The Caribbean is a region consisting of the Caribbean Sea, its islands (most of which enclose the sea), and the surrounding coasts.
The region is located southeast of the Gulf of Mexico and North America, east of Central America, and to the north of South America.
Situated largely on the Caribbean Plate, the region comprises more than 7,000 islands, islets, reefs, and cays. These islands, called the West Indies, generally form island arcs that delineate the eastern and northern edges of the Caribbean Sea. These islands are called the West Indies because when Christopher Columbus landed there in 1492 he believed that he had reached the Indies (in Asia).
Chartering in the Caribbean evokes images of gentle breezes, palm trees, white sandy beaches and amazing marine life. Short ‘hops’ from one to the next of the more than 7000 islands in this area make it ideal for chartering. Due to the easy navigation and regular breezes, the Virgin Islands—divided between the U.S. Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands—feature the largest bareboat charter fleets in the world. The French islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique, plus the French portion of St. Martin/Sint Maarten, host fleets nearly as large. And islands such as St. Barths bring in the jet set from all over the world
The region consists of the Antilles, divided into the larger Greater Antilles which bound the sea on the north, the Lesser Antilles on the south and east (including the Leeward Antilles).
The region takes its name from that of the Carib, an ethnic group present in the Lesser Antilles and parts of adjacent South America at the time of European contact.