November 4, 2014
There’s LOADS of fun stuff for youngsters visiting the Caribbean to do while mum and dad are flopped out on the beach, from seaside safaris and kids’ clubs to and all sorts of child-friendly water-sports. Here are a few ideas to get you started in our rundown of the best Caribbean islands for kids.
While the palm-thick plantations of St. Lucia are renowned worldwide for their sweet, plump bananas, it is the island’s Labrelotte Bay that remains synonymous with the juiciest banana rides. Look for the scenic sandy stretch between the East Winds Inn and the Windjammer Landing Hotel where the waters play host to a mass of brightly coloured inflatable toys. This water sports playground is home to paddle boats, kayaks, windsurfing, snorkeling gear, water-skiing lessons. You can also try other water-borne jaunts, including diving trips in the Marine Park, dolphin and whale watching, catamaran sailing and deep-sea fishing. But it is the banana boat rides that draws the kids, who half a dozen at a time, jump onboard and hang on for dear life as the speed-boat skipper tows the inflated raft on an adrenalin-fueled sea-bashing excursion.
Families with small children are drawn to the crystal-clear calm waters and bath-warm shallows of Antigua’s sleepy Dickenson Bay set in a picturesque corner of the island’s northwest region. Here children soon find that the powder-soft sand is perfect for burying parents, while toddlers can roam freely on the safe and shielded beach. Older kids can join in the many sailing and snorkeling trips that depart from the bay. The beach is also conveniently close to several family-friendly restaurants where even the pickiest eaters cause zero fuss. While adults gaze out across the Caribbean Sea dreaming of some peace and a tasty cocktail, every child – whatever the age – is eyeing up the giant bouncy floats bobbing gently on the water, strung with buoys, inflatable slides and over-sized trampolines.
Offering children of all ages an opportunity to ride, befriend and care for a horse in the beautiful scenery of Tobago, Being With Horses has no age restrictions on their excellent horse-riding tours. Every standard of rider is welcomed by local owners Veronika and Lennon, from inexperienced novices to those adept and confident in the saddle. Expert guides offer full instruction before each outing through the character-packed environs of Buccoo village, past the knotted mangrove forests and along the sandy beach on a trip that culminates with a thrilling immersion ride in the warm waves of the Caribbean Sea. Children learn that beaches are not just for building sandcastles as they search for washed up coral and shells, brush and groom the horses, and meet the local fishermen.
With its inviting expanses of pristine coast and rugged coastline, Barbados offer plenty of scope for children to burn off energy from kayaking, soccer, beach cricket and coastal treasure hunts to wildlife treks in the national parks and seaside playgrounds. The Barbados Wildlife Reserve has a beautiful mahogany forest where you can observe a broad cross-section of wildlife, including a great number of Barbados Green Monkeys that can be enjoyed at close quarters in their own natural environment. Arrive at 2pm sharp for a guaranteed front row seat of feeding time. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a glimpse of a brocket deer, shyly hiding in the undergrowth and stay quiet for a chance to observe pelicans, cayman, tortoises and pink flamingos in amongst the marshes, leafy trails and shaded pools. Cap off a perfect day with a magical night dive deep down in the Caribbean waters with an Atlantis Submarine Tour.
Children visiting Grenada are always thrilled to discover that the local kids wave them at during their stay. they’ll even interrupt a game of football in order to say “hi” as a visitor drives by. As a family-friendly destination, Grenada offers numerous amazing routes to explore in a 4×4 jeep including the chance to experience the unusual head to the world’s first underwater sculpture park. More than 80 monuments stand amongst the coral-encrusted seascape at Molinere Marine Park.
The easiest way to get there is via a catamaran excursion from St George’s where a ticket buys you the loan of child-sized flippers and diving masks. Prepare to be wowed by transparent waters thick with clouds of cobalt-blue baby jacks and a rainbow of other utterly eye-popping tropical fish. But it is usually the bizarre, life-sized sculptures on the ocean floor that renders the younger divers speechless, especially the ring of children holding hands, which present some original under water photography opportunities.
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Are you a regular to the Caribbean region? Where do you think the best Caribbean islands for kids are? Tell us in the comment section below.