In the Gulf of Tonkin, Halong bay includes some 1,600 islands and islets, forming a spectacular seascape of over 3,000 limestone monolithic islands, each topped with jungle vegetation. Several of the islands are hollow, with enormous caves. Some of the islands support floating villages of fishermen.
Hispaniola is famous for marking the first European colonies in the New World, colonies founded by Christopher Columbus on his voyages in 1492 and 1493. Today, the Dominican Republic, situated on the eastern part of Hispaniola, shares the island with Haiti. In Santo Domingo, the first city in the New World, stands the Ciudad Colonial area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with the cathedral, fortress, hospital, monastery, university, palace and streets … The Dominican Republic has become the Caribbean’s largest tourist destination, the country boasts almost 800 miles of coastline, featuring some of the most stunning sands in the Caribbean and the country’s year-round golf courses are among the top attractions.
North of Venezuela, the three western-most islands of the Leeward Antilles in the Caribbean: Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao. Aruba is an autonomous, self-governing member state of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Bonaire and Curaçao are part of the Netherlands Antilles.
Caribbean islands are called the West Indies because when Christopher Columbus landed there in 1492 he believed that he had reached the Indies (in Asia). The French West Indies (Antilles françaises) refers to the four territories presently under French sovereignty in the Caribbean: the two overseas departments ofGuadeloupe (including the islands of Basse-Terre, Grande-Terre, Terre-de-Haut, Terre-de-Bas, Marie-Galante, La Désirade) and Martinique, plus the two overseas collectivities of Saint Martin and Saint-Barthélemy.