Caribbean dreams: my favourite islands for families

May 22, 2012

Whenever I hear someone say ‘if you’ve been to one Caribbean island, you’ve been to them all,’ I laugh into my strawberry daiquiri because they really don’t get it. At all. It’s like saying that if you’ve been to England, you’ve been to Ireland. Every Caribbean island is unique, with its own personality.

We started visiting the Caribbean when No1 Son was about six, and since then have gone back fairly regularly, sometimes to the same islands. Here are my favourite Caribbean islands for families:









Small but perfectly formed, Tobago is quieter than its neighbours but there’s loads to see and do. No 1 Son was enchanted by the hummingbirds we saw here for the first time and the beaches are wonderful, particularly Pigeon Point, which has one of the most famous ‘Caribbean’ views in the world. Take a glass-bottomed boat ride to see Buccoo coral reef and the ‘Nylon pool’ – named by Princess Margaret on her honeymoon, because she said the water was like nylon. Our absolute favourite restaurant on the island has to be MeShell’s but also try the excellent Kariwak Village.




St Lucia

St Lucia has the most incredibly diverse landscape – from the rainforest to the volcano at Soufriere, the magnificent Piton mountains and fabulous beaches. I’d also recommend taking the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ ride on the Brig Unicorn (which was actually used in the movie) – great fun, especially the water pistols.




The thing that surprised me most about Jamaica is how utterly, ruggedly beautiful it is – lush and green, with stunning waterfalls. Must-sees include Dunn’s River Falls and it’s worth going to the Jamaican Bobsled Café to see the bobsleigh used by the Olympics team (as in Cool Runnings). We also went on a crocodile safari on the Black River and horse riding along the beach at Rose Hall.






This is where we first heard the phrase ‘Caribbean time’ – which basically means chill out, there’s no hurry; sit back and have another cocktail. It’s also where we tried ‘black pineapple’ – the sweetest, most delicious pineapple in the world, and saw bananas growing for the first time. Antigua has 365 beaches (one for every day of the year) and stunning English Harbour, which really does take your breath away the first time you see it. I’d also recommend a boat ride to nearby Barbuda, which is just the most perfect stretch of white sand and includes a trip to see the ‘Booby’ (Frigate) birds.



The Bahamas

Our first experience of the Caribbean was the Bahamas and we just fell totally in love. Warm azure sea, caster sugar sand beaches, unspoilt vistas, just perfect. If you take the Disney Cruise you get to visit their own island, Castaway Cay, which is idyllic.




So those are my favourite Caribbean islands – I’d love to know yours.

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  • Zoe Moore May 23, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    We’ve been to Antigua with our 2 kids about 12 times and had amazing family holidays ! Mustique has to be the most special place wether cruising the area on a boat or staying in a villa or the Cotton House – has a magical, unbeatable feel to it (never have I seen a starry sky like here !)

  • Mummy's Little Monkey May 22, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    Oooooh, don’t get me started!!! St Lucia was amazing and I have unforgettable memories of our first family holiday with our eldest daughter.

    Not technically the Caribbean, but within spitting distance – Key West. Had the quirkiest, funniest, most relaxing time there BK (Before Kids).

    But absolute top of my list is Cuba – it’s my most favourite destination EVER!!! Beautiful, unspoilt, shockingly rundown in the cities, yet so vibrant and full of life. Would love to go back one day. x

  • Kara May 22, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    Cayman islands are my fave – I remember snorkelling with glorious fish, finding starfish and sand dollars on the beach and meeting turtles face to face!

  • Helen May 22, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    We have only been to Antigua – when our daughter was four and a half. We loved it, went to st johns, sunset at Shirley heights, also a couple of catamaran trips to deserted islands. I found it really child friendly. Our son is only 17months old so we won’t be going again yet but would love to try another island…..I loved the rum punch!

  • Sara May 22, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    My favourite so far has been Grenada – a little quieter than some of its neighbours. Very beautiful, chilled and with lovely people. Would love to go back.

  • MummyTravels May 22, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Mmmmm, imagining white sand beaches and black pineapple now… I’ve been guilty of thinking the Caribbean isn’t the most exciting destination (gorgeous, yes, but a string on interchangeable beaches) but once I started looking into it, there’s so much to discover. I’ve only been to the Cayman islands so far, and even the three of those are very different. I’d love to go to St Lucia and Grenada, but Tobago sounds wonderful too.