Tulum, Mexico – Caribbean beach

West Indies

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Island Nations + Territories

A sub-region of North America, the West Indies is a group of three main archipelagos—the Greater Antilles and the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean Sea (the Antilles) and Lucayan (Bahama) Archipelago in the Atlantic—which comprise 13 island nations and 18 territories. This region (though technically incorrect) is often called the Caribbean and historically includes Bermuda, which is much further north in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Greater Antilles includes the largest island of Cuba to the west, the two separate nations of Haiti and the Dominican Republic on the island of Hispaniola, Jamaica, Puerto Rico (US Commonwealth), and Cayman Islands (British Overseas Territory), and the Virgin Islands that adjoin the Lesser Antilles.

The Lesser Antilles includes three smaller island groups: Leeward Islands (some include the Virgin Islands with these), Windward Islands (often including Barbados to the east and Trinidad and Tobago to the south near Venezuela in South America), and the Leeward Antilles (don’t confuse with the Leeward Islands), which are geographically closer to the Venezuelan islands.

Islands of the West Indies

Caribbean Islands (The Antilles)


Cayman Islands

British Overseas Territory


2 countries: Haiti + Dominican Republic

Puerto Rico

US Commonwealth

The Virgin Islands

About 50 islands: US Virgin Islands + British Virgin Islands (adjoin the Lesser Antilles)


Leeward Islands

Saint Martin (60% Fr)–Sint Maarten (40% Neth) + Anguilla (UK) + St-Barthélemy (Fr) + Sint Eustatius (Netherlands) + St. Kitts and Nevis + Antigua and Barbuda + Montserrat (UK) + Guadeloupe (Fr)

Windward Islands

Dominica + Martinique (France) + St. Lucia + Saint Vincent and the Grenadines + Grenada


Island country just east of Windward Islands

Trinidad and Tobago

Windward Islands country near the South American coast of Venezuela

Leeward Antilles

Aruba (Neth) + Bonaire (Neth) + Curaçao (Neth) + Venezuelan Dependencies

Atlantic Islands


Turks and Caicos

British Overseas Territory (UK)

The Bahamas



British Overseas Territory (UK)

Explore Places of the West Indies

Countries + Territories