The Caribbean Islands are a group of Islands located at the western edge of the North Atlantic Ocean. The islands form a long chain, called an archipelago, which separates the Caribbean Sea from the rest of the Atlantic.
The Caribbean lies roughly between 5° and 30° north latitude and so falls mostly within the tropical zone. Its climate is mostly tropical marine. It is uniformly hot all year, averaging about 27° or 28 °C in summer, and about 24 °C in winter. Temperatures and rainfall are influenced by the northeast and southeast trade winds and the zone of rising hot air between them. Annual rainfall averages from less than 100 centimetres in some areas to more than 200 centimetres in others.
Tourism is a major source of foreign currency in the region. Winter (December-March) is the main tourist season. More than 27 million tourists, mainly from North America and Europe, visit the Caribbean each year. The chief tourist areas are the Bahamas, Barbados, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and St. Martin in the Netherlands Antilles. Together, these territories account for nearly 75 per cent of visitor arrivals. Tourism contributes over 40 per cent of national income or gross domestic product in the Cayman Islands and U.S. Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, Aruba, St. Lucia, and Grenada. It employs more than 20 per cent of the labour force in Aruba, Barbados, the Bahamas, and the Cayman and U.S. Virgin Islands.
The warm Caribbean weather, lower taxes and low cost of living are seen as a healthy alternative for most retirees on a fixed income, and many are making the Caribbean their home in increasing numbers.