Traveling with small children-BVI OR USVI?

Old Jul 12th, 1999, 07:02 AM
Debbie Candal
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Traveling with small children-BVI OR USVI?

We are planning a vacation with 2 other couples for Dec 1999/ Jan 2000. There will be 3 small children (2 age 5 and 1 age 3). We are considering either a combination land/sea vacation or renting a house/villa and doing day boat trips. We are thinking about Tortola, Virgin Gorda or St. John's. Any advice/recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
Old Jul 12th, 1999, 09:41 PM
Decent Tropical
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I do not specifically about the Virgin Islands but I feel that I should share with you a post to by Joe Harkins of Travel The Net: <BR> <BR>"I strongly counsel against taking an infant into most coutries of the Caribbean. The health risks for adults, such as intestinal <BR>infections, worms, tropical diseases, etc are largely survivable. When we get ill, we are able to recognize it early on and get treatment in sufficient time. Incidents may be unpleasant, but are rarely fatal. <BR> <BR>When babies become ill, the onset of symptoms is rapid and sometimes overwhelming. Even in the best of circumstances, that is always a danger. <BR> <BR>When first class medical help is readily available, even such things as apendicitis are survivable. I almost lost my own daughter to it at age two although we were living within minutes of one of the very best hospitals in the USA. A mis-diagnosis by an otherwise good <BR>pediatrician cost us critical hours and only our proximity to superb care when things turned bad saved her. <BR> <BR>That is not the case in too many Caribbean countries. Some have <BR>appalling infant mortality rates that are entirely prevenatble but neither the skills nor facilities are available. <BR> <BR>Add to the mix the prevelance of bad water and unsanitary conditions and you have a baby in that environment taht is at great risk. <BR> <BR>I recall an incident some years ago in which a German couple and their 18 month old were touring in one of the islands. The baby became ill. A local doctor prescribed medication for an intestinal infection commonly transmitted by water. The diagnosis may or may not have been correct or the nedicine appropriate, but the child became sicker as the day progressed. By evening the child was comatose. The clinic was closed and the closest hospital (an ill smelling dump) was two hours away. The parents rushed to the local airport for a one hour and a half flight to Miami. The baby died as they waited to board. <BR> <BR>If that story scares you, I sincerely hope for the sake of your child, that you consider tht it is a true story. I suggest you limit travels with your infant to places with first class medical care near. <BR> <BR>Joe Harkins <BR>Syndicated columnist <BR>Travel The Net <BR> <BR>(and former editor of The Puerto Plata News and The Santo Domingo News)" <BR>
Old Jul 13th, 1999, 06:27 AM
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Last I knew children aged 3 & 5 weren't infants. Anyway, we've traveled to the Caribbean 2x (St. Thomas & St. Maarten) with our daughter who at the time was 1 & 1&1/2 and had no problems. <BR> <BR>In St. Thomas we stayed in a rented house. We bought all our own food and ate there - this way you can buy and drink bottled water. I've not heard about problems with intestinal diseases in the Caribbean as much as in Mexico, but I know someone who got sick in St. Lucia. <BR> <BR>The villas/homes for rent often have their own pool and often a beautiful view of the ocean. If you want to venture out you can pack everyone up and go to a beach one day or on a boat trip. It's nice having your own place, esp. for food since little ones tend to be picky eaters, and you can't always be assured of finding something they'll like on a restaurant menu. <BR> <BR>We took a day boat trip with Limnos out of Red Hook on St. Thomas around the BVI including a stop at the Baths in Virgin Gorda & snorkeling at the caves of Norman Island - wonderful!
Old Jul 26th, 1999, 01:45 PM
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St. Thomas. St. John and St. Croix, the U.S. Virgin Islands, are U.S. territories where you do not have to worry about food or drinking water unless it is specifically labeled as non-potable. The health care is on a par with most smaller communities in the U.S.
Old Jul 28th, 1999, 05:57 AM
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The U. S. Virgin Islands are just that U. S. The health standards are very high. We camped at Cinammon Bay for several years with our kids stqarting when they were 1 and 3- drank the water and never had problems. I think that the warning applies to some other places in the Carribean but not the U. S. or British Virgin Islands. <BR>
Old Oct 27th, 1999, 06:48 PM
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We were in St. Croix in May and stayed at Chenay Bay. The accomodations are one room cottages with a bathroom of course. They were very nice and included stovetop,microwave,fridge toaster and all the necessary plates, glasses and utensils. The beach is protected by an Island at the end of the bay and very calm although much of it contains plant growth. They cater very well towards families. There is a small playground and during busy season they run a kids program for 3-12 year olds. They had a brand new play pen in our room when we arrived which we hadn't even requested. Oh our son was 16 months when we went. It was a great time to go because the weather was spectacular but there were very few tourists so I think the Island restaurants etc. were more patient with a small child.
Old Oct 28th, 1999, 04:28 AM
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True, the medical facilities in the islands do present a challenge to anyone who has a serious problem and many prefer to seek treatment stateside. However, there are no major health risks in the Virgins. You will need to rent a car and go with your car seats as driving on any of the three islands would be necessary and can be challenging! Of the three, St. John (assume you mean the USVirgin without the "S" ... not Antigua's St. John's with the "S"), my least favorite for beaches is Tortola. Not many beachfront villas on St. John nor on Tortola either. On Tortola you will drive much more to the beaches and many are accessable only by hiking or driving seriously unimproved roads. I found that the water was not as Caribb-like, very rough and not swimmer-friendly at many of the beaches in the winter, yet several of the smaller ones (eg. Smuggler's) were fine on Tortola once you go to them but offered no or very limited "facilites"! St. John gives you more choices of wonderful beaches. Might want to check air availablity first to see if it is there since you have chosen what might be a very popular time to travel ....

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