Which Caribbean Island?

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Which island for beach time with kids?

July 2013

I'm hoping to take our kids (ages 2-10) to the Caribbean (Bahamas?) in October, and am looking for recommendations for specific islands/hotels/other lodging. We'd like some beach time and some snorkeling, and someplace with childcare for the 2yo would be ideal but not required. We tend toward DIY vacations vs. all-inclusive, but I could be convinced to do a resort. What worked well for your family? Is October an okay time to visit or are we pushing into hurricane season? Dreaming of Beaches

I am going this year to Aruba with my two year old. It is out of the hurricane belt, so you might experience more rainy weather in October, but it is not barraged like other islands further north. The positives are the island is firmly middle class, the beaches are perfect for children, no waves, no sharks, no jelly fish, just white sand and blue water. There is even a Baby Beach. You can take snorkeling trips, but there isn't a great reef because the island is older-hence the vast sand beaches. But it is the wind sailing capital of the world.

Tourism is the main economy, so it is quite Americanized, in my opinion for the worse. So there are many, many hotels to choose from. I don't think you can go wrong there. I am staying at a smaller one way, way out of the tourism sector. I've stayed at the Holiday Inn, which is probably the cheapest 'highrise' hotel. I know they have a childcare area, but a lot of other hotels do too. The Hyatt Resort is my favorite, but very expensive.

I also recommend Bonaire, which is what Aruba was like 50 years ago. Less touristy. They have more snorkeling places, beautiful mangrove forests (so does Aruba), but less beach area. And it's quiet, like really quiet.

Which island is the most queer- and kid-friendly?

July 2012

We plan on taking a trip with our 18 month old in the Caribbean islands next year. I know there are many islands in the Caribbean, so I figured that one way we can narrow down which island to go to is to find out which of these islands have the most queer and kid friendly people and resorts. I would love some suggestions. Thanks! Beachbabyandmom

We went to the Bahamas for our honeymoon, and while that was 6 years ago, I was surprised to find how conservative it was (both residents and visitors). There seemed to be a large evangelical presence there, almost everyone we met. Not that we didn't have a fabulous time and that being Christian means you're automatically unfriendly towards queer families, but I definitely didn't see any other gay families or couples during our entire trip. At the very least, it might make you feel a little uncomfortable. anon

Caribbean trip with East Coast in-laws

Aug 2010

To celebrate my in-laws' 40th wedding anniversary, our family is planning a trip to the Caribbean. There will be 6 adults and 2 girls, ages 2 and 4. We are looking for something low key, most likely a beach resort so that everything is easy and in one place, not too fancy, not too outdoorsy. Easy air access (direct flights) from the East Coast would be a plus. Have you ever stayed at such a place? Recommendations about locations, and different places to stay would be much appreciated, as neither one of us has ever been to the area. Thanks!

I've been to Antigua several times although not for many years, the last time with my 4 nieces and nephews who were all under age 10 at the time. It is a very low key island with a laid back pace, very pretty, and not as built up as some of the more popular destinations. I don't believe the rustic resort where we used to stay, Galleon Beach, exists anymore, but I'm sure St. John's, which was a bit nicer, is still around. The beaches are beautiful, there are tons of water sports (swimming, sailing, diving, etc), a funky town to explore, the old sugar plantations to visit, and if Shirley Heights is still in operation, great steel drum music and BBQ on Sunday nights. I loved going there and would go back in a heartbeat. beach lover

I like St. Martin. It's easy to get to from the East Coast and has something for everybody. The French side is especially nice. They take US $ so you really don't have to change money. The beaches are wonderful, too

Caribbean island for beach and sailing?

Sept 2009

Hi, We're thinking of spending Christmas in the Caribbean, have been looking around online but overwhelmed by the options! Ideally we'd like a family-friendly resort (we have 2 kids - 5 and 7) that's not too ''hotel''-like (e.g. cabins rather than rooms in a multi-story tower), on/very near a beach, and with the ability to go sailing (inc. lessons). Any advice as to the best island(s) or particular resorts would be appreciated!! Thanks! Andrew

I used to live in the Caribbean, and found that St. John, in the US Virgin Islands, was one of my favorite getaway spots. It's laid-back, with lots of open space -- most of the island is a national park! -- and has great snorkeling and diving. It's family-friendly without being too resort-like. You might want to check out Maho Bay; I think it meets all of your criteria (although they offer sailing, I'm not sure if they offer lessons). It was one of the first ''green'' resorts in the Caribbean, and has various room options including studios and tent cabins. I used to see lots of families when I stayed there (although not so many that my partner and I, without kids at the time, felt out of place). Wherever you stay, have a wonderful trip! -- Still missing the islands

Which island to visit in the Caribbean?

April 2003

We are planning a vacation in the Caribbean. There are so many islands to choose from that it is hard to decide. Does anyone know anything about the following islands: Virgin Gorda, Anguilla, St. Lucia, Saint-Martin/Sint Maarten or Tortola. We have previously visited St. Croix, Grenada and Barbados. We are a family of four, kids are 16 and 13. We like snorkelling, easy hiking (it is very hot in August), some culture, some nightlife. We usually go to at least two places, so one could be livelier than the other. Any information to help with the decision is greatly appreciated.

Re: St. Martin. We stayed in a time-share (Royal something-or-other) in a developed area, and found it a let-down from Barbados. I believe the big ships only come to the Dutch side, and the major town was very touristy. The French side was better. It was not easy to see much beyond the tourist influence, and that was a while ago. I remember one place we went to snorkel that was called Dawn Beach or Bay or something, and was off the beaten track with little cottages on the beach to stay in. At the time, I thought that would be a great place to stay if we ever went back. You had to be careful of currents there, however. My sense is you would need to work hard to find special places to stay there. Susan