4 Nights in Carribean w/ Toddler...

Aug 28th, 2007, 10:00 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2003
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4 Nights in Carribean w/ Toddler...

Hello. My husband and I are planning a 4 night vacation with our 2 1/2 yr old. We're from CA and are considering one of the islands in the Carribean. We are flexible and just want a relaxing vacation.

I know this is a very general question, but which islands have the best beaches? We don't need an all-inclusive resort and just want an expansive stretch of powdery white sand with calm water so that our daughter can play comfortably on the beach. What are your top 3 island choices, which hotel/resort would you recommend, and why? Would be willing to pay up to $400/night for accommodations. Thank you so much for your expertise in advance.
cat14 is offline  
Aug 28th, 2007, 10:10 AM
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Are you thinking about going high (mid-Dec. to mid-April) or low season? That makes a big difference in price.

Suggestions: Turks and Caicos, Cayman Islands, Anguilla.
Jimmie is offline  
Aug 28th, 2007, 10:11 AM
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I'm a really big Caribbean fan, but I think it's absolutely not worth it to do such a short vacation and such a long flight with a toddler. Why not just Hawaii? Virtually any beach in Hawaii will be superior to most in the Caribbean (no sand fleas, for instance, is a real plus for Hawaii). It's half as far for you.

If you're flying to the Caribbean, limit yourself to either Jamaica or Puerto Rico, where you can maybe get a nonstop, but even then I don't think it's worth it with a toddler. If you must go to the Caribbean, then go to Negril, where the beaches are beautiful and where there are many nice, small hotels that aren't AIs.
doug_stallings is offline  
Aug 28th, 2007, 10:19 AM
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Thank you for your responses/suggestions above. We are planning to go at the end of December into early January.

Our daughter has flown with us on many weekend trips from the west coast to the east coast, so she's used to long flights for short vacations. Hawaii is always an option but we go there often and haven't been to the Carribean yet, which is why we've decided to try something new.
cat14 is offline  
Aug 28th, 2007, 12:30 PM
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Provo (Turks & Caicos), Bahamas, Caymens
Cissy is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 05:07 AM
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I think Provo is a great place, but totally not worth it from CA. Requires an overnight flight to Miami and then another flight after. I stick with my original recommendation to look for nonstops.
doug_stallings is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 05:37 AM
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Doug - you have a point. Non-stop is the way to go if you can. I would not recommend Jamaica unless it was a larger property that might offer AI for a shorter stay. I just don't trust being on that island otherwise.
Cissy is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 06:14 AM
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As far as Provo or the TCI, I would not go there in late December/early January - just too chilly for me! But that aside, you'll find that many places do require minimum stays for the holiday time.
beachplum is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 06:38 AM
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I'm from Cayman and just did a trip to CA with my 3 year old.

Coming from the West Coast the geography of the Caribbean makes a BIG difference. As has already been noted, Cayman, Jamaica, Bahamas are by far the the closest, and you are literally 1000 miles or so further away (plus connecting flights) if you go to Grenada/Barbados/St Vincent/Tobago or any other Southern Caribbean island.

My first advice would be to make sure you avoid the redeye on the way across and instead get a morning flight out of CA...but note that may limit you in your flight options to LAX if you want to get to your destination in one day.

I flew on a flight out of LAX on AA to MIA at 7:45am and landed in Cayman at 5:45pm. Take off the two hour time difference and that is exactly 8 hours flight time.

$400 per night for accommodations would comfortably cover you for a beachfront suite in Cayman.. well, maybe not at the Ritz, but I know a few places

Same flight time on the way back, and really not a problem with a 3 year old, the break for the connecting flight can be very useful in that regard, and the flight from MIA to LAX is only 5 hours.

I say only as I fly transatlantic a lot, and trust me, an 11 hour flight on BA with a stop in the Bahamas where you have to stay onboard... nightmare with little kids

Anyway, for a five hour flight, have a portable DVD player, get a seat assigned with a power point underneath (see seatguru.com for where AA has these seats), a few books and plenty of snacks, and five hour will pass quickly.

Having said that, I tend to agree with Doug, for a four night trip why not make it something much closer to home ? You already have a great climate in CA, so why not just go somewhere you can relax that is a little different from where you live ? Depending on whereabouts you live in CA, that could mean going to mountains/desert/big city/destination resort hotel etc.
TomCayman is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 07:31 AM
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Cissy, I will just have to disagree with you about Jamaica. For the typical tourist, there's really no serious risk or danger, but as in all destinations where crime occurs, you can easily find trouble if you are looking for it or behave stupidly or without thought. You don't have to hole up in an all-inclusive resort in Jamaica in order to be safe and have fun. There are many small hotels on the beach in Negril that I'd recommend for a family with a toddler without the slightest hesitation.
doug_stallings is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 07:58 PM
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Thanks for the info above. We may extend our trip beyond four nights if we find a great deal. Doug, what are the names of the small hotels in Negril that you would recommend and why? Thanks in advance.

P.S. We're from Southern CA and while the climate is nice here, we would love to relax somewhere new where the sand is white and the water clear.
cat14 is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 04:57 AM
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Sunset at the Palms is probably the nicest of the smaller properties (and more expensive), but it's an all-inclusive; it has a lot of fans on this board, though the beach is across the street.

Another favorite is Idle Awhile, and if you stay here you get to use the Couples Swept Away sports facilities (it's owned by the same company). Note that it has no pool.

A lot of people like Country Country, as well as Charela Inn. Negril Gardens is also a good choice. This is a small AI owned by the Sandals company. It has only one restaurant, though. If you stay here with your todder. get a room on the beach side (some rooms are across the road).

Finally, there's also Sea Splash, which has the great restaurant Norma's. The 1-bedroom suites here are small apartments with full kitchens, which can be nice with a toddler, and the rates are good.

Negril has a lot of fans on these boards, so if you re-post asking for "Great Small Hotel in Negril" I think you'll get a lot of other useful responses before you make a final decision.
doug_stallings is offline  

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