Some of your family”s best conversations, laughter and memories take place around the kitchen table, be it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or somewhere in between. So when you are building additional memories with a great Caribbean vacation, why not choose lodging that allows you to add to those memories with a great kitchen and requisite table?
Renting a home, villa or condo is often the best choice for a family who wants to focus on time together rather than everyone going their own direction at a large hotel complex. And admit it — sometimes your kids just don”t do well in a restaurant surrounded by lots of distractions. Not only will a rental property offer you the one-on-one time your family needs, but it may also save you considerable money in the Caribbean.
Written by Diana Lambdin Meyer
On Palm Beach on the west coast, many of the condos and rental properties will be high rises, so you"ll have a great balcony and view of the ocean, but probably an elevator ride to get your toes in the sand. At 2 miles long, Eagle Beach is the longest on the island and offers plenty of outfitters for your family activities, as well as private homes and villas within a block or two of the beach.
Find a Vacation Home Rental in Aruba
In general, you"ll find more villas, thus more privacy, on the northeast side of the island. More hotels and related activities can be found on the west side of the island. For a preview of what"s available, ask about the seasonal tours of some of the more elaborate villas. Some of the world"s best known celebrities have stayed here.
Even if you have access to a beach and your own private pool, you"ll probably want to have a rental car to explore many of the other beaches on the island and enjoy some good Anguillan cooking at the locally-owned restaurants.
Find a Vacation Home Rental in Anguilla
When choosing your rental property, note that the east coast is quite rugged with a constant wind blowing in from the Atlantic and water with a serious under tow. The sand beaches are more of a grayish brown on this side of the island. But the east coast is recognized as a popular surfing destination, which is one reason to consider a rental here.
The western coast of B"dos, as the islanders abbreviate their homeland, is greatly influenced by the calm waters of the Caribbean and where you"ll find more white and pink sand. The area around St. James offers plenty of rental properties within walking distance of numerous activities and restaurants and a bus stop. Unless you"re really addicted to your own wheels, it"s not necessary to rent a private vehicle in Barbados. All beaches are public in Barbados, so even if you"re not right on the beach, you"ll have no problem accessing a great piece of sand.
Find a Vacation Home Rental in Barbados
Cancun, Riviera Maya
You can"t go wrong with a family vacation in this part of Mexico â€“ it"s inexpensive, there are great flights from everywhere in North America, and plenty of rental properties from which to choose. If you want to be directly on the beach, you"ll probably be in a high rise condo. If you want a private home or villa, you"ll be several blocks from the beach, but still within walking distance of restaurants and the Caribbean.
Find a Vacation Home Rental in Cancun
By far, the most popular area is Seven Mile Beach, truly one of the world"s great beaches. Many of the rental properties are condos in high rise complexes, so if you want to walk out your front door into the sand, it"s going to cost a pretty penny. Because of the location, prices will be higher here and the beach more crowded, but you won"t need to rent a car to enjoy numerous activities.
To experience life with the locals, check out the rentals near West Bay. For an active ex-pat population surrounded by other long-term rentals, head to Bodden Town.
Find a Vacation Home Rental in Cayman Islands
With a stay on Nassau, you have easy access to experience the fun of Paradise Island (including Atlantis) and British culture that makes a Bahamas vacation so enjoyable. You"ll want to rent a car here, but remember, you"ll have to drive on the left-hand side of the road.
Find a Vacation Home Rental in the Bahamas
Choose your rental property based on your family"s vacation interests. You can stay in the mountains, closer to hiking, cave exploration and zip-lines. Or stay near the rain forest for up-close interaction with wildlife. The beaches are spectacular in Puerto Rico â€“ some say they glisten with gold â€“ but not all are open to the public so if access to a beach is your priority, then clarify the location in the fine print.
Find a Vacation Home Rental in Puerto Rico
Many of the rental properties can be found on the northern tip of the island near Gros Islet, once a sleepy fishing village, but now a beautiful harbor for private yachts and sail boats. Take care when you choose your property whether it is ocean view or on the beach. Ocean views can be spectacular, but also up in the mountains, requiring a tedious road trip to reach the beach.
Find a Vacation Home Rental in St. Lucia
Debating which country has the best beaches is a fun pastime, but here"s a consideration for your family: French beaches are usually topless or more; Dutch beaches, on the southwest side of the island, are often considered more pleasant to the tootsies. The Pelican Key Beach is indeed the best for snorkeling.
Condominiums are the more common rental property available on the Dutch side of St. Maarten, thus offering your family amenities that will likely include a community pool, a tennis court and/or rec room.
U.S. Virgin Islands
St. Thomas is where you"ll arrive by plane. It"s the busiest of three with lots of shops, great restaurants and a busy port in Charlotte-Amalie where numerous cruise ships arrive most days.
Take a short ferry ride from St. Thomas to St. John, a heavily forested island but not without beautiful white sand beaches. More than half of the island is protected as part of the U.S. Virgin Islands National Park. Nearly 500 private accommodations offer wooded or beachfront experiences on St. John.
If you really want to get away from it all, take another short plane ride to St. Croix, the largest of the USVI, but with fewer residents. Equally fine beaches just out the front door of your rental make St. Croix a great choice. Vice President Joe Biden regularly rents a villa on St. Croix, as does Martha Stewart.
Find a Vacation Home Rental in U.S. Virgin Islands
Our team of parents and travel experts chooses each product and service we recommend. Anything you purchase through links on our site may earn us a commission.