Rum, reggae music, escapism and 'party Caribbean', are just some of the heady addictions the Caribbean has shared with the world. Layer any of these on any of its rainbow-coloured beaches, and you'd be hooked on a drug no rehab will cure.
Photogenic, to say the least, else you'd be shortchanging these islands and their beaches. Wild and carefree on the Atlantic Oceanside, glass plane calm and seductive on the Caribbean seaside.
Spanned out across 700 islands nestling between North and South America are the islands of the Caribbean.
Early European explorers found these islands occupied by a people known as Amerindians, a collective name for the Arawaks and the Caribs. Therein lies the name, The Caribbean. Some islands more world-renowned than others, and others more inhabited than some.
There's no shortage of beaches in these parts. And with these many beaches, the Caribbean islands host a pageant of black, white, gold and pink sands!
No Dolce & Gabbana rose gold-tinted sunglasses required.
The question is, which do you allow to lure you into its embrace? Here are five plus a surprise.
Governor's Beach - Grand Turk
Want to walk up to a wreck on the beach? Visit Grand Turk in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Absolute stunners where beaches are concerned. The islands must have had VIP passes to an exquisite selection when the universe dished out beaches.
Grand Turk, not as commercialised and developed as Providenciales, but its beaches are no less draw-dropping! Sand so white it sparkles! Sea and sky so endlessly azure, they become one! Add to that a wreck on the beach, and you have another story to tell.
This is Governor's Beach. Frequented by the locals but shied away from the three thousand strong tourists off a cruise ship in town. The good news is - it remained relatively empty but for some local families and their Sunday picnics sat under the shade of pine trees, at wooden beach tables and chairs, having a good old gossip.
The kids, however, took great pleasure in their frolics around the omnipresent 'Mega One Triton' shipwreck.
The story is this cargo ship became marooned during a hurricane. With no means of moving his beloved ship and no income, the captain seemingly drank himself to death some months later from the dilemma.
On the other end of the beach, well, it's just beach - miles of it. Have a wander or relax on your beach lounger and enjoy the calm and serenity.
This beach is especially convenient to the cruise terminal in Grand Turk. If you only have a few hours to idle away and want a pleasurable time away from your madding three thousand-strong cruise crowd, calm waters, sugar-white sandy beach and an imposing shipwreck in your photo frame, head over to the Governor's Beach. It is named for the nearby Governor's mansion.
Facilities: Shower, Jack's Shack, beach loungers and umbrellas and parking
Pigeon Point Beach - Antigua
What Antigua lacks in freshwater rivers, ponds and pools, it greatly compensates with beaches and lagoons. This is the island where the number of beaches totals the number of days in the year. With 365 beaches to choose from, do you get sucked into one of the overly subscribed tourist melting pots? Although with this many, do the beaches ever become crowded?
Hang with the locals and head for the warm waters of Pigeon Point Beach. Less pepped up, decidedly unpretentious, but no less eye candy. Blissfully removed from the spiked and spritzed social butterflied sands of Dickenson Bay. Guaranteeing a more relaxed affair and a beach nearly all to yourself.
Pigeon Point is one of the more southerly beaches on the island. Approximately one hour's drive from the capital St Johns if driving as a tourist or forty-five minutes - horns tooting; music blaring if driving like a local!
The water is all calm and inviting. Relax on the beach or wonder at the guests in the yachts floating in the bay.
Pigeon Point calls Nelson's Dockyard (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) at English Harbour neighbours. Historical attractions worthy of a rendezvous, unless already booked to stay within the charming 18th-century walls of The Admiral's Inn gazing out to the harbour.
Facilities: The facilities at this beach include an outdoor shower and an open shelter.
[Fly direct from the UK to the capital St Johns, Antigua, with most major airlines]
Little Bay - Montserrat
While Antigua is blazoned in white sand beaches and clear blue seas, take a flight on a nine-seat commuter plane (imagine it's your little private jet) and, in twenty minutes, discover an island that is quite the opposite.
With its mix of black, grey and light brown sands (it is a volcanic island), this is Little Bay on the north-western coast of the island of Montserrat. Tourists delight in the same laid-back lifestyle as ex-pats and locals.
Though the locals are happy to brainwash you into the charms of a mellow island lifestyle, the beach, however, doesn't always mirror that easygoing lifestyle. Sometimes the waves do come rolling in.
And when they do, find your spot at one of four thatched, open-air beach bars where the seafood served must surely be the 'freshly caught' of the day.
Make one of the island's many villas your own. Here's one villa, Olveston House, whose walls rung out with the guitar chords of Sting, and Eric Clapton, not to drop any names.
Facilities: complimentary wi-fi, a dive shop and public restrooms on location.
[Fly from the UK to Antigua and connect with a daily commuter to Montserrat]
Pointe du Bout - Martinique
Martinique, an absolute surprise!
Very much in the Caribbean, but with a decidedly french European way to proceedings. Best to brush up on those french phrases. De rien!
The island's western side sees the mountains kiss the Caribbean sea's calmer waters. Here is where you'd find Trois-Islets and Pointe du Bout. The sand has had less whitening here, the sea a more mysterious shade of green. Ah yes, Martinique is another volcanic island!
Scarcely a twenty-minute ferry ride outside the cruise terminal in Fort de France, and you are there. A vibey beach town pepped up with french eateries, Caribbean rum-infused bars and touristy shops.
A stay at the ultra-modern and aesthetically pleasing Simon Hotel is your location ticket. A skip and a jump away from Fort Saint Louis and its elevated views over the capital Fort de France. The closest hotel to the islands cruise terminal and the ferry port and ferries to Pointe du Bout.
Facilities: beach loungers and umbrellas are available to rent; bars and restaurants; restrooms.
[Fly London to Fort De France, Martinique via Paris]
Carlisle Bay - Barbados
Carlisle Bay, Barbados (not to be confused with Carlisle Bay - Antigua) has much of the lofty white sandy stuff. Energetic with its atmosphere with a rum-infused crowd.
This beach is busy but big enough not to have to share your sand with anyone else unless you want to. An unbelievable rainbow of blue waters, and the sand, ice cream soft under your feet. On the island's western side, the Caribbean sea lends its chilled-out characteristics to the beach vibes.
There's a lot to do here in the way of water sports. Scuba diving, jet-skiing, snorkelling is but a few. If the thought of any sports is far too exerting, there's always Pirates Cove Bar.
Your very own laid-back beach shack where the only exercise required is lifting your bottle of Banks (locally brewed lager) to your lips and swaying to the sounds of the live band present on the day.
You can stay at the Hilton or Radisson and catch the racehorses' laid-back procession to their early morning swim. Or watch leatherback turtles escape their sandy nests back to the ocean.
Hanging at Carlisle Bay will fast become one of your daytime rituals. You'd be riding a high knowing you chose a hotel where you roll from the bed onto Carlisle beach.
Facilities: umbrellas and beach chairs available to rent, showers, toilets, changing room, wifi.
[Fly direct from the UK to Bridgetown Barbados with most major airlines]
And for the real surprise!
Half Moon Cay - Bahamas
This is an island drunk on its beauty. Had I not seen it myself, I'd have not believed it.
To visit it is not like any other; it is private, so click on this link and find out how.
Some unique but all amazing!
Which of these beauties can you see yourself giving over your next vacation to?