What Caribbean island fits all my needs?

Old Aug 18th, 2022, 09:35 AM
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What Caribbean island fits all my needs?

Traveling in either March or April 2023. It will be my mom, my husband, and my baby who will be 16 months. My husband and I have been to St. John and St. Thomas in the USVI.

These are our bucket list items:
  • cheaper island
  • kid friendly
  • the least amount of bugs (I'm anxious about bug bites with my baby)
  • calm waters for the baby
  • good snorkeling and beautiful beaches
  • sharks and jelly fish are not present
Is there an island like this or am I being an anxious picky parent? It's our first time traveling with a baby so we are a bit nervous.

Thank you guys
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Old Aug 18th, 2022, 01:58 PM
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Here’s a few comments that might help you

cheaper island - cheaper than what? In general the Caribbean is not an inexpensive destination and while some destinations may be less expensive than others it would be better if you could give us some idea of your budget. Give a specific dollar rang not some meaningless terms like “affordable” or “won’t break the bank” as those mean different things to different people.

kid friendly - if you avoid staying at an adults only resort you’ll find most destinations will be “kid friendly”. Keep in mind that a16 month old child will be too young to participate in any resort’s kid program or just about any tourist oriented activity. You and the other adults in your party are going to be your child’s main source of activity as you are unlikely to find any organized activities for a child of that age.

the least amount of bugs (I'm anxious about bug bites with my baby) - you are planning a trip to the tropics insects like mosquitoes, no-see-ums are found on every island. Most resorts and hotels have insect control programs so bugs are not a big issue. If you avoid hiking in rainforests, areas of dense vegetation and around salt ponds and standing water and walking on the beach at sunset or dawn you’ll lessen your chances of a close encounter with most insects.

calm waters for the baby - you’ll find calmer water on the Caribbean (leeward) side of most islands vs. the Atlantic (windward) side of the island.

good snorkeling and beautiful beaches - are you asking about “walk-in snorkeling “ or are you willing to take a bout to the best snorkeling areas? If “walk-in” that’s going to really limit the number of destinations to consider, especially if you factor in your other criteria. Generally speaking the flatter coral based islands will have nicer beaches and better snort that the more mountainous volcanic based islands.

sharks and jelly fish are not present - sharks live in the ocean and so you’ll find them in the waters around every Caribbean island. Fortunately, they are not a major threat to swimmers in the Caribbean. You have a greater chance of being in an auto accident than than you do being the victim of a shark attack. Jellyfish too live in the ocean and the frequency of their being in the waters around any given island during any given time is strictly up to Mother Nature. There’s no way to predict when or where they might be found. I can tell you this, I live in the Caribbean for 18 years and visited just about every major island and hardly ever encountered jellyfish or sharks for that matter.

Now for some practical suggestions. Islands that meet just about all of your requirements (except perhaps being “cheaper”) are:

Anguilla
St. John
St. Croix
Virgin Gorda
Grand Cayman
Turks & Caicos
Aruba
Curacao
many of the Bahamas Out-Islands such as Long Island, Cat Osland, The Exumas, and Eleuthera

Hope this helps.
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Old Aug 18th, 2022, 10:44 PM
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All of the islands are expensive, all of the islands have bugs. Take insect repellent, natural ones that are safe for a baby. Many islands have snorkelling & nice beaches. You don’t say where you’re travelling from but if you’re booking for cheap(er), then I’d skip Anguilla, the BVIs, Bahamas, Turks & Caicos, & Grand Cayman. They are pricey destinations. I’d also look for places you can get to on a direct flight. Without knowing yr departure airport, I’d suggest the following:

Antigua
Barbados
St Lucia
Grenada
Jamaica
St Martin/St Maarten
Aruba
and probably the cheapest, Dominican Republic.

And early next April is Easter next year, try to go before or after.
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Old Aug 24th, 2022, 03:04 PM
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Traveling with the baby for the first time maybe something a little easier. Did you like USVI? If so, why not go back there. Sure the DR is cheaper but at least for me no place I'd take a baby.. "cheaper" would be maybe going to Mexico, the Caribbean side? But again, to me "cheaper" usually involves more safety risks as far as food, water, bugs, transportation, etc.

I don't know your home location, but have you considered Hawaii? Or the Florida Keys? Bermuda?
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Old Aug 26th, 2022, 01:17 PM
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Only been to six islands in the Caribbean (three more than once), but went to St. Croix the first time this past January. Much less expensive than say Grand Cayman/Aruba/St. John. Stayed on the west end (Cottages on the Beach), nice calm beaches there, decent snorkeling, didn't notice much in the way of bugs.
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Old Aug 28th, 2022, 09:01 AM
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Take a look at The Buccaneer on St Croix. It is family-owned and family-friendly. A smaller resort, with lovely beaches, golf, tennis, gorgeous property for walking. Great customer service. Lots of lodging options. Snorkel trips from their dock take you to Buck's Island nature preserve. Great food. Not an All-Inclusive deal, but does include an extensive hot breakfast buffet in the beautiful open-air dining area.

Our family was there one June, and did not notice bugs. The resort does provide bug spray in each room.
Complimentary snorkel gear, kayaks and boogie boards.

A really lovely, relaxing place.

https://www.thebuccaneer.com

Last edited by MoBro; Aug 28th, 2022 at 09:03 AM.
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Old Aug 31st, 2022, 09:23 AM
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I think you risk bugs anywhere in the tropics. Just kind of comes with the package
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Old Sep 6th, 2022, 08:14 PM
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Have you considered The Bahamas? There's an area in the northeastern Bahamas called Abaco -- it's a big island (Abaco) and several smaller cays (including Green Turtle Cay, Elbow Cay, Man-O-War Cay and Guana Cay).

To me, Abaco is the perfect vacation destination -- it's not tacky touristy like some of the Caribbean destinations, and yet there are enough amenities (stores, restaurants, liquor stores, etc) that you don't feel too far removed from civilization. Unlike a lot of tourist destinations, Abaco -- especially on the smaller cays -- is very safe, and there are lots of gorgeous beaches -- which you'll have to yourself most days.

As others have said above, the Caribbean isn't inexpensive, but in Abaco, there are a lot of rental villas and cottages, which are much more economical than a resort. Plus, with your own kitchen, you can reduce your food budget. If you stay in the main settlement of New Plymouth, you can walk a lot of places (though you'll need to rent a golf cart to get to the nicest beaches...) And March/April is a great time of year -- warm, but not too hot or humid.

If you're travelling with a little one, Green Turtle Cay is a great destination. It's a small island (about 3 miles long), and it's got several very shallow and calm beaches -- especially Coco Bay...

As others have said, there is always the chance of encountering sharks or jellyfish or bugs, but the first two aren't terribly common, and with the water being so clear, they're easy to spot from a long way off... And March/April should be less buggy than later in the summer or fall.

Abaco suffered a nasty blow from Hurricane Dorian in 2019, but has recovered a lot. And as a result, many of the rental villas are either new or recently renovated. One tip if you're interested in Abaco -- book early! The amount of available accommodation still hasn't reached pre-Dorian levels, and things are booking up fast.

Hope that helps! I spend a good part of the year on Green Turtle Cay -- happy to provide additional info if you need it.

Amanda (aka Abaco Sun)
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Old Sep 6th, 2022, 09:51 PM
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AbacoSun, Your posts are so helpful. Great resource. Glad you joined Fodors. Welcome.
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Old Sep 9th, 2022, 10:25 PM
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It’s not helpful to plug a place where the sea will not be warm enough for swimming in Mar/Apr.
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Old Sep 9th, 2022, 10:37 PM
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Originally Posted by balthy View Post
It’s not helpful to plug a place where the sea will not be warm enough for swimming in Mar/Apr.
Hmmm... I guess you'll have to define "warm enough for swimming." I can't speak to all of the destinations mentioned previously, but as for the Bahamas, lots of people swim here in March/April.

A.

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Old Sep 10th, 2022, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by balthy View Post
It’s not helpful to plug a place where the sea will not be warm enough for swimming in Mar/Apr.
The weather at St. Croix is the same all year round.
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