Offbeat destinations in the Caribbean for families
By Rowena Carr-Allinson
Nevis (Courtesy Nevis Tourism Authority)
There’s nothing quite like a Caribbean beach break with the kids to recharge the batteries, with its warm waters, gorgeous beaches and relaxing island vibe. But with thousands of families making their way to the islands, it’s hard to find a destination that isn’t crowded.
For families looking for a quiet escape, we’ve tracked down some family-friendly resorts in the Caribbean for the best escapes under the sun. Check out these hidden gems for vacations that are guaranteed to take you ‘away from it all.’
Bizarrely, Nevis is named after snow! Nieve, the Spanish word for snow, was the name Columbus gave the island on seeing its cloud topped mountain as he approached. Far from being snowy, this tropical hideaway is one of Caribbean’s loveliest, lushest and most unspoiled islands. Reasonably undeveloped, you’ll find picture-perfect beaches, no buildings over two storeys high, and the beautiful Four Seasons Resort Nevis. The 196 spacious rooms are set in a beautiful environment, surrounded by swaying palms off the beach and near a golf course. Useful additional perks include WiFi, lovely outdoor pool and on-site restaurant. In terms of kid-friendly amenities, you’ll find rollaway beds, cribs and a kids club to keep them busy. The hotel also has residence villas as large as 6 bedrooms, ideal for families to stay! And, the best news? Kids stay free!
Virgin Gorda (Flickr: kansasphoto)
One of the stunning British Virgin Islands, Virgin Gorda is home to the remote and idyllic Biras Creek Resort. Set in 140 acres of paradise, you can only arrive by boat or helicopter. Its 31 luxury suites sit between the North Sound, Atlantic Ocean, and the Caribbean. Newly revamped, the elegant and sophisticated family-friendly hotel oozes Caribbean class. Ocean Suites come with a view, Garden suites look out on the tropical flora, while the Grand Suites and Premier Suites offer glorious space. The white sandy beach is just the spot for swimming, sailing, and snorkeling. Borrow a Boston Whalers and go for a scoot around the secret coves, or take a picnic to a totally remote beach – the perfect Robinson Crusoe experience. Also available are Hobi sailboats, snorkel gear and windsurfing equipment. The eco-friendly resort is part of the prestigious Relais & Chateaux hotel group which means it offers a gourmet restaurant and fine wines; not to mention the Spa by the Sea, bikes to use on the island, the library, plunge pool and hiking trails.
Anguilla (Photo: anguilla-beaches.com)
A British Overseas Territory, the tiny island of Anguilla in the lesser Antilles is the most northerly leeward island, east of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, just north of St. Martin. The island is a mere 16 miles by 3 miles, with a few smaller islands with romantic names like Prickly Pear Cays or Dog Island dotted around. The area spans just 35 square miles, which is pretty tiny in anyone’s book! Anguilla is mostly famous for its clear waters and for being very flat! With stunning coral reefs and white sandy beaches, it’s rather dreamy. The island is home to a few flashy resorts such as Cap Juluca and the Viceroy Anguilla, where celebrities likely to hide away. For the ultimate relaxation, the new Viceroy has a 8000 sq. ft. oceanfront spa, three pools, sports and watersports as well five different dining options. Want to make an excursion? Don’t miss fresh lobster at Scilly Cay, a definite must.
Bonaire (Courtesy Tourism Corporation Bonaire)
The quietest of the Dutch Caribbean islands, this little gem lies just outside the hurricane belt off Venezuela. A special municipality of the Netherlands, just like Sint Eustatius and Saba, so the main language here is Dutch, which can seem a little odd amidst the cacti! Known for its lovely clear waters and diving and snorkeling, its entire coastline is protected by the Bonaire National Marine Park. This is just the place to come for a family vacation if you are planning on seeing some marine wildlife, especially the seahorses that live amongst the corals! With 80 dive sites, plenty of them within reach of the beaches, it’s the perfect place to learn how to dive or snorkel to catch the rainbow of underwater life.
Andros Island, The Bahamas
Saddleback Cay in Andros Island (Photo: Mikhail Gruznov`)
There are the Bahamas… and the Bahamas. The busy, bustling Bahamas like Nassau, and the quiet, remote Bahamas. Andros belongs to the latter category. Although it’s the largest of the 26 inhabited islands – it’s larger than the other 700 Bahamian islands combined – it feels remote and special and hardly developed. It’s made up of hundreds of small islets and cays joined by mangroves and swamps and is best known for its Barrier Reef, nicknamed the ‘Tongue of the Ocean’ and known as the world’s sixth longest, running 142 miles and 3 km high. The island is also known for its blue holes (under water passages) and luckily has a handful of charming resorts to stay in, such as Kamalame Cay.
Rowena Carr-Allinson contributed this to MiniTime. Since the arrival of her son in 2011, she has taken him everywhere from Bangkok to NYC, writing family friendly articles en route.