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L.P. Sep 27th, 2000 07:54 PM

carribean vacation with young children
My husband and I are considering taking our kids (ages 4 and 1) somewhere in the carribean in the spring. We have been to a couple islands but never with children. We may be traveling with another family, also. I would welcome suggestions on where to go and stay (ie should we go all inclusive or rent a house?) Help!

Eileen Sep 28th, 2000 06:59 AM

I recommend Aruba. It is clean, safe, friendly and the beaches are beautiful. La Cabana Resort is a good place for families -- they have kids programs, lots of activities and condo-style accommodations. They have an all-inclusive option too, but I think it is better to buy your breakfast and lunch at the grocery store and go out to dinner so you can try Aruba's great restaurants! You will need passports and it takes a while so make sure you get them well in advance.

Eric Sep 29th, 2000 01:13 PM

We're taking our 2 children ages 3 1/2 & 2yrs to St. Barts for Thanksgiving. <BR>Very clean, safe & comfortable island.

Sandi Oct 1st, 2000 12:07 PM

We took our two children (10 & 13) to Boscobel Beach in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. The rooms are oversized (although I won't call them luxurious) but the best part of the place was the kids' club for kids of all ages. Parents can get away for part of a day or all day and night too! Best of both worlds.

Lili Oct 1st, 2000 12:34 PM

Boscobel is currently closed due to bankrupcy. SuperClubs will no longer represent this property. It will reopen soon after a refurbishment...but be leary until you've heard positive experiences after change of management.

Lauren Oct 2nd, 2000 07:26 PM

We have taken our kids to both Mexico and St. Thomas on vacation and I would highly recommend Cancun. We stayed at the Marriott Casa Magna and the Fiesta Americana Condessa and both hotels were beautiful, with great ammenities and great off season room rates. I payed 134.00 off season in April at the Casa Magna and 117.00 off season at the Fiesta American. Much cheaper than the room rates at any hotel in St. Thomas. Cancun was built for American Tourists so all the water is filtered, we never got sick, all the facilities are modern and clean, and there is a Dunkin Donuts, Burger King, and McDonalds near the hotels. There is also Kulkulcan Plaza which has a Burgur King playground and video arcade which can come in handy if it rains. There are great restaurants and the hotels are so beautiful that you don't have to leave if you don't want to. Every hotel is on the beach. We took our kids to a pirate dinner cruise which they loved and we went sightseeing with them to the ruins. We also went to Xcaret and Xel-Ha two wonderful water parks where you can swim with dolphins. I realize your kids might be too young for this stuff but you may want to try it out when they get older. The really nice thing is that we live in New York and getting a direct flight is easy and only 4 hours. I would suggest that you find a book on travel destinations with kids. You may find it helpful.

Lisa Taylor Oct 2nd, 2000 08:13 PM

Definitely all-inclusive with young kids! Not having to constantly plan <BR>mealtime makes it a real holiday for <BR>everyone. We just took our kids (7 & 9) <BR>to Playa del Carmen in Mexico this past <BR>March and had a terrific time. We stayed at the Iberostar Tucan. It's a <BR>gorgeous property and really caters to <BR>families. Our room was a decent size <BR>with a king bed and two built-in day beds at the end. The pool area is fabu- <BR>lous, with a kiddie pool and jungle-gym. <BR>The food was great for an all-inclusive <BR>and there was always something for the <BR>kids to eat! Although we were concerned <BR>about the water issue, the resort water <BR>was filtered and no one got sick. There <BR>is a kids' club although our kids just <BR>met other kids and played. The staff <BR>was extremely friendly and helpful. <BR>It was a truly memorable holiday and we <BR>would definitely go back.

Janis Oct 26th, 2000 08:01 AM

We've taken our kids to Cancun and to Jamaica. In Jamaica, we did all-inclusive at Wyndam Rose Hall. They have a water park there. Kids, 3-4-8-12 all had a great time. All inclusive for food was nice because you don't feel hassled when they order something and don't eat it--like kids do. Also, they loved ordering virgin (always test them though) pina's and daquiris. Also Rose Hall is close to airport--no 2 hour bus ride with kids. Check this out. Cancun has lots of places with kids. But water in some areas there is rough depending on the time of year you go. <BR> <BR>I love taking my kids, <BR> <BR>Good luck <BR>

ohliz Oct 26th, 2000 09:23 AM

You might find a private villa a good option - we've done that with our kids in Jamaica several times. They typically come with a full staff including housekeeper, cook, garndener, sometimes driver (usually extra charge for that). <BR> <BR>The nice things about a villa are you don't have to share your bedroom, there is a staff so you don't have to cook or clean, your kids don't have to sit still in a restaurant for every meal, there's usually a pool and grounds for them to play in, you have plenty of privacy, and many are VERY luxurious and in spite of that, much cheaper than an all-inclusive hotel. There is usually a nanny available so the grownups can go out if they like. <BR> <BR>Some good villa web sites to check out: <BR> <BR> <BR>(a handful of south coast villas) <BR> <BR> <BR>(too cool..and not expensive) <BR> <BR> <BR>(JAVA reps hundreds of private villas and there are photos and info for all of them here) <BR> <BR> <BR>(just one villa but good info on villa rentals in general) <BR> <BR> <BR>(tons of really nice ones here, including a castle) <BR> <BR> (Blue Lagoon Villas on the east coast - you get a car and a boat with your villa - it's on the lagoon - I am DYING to stay here!) <BR> <BR>There are also a lot of things for kids to do in Jamaica - beach, water falls, horseback riding, boat trips...and most villas have security in the form of locked-at-night gates and a caretaker who stays on the property at night. <BR> <BR>:) Liz

Cheri Oct 26th, 2000 09:45 AM

Another nice aspect of an AI with small children is the food selection. They will more than likely be able to find a larger variety to suit them and you won't be out $10 for a hamburger with one bite out of it! If they get something and don't like it, they can always get something else. (Not just the kids, but adults too. LOL) <BR>

ohliz Oct 26th, 2000 01:16 PM

True Cheri. That reminded me of another villa plus - you shop for your own food (or the cook can do it for you or with you) so you get to pick whatever you want to eat.... <BR> <BR>:) Liz

TJM Oct 26th, 2000 05:04 PM

Only one place. Jamaica. FDR Resort. Having been there at least 4 times a year (kids now 7 and 1), that should say something. Email if you need more info.

NO KIDS Oct 27th, 2000 05:45 AM

Leave them at home please!!

colinColin Oct 27th, 2000 04:05 PM

Without any apologies, I am in the tourist business in Tobago (I rent some cottages at the seaside in a tiny fishing village) and have been reading some of of the replies posted here. <BR>We often have families with young children stay with us so we have first hand experience. <BR> <BR>Rather than looking for all inclusive packages and places where the kids can buy junk food or have stereotype fun I would suggest to any family to look for a lovely quiet spot where the family would be close to nature - to enjoy the wonderment of a tropical sky filled with stars, watch beautiful sunsets night after night, see the fireflies along a dimly lit road, hear the frogs and crickets, bathe in crystal mountain streams,touch a sensitive plant and watch it fold up. To be away from the pollution and clatter of urban life, away from the crime and fear, to see a friendly smiling open face. To be with local folk who love children of any race. Mix. <BR> <BR>Tobago has many such places without hotel lobbies and umpteen service charges for everything. And you'll love it. <BR> <BR>

ellen Oct 27th, 2000 05:15 PM

Caymans. They can see fish everywhere, the water's so clear: just throw some cornflakes in. There are turtles, sand like sugar, very calm clean water, Stingray sandbar, etc. Low low crime rate and 1.5 hours from Houston or Miami.

lib Nov 6th, 2000 03:20 AM

We did not like the ocean in Cancun. Dangerous surf. Our 11 year old could barely hold her own. We ended up at the pool most days. Not sure if it is like this all year round. We were there at Thanksgiving.

Cheri Nov 6th, 2000 09:18 AM

It all depends on which section of the beach you visit in Cancun. We have had rough surf and very calm water, depends on what part of the strip. <BR> <BR> are great but I hate to find myself spending too much time shopping for groceries and cooking. That's no vacation! I want to be waited on a little....

ohliz Nov 6th, 2000 12:16 PM

Just wanted to respond to this: "villas are great but I hate to find myself spending too much time shopping for groceries and cooking. That's no vacation! I want to be waited on a little.... " <BR> <BR>FYI, you do NOT have to shop and you definitely don't have to cook - that's what the cook is for!! Sometimes I go along to the market with the cook because it's so unlike anything in the US that it's a tourist attraction in itself, but that's totally optional - villa cooks will happily shop for you. <BR> <BR>My point is - and realize a villa vacation is not for everyone - is that you are waited on far more than in an A/I or regular hotel where you have to go to the restuarant, or make reservations at the restaurants. <BR> <BR>In a villa you can eat whatever you like, whenever you like, by the pool, in the dining room, in your bed - whatever - and you DO NOT HAVE TO COOK OR SHOP. The kids can eat early and the adults after they go to bed, or you can all eat together...there's nothing like waking to the sound of the tinkling breakfast bell at whatever time you've asked for breakfast to be just roll out of bed and onto the verandah or into the dining room - in your PJs if you like - and are served breakfast. No clean up either ;-) <BR> <BR>:) Liz

Cheri Nov 7th, 2000 08:33 AM

Wow...I must be staying in the wrong villas..I've never had one with a cook and grocery shopper! I've always been the shopper and cook and cleaner upper! LOL

l.p. Nov 8th, 2000 08:04 PM

I'm hearing a lot of response about Jaimaca. I've heard it's beautiful, but I am concerned about safety (crime). I definetly do not want a place where we are confined to our villa or hotel. Are only certain areas unsafe?

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