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Why go to the Caribbean?
Click here for brochures from Caribbean specialists
  • Excellent, warm weather and sea throughout the year, and especially when it’s cold and grey in UK
  • Perfect place for a luxurious break with the children well provided for. The hotels and villas are of a very high standard with every facility, and children are welcomed with open arms.
  • Very good facilities for babies and toddlers, but no compromise on standards for adults.
  • The atmosphere is relaxed and very friendly.
  • Beaches safe and beautiful with warm sea and plenty of snorkelling.
  • Every island offers plenty of places to visit and beautiful scenery.
  • Around 9 hours flight from UK - longer than the Med, but shorter than other longhaul options such as Mauritius.
  • Time difference only GMT -4hrs.
  • Excellent range of childcare options: A lot of very luxurious hotels offer special facilities for children, and it’s a well-kept secret that nannies can be hired locally by the hour or by the day, to keep an eye on the children while parents relax. They will also babysit in the evening (approx.£5 per hour) allowing you to make the most of the beautiful surroundings. You don’t have to leave them in sole charge of your precious offspring if you don’t want to - but it can be very nice to have someone to amuse them on the beach while you relax close by.

TIP - it can actually be cheaper than the Mediterranean if you have a child over 2. There are an amazing number of free child places/reduced flights/free nights, which make the Caribbean an excellent option for travelling with young children. Children aged 2-11 sharing your room pay a minimal £275 or less at most of our recommended hotels.This makes a package in May for example cheaper than a lot of summer Mediterranean packages. For example, 2 adults and one over 2 (sharing with another couple in a 2 bed 2 bath villa) can travel in May to Barbados, staying at Settlers Beach for around £2500 total room only including scheduled flights and private limo transfer. A similar package in early July to Corsica for example would cost around £3000. Also, if you can travel as a 4 or 6 you can often get amazing deals, on villas, often with free nanny hours - Windjammer Landing in St Lucia is a great example.

Things to think about:

  • The flight time - not so bad if they have their own seat (choose Virgin if possible for the seatback TV) but a heavy 18-month-old could be very wearing on the legs - and spirit! Flights are usually day time.
  • Time difference. It’ll mean early nights and mornings for a couple of days - try to book a 10 night+ stay if poss to make most of your trip. Most operators offer an extra night price.
  • If travelling low season, check rainfall averages carefully – some islands are a lot more rainy than others, Barbados and Antigua some of driest, St Lucia pretty wet. Rain is short lived but can drive you mad if it rains every day.
  • Roads can be very poor - choose your island carefully. Barbados and St Lucia are fine, Antigua less so.
  • Some islands very "American". If this isn’t your bag, choose carefully.
  • The cost of eating at hotels can be quite high, so plan carefully. A self catering option can be cost effective in this case. All inclusive options are great if spending money is a concern, there are inclusives at all levels.

Best times to visit: Dec-May, June July more humid, July-Oct hurricane season

Flight times from GB: 8-10 hrs

Time difference: GMT-4hrs

 

Popular Islands Fly direct? Popular Islands Fly direct?
Barbados Y Antigua Y
St Lucia Y Tobago Y
Grenada Y Anguilla N
Grenadines N Turks and Caicos N
Jamaica Y Bahamas Y
Cayman Islands Y St Barts Y
Nevis N St Kitts N
Mustique N Virgin Gorda N


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Caribbean Island introductions:

Barbados:

  • Good introduction to the Caribbean - sophisticated, friendly island with a variety of landscapes and plenty to do. Easy to get around.
  • Dry weather for longer (May/June) than many of the other popular islands (low rainfall even in June).
  • Direct flights, 8 hrs 50 minutes.
  • Good medical facilities.
  • Wide choice of accommodation – plenty of villas, hotels large and small.
  • Plenty of eating out choices from simple fare to very achingly trendy restaurants.
  • West coast (St James) has excellent beaches - white sand, warm,calm sea.
  • Easy to visit Grenadines to get an idea of a more exclusive, less developed Caribbean experience.

Things to think about:

It is well developed, and most hotels are concentrated on the favoured West Coast. So you won’t be alone.

Great trips:

  • Day trip to Grenadines
  • Plantation houses
  • Wilder east coast

Festivals:

January - jazz

February - Holetown (walking distance of our recommended Settlers Beach hotel)

Easter - opera

November - national Independence

Web site: http://barbados.org

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Cuba:

  • The Caribbean's largest and least commercialised island has a rich cultural heritage and has become increasingly popular in recent years as a tourist destination, despite the US blockade. Still more visitors are expected when flights from Miami resume
  • Exuberant and extremely friendly people – even in big cities like Havana you're assured of a warm welcome, particularly if you're travelling with children
  • 3,500 miles of beautiful coastline and a beach season which lasts all year along! Some of them, like Varadero, have sandy shores extending for more than 20 km (13 miles).  Alternatively, the smaller make for delightful retreats away from it all 
  • Great for watersports lovers particularly scuba divers and snorkellers: the Cuban coral has been compared to Australia's Barrier Reef
  • Good value and affordable for a Caribbean destination
  • Read all about Cuba with a toddler

Things to think about:

  • Construction work and last minute itinerary changes may happen at unexpected times
  • Indifferent standards of service and transport which may be a bit lower than you'd expect in more established tourist destinations
  • Bring anything you (or your child) can't live without as choice of consumer goods is not wide

Visas: Yes virtually all visitors require a Cuban visa or Tourist Card, available from travel agencies, tour operators or a Cuban consulate for a stay of one month.

Vaccinations: Hepatitis if you're going off the beaten track. Other than that, it's a very healthy country with one of the finest healthcare systems in the world!

When to go: Generally year-round destination: hot, rainy season runs from May to October; winter (December to April) is the island's peak tourist season. Christmas, Easter and the end of July, when Cubans celebrate the anniversary of the revolution, are also very busy.

Flight time: 10hrs from UK



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St Lucia:

  • Island with some of most dramatic scenery in the Caribbean - great for photographers.
  • Mountains, lots of greenery.
  • Strong French influence.
  • Great jazz festival.
  • Rain forests.

Things to think about:

  • St Lucia’s lush scenery comes at a price - it rains a lot, and May sees quite an increase. We’re only talking showers here which are quickly over, but it’s worth bearing in mind if it would spoil your special Caribbean sojourn.
  • Inland roads and signs are not of the highest standard, so exploring is slow.

Festivals:

May - jazz

Carnival - 3rd week July

Great trips:

  • Jeep safari
  • Rain forests
  • Dolphin spotting
  • Markets in Castries

Flight time: 8 hrs 45minutes direct

Tourist board: 020 7431 3675

Web site: http://www.stlucia.org


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Antigua:

  • One of the best islands for number, variety and standard of beach - one for every day of year, legend has it.
  • Easy to visit Barbuda - the very exclusive Caribbean.
  • Good standard and variety of accommodation.
  • Keeps relatively dry for quite a long season (into May).
  • Quick direct flights, 8 hrs 15 mins.

Things to think about:

  • Less varied scenery than some other islands - quite flat.
  • Again, a popular island, so you won’t be the only
    tourist in town.

Great trips:

  • Barbuda
  • Catamaran beach trip
  • Sugar plantations

Travel time: 8 hrs 15 mins direct

Tourist Board: 020 7486 7073

Web site: http://www.antigua-barbuda.org


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Jamaica:

  • Large Caribbean island with huge variety of scenery (and domestic flights!).
  • Very vibrant culture.
  • Fascinating history.
  • Very wide selection of accommodation, beach resorts, private mountain villas, small inns.

Things to think about:

  • Hard to see it all - you might want to do a 2 centre break if you’re keen on seeing certain areas.
  • You need to be vigilant in towns as petty crime is quite high.
  • Comparatively long flight time (nearly 10 hrs direct, add 1-2 if stops).

Great trips:

  • Blue mountains
  • Dunn’s River Falls
  • Rose Hall Great House

Festivals:

Easter - carnival

August - reggae

Travel time: 9 hrs 45 mins direct

Tourist board: 020 7224 0505

Web site: http://www.jamaicatravel.com


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Turks and Caicos:

  • Very undeveloped island.
  • Beautiful sandy and often deserted beaches.
  • Surrounded by one of the longest coral reefs in world.
  • Great location for wildlife - dolphins, iguanas.
  • Very luxurious accommodation - Parrot Cay is height
    of chic.
  • 18-hole golf course.

Things to think about:

  • Undeveloped means crowd-free, but also less in the way of tourist services than some other islands.
  • Not a huge amount to see, so very much for beach lovers.
  • No direct flights (go via Miami) until June

Great trips:

  • Deserted Cay trip – your own Crusoe experience.
  • Snorkelling over the reef.
  • Whale watching.
  • You could add on a couple of nights in Miami South Beach. Easy to walk around, beach right next to hotels, plenty of choice of accommodation, great shopping. No car necessary. Possible with kids of all ages, but perhaps best either with a baby not yet on the move or a slightly older toddler.

Travel: 9hrs 20 mins to Miami, 1hr 40 min onward flight

Tourist board: 020 8350 1017

Web site: http://www.turksandcaicostourism.com


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Anguilla:

If you’re looking for the deserted, laid back, luxurious Caribbean, then Anguilla is the answer.

  • The Island is very flat, but has arguably the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean – they really are outstanding.
  • Anguilla has a well deserved reputation for top quality hotels offering a level of style and luxury rarely found elsewhere in the Caribbean.
  • Fantastic gourmet restaurants – all at a price, of course. Easy to visit French Caribbean – St Martin (just 20 mins by ferry).
  • Stays relatively dry into May.

Things to think about:

  • No direct flights. Fly to Antigua(7hrs 40 mins) then 40 minute flight to connect.
  • This kind of luxury really does come at a price – the weekly room rate is quite high, and meals will be expensive too. But, if you’ve got it, this is the way to spend it!

Web site: http://net.ai


return to list of destinations

British Virgin Islands:

Cluster of very quiet, undeveloped islands for those who like peace, tranquility and every luxury to hand.

  • It’s very informal luxury and the islands are very beautiful – green hills, crystal clear seas.
  • The sailing and diving is some of the best in the Caribbean.
  • Great restaurants.
  • Easter Festival and Regatta in May.
  • Excellent local ferries make trips between islands easy. It’s very much the exclusive Caribbean, but doesn’t cost that much more than the other islands.

Things to think about:

No direct flights, 7 hrs 40 mins to Antigua then ½ hour flight.

Tourist info,
Web site: http://www.bviwelcome.com


Buy now from Amazon
Lonely Planet Eastern Caribbean
Insight Guide Caribbean (Caribbean, 4th...
Maps:
www.maps.expedia.com

Up to date weather:
www.bbc.co.uk/weather/world

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