Locals Share Backstories of Cultures of the Caribbean

Updated on January 22, 2023 by Meg

Cultures of the Caribbean People

Let People Share Their Stories of the Cultures of the Caribbean!

Interested in the cultures of the Caribbean? Then you should enjoy this collection of feature stories and interviews with cultural standard-bearers from Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Curacao, and Trinidad!

There are more than 700 islands in the Caribbean Sea, encompassing the Greater Antilles (Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Jamaica and Cayman Islands) and Lesser Antilles (including Barbados, Dominica, Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Grenada, Virgin Islands, St. Martin, St. Kitts, Trinidad and Tobago, and Guadeloupe).

Across these islands, the melting pot of the cultures of the Caribbean culture islands is reflective of the region's history as a base for exploration and colonialization, a hub of the slave trade, and awash in waves of migration. Influences are far-reaching, encompassing African, AmerIndian, Asian and European heritages. This rich diversity means that Caribbean culture is nuanced & multi-faceted.

Culture of Puerto Rico

The Northern Caribbean island of Puerto Rico offers incredible hospitality and history, with pristine beaches, lush mountain forests, and sherbet-colored Spanish Colonial architecture. Puerto Ricans' lineage includes Taino Indians, Spanish Colonists and African slaves, and their culture includes dominoes, dancing, wood-carving and mask-making. Old San Juan is a sun-drenched city of Spanish Colonial architecture flanked by immense fortresses, full of secret squares and a multitude of museums. On the south coast, the city of Ponce features a whimsical collection of architectural styles, of which the centerpiece is the distinctive Bombas firehouse.

Close Encounters with Vejigantes in Puerto Rico

Close Encounters with Vejigantes in Puerto Rico

Vejigantes are a beloved Puerto Rican tradition: vividly-painted and fierce-looking masks, used in the celebrations of Ponce’s Carnival.

Puerto Rican Santos Tradition as National Identity

Puerto Rican Santos Tradition as National Identity

The Puerto Rican santos tradition plays a role in religious worship, family life, community celebrations, and national identity. Click to learn more!

Puerto Rican Heritage Embodied by a Santos Dynasty

Puerto Rican Heritage Embodied by a Santos Dynasty

Puerto Rican heritage is embodied by the Orta Family of Ponce, a renowned dynasty of carvers of religious folk art known as santos.

Master of Puerto Rican Tradition Shares Meaning of Santos

Master of Puerto Rican Tradition Shares Meaning of Santos

Learn about the Puerto Rican tradition of santos from master artisan Pedro Rinaldi of Ponce. He reveals the history of this Puerto Rican folk art.

Puerto Rican Cultural Traditions of Santos de Palo

Puerto Rican Cultural Traditions of Santos de Palo

Explore the Puerto Rican cultural traditions of carved wooden Santos is a religious folk art that is part of the island’s identity.

Culture of Curacao

The island of Curacao, 35 miles north of Venezuela, is more than pristine white sand beaches and turquoise waters. The isle has a rich cultural heritage that includes sherbet-colored Dutch architecture in the capital of Willemstad; the oldest Sephardic Jewish community in the Western hemisphere; the joyful songs of Tumba, a form of music with its roots in slavery; and a deep knowledge and long tradition of botanical healing.

Curacao Synagogue is Oldest Jewish Congregation Site in North America

Curacao Synagogue is the Oldest Jewish Congregation Site in North America

Curacao Synagogue Mikve Israel-Emanuel is the oldest active Jewish congregation in the Western hemisphere.

Jacob Gelt Dekker on the Kura Hulanda Museum Curacao

Jacob Gelt Dekker on the Kura Hulanda Museum Curacao

Meet Jacob Gelt Dekker of the Kura Hulanda Museum Curacao. A Dutch philanthropist, and behind the restoration of Curacao’s historic Otrobanda neighborhood.

Experiencing the Tumba Festival, Curacao

Experiencing the Tumba Festival Curacao

Tumba Festival, Curacao, is a special experience. Curacao’s Tumba music was created by slaves as a way to put rumors to music and express their sorrow.

Culture of Trinidad

Trinidad is the southernmost island in the Caribbean and lies seven miles off the coast of Venezuela. The island has one of the largest Hindu populations outside India concentrated within its 1,864 square miles of coastline, offering the opportunity to experience Divali in the Western Hemisphere; the festival celebrates light over dark, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance. Trinidad is sometimes called the "Rainbow Island" because of its cultural diversity; it is home to numerous spiritual communities — a vibrant faith is practiced by Catholics, Shouter Baptists, Amerindians, and Muslims.

A Secret World of Transformation at Pointe-a-Pierre Wildfowl Trust Trinidad

A Secret World of Transformation at Pointe-a-Pierre Wildfowl Trust Trinidad

Pointe-a-Pierre Wildfowl Trust, Trinidad is a Wildfowl Trust and an NGO dedicated to the conservation of wetlands and waterfowl.

Culture of Dominican Republic

In the Caribbean region's Greater Antilles archipelago, on the island of Hispaniola, is the Dominican Republic. The eastern five-eighths of the island, which it shares with Haiti, are occupied by it. At 18,792 square miles, the Dominican Republic is the second-largest country in the Antilles by area (after Cuba) and third-largest by population, with about 10.7 million inhabitants, of whom 3.3 million reside in the capital city's metropolitan area.

Quisqueya, "Mother of All Lands," is one of the indigenous Tano names for the island of Hispaniola, and it only makes sense that contemporary Dominican culture is inspired by cultures from all over the world.

The Dominican people, who endured invasions, civil conflict, and dictatorship, were at the center of the massive colonization of the Americas. The heterogeneous population you see today, living free in a sovereign state, was shaped by local Tanos, African slaves, Dutch traders, and French pirates.

Las Hermanas Mirabal, Arts Mecca in Dominican Republic

Las Hermanas Mirabal, Arts Mecca in Dominican Republic

Las Hermanas Mirabal murals in the Dominican Republic are an art paradise, featuring more than 400 works of art by Dominican artists.