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Fascinating Things You Never Knew About The Caribbean
The Caribbean is a wonderful place with what feels like perpetual summer. With countless picturesque beaches and so many islands, how can this piece of heaven not be everyone's favorite spot. While you daydream about your next vacation, here are some fun things you never knew about the Caribbean.
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1) 9% of the worlds coral reefs can be found in the Caribbean.
With over 19,000 square miles of (shrinking) space, the Caribbean hosts 9% of the world's coral reefs. It's also home to the second largest reef, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. Pollution and other environmental factors are causing coral and barrier reefs to shrink and eventually disappear, so it's important to protect these spaces because they mean so much to not only the beauty of the Caribbean, but its fragile ecosystems.
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2) Rum first took off commercially in the Caribbean.
Who doesn't love a good rum punch by the calming waters of the Caribbean sea? According to Visit Jamaica, Jamaica was the first island in the Caribbean to produce rum on a commercial basis.
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3) Pigs here like the beach as much as we do.
Located on the uninhabited island of Exuma (a district of the Bahamas), pigs are known for being beach bums. Select tours will allow you to get up close and personal with these swimming babes, but make sure treat them respectfully. You are on their turf after all.
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4) There are over 520 endemic species in the Caribbean.
Pictured here is the Bananaquit, a bird native to Puerto Rico's El Yunque National Forest. Other islands in the Caribbean have native mammals like bats, which have 60 different species here.
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5) The Caribbean has over 7,000 islands.
Consisting of 1.063 million square miles and 13 countries, you would expect the Caribbean to be more compact or at least have less rogue islands. Out of the 7,000 islands, only 100 (or so) are inhabited. Island jumping has a different meaning here.
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6) The Bahamas makes up 700 of those islands.
Located north of Cuba and Haiti, The Bahamas is a network of 700 islands. The 11th largest island is New Providence where its most populated city Nassau is situated.
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7) It has 19 active volcanos.
Volcanos helped shaped most of the Caribbean and it looks like they're still not done. "There are 19 'live' (likely to erupt again) volcanoes in the Eastern Caribbean. Every island from Grenada to Saba is subject to the direct threat of volcanic eruptions. Islands such as Grenada, St. Vincent, St. Lucia, Martinique, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Montserrat, Nevis, St. Kitts, St. Eustatius and Saba have 'live' volcanic centres, while other islands such as Anguilla, Antigua, Barbuda, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, most of the Grenadines and Trinidad & Tobago (which are not volcanic) are close to volcanic islands and subject to volcanic hazards such as severe ash fall and volcanically-generated tsunamis." says the Seismic Research Center at The University of the West Indies.
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8) It only has two seasons (rainy and dry).
Winter in the Caribbean usually settles somewhere in the mid-80 degree weather mark. This is what makes it such an appetizing destination for snow birds during those normally chilly months. The winter is usually dryer, while the summer is wetter, but very rarely does the weather change.
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9) Multiple indigenous groups existed before colonization.
On his way to find a shorter route to India in 1492, Christopher Columbus stumbled his way to now what is called the Bahamas and other islands. This explains why some parts are called the West Indies. Upon arriving, he encountered different indigenous groups like the Tainos and Arawaks. While these native cultures barely survived colonization, they are celebrated in places like Puerto Rico and are part of the local traditions and cultures.