While St. Barts is a popular vacation destination for adults, there are plenty of reasons why you should visit the island with your children too. St. Barts is just as much fun for children of all ages as it is for parents, so if you have a vacation in St. Barts booked this year, here are some tips to ensure everyone has a wonderful time.
Remember that the sun is very strong in the Caribbean. St. Barts is only about 1200 miles from the equator, so kids are at risk of dangerous sunburn if you don’t protect their delicate skin. Keep babies and toddlers covered up in UV-resistant light clothing. Protect exposed skin with a high SPF sun cream. Use the same sun cream on older kids and make sure you reapply it regularly, especially after they have been in the water. The sun can still burn through water, so bear that in mind!
There are not any specific family-friendly resort hotels in St. Barts, but some of the bigger hotels do have staff on hand to entertain or babysit the kids. Many places have child-friendly equipment such as highchairs, cribs, and playpens.
Many families prefer to book St. Barts villas rather than hotel rooms, as a self-catering villa gives you a far greater degree of flexibility around mealtimes, bedtime, and activities. You can also take advantage of the extra space, which is handy if you take your extended family along for the break. There are some villas that have “family suites,” that include a king bed and twin bed.
Aside from the wonderful beaches on St. Barts, there are plenty of child-friendly activities and attractions for kids to enjoy. Younger children will be happy digging in the sand and paddling at the water’s edge, but older kids can have a go at snorkeling – take them to look for sea turtles in Lorient on the northern end of the island. They can try surfing, too, if the waves are up.
If the weather isn’t too hot, take older children and teenagers for a hike to Pointe à Toiny on the southern tip of the island. There will be some rock climbing involved, so wear suitable shoes. Cooling breezes will make the trail more comfortable. There are also a few benches along the route, so you can take a breather and enjoy the view while your kids scamper ahead.
If the weather is a bit wet, take the kids to visit the Inter Oceans Museum in Gustavia. Opening hours are flexible, but it’s generally open six days a week. There are thousands of shells on display, all collected by the wonderful Ingénu Magras. The Wallhouse Museum also contains lots of interesting objects and artifacts.
Creole food can be hot and spicy, which isn’t always appealing to young palates. If your kids love fish, no problem, as you can always find fish on the menu. Most restaurants welcome well-behaved children and will prepare simple pasta or hamburgers on request if your children are picky eaters.
Lastly, try and organize your vacation around the time of Carnaval – the kids will love the Children’s Parade and bright costumes!