8 Caribbean Island Nicknames That Tell You What To Expect

31st January 2020

At Star Clippers, we have a fantastic array of Caribbean cruises for you to choose from. For anyone yet to visit this beautiful part of the world, it can be hard to understand the differences between the islands. Often, the country’s name does nothing to help the situation, but many of the destinations have nicknames that have been bestowed upon them that go much further to highlight what you can expect.

So, here are eight different islands and why their nicknames might help you decide if a visit is right for you.

Grenada – Spice Island

Nutmeg Grenada

As well as the jaw-dropping natural scenery, Grenada is famous for its high production of certain spices – in particular, nutmeg. Brought to the island by the British in 1843 whilst searching for somewhere that would help them rival the production in the Dutch-controlled Banda Islands, the industry took off when bad crops in these Indonesian islands brought about increased demand. Nowadays, Grenada is responsible for around 40% of the world’s production of nutmeg and grows large amounts of cinnamon, ginger, mace and cloves too.

Expect to see many references to ‘Grenada’s Gold’, as it is known on the island, and see all three parts of the nutmeg being used in local cuisine.

St. Lucia – Helen of the West Indies

St. Lucia

Helen of Troy was known as the ‘face that launched a thousand ships’ after Sparta and Troy went to war over her beauty. This Greek tale is the inspiration for St. Lucia’s nickname, given to the island by an English historian who was remarking on the fact that Britain and France were once locked in a constant battle for its ownership. It changed hands 14 times, as both nations vied to lay claim to its significant location.

In more modern times, the comparison between St. Lucia and Helen’s beauty has been the main reason why the nickname has stuck. The island boasts plenty of natural splendour, including golden sands, rainforests and stunning gardens.

Barbados – Little England

Barbados Plantation House

Under English rule until its independence in 1966, Barbados bears plenty of English influence, earning it the nickname ‘Little England’. From colonial architecture to recognisable place names and the fact that The Queen is still the official head of state, it can often feel more familiar than most Caribbean islands.

You can even indulge in British traditions if you are already missing them. High tea and a classic G&T are just a couple of ways that the locals honour their English roots. Incidentally, there are also nods to Scotland found around the island, most notably in the mountains of the east coast’s Scotland District.

St. Maarten – The Friendly Island

St. Maarten

St. Maarten’s nickname will ensure that you receive the warmest of welcomes when you step ashore. The local charm and traditional way of living mean a visit to this duel-nationality island is one you are sure to treasure long after you have left.

The name was originally used after the Treaty of Concordia was signed by both The Netherlands and France, with both nations agreeing to split the island in half without any physical borders and to have free movement of people and trade. The conditions outlined back in 1648 are still honoured today and the country remains unified.

Antigua – Land of 365 Beaches

Antigua Beach

Antigua’s nickname will be more helpful than most when it comes to highlighting the reasons to visit. The ‘Land of 365 Beaches’ is said to have a strip of pristine sand for every day of the year. And with the island being so small (it takes just 45 minutes to walk across), there’s a chance you’ll have time to see a fair few of them.

To see them all, though, you would also have to hop over to neighbouring Barbuda. These two destinations are joined under the country of Antigua and Barbuda, with the latter offering just as much golden sand as its larger counterpart. So, if you love nothing more than relaxing by the sea, look out for Antigua on your Caribbean cruise.

Martinique – Island of Flowers

Martinique Flowers

Martinique’s nickname is linked more closely to its official name than any of the others on our list. When Christopher Columbus arrived here in 1502, he reported that the local Caribs referred to their home as ‘Madinina’, a word meaning ‘Fertile Island with Luxuriant Vegetation’. ‘Martinique’ is thought to be a corruption of this, but the nickname ‘Flower Island’ means its original moniker lives on.

Although it hasn’t erupted since 1932, the Mount Pelee volcano is the reason why Martinique is so awash with glorious colour. The rich soil created by past lava spills has produced the perfect environment for cassava, hibiscus, oleander, roses, bougainvillaea and orchids to grow.

Dominica – Nature Isle

Dominica Waterfall

Dominica is so young (in island terms) that it is still being created by volcanic activity, something that’s evident from the large crater lake known as Boiling Lake. This hot spring is just one aspect of the beauty here that has led to the country earning the nickname ‘Nature Island’.

You’ll also find lush rainforests that are home to fantastic hiking routes, over 350 rivers, soothing mud baths, 12 major waterfalls and some great diving opportunities. The latter on that list will give you the perfect reason to try out Royal Clipper’s water sports platform.

Aruba – One Happy Island

One Happy island - Aruba

If you lived on an island that is known for having some of the best weather in the Caribbean, you would probably be happy all the time too. Nevertheless, the people of Aruba are some of the warmest in the world and cannot wait to share their country with every person that sets foot on its shores.

There are more reasons why this has been dubbed ‘One Happy Island’ though, including some adrenaline-pumping activities, delicious food, glorious beaches and a laid-back attitude that means everyone is welcome and no one is judged.


If this article has helped you pinpoint which island you would like to visit, consider our spectacular Caribbean cruise itineraries. Call the Star Clippers team on 0845 200 6145 and we can help you book your holiday.

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