Fun in the Sun: Great Caribbean Family Vacations

The perfect family vacation has something for everyone to enjoy. Mom may want to go for a nature hike, Dad may want to sit by the pool, and the kids may want to splash around on a sunny beach, or go zip-lining or mountain biking. Finding one place that can accommodate everyone can be a little tricky. If you’re searching for that perfect spot, one that offers your family a variety of activities in one of the world’s most beautiful settings, there is no better place on earth than the sunny Caribbean.

There are thousands of islands in the Caribbean Sea, each one with something unique to offer you and your family. Some islands have a volcano to hike, others are home to a thriving arts scene, and some islands have a fascinating historic past, preserved and restored for you to experience right now.

Many families enjoy being able to set up a home base for their vacation, renting a private villa that gives them the ability to enjoy the privacy of their own space. There are basic villas available, where guests can feel at home, making their own meals, and there are more upscale perks, such as a private chef, where guests can relax while dinner is prepared, or join in to learn a few tips about the local cuisine.

Hotels and all-inclusive resorts can be simple and straightforward, but if you’re travelling with children, a fully stocked kitchen and a separate bedroom and living area can be affordable, and it can really make the trip more enjoyable. On each Caribbean island there are lovely holiday villas available to rent. Some are luxury retreats, offering not just the comforts and conveniences of home, but also some added extra touches, such as fresh tropical flowers brought in every day by the housekeeping staff. Of course, villas with pools have another special splash of luxury built right in, giving the kids a chance to cool off while dinner is prepared.

The Caribbean has world class attractions that draw millions of tourists every year. From the undeniable appeal of the powder soft sand on a Caribbean beach, to the crystal clear blue waters and the rich natural life both on land and under the sea, there is so much to see and explore in this sunny corner of the world. There are certainly lots of activities to keep every member of your family busy, no matter what their interests may be.

Every child loves to run and play in the surf and sand, and every island has a perfect Caribbean beach just waiting for you. Choose one of the luxury vacation rentals near Jamaica’s James Bond Beach, and mom can even pretend she’s Ursula Andress walking out of the sea, since this is the beach where the movie Dr. No was filmed.

Stay in a family villa on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands long enough, and you can explore every one of the 44 beaches that line this tiny island. Virgin Gorda has a one-of-a-kind Caribbean beach known as “The Baths”, where kids love scrambling around massive boulders left over from some ancient volcanic eruption, while mom and dad keep cool in crystal clear waters at the adjacent Spring Bay Beach.

For kids who love science, geology or anything that makes them say “wow”, a Caribbean vacation rental also puts you close to some of the world’s most amazing volcanic sites. You can see the steam pouring out of a volcano in St. Lucia, or better yet, rent a luxury holiday villa on Montserrat, where the active Soufriere Hills volcano is still erupting. There are fascinating helicopter tours available, giving you a first-hand look at the volcano exclusion zone. You can also take the family to Garibaldi Hill, to where you can look down at the abandoned and ash-covered former capital of Plymouth, which Islanders refer to as a modern day Pompeii.

A luxury vacation rental on Jamaica is also a great idea for families, because there are so many wonderful activities all around the island for children of all ages. You can explore a working plantation at the Prospect Plantation, near Ocho Rios. Aside from being educational, the plantation also offers horseback rides, and it is home to a herd of ostriches. You should also be sure to take the kids exploring in the fascinating Green Grotto Caves, which were once a hideout for runaway slaves. They will also love zip-lining, water sliding and bobsledding at the Mystic Mountain theme park.

On St. John in the U.S Virgin Islands, a Caribbean vacation rental can put you close to the Annaberg Sugar Mill Ruins, and the nature walks that wind through mangrove forests and past ancient petroglyphs carved into rocks in the Virgin Islands National Park. You can also rent sea-kayaks at Cinnamon Bay, and take the kids out to explore the ocean and the fascinating underwater life along the picturesque shore line.

If the kids are little, a boat trip to Norman Isle, off the coast of Virgin Gorda, can be a truly one-of-a-kind vacation memory. You can relax on a pristine Caribbean beach, or join your children while they run free on this deserted island, once a pirate haven in the 18th century. Exploring caves with glowing phosphorescent patches and bat colonies will also provide a lifetime of stories to tell.

If the kids are old enough, one of the most memorable adventures can be to go snorkelling or scuba diving in the Caribbean. Virgin Gorda has some of the most spectacular reef systems in the entire region, and you can even explore the shipwrecked RMS Rhone.

Every parent knows that a family vacation can be a truly wonderful and educational experience, but it is also a major undertaking. One way to make it a little easier is to consider reserving holiday villas with pools. The kids have a place to play, parents have a place to relax and chat after the kids have gone to bed, and everyone has the convenience of a refrigerator where you can stock their favorite snacks, and a kitchen where they can find their favorite meals.

Add in the fun of river kayaking in Jamaica, spying on sea turtles in Montserrat, sailing in Virgin Gorda or horseback riding down a beach in St. John, and you have everything you need for one of your best family holidays.


BVI Kite Jam 2011

Saba Rock, North Sound, Virgin Gorda…Sunday, 27 February… 4 kites are in the  gorgeous waters of Eustacia Sound by 11:30 in the morning, jumping up to about 30 in the afternoon at the BVI Kite Jam 2011. The kiteboarders are ripping through the water at high speeds, and sometimes taking to the air.

I marvel at how they can avoid each other, and not get their kite strings tangled. Must be like skiing on a crowded slope…everyone follows their own path.

I’m trying to figure out what body type you need for kiteboarding, and I sense that it’s a forgiving sport…I see slight people, bulky folks, and older people as well. Seems to be a sport for 17 to 70, although clearly most of the competitors are in their late 20s to early 30s.

From my observations, I can see that the kite is doing most of the work (unlike windsurfing where you have to have a strong upper body), and the human has to maintain balance and stance, so some quad is involved.

Later in the week, the competitors raced around Necker Island (Richard Branson’s private preserve), and then headed over to Anegada Island where they had a moonlight race, and two days of fun. Today they are headed back to the gorgeous, turquoise North Sound, for more fun in the sun. The winds have dropped today, after holding around 20 knots all week. Hopefully, they’ll pick up again tomorrow, for the last day of this year’s Kite Jam, sponsored by Billabong.

Coconuts are dropping in Tortola!

Right now on Tortola, the winds are high and the coconuts are dropping off the trees! Many new drink recipes for shaken coconut are happenin’!

Reserve your vacation rentals in the Caribbean for 2011 now!


vacation rentals in the caribbean