From the coolest kids' clubs to the tastiest chocolate, Julia Brookes shares her A-Z of the best places to stay, eat and have fun in the Caribbean.
Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean and has an astonishingly diverse landscape, which makes it a brilliant place for a family adventure. After zipwiring through the treetops, clambering through limestone caves and showering beneath waterfalls, you can enjoy some serious beach time in Varadero.
Price: A 13-day Cuba Libre holiday costs from £2,249 per adult, £2,149 per child, including accommodation, breakfast, some meals and flights, with Families Worldwide.
Anguilla’s endless stretches of dazzling, super-soft white sand, lapped by impossibly turquoise sea, are arguably the best in the Caribbean. Head to Meads Bay and stay at the family-friendly Malliouhana.
Price: Rooms from £325 per night, for more information visit malliouhana.aubergeresorts.com.
The Tree to Bar Experience at Hotel Chocolat’s luxe Boucan hotel in St Lucia starts with a walk through the estate’s cocoa groves to select ripe cacao pods and ends with making chocolate bars and truffles from beans that you’ve roasted yourselves. And naturally, there’s lots of tasting.
Price: Tours cost £38 per person (hotelchocolat.com). Caribtours offers seven-nights at Boucan and Sugar Beach, a Viceroy resort, from £2,999 per adult and £818 per child, including flights, with caribtours.co.uk.
Grand Cayman is a scuba and snorkelling paradise, thanks to its coral reefs, underwater walls and shipwrecks, as well as stingrays and turtles galore. Learn to scuba (minimum age 10) at Compass Point Dive Resort, which has a custom-built training pool.
Price: A seven-night dive package costs from £1,695 per adult and £1,565 per child including flights with Dive Worldwide.
The two-bedroom Fisherman’s Cottage, set in the gardens of the super-chic Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France hotel, is the ultimate island hideaway. It has a sheltered courtyard and a garden where kids can play safely. The resort offers tailor-made activities for the kids as well as fun family excursions.
Price: A week’s stay costs from £14,750 for a family of four, with Abercrombie & Kent.
Go deep-sea fishing for wahoo and mahi-mahi in the Dominican Republic. The Barceló Bávaro Palace Deluxe can organise half-day trips for £68 per person. Let the kids enjoy a boat ride and perhaps catch dinner for the night on this private deep-sea fishing excursion.
Price: One week all-inclusive costs from £2,956 for a family of four, including flights, with The Holiday Place.
Tobago is a tiny island but big on natural wonders. A day-long tour with a local guide includes a snorkelling trip by glass-bottom boat to Angel Reef as well as hiking, bird watching and snorkelling.
Price: Tours cost £68 per person, for more information visit tobagonaturetours.com.
On Dominica, aka the Nature Island, one of the best walks is to Trafalgar Falls – a gentle 15-minute climb brings you up to the viewpoint. You can trek up to the waterfalls with a guide and, if you're feeling extra adventurous, you can climb even higher and make it to the very top to relax in the natural river pools.
Price: From £34 per person, for more information visit khattstours.com.
Island-hop on Carnival’s seven-day Southern Caribbean cruise, which sets sail from Puerto Rico and calls at St. Thomas, St. Maarten, St. Kitts, St. Lucia and Barbados.
Price: From £288 per person, for more information visit carnival.co.uk.
Take hard-to-please teens to Beaches Negril in Jamaica and you might not see them again until checkout. They can while away the days at the Scratch DJ Academy, the Beach Shack or learning to scuba dive.
Price: One week all-inclusive costs from £6,292 for a family of four, including flights, with Virgin Holidays.
Head to Carlisle Bay, Antigua, for one of the best kids’ clubs, including pool and sand pit for little ones and raft building and starfish hunting for seven to 12s. All activities in the kids' club are supervised, and for 2 years and under the kids' club is complimentary.
Price: Seven nights from £2,109 per adult and £1,185 per child, including flights, for more information visit caribtours.co.uk.
The still active Soufrière Hills volcano in Montserrat is an easy trip from Antigua, and a must for budding geologists. Take the kids on a ride for spectacular views and thrills and even visit the buried capital of Plymouth too.
Price: Helicopter trips over the volcano cost from £232 per person with Carib World Travel.
Martinique’s covered market in the middle of Fort-de-France has a fabulous French-Creole vibe. Stock up on rum, spices and sugar cane sweets. Grab a table at Chez Carole, a traditional creole kitchen and restaurant, for lambi(conch stew) and coconut ice cream.
The island of Vieques off Puerto Rico is a gloriously unspoilt national wildlife refuge. For a magical evening out, take a clear-bottomed kayak across the bioluminescent Mosquito Bay, surrounded by mangrove forest.
Price: Two-hour tours cost £28 per person. Book via Jak Water Sports.
Paddleboarding is a great introduction to watersports, and Chalk Sound National Park on Providenciales is the ideal place to learn as the water is shallow and protected from winds and currents. Discover the wildlife in and around this salt water lake with this fun watersport activity, perfect for beginners.
Price: Paddleboarding at Surfside Ocean Academy costs from £72 per person.
Kids will love Grand Cayman’s Pirates Week, which runs from 6-16 November. It’s a giddy mix of music, street dances, competitions, games, local food, a parade, fireworks and a pirate invasion.
For a family holiday away from it all, stay in one of the five cottages at North Beach, Barbuda where there are 12 miles of pink sand, in which to sink your toes… and breathe. Have the ultimate relaxing holiday with this secluded getaway, perfect for a romantic holiday or family bonding.
Price: Cottages from £285 per night, for more information visit barbudanorthbeach.com.
Go tubing on Jamaica’s Rio Bueno River and you can expect a mix of thrills on the white-water rapids and lazy sections where you can sit back, drift along and admire the view. There’ s a stop en route for a swim and a chance to polish those Tarzan skills on a rope swing.
Price: £40 per adult; £31 for children with River Rapids Adventures.
Find out where all those seasonal spices such as nutmeg, allspice, cloves and cinnamon come from. Head to the factory in Gouyave, Grenada, where each nutmeg is checked by hand before going on to make jams, jellies, ice cream and even medicines.
St. Kitts’ beaches are often visited by endangered leatherback sea turtles. Discover more about them with the St Kitts Sea Turtle Monitoring Network. You can even adopt a turtle (stkittsturtles.org). Stay in a guesthouse at Belle Mont Farm, where you can forage for passion fruit, bananas and pineapples.
Price: Rooms cost from £490 per night, for more information visit bellemontfarm.com.
Fancy a journey to the bottom of the sea? Take a trip to De Palm Island, an island waterpark off Aruba, and you can pop on a wetsuit and diving helmet and potter along the sea floor on a walkway 20ft below the surface. You can feed the fish, marvel at a sunken aircraft and pose for a photo at the Sea Trek Café.
Price: A half-day at De Palm Island costs £65 for adults and £49 for children aged four to 12, for more information visit depalmtours.com.
Book one of the 78 gorgeous villas at Sugar Beach on St Lucia, and you’ll be staying in the most glorious location on the island, nestled between the iconic Pitons. For children under 12, there’s glass-bottom boat excursions, arts and crafts, volcano tours, as well as fish feeding and shell collecting.
Price: Family villas cost from £633 per night, for more information visit viceroyhotelsand resorts.com.
Check out Aquaventure on Paradise Island, Bahamas – the biggest waterpark in the Caribbean. Spot sharks from The Leap Of Faith underwater acrylic tunnel and have a race with the kids on the many water rides within the park.
Price: Day passes cost £68 for adults and £50 for children, for more information visit atlantis.com.
Take budding Sam Smiths to Buccament Bay in St Vincent and the Grenadines for the resort’s drama and musical theatre workshops. The resorts' Harlequin Performing Arts Academy is run by industry experts and legends and is only offered certain weeks of the year, so book early!
Price: Seven nights from £2,125 per adult and £955 per child, including flights with Caribtours.
Tortola in the British Virgin Islands is an idyllic spot for a family flotilla adventure – there are easy, deep-water island hops, consistent trade winds, line-of-sight navigation and lots of sheltered bays where you can drop anchor.
Price: A week’s sailing in a three-cabin yacht costs from £1,629 per person, including flights, with Sunsail.
The world’s highest zipline over water is on Labadee, a private island off Haiti, and the only way to get there is on a Royal Caribbean cruise from Florida en route to Mexico – that’s if you can tear your kids away from the onboard surfsimulato.
Price: From £1,319 per person with royalcaribbean.co.uk
Don't let your Caribbean holiday break the bank, here are some of our tips for a Caribbean holiday on a budget. Looking for a holiday that has loads of fun for the kids? Check out these kids' clubs for a fun holiday for all