Lesser Antilles

Also known as Caribbees

An island group.


The Lesser Antilles, also known as the Caribbees, are part of the Antilles, which together with the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Greater Antilles form the West Indies. The islands are a long partly volcanic island arc, most of which wrap around the eastern end of the Caribbean Sea on the western boundary with the Atlantic Ocean, and some of which lie on the southern fringe of the sea just north of South America.

The two main groups of the Lesser Antilles are the Windward Islands in the south and the Leeward Islands in the north. The Windward Islands are called such because they were more windward to sailing ships arriving in the New World than the Leeward Islands, given that the prevailing trade winds blow east to west. The trans-Atlantic currents and winds that provided the fastest route across the ocean brought these ships to the rough dividing line between the Windward and Leeward Islands.

The Leeward Antilles in the west form the third group. These consist of the Dutch ABC islands just off the coast of Venezuela, plus a group of Venezuelan islands.

The Lesser Antilles more or less coincide with the outer edge of the Caribbean Plate. Many of the islands were formed as a result of the subduction of oceanic crust of the North American Plate under the Caribbean Plate in the Lesser Antilles subduction zone. This process is ongoing and is responsible not only for many of the islands, but also for volcanic and earthquake activity in the region. The islands along the South American coast are largely the result of the interaction of the South American Plate and the Caribbean Plate which is mainly strike-slip, but includes a component of compression.

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Top 10 Dive Sites in Lesser Antilles

#1
Flag of British Virgin IslandsBritish Virgin Islands, Cooper Island, Leeward Islands, Bermuda Triangle
#2
Flag of Netherlands AntillesNetherlands Antilles, Bonaire, Windward Islands
#3
Flag of Netherlands AntillesNetherlands Antilles, Bonaire, Windward Islands
#4
Flag of Netherlands AntillesNetherlands Antilles, Bonaire, Windward Islands
#5
Flag of Netherlands AntillesNetherlands Antilles, Bonaire, Windward Islands
#6
Flag of Netherlands AntillesNetherlands Antilles, Bonaire, Little Bonaire, Windward Islands
#7
Flag of U.S. Virgin IslandsU.S. Virgin Islands, St Thomas Island, Leeward Islands, Bermuda Triangle
#8
Flag of Netherlands AntillesNetherlands Antilles, Bonaire, Little Bonaire, Windward Islands
#9
Flag of Netherlands AntillesNetherlands Antilles, Bonaire, Little Bonaire, Windward Islands
#10
Flag of Netherlands AntillesNetherlands Antilles, Bonaire, Little Bonaire, Windward Islands

Top 10 Operators in Lesser Antilles

  1. Shoal Bay Scuba Anguilla, Leeward Islands
  2. Photo Tours Divers Netherlands Antilles, Bonaire, Windward Islands
  3. Captain Don's Habitat Netherlands Antilles, Bonaire, Windward Islands
  4. Wannadive Bonaire Netherlands Antilles, Bonaire, Windward Islands
  5. Cane Bay Dive Shop U.S. Virgin Islands, Saint Croix Island, Leeward Islands, Bermuda Triangle
  6. Yellow Submarine Netherlands Antilles, Bonaire, Windward Islands
  7. Rogers Scuba Shack Barbados, Windward Islands, Saint Michael
  8. Low Key Watersports U.S. Virgin Islands, St John Island, Leeward Islands, Bermuda Triangle
  9. Toucan Diving Netherlands Antilles, Bonaire, Windward Islands
  10. Dive Fair Helen Saint Lucia, Windward Islands
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