural monument – some 0.8 km long geological formation that resembles an ancient man-made linear structure, located at 5.5 m depth. For a while, it was considered to be a unique megalithic structure. There are several more similar sites in the Bahamas – f.e. Andros "Temple".

Dunn’s River Falls


Approximately 55 m tall waterfall with many cascades and spectacular tufa formations. Waterfall ends directly in the sea. Popular tourist destination and tourists enjoy climbing the falls.

Dunn's River Falls, Jamaica
Dunn’s River Falls / Breakyunit, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0
Martin Infierno Cave


Cave with the tallest stalagmite in the world. This fantastic cave formation is 67.2 meters tall. Two other stalagmites are 45 and 35 m tall. The cave is 793 m long, and 179 m deep, it has also unique, enormous gypsum flowers and fossils of extinct mammals.

Carbet Falls


Magnificent waterfall with a total height of 245 m. Fall has three steps, the tallest is 115 m high.

Carbet Falls, Guadeloupe
Carbet Falls / gωen, / CC BY-SA 2.0
YS Falls


Secluded, approximately 37 m tall waterfall with seven cascades. The waterfall is fed by natural springs.

YS Falls, Jamaica
YS Falls / Alberto Bondoni, Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Biological wonders

El Yunque National Forest

Puerto Rico

The only tropical rainforest in Puerto Rico. Beautiful area, where mountains raise up to 1,065 m. Rich with species of plants and animals, contains 23 species that are not found anywhere else in the world. Contains a unique dwarf forest.

El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico
El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico / Jeff Gunn, Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Jackson’s Bay Caves


Group of closely located caves with a total length that exceeds 10 km. Some of the most beautiful caves in the Caribbean. Prehistoric engravings and rock paintings. Human bones from around 1240 AD have been found. Here have been found remnants of such extinct animals as the Jamaican monkey (Xenothrix mcgregori) and the unique Jamaican ibis (Xenicibis xympithecus) whose wings were like clubs, possibly used in fights.

Bioluminescent Bay (Mosquito Bay)

Puerto Rico

One of the most spectacular bioluminescence sites in the world. The bluish glow is caused by dinoflagellates that feed on the leaves of red mangrove trees.

Architecture wonders

Old Havana


A center of the Caribbean metropolis, established in 1519. The best preserved large historical city in the Americas. The enormous historical center of the city has a huge number of valuable buildings in Baroque, Neo-Classicism, Eclecticism, Art Nouveau, and Modern styles. Buildings have retained their original details of wrought iron and wood. Old Havana has many impressive places but one of the best-known is Malecón – one of the most picturesque promenades in the world.

Old Havana
Old Havana. / Pedro Szekely, Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0


A beautiful historical center in one of the oldest cities in the Americas. The city was founded in 1514 and its center almost entirely consists of very well-preserved historical buildings. The street network was developed in the 16th – 17th centuries, but current buildings were built in the 18th – 19th century.

Street in Trinidad, Cuba
Street in Trinidad / Elemaki, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0
The Underwater City of Port Royal


This historical city was submerged in the sea in 1692 after a catastrophic earthquake. Thus the city has been preserved very well and represents a unique testimony of the English colonial town from the late 17th century. Captain Morgan was buried in a cemetery that is under the sea now.

Zona Colonial in Santo Domingo

Dominican Republic

The oldest continuously inhabited European city in the Americas, settled in 1496, the city was established in 1498. Partly preserved the defensive walls and the original grid pattern. Contains many valuable and ornate buildings in the late Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque styles.

Zona Colonial in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Zona Colonial in Santo Domingo / Patrick Flament, Wikimedia Commons / public domain
Arecibo Observatory

Puerto Rico

The site with the world’s largest single-aperture telescope, a visually very impressive structure – now collapsed. The diameter of the main collecting dish is 305 m – it is constructed, using a natural depression – sinkhole. Constructed in 1960 – 1963.

Arecibo Observatory
Arecibo Observatory / Jason Sturner, Flickr / CC BY 2.0
El Capitolio


The historical seat of the Cuban Government, now – the Cuban Academy of Sciences. Constructed in Neo-Classicism style in 1926 – 1929. If looking superficially, it is similar to the United States Capitol. The enormous dome is 92 m high.

El Capitolio in Havana
El Capitolio in Havana / Class V, / CC BY-SA 2.0
Citadelle Laferrière


The largest fortress in the Americas. It was built in 1805 – 1830 in order to protect Haiti from the French. Very well preserved, and originally had 365 cannons, many still preserved. Very interesting are the stockpiles of cannonballs. Walls rise 40 m high.

Citadelle Laferrière in Haiti - largest fortress in Americas
Citadelle Laferrière – largest fortress in Americas / Alex E. Proimos, Flickr / CC BY 2.0


A historical city with winding alleys and authentic architecture, established in this location in 1528. The city is intentionally planned as a maze to make it hard for pirates to orientate. Numerous ornate buildings.



A city with well-preserved French colonial architecture, little changed since the 19th century. Suffered major damage in an earthquake in 2010.

Architectural details in Jacmel, Haiti
Architectural details in Jacmel / Alex Polotsky, Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Castillo de la Real Fuerza


The oldest European-built stone fortress in the Americas, built in 1558 – 1577. Important historical monument with a symbolic meaning for Cuba.



A beautiful historical city with many hundred buildings in the Neo-Classical style and many other historical buildings. With its strict grid planning, Cienfuegos is one of the best examples of the Spanish Enlightenment city planning from the early 19th century.

Palacio de Valle, Cienfuegos in Cuba
Palacio de Valle, Cienfuegos / Dieter Mueller, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

WorldYellow Recommended books

Wild Caribbean: The Hidden Wonders of the World’s Most Famous Islands

In our minds, the Caribbean is the embodiment of Paradise. We need only close our eyes to see clearly the sparkling turquoise waters, white beaches, and lush tropical forests. Yet hidden just beyond this familiar scene is another world—the wild Caribbean, where attentive travelers may encounter butterflies with see-through wings or colorful bird colonies, prehistoric iguanas or silver waterfalls, smoking volcanoes or secret orchids in the forest.

Fodor’s The Complete Guide to Caribbean Cruises

With detailed profiles of every major cruise line and ship sailing in the Caribbean, not to mention concise and practical overviews of dozens of top cruise ports, this guide offers Caribbean cruise passengers everything they need to know to plan and make the most of their cruise. Combined with extensive and practical cruise planning chapters, this book really is a complete and comprehensive guide to Caribbean cruises.

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