Family Fun in the Sun: Our Trip to the Caribbean Islands

Mia Morales

 

A vacation with the family offers endless possibilities. It allows parents to open up new horizons for their children and teach them to better understand the world around them. Parents can get to know their kids and get away from the ordinary rut. As a mom, I’m always looking for new ways to have fun. I like to plan a new family getaway at least every six months. For our last vacation, my husband and I spent lots of time together thinking about a destination. After lots of discussion, we settled on a trip to the beautiful Caribbean islands. The Caribbean islands appealed to us for so many reasons. From snorkeling to surfing to zoos and hiking through the jungle, there’s so much to do all day long!

Getting There and Around

Once we made the decision to head to the Caribbean, we decided that we wanted to see at least three islands during our trip. My husband and I thought it would be good for our daughters to see islands with different cultural influences. I wanted to have at least one island that was part of the United States. We figured that my girls would also like to also explore an island with a European flair. Our choices included the United States Virgin Islands, Martinique, and Barbados.

We decided that the best way to see lots of islands in a single trip was spending part of our time on a cruise. Cruises are a great way to travel if you want to see lots of places in a limited timeframe. We picked the best Caribbean cruise we could find. A cruise meant having our own rooms as we traveled. It also meant being able to pick out an itinerary that included several destinations in a week. My girls and I shared a single cabin with a window view.

The best part about the cruise was that my little girls could go to the clubhouse and make some friends.  We had a day when we met up with all of their newly made friends and their parents. We actually made some friends as well.  Another thing that my daughters enjoyed was the unlimited ice cream. It was so nice not having to worry about food while we were traveling.  I think I may have even gained some pounds.

One side note about booking a cruise–really make sure you do your research and plan  for the right time of year.  This is especially true in the Caribbean where there can be hurricanes and tropical storms.  That could have ruined our trip…We went at a perfect time when the weather was mild and perfect for the different activities we had planned.

The beach on a caribbean family tripDifferent Places to Visit

We started our vacation by flying directly to the United States Virgin Islands for a few days. The Virgin Islands are an incredible destination. We spent time in the quaint city of St. John. My husband helped our children explore the region’s plantation history. As it was early June just after school ended, the weather was marvelous.

We then all boarded the cruise to head to our next destination, Martinique.  As I told my daughters, Martinique is actually part of France. As one of the Windward Islands, it has long been a favored destination for traders from other parts of the world. This was a great way to explore French culture without having to head to Europe. We toured the Château Dubuc. Since my girls are interested in botany, the Jardin de Balata was a must-see.

We were then off  to our final destination, Barbados, an independent nation with a rich and varied culture. Our cruise ship made it easy to fully explore all the nooks and crannies of this fascinating place. We’ll never forget the sight of Harrison’s Cave, Hunte’s Gardens and Carlisle Bay.

A Close-up photo of the sand on a beachGreat Lessons

We all learned so much from our Caribbean vacation this year. One of the most important things we discovered is that it is important to make time for the family.  Often times, we get so caught up in the day-to-day routine that we forget about quality family time. We had such a great experience doing different activities on the cruise, from the shows to the clubhouse activities. We were able to spend  a lot of quality time with our kids.  My girls saw a different side of my husband when he jumped into the belly flop competition!

We also all benefited from having wonderful learning experiences on the islands we visited.  I know that my daughters definitely enjoyed the history part of the islands. It was so cool to see them appreciate the beauty of the islands and the history.  One of my daughters developed a particular taste for Château Dubuc. It’s always important to have learning experiences on a trip that we otherwise may not have had.

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