London lifestyle & travels with kids and babies
We’ve travelled extensively to and around the Caribbeans in the last 14 years – it’s addictive and fun as these islands are remarkably beautiful and diverse. Don’t be misled by the name resemblance: lush and green Dominica offers very different experiences compared to Dominican Republic care free all-inclusive resorts. Despite being so close, the Grenadines are also vastly different not just in looks but in what they entail. Sharks diving Caribbean was surpringly limited to Honduras for us, but hey what a ride that has been! Havana as a time capsule of the Caribbean is charming and very cultural, but I wouldn’t put it necessarily on the list of someone visiting with a baby and toddler. Some of the exclusive Caribbean resorts come with exorbitant bills; some are sensible but still boutique and glorious; and some excel as eco retreats. So which Caribbean island is right for you, your style or simply your circumstances? Which are the best Caribbean islands for kids and which ones do we reckon better for families with teens, a babymoon or just adults?
1. Barbados. For spectacularly white beaches, fine resorts and the developed side of the Caribbean. We loved the vibrant fish markets, mixing with locals and other tourists, the high end restaurants and hotels. First time round we stayed at Hilton on Accra beach (a tad too corporate for my taste but the beach is just stunning) and second time by Silverpoint – a windsurfer boutique paradise. We also rented a car for couple of days & travelled around the island quite a bit: Bathsheba with its wild Atlantic coast charming and temperamental, Crane beach – beautiful and rather deserted, St Lawrence Gap and Oistins, Beach house sunset for a change of scenery. Barbados in a nutshell: laid back, sophisticated, pleasing surfers, wind-surfers and traditional sun seekers who love to mingle with the colourful locals equally. For a dedicated article and more Barbados adventures whilst babymooning, going around and having fun, head here.
2.Cuba – for history, charm, stunning architecture in decay, vibrant nightlife and very friendly locals, hunger for adventure and cultural travels. A time capsule of the Caribbean, Havana fascinates and made us fall in love: it’s elegant, filled with art and talented musicians, urban charm and nostalgy.
Infamous classic cars, cigars, famous bars and restaurants. One can also relax after – just two hours away, there’s Varadero with pristine white sand beaches and very blue Caribbean seas.
3.Dominican Republic – for great resort options, Dominant Hispanic culture, over 1,000 miles of white fine beaches and crystal turquoise waters. And if all-inclusive floats your boat, that’s the right place –a family holiday paradise and care free vacations.
Exciting adventure could be also easily organised and put on the menu: from horse riding on the beach, to diving, colonial-era history, unspoilt inlands, breath-taking scenery of Parque del Este National Park. We tested with a baby and stayed in Dreams La Romana, Bayahibe, dedicated article in here.
4.St Lucia. For nature lovers, romance and sheer beauty, luxury and adventure seekers. Lush forested hills, the iconic pithons, sulphur pools and muddy volcanoes, waterfalls and lots of activities in and out of the water.
Best for: divers, snorkelers, trekkers, kite-surfers and more, there is a variety of indulgent all-inclusive resorts here for all budgets, with kids and kids facilities or adults only.
We felt safe to explore at ease and leisure with or without locals.
5.Antigua –for beautiful white sand and resorts catering well for kids. With over 365 little idyllic beaches and lots of resorts to choose from: large or small, contemporary sleek or luxurious, this is the perfect island to dip in the turquoise shallow warm waters, ride a jet ski, SUP, soak up the sun with a rum based cocktail in your hand. Locals are friendly and joyous and there’s also colonial heritage to be seen and explored at the English Harbour and Nelson’s Dockyard National Park.
6.Nevis with kids was bliss for us. There’s a volcano to the delight of my 3 years old and our 7 months baby was spoilt by the locals. Four Seasons is an outstanding luxurious family friendly base, with a deligtful beach and sea to snorkel with turtles and rays, a stunning golf course, exquisite cuisine, amazing kids club and lots of wildlife including crabs, pelicans, green vervet monkeys.
We raved about Nevis and Four Seasons Nevis in detail in here.
7.Grenadines and Bequia must be our favourites. Catching rides on fishing boats between beach-ringed islands is the classic Grenadine experience or charter your own boat. The main island, St Vincent, is mostly rainforest.
8.We have been twice to St Vincent – 2 weeks at lovely Buccament Bay (now again in litigations and closed for insolvency/ fraud/restructuring) and few days just exploring St Vincent.
Bequia remains the most memorable holiday in the Caribbeans though, with the Tropical Hideaway Bequia being our best base in the area. We explored Bequia at length, by water taxi, cars, foot and so on. Best for: beach bars, sailers, divers, explorers. Looking forward to going back soon again with the kiddies!
9.Canouan is an oasis for sailors and Tamarind Yacht hotel spoiled us with good Italian food and sunsets. The island is small and chilled, some stunningly beautiful beaches and lots of yachts. We found the motto hillarious and quite intriguing – this is the Caribbean island where billionaires come to escape millionaires.
10.Puerto Rico has big beach resorts, casinos, lots of history and rich Hispanic culture. We spent 2 days falling in love with Old San Juan, charming cobbled streets and stunning architecture with a lively vibe.
11.Caribbean Honduras. We have some very memorable memories part of Roatan – sharks diving Caribbean and watching the feed, more details in here or for something more visual in here. 30 miles off the north coast of Honduras, Roatan felt friendly, charming and little developed – another paradise for explorers and nature lovers.
12.BVI are best for yachties and divers and we have friends that are completely addicted, going religiously year after year. Tortola is glam and buzzy – perfect base for sunset cocktail parties.
13.Dominica – lush, green, little developed. Black sand beaches, stunning waterfalls, sulphur pools and ecoresorts. Not the safest or most developed – so don’t over adventure at night and take on board your hotel advice. We wrote about it extensively in here.
14.St Martin is a smallish lively island where intriguingly enough there are two distinct parts: French & Dutch. A great combination for anyone who is after holidays with reserve combining or alternating with lots of partying.
15. Jamaica has been on our list for very long and we had travels booked to Montego Bay December 2021-January 2022, flying from Miami and returning directly to London. We have decided against nevertheless the very last minute as Jamaican government kept the discretion to place visitors in governmental facilities in case someone in the family tested positive ( at governmental rates which have not been disclosed at the time) and we simply did not have appettite to take such risks. Sticking to Miami end of 2021 beginning of 2022 felt wiser and safer, as Florida left it to tourists to quarantine in case of a positive test (plus the quarantine was simply recommended rather than enforced).
Travelling during the pandemic. Being fully vaccinated and travelling from to Caribbean is still relatively easy, just a couple of extra forms and tests. Coming back to London on various occassions between 2020-2022 is feasible, on the last occassion in January 2022 from Miami, we booked our private tests 2 days ahead of our travels and thereafter booked for London Day 2 private tests, PCR required at the time. The travelling guidance has been fluid though, always best to check the latest UK Foreign travel advice.
So which Caribbean island is right for you?
For slightly further inspiration, so much vaster, diverse but still with white sand beaches, check our dedicated article on Mexico with kids or without.
oh how I love the Caribbean! Your picutres make me want to go back asap!!! #FarawayFiles
Great to hear Lisa Marie, hope you get to go soon!
So many amazing islands to explore! Barbados was our first family holiday outside of Europe – when I was a child. I don’t think I’d ever swum in a warm sea before. We really enjoyed little bits of Bequia and the Grenadines on a Caribbean cruise. One of the islands I really loved and would love to return to was Anguilla. That sea, sand and lobster were incredible. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles
Hehe Clare, I know the first time in Caribbean (like Maldives and Seychelles) we just went oh wow is this real …?! nothing like first ime impressions of a warm blue sea filled with gorgeous colourful fish! Late discoveries for us – after turning 26 and starting to afford them but since we are truly addicted! We don’t know Anguilla yet but loving the sound !
Oh my goodness I could easily go to any of these. You’re certainly a Caribbean expert with all your travels among the islands. I’ve always fancied St Lucia and definitely want to go to Cuba when the kids are older. So glad you’ve introduced a few other to me. #farawayfiles
Great to hear! Hope yor husband gets better shortly and you get to go together soon! X
Ugh! Can I pick all of them!? Cuba has been a dream of mine for so long but all of these islands look abdsolutely dreamy ! #farawayfiles
Thank you and yes indeed, dreamy and gorgeous !
Erm, I think they are all suitable for me!! Wow, what amazing pictures and you describe them all so well #farawayfiles
Thank you! Indeed, I would be thrilled to move for a while in there, any of them would suit 😉
I’m with you, I think the Grenadines are my favourites although they are all wonderful in different ways! Beautiful pictures of a wonderful part of the world. #FarawayFiles
Great to hear and thanks for stopping by Jo!
These islands were all a vague jumble in my mind. Somehow you knew that and wrote this informative post to list each one and tell about it. I love this! Now, how to choose . . .
Haha Sharon, glad to be of help! Keep us posted on which one you decide to go for and impressions!
Is it bad that I didn’t even realise there were so many Caribbean islands? They all look just as I would imagine with those turquoise waters and sandy beaches. Interesting to note that there are indeed differences and some are more suited to a certain holiday type than others. I’ve always fancied Cuba, may be one day when we retire from Coombe Mill.
Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids
Hehe Fiona! Yes, I think Cuba would suit you and you’d have a blast! I wouldn’t postpone until retirement, maybe just treat yourself with your daughters a ladies week away in the sun? Surely farmer Nick and the boys will manage!
Oh, I’m sat with my coat on and fire next to me and these ALL look amazing. I have been to Cuba but none of the others – hopefully one day, it is worth knowing how different they all are. #countrykids
Hope you get to visit and explore more of Caribbean soon Clare! Especially that we got so much grey, colt and wet in UK in the last months!
I’ve never been to this part of the world, as west coasters we often head to Hawaii, but I’d sure like to! I think Cuba is at the top of my list, but there are so many wonderful choices here! I’ll have to get exercising though because it looks a swimming suit is the main attire! #farawayfiles
Hawaii is gorgeous and and also the islands are so diverse! My 4 years old is constantly begging for holidays in there- bit more difficult from London especially with a toddler ..And yes I am afraid in the Caribbean swimsuit is the main attire, for Havana though party outfits are even better!
Cuba is always fascinating for me. I love that the Architecture and culture is preserved so well. #countrykids
These all look like beautiful islands to visit! I’ve never been to any of the Caribbean islands so I think I would be happy to visit any of them to be honest! #countrykids
I have only been to the Cayman Islands but would love to re-visit. I have fond memories of snorkelling and finding sand dollars
Oh my. What beautiful places to choose from! Cuba would be top of my list – although I wouldn’t say no to the others….. #CulturedKids
I’ve only been to Cuba, which was wonderful, maybe it’s time to explore some of the others! Thank you for linking up to #CulturedKids
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