People tend to come to the Caribbean for pure relaxation and think of the destination less as one for learning about history. But the history of the Caribbean is alluring, romantic, and nothing short of exciting. The original tribes of people that lived on the islands, the Arawaks and the Caribs were interesting societies that had branched from South America. It was Christopher Columbus and Spanish troupes that discovered the majority of the islands here which changed their course of history for good. There were periods of war and pirate invasions. New cultures were constantly adding to the island diversity as well, West Africans and Indians were brought up after large groups of Europeans had settled here and over time the cultural climate changed and the history of each city on each island in the Caribbean has a rich story because of it. A book to fill you in on all this would be the perfect companion to your beach time.

Those interested in the history of these islands wil enjoy "A Brief History of the Caribbean: From Arawak and Carib to the Present" by Jan Rogonzinski and "From Columbus to Castro: The History of the Caribbean 1492-1969" by Eric Williams.

But, if it's a travel guide you're after, go for, "St. Martin an St. Barts Alive!" by Harriet Greensburg or "Hunter Travel Guides St. Martin & St. Barths (Adventure Series) by Lynne M. Sullivan.

And for the romance junkies, pick of "St. Martin" by Jaron Summers.