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.
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.