The Windward Islands include four independent nations: Dominica, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada as well as the French Antilles which are departments of France. They form a series of volcanic peaks jutting out and forming a barrier between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.
Sulphur fumaroles and hot springs can be found on some islands where the volcanoes are dormant but not dead. There are large areas of rainforest with national parks protecting places of biodiversity or natural beauty, and the islands are a haven for birds and other wildlife. Hikers and birdwatchers are spoilt for choice in the larger islands of the Windwards, while yachtsmen are similarly blessed when navigating among the smaller Grenadines, one of the world’s most popular sailing destinations. Bananas are still an important source of income on the Windward Islands, but agriculture is diversifying with other tropical fruits now being exported. Tourism is the leading foreign exchange earner, providing the jobs which have been lost in traditional activities.