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What You Need to Know Before You Go to the Caribbean Islands

What You Need to Know Before You Go to the Caribbean Islands

English is commonly understood, spoken, and written throughout the Caribbean, although French is the preferred language on Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Barth, St. Martin, and Haiti. You’ll also hear a French-Creole patois spoken in Jamaica, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent, Grenada, and Haiti. On the Dutch islands, you’ll hear both Dutch and English spoken, while Papiamento (which adds Spanish, Portuguese, French, African, and Arawakan elements to the Dutch/English mix) is the local patois in Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao. Spanish, of course, is the most prevalent language in the Dominican Republic and Cuba; but in Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, Spanish and English are both official languages. All of that said, English-speakers should have no problem understanding or being understood in the Caribbean.