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Bermuda sits on a cap of rock made up of tiny coral creatures, accumulated over millions of years, surmounting an extinct volcano which rises sharply from the seabed. The land is hilly, but too porous for streams to form. The mild, semi-tropical climate brings high yearly rainfall and sunshine, which sustains the attractive hedgerows and trees lining long stretches of narrow road. Most fresh water in buildings is provided by rainfall, on which all rely. The rainwater is collected from the white, furrowed roofs characteristic of Bermudian houses, channeled into underground storage tanks, then pumped into the houses. Bermuda's rural aspect is being transformed into a more urban environment as development has been fuelled by rising property values. REQUEST INFORMATION

Bahamas is a coral archipelago consisting of some 700 low-lying islands, and over 2,000 cays (pronounced keys). The highest hills, on Cat Island, are less than 400 ft and most islands have a maximum height of 100 ft. The total area of the islands is about 5,400 square miles, roughly the same as Jamaica. The whole archipelago extends for about 600 miles southeast from the Mantanilla shoal off the coast of Florida to 50 miles north of Haiti. Some of the smaller cays are privately owned but most of them are uninhabited. REQUEST INFORMATION

Cayman Islands the British Crown Colony of the Cayman Islands consists of Grand Cayman and the sister islands of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, in the Caribbean Sea. None of the islands has any rivers, but vegetation is luxuriant, the main trees being coconut, thatch palm, sea grape and Australian pine. REQUEST INFORMATION

Dominicana (Dominican Republic) occupies the eastern two-thirds of Hispaniola, has some spectacularly beautiful scenery. The country is mountainous and has the highest peak in the Caribbean, Pico Duarte (3,175 m). It has many more forests than its neighbor, Haiti, and is green and fertile. Within a system of widespread food production are large sugar and fruit plantations and cattle ranches. The Republic has built up its tourist trade, and has much to offer in the way of natural beauty, old colonial architecture, attractive beaches, adventure sports, modern resorts and native friendliness. Public transport is good and it is easy and rewarding to explore by bus or hired car. Its population is mostly a mixture of black, white and mulatto, and is Spanish-speaking. REQUEST INFORMATION

Jamaica lies some 90 miles south of Cuba and a little over 100 miles west of Haiti. With an area of 4,244 square miles, it is the third largest island in the Greater Antilles. It is 146 miles from east to west and 51 miles from north to south at its widest, bounded by the Caribbean. REQUEST INFORMATION

Puerto Rico may be part of the USA but its music and dance is a mixture of both Spanish and African rhythms. The country, as a result, is a mixture of very new and very old. It exhibits the open American way of life yet retains the more formal Spanish influences. REQUEST INFORMATION

St. Lucia is the second largest of the Windwards, lying between St Vincent and Martinique with an area of 238 square miles. The scenery is of outstanding beauty, and in the neighbourhood of the Pitons, it has an element of grandeur. REQUEST INFORMATION

Sint Maartin is shared amicably by the Dutch, who have the southern 37 sq km of the island, and the French, calling their half Saint-Martin, who own the northern 52 sq km, an arrangement settled by the 1648 Treaty of Mount Concordia. REQUEST INFORMATION

Turks and Caicos Islands comprise about 40 low-lying islands and cays covering 193 square miles, surrounded by one of the longest coral reefs in the world. They are separated by the Columbus Passage, a 22-mile channel over 7,000 ft deep which connects the Atlantic and the Caribbean, contributing to the area's profusion of marine life. REQUEST INFORMATION

United States Virgin Islands in which the legacies of Danish ownership are very apparent, contain three main islands: St Thomas, St John and St Croix. REQUEST INFORMATION

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