Grab your flippers and sunblock and embrace the Caribbean way of life. Lisa Haynes discovers you can’t beat Barbados for a sun-filled family break
Barbados may be the winter playground for the likes of Simon Cowell, Cilla Black and Rihanna but you don’t need an X Factor persona – or wallet – to stay on this fashionable island.
With more than 70 miles of crystal blue coastline to explore Barbados is the stuff of exotic postcards: paradise for families and couples alike.
Spot the turtle
We sported masks and flippers for a sun-soaked catamaran cruise in search of graceful sea turtles.
These people-friendly, gentle giants are a star attraction of Barbados seas – and were a trip highlight.
It’s easy to create your own personal sailing and snorkelling adventure. Opt for a family-friendly catamaran like El Tigre (www.eltigrecruises.com), or search the waters from a glass bottom boat.
The terrain of Barbados changes dramatically from the calm, palm-fringed west and south coasts, to the breathtaking rugged beauty of the Atlantic East.
We buckled up for our adventure on wheels with an Island Safari in a zebra print 4×4, suitable for children over four (www.islandsafari.bb).
Harrison’s Cave, with its limestone cavern of crystallised walls, quirky formations and waterfalls, is often cited as the eighth wonder of the world and the ideal destination to take a breather from the beating midday sun (www.harrisonscave.com).
While the grown-ups indulged in diving and cocktail sampling at the newly re-launched Elegant Hotels Tamarind, the kids (aged 4-7 and 8-12) loved playing in the supervised Flying Fish Kids Club.
The Teen Lounge also provides a youthful den with large-screen Wii, game consoles and disco nights.
For joint family time, the Aqua School offers free instruction and equipment for watersports, ranging from snorkelling to stand-up paddle boarding.
From monkeying around to blooming marvellous floral displays, there’s a host of activities to please eco-loving families and the Barbados Tourism Authority (www.visitbarbados.org/trails) offers a handy online ‘Trails’ programme, highlighting key sights of interest.
($1USD approx 62p)
For more information on Barbados, visit visitbarbados.org
For Elegant Hotels call 0800 917 3534 or visit eleganthotels.com
Tamarind: Save 30%: Rates from $257 (£160 approx), B&B, per room per night in a Pool Garden View room. All meal plans at 30% off: Kids eat free, drink free sodas and stay free when staying in the same rooms with parents. Valid May 1-Oct 15, 2011 (applicable for 1 or 2 children depending on room category) (www.tamarindbarbados.com)
Turtle Beach: Save up to 30%: Rates from $333 (£208 approx). All-inclusive, per room per night in Junior Suite (Pool or Garden View). First child stays free (ages: 0-12) when sharing room with an adult. Valid May 1–Sept 30, 2011 (www.turtlebeachresortbarbados.com)
British Airways flies from London Gatwick to Barbados from £613.90 return including taxes/fees/charges in World Traveller. Visit ba.com/Barbados or call 0844 4930787.