A Family Affair
From close encounters with stingrays to supervised children’s clubs and beach horse riding, the Caribbean provides endless family fun
Holidays provide a wonderful opportunity for the family to spend quality time together – and the Caribbean’s multifarious islands and countries provide oceans of experiences and happy memories that will last a lifetime.
Capture your children’s smiles on camera as they jump aboard the galleon pirate ship, Black Magic, for a seafaring adventure at Cap Maison, Saint Lucia. Dressed as a pirate, young ones will quickly get swept along, firing the black powder cannons and even walking the ‘plank’! Meanwhile, parents can sit back and enjoy the voyage to the Diamond Botanical Gardens and Sulphur Springs, Saint Lucia’s drive-in volcano.
Other Piratesofthecaribbean- themed activities offered by the hotel include a treasure hunt on Pigeon Island, and a trip to Black Bay in Vieux Fort, where Blackbeard allegedly stored his treasure.
Up and under
The skies really are the limit on Jamaica, Belize, Haiti, Grenada and Saint Lucia. Young ones will love the aerial tram that glides silently through the Saint Lucian rainforest with its hummingbirds and gigantic gommier trees. Older ones will find thrills aplenty on the other islands’ exciting zip-lines.
The Caribbean’s warm, clear seas provide hours of fishy fun, too. Swim among huge stingrays at Stingray City, just a boat ride from Grand Cayman or Antigua – even little ones can join in the feeding from the shallows of the sandbar.
Swimming with dolphins makes for a memorable day out in St. Martin/st. Maarten, the British Virgin Islands and St. Kitts, and families that don’t want to get their feet wet can enjoy the ocean’s stunning marine life from an Atlantis submarine in Grand Cayman and Barbados. Curaçao’s Sea Aquarium offers more than 400 species of fish, and its Ostrich Farm in Santa Catharina provides fun for all the family.
Iguanas, turtles, volcanoes and trains make a great day out. Mingle with blue iguanas at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park on Grand Cayman or take a safari and learn about the breeding programme that saved these dragon-like creatures from extinction. Watching turtles hatch is a once-in-alifetime experience on Saint-martin, St. Kitts, Trinidad and Tobago and Antigua – why not join a conservation project? Jump aboard the St. Kitts doubledeck scenic railway for a relaxed tour through the island’s sugar plantations.
In Montserrat, get up close to Soufrière Hills, the Caribbean’s most active volcano.
Spot colourful tropical fish and turtles on dive or snorkel trips with Aquanauts, Grenada, and learn local arts and crafts skills at Coconut Bay Beach Resort, Saint Lucia.
A gallop along the sands of Barkers Beach, Grand Cayman, and a swim with your horse is fun for all the family. Afterwards, enjoy a film at the island’s Camana Bay open-air cinema and watch the stars beneath the stars.
There’s plenty to keep teens active: Martinique offers Aqualand water park, featuring adrenalin-pumping waterslides and a wave pool while adventurers will love climbing to the top of Pic Paradise, the highest peak of Saint-martin, or exploring the Hato Caves of Curaçao.
Family hotels and resorts
All-inclusive resorts and family hotels come in all shapes and sizes in the Caribbean – and offer a variety of supervised children’s clubs, activities and entertainment for all ages.
Families will never go hungry at Beaches Turks & Caicos. New food trucks offering macaroni and cheese and icy treats join the resort’s 21 restaurants and Wednesday Night Fish Fry. Young ones from the age of four can also enjoy a taste of scuba diving with SNUBA Doo® and SNUBA® (also at Beaches Jamaica).
A 141-acre water park provides plenty of thrills at Atlantis Paradise Island in The Bahamas. A 200-foot body slide, down a 60-foot almost-vertical drop from a Mayan temple, a nightclub and an Internet lounge with gaming consoles will keep older ones amused.
Young ones can feed baby stingrays, sharks and fish in the fish nursery, become a junior dolphin trainer for the day and learn how to care for the resort’s 50,000 sea creatures.
Sunscape Splash Montego Bay, Jamaica, offers a pirate-themed waterpark with a lazy river and two waterslides, supervised Explorer’s Club for three to 12-year-olds, babysitting service and a Bubblemaker introductory scuba programme for eight to 10-year-olds.
Grafton Beach Resort, Tobago, relies on old-fashioned classic board games to entertain all of the family.
Luxury Carlisle Bay, Antigua, offers treasure hunts, tennis coaching and supervised activities during school holidays. Elite Island Resorts has three family friendly hotels with free kids’ clubs and non-motorised water-sports – St James’s Club Morgan Bay, Saint Lucia, and St James’s Club and Villas and The Veranda, both on Antigua.
…and luxury villas
For multi-generational families and groups of friends travelling together, villas are a great choice because they offer space, privacy and the freedom to do as they please. •
All- inclusive resorts and family hotels come in all shapes and sizes in the Caribbean - and offer a variety of supervised children’s clubs, activities and entertainment for all ages
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