Novelist Marcel Proust once said, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” If that’s the case, then let’s look no further than through the eyes of the world’s youngest explorers: children.
For families looking for travel experiences that not only involve seeing and doing but also immersing, the Caribbean offers a wealth of programs aimed at connecting young travelers with local and native culture.
The Caribbean is brimming with all-inclusive resorts in a way you can’t find elsewhere in the world. Maybe it’s the laziness beaches cause or the fact that water goes so well with cocktails, but there’s something alluring about booking an all-inclusive resort for a week of fun in the sand and surf.
If you’re an all-inclusive regular, you’ve probably noticed that a ton of big brands practically rule the space. From Iberostar to Palace Resorts, Sandals, Beaches, Riu and Barcelo, many of the top all-inclusive resort brands seem to monopolize every Caribbean island from Jamaica to St. Lucia and beyond.
If you’re looking for a family all-inclusive resort no one has ever heard of, consider these options.
Azul Beach Resort Sensatori, Jamaica
Azul Beach Resort Sensatori may be part of the larger Karisma all-inclusive brand, but it’s still pretty off-the-radar. With a premier spot along the jaw-dropping Seven Mile Beach in Negril and nothing but ocean view accommodations, this property may offer one of the best beach getaways in the world. Also Azul is located in Mexico for family fun perhaps closer to home.
Families can book a luxury suite or two connecting suites separated by a private hallway. Included in the nightly rate are Karisma’s “Gourmet Inclusive” dining options, four pools, kid’s clubs and activities for all ages.
Waves Hotel and Spa, Barbados
Waves Hotel and Spa sits on the Platinum Coast of Barbados, offering an open-air lobby, an upscale vibe, unbelievable sunsets and all you can eat and drink. Two sides to this resort feature a section for adults seeking to get away from it all, and a family side with its own small lap pool and direct beach access, several restaurants and bars and some of the most gorgeous water you’ve ever seen.
This resort pegs itself as “Super-Inclusive,” meaning there are no hidden charges. Included in the nightly rate are all your food and drink, nightly entertainment, deluxe accommodations, concierge service and land and water activities–complete with a rock climbing wall.
Curtain Bluff, Antigua
One of the quieter countries in the Caribbean, the tiny island of Antigua is home to pristine beachfronts and a varied natural landscape. And there’s no better place to introduce future botanists to the island’s flora and fauna than at Curtain Bluff, a lushly landscaped 20-acre property on the southern coast.
The family-owned resort, which recently underwent a $13 million renovation, keeps family values high on its list of priorities. A favorite among parents looking for both family and adult time, Curtain Bluff features the Ceebee Kids Club. The free camp is headed by Ainsley Smith, a British-educated preschool teacher, who introduces young travelers to Antiguan culture, including collecting Caribbean flowers, making chocolate and creating Antiguan flags.
Capella Marigot Bay Resort and Marina, St. Lucia
With a history of human inhabitants that dates to A.D. 200, St. Lucia has a vibrant culture full of Indian and European influences. The 124-room Capella Marigot Bay Resort and Marina, located on an idyllic waterfront, showcases the island’s rich history through its Zando’s Kids Program. Borrowing the St. Lucian word for “lizard,” Zando is tailored to kids ages 4 to 12, providing them with complimentary access to an array of immersive experiences.
One such activity is its mixology classes, which instructs the children how to make drinks (nonalcoholic, of course) with St. Lucia’s local fruits. There’s also the Insider View of Marigot Bay program, led by the marina’s dock master. The session teaches kids about the history of Marigot Bay and yachting in St. Lucia. In addition, kids can make the popular shak-shak, or the Antillean version of maracas.