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Family Vac in March

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We are looking for a Caribbean Island for a family vac in March. Kids are 14, 12, and 9. They like to meet other kids to hang out with at the beach/pool. We've been to Aruba and didn't care for how built up it was. We went to St John, which was beautiful, but there weren't many kids at CaneelBay so they were bored. Turks & Caicos and Caymans were great, but we want to try something new. Looking for nice beaches, family friendly, snorkeling, great food, and some shopping. Were considering Barbados, Cuba, PR, St Kitts, but concerned with crime, St Lucia, but don't like long drive from airport, Anguilla, but very pricey. Ideas??

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    How important is snorkeling? PR, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Anguilla don't have very much in the way of walk-in snorkeling and boat access snorkeling is just OK. Can't comment on snorkeling in Barbados or Cuba because those are a couple of the few islands I haven't visited.

    If you can give up on the snorkeling consider staying at the Marriott on St. Kitts (you are mistaken it is not a high crime island) - they get lots of families with kids the same age as yours. Or if your budget allows look at the Four Seasons on Nevis - very family friendly with one of the best children's programs in the Caribbean - no beach snorkeling to speak of on that island, though).

    Virgin Gorda has some very good to excellent walk-in snorkeling all around the island. Little Dix Bay is Family Friendly but the island itself lacks the shopping you want. If you don't mind being at a limited access resort look at Bitter End yacht Club - very family friendly resort with lots of water and sailing oriented activities that will appeal to kids the same age as yours. It would be hard for them to be bored at this resort but you won't have any shopping to speak of.

    If your children like hiking and exploring rainforests and waterfalls consider going to Dominica. There is some interesting but limited snorkeling around the island, you'll have some access to shopping but you'll give up a bit since the beaches are just average and I wouldn't describe the restaurants on the island as being "great" but they certainly are enjoyable.

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    We recently spent a week in Curacao with our 10 and 12 year old kids and we all loved it. We have previously taken them to Aruba but we much preferred Curacao as it is not as built up and has more if an international feeling to it. The snorkeling right off the beaches was very good and the kids really loved it. We stayed at Lions Dive and it was conveniently located to the beach, restaurants and also the Sea Aquarium/Dolphin Academy. We rented a car one day and drove around the island to visit the more remote side and see some spectacular beaches. We also spent a day walking around Willemstad which is their interesting and appealing capital with a few interesting little museums.

    There were many other kids at the resort which was great for our kids. However, most of the other visitors (probably 98%) were Dutch and my kids thought that was very cool to meet kids from The Netherlands but I am not sure what it would be like in March. My sense is most Americans visit Curacao as cruise ship passengers as there are few non stop flights from the U.S.. We flew direct on Jet Blue from NYC and AA flies direct from Miami. We will definitely return to Curacao.

    I've travelled to San Juan several times and I love it for the the nightlife, restaurants etc but I could also see bringing the kids and staying in Isla Verde where we could enjoy the beach but also visit Old San Juan and the rainforest, Luquillo and other places.

    Neither Curacao nor San Juan area of PR has the beaches of Aruba, T&C or Grand Cayman but overall I think they are enjoyable and interesting destinations.

    I also love the French side of St. Martin. Grand Case has a nice little beach and amazing restaurants and Orient Beach has a bigger and busier beach, which might be more appealing for kids and a little village with several great restaurants. From St. Martin you can easily do a day trip to Anguilla where you can experience the beaches that are comparable to T&C.

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    You might not have considered it, but if you selected a ship with a great kid's program, with an itinerary that went to some beautiful beaches, March is an excellent time to do that. We are taking our Granddaughter on RCCL, Adventure of the seas, sailing out of PR in March.

    Four years ago, we took her on Norwegian Epic, which was great! As a matter of fact, she made a friend who she still sees every year for a few days, and this year our family took a Beach vacation with her family. They are planning to do the cruise with us next March so the girls can see each other.

    We have also taken our Granddaughter on MSC Divina, which had a poorly run kid's program, but good food and good snorkeling, and Princess Regal, which had a good program and decent snorkeling, but not many kids.

    A cabin for all if you might be a problem, but you could get adjoining cabins.

    Just another option for you. If there was one island you really liked, you could do it as another trip.

    I also like the Marriott on St Kitts, but, as RoamsAround say's, not good snorkeling. There is zip lining though, boating and Nevis to visit.

    BTW, RoamsAround, from my experience, is a real expert on the Caribbean. You can totally count on whatever he says, so even for a cruise, an itinerary based on his island REC's is helpful.

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