We all have our own ideas of what a holiday in the Caribbean would be like. For me, I automatically think white beaches, lazy days by a luxurious pool with a cocktail in my hand and a bunch of the latest celebrity magazines to divulge in whilst topping up my tan. My husband, however, would say snorkelling in the clear waters and nights spent partying to the sound of reggae music, that’s after tasting the local rum of course!
But kids want much more than this, so we begin asking the questions – What kids activities are there? Where are the best places to take them? How can we have a child-friendly Caribbean holiday? Well, look no further because our guide to holidays in the Caribbean with children will answer all your questions.
Which are the most child-friendly islands?
The best family holidays I believe are the ones that have plenty of facilities and are well thought out regarding what families need. Most are really good for children but some are better than others.
Barbados – Most of the beaches have a range of facilities, making it easier for families such as toilets, picnic tables and lifeguards. The island offers a great deal of self-catering options as opposed to other islands that tend to favour all inclusive hotels. This is ideal in terms of flexibility because there is a wider choice of food when it comes to meal times. With plenty of places to eat Barbados doesn’t tend to be as hotel based compared to some Caribbean islands. But let’s not forget that there are some excellent all inclusive properties too.
Antigua – The kids won’t be bored on this island. If they are tired of playing on the beach or splashing around in the pool, there are plenty of activities to try such as zip lining and swimming with dolphins. Antigua also has 365 beaches (one for every day of the year) so finding a quiet spot won’t be a problem. And with baby facilities on hand everything will be taken care of.
Dominican Republic – Most of the hotels are all inclusive, so you don’t have to worry about budgeting your spending money. Activities and watersports are also onsite and are a great way to keep those little ones entertained. With very few activities outside the hotels, there are plenty of hotel-based facilities. If you do wish to venture outside your hotel’s grounds you could try horse riding or snorkelling. Plus, if you happen to be staying in Samana between January and March you may even see the migration of the humpback whales.
Coolest Kids Clubs
Not all children like to join in the kids’ clubs, but it can be the perfect way to enjoy a child-free lazy day at the beach as well convincing your children that it’s time to put their tablet away.
Paradise Island, Bahamas – Toddlers (aged 1-6) Preteens (aged 7-12) and Teenagers (aged 13-17) have so many activities to choose from. Head to Atlantis Kids Adventures where there are morning, afternoon and evening sessions with cooking and Lego-building sessions. Your children will also love spending their pretend money in the imitation grocery store or playing in the Victorian doll house. Children aged between 6 and 10 can be a junior trainer for the day where they will learn about training dolphins and sea lions. Teens won’t be bored either! With a Gamers Room they can play on the latest video games or even swim with dolphins.
Beaches Negril Resort and Spa, Jamaica – Yes, even newborns are taken care of here with nurseries filled with cots and fully certified nannies. Are your children older? Then don’t worry because toddlers and preteens are also looked after. Toddlers can enjoy collecting shells, treasure hunts and magic shows whereas preteens can enjoy sailing, beach volleyball, scavenger hunts and pizza making. Plus, teens have their own nightclub which is great for socialising. Beaches also provide one to one nannies for children with special needs, so they are able to participate in the activities.
Coconut Bay and Beach Club, St Lucia – CocoLand Kids’ club is the place for babies and children aged 12 and below. Thrill seeking kids can whizz down water slides at the CocoLand waterpark whilst little ones will be heard squealing with excitement as they try to dodge the spilling buckets at CocoLand WaterWorks. And if you happen to be a Jake and the Neverland Pirates fan now is your time to learn about pirates and wildlife. When the children are restless they can have a nap in the fully-air-conditioned napping quarters. But we haven’t forgotten about you teens and pre-teens as there are video games and treasure trails to keep you busy. Don’t leave without saying hello to the resident characters Coco and Loco.
Finally, here are a few hints and tips to assure a child- friendly Caribbean holiday.
- Fill a small backpack with small toys, teddies or books to help with the long plane journey. Are you seeking some quiet time? If so, familiarity often helps small children who are feeling slightly home sick.
- Try and find a hotel that has a kids menu, this will solve any issues when trying to find something to suit those fussy eaters. We suggest you take a few snacks from home and place them into small plastic food bags. Besides, chewing will prevent your ears from popping during take-off and landing.
- Take some antibacterial hand wipes and hand sanitizer as it will help keep the bugs at bay.
- The Caribbean can get extremely hot, so sun tan lotion is a must. My travel companion and I were extremely burnt on our holiday to Tobago after not putting on any sun protection as it was cloudy. We sunbathed for less than an hour and spent the rest of the holiday in agony. Not a good start to the holiday. So make sure you apply and reapply plenty of sunblock. The hours between 10am and 4pm is when the sun is at its strongest, so try and find plenty of shade especially during these hours. Pop up tents are great for this, and are usually small enough to pack in your case. If your children do get sunburnt put them in a cool bath and apply aloe vera as it is fantastic for cooling the skin. The Caribbean quite often has fresh aloe vera plants and I’m sure someone will be able to find you some cuttings to use as a compression. This worked best for us so I would highly recommend it.
As you can see a family holiday to the Caribbean is certainly something to think about. If you have been on a Caribbean holiday and have other recommendations not mentioned here, why not let us know below?