Caribbean, Destination guides, Wanderlust

MummyTravels’ guide to St Lucia with kids

Once I’d dismissed the Caribbean as the picture postcard cliché of palm-fringed white sand beaches (not that there’s anything wrong with those). But having visited a few islands, that couldn’t be further from the truth, especially on St Lucia.

With a long history of making chocolate, adrenaline activities in the rainforest, gorgeous fishing villages and markets along with watersports and a ‘drive-in volcano’ in the Soufriere hills, there’s a huge amount to discover.

Something it does share with the other Caribbean islands is a love of kids, so I’ve never felt less than welcome anywhere with Minnie. Here is my guide to St Lucia with kids – my top tips for visiting with children, and as ever, do add your own tips and suggestions in the comments.

Getting there/around
British Airways and Virgin both fly direct from the UK to St Lucia, taking around eight and a half hours. Thomas Cook also flies from Manchester during peak season. Hewanorra airport is in the far south of the island but at 27 miles long, it shouldn’t take much more than an hour to reach any part of the island.

You’ll need a car or an organised tour to get around and it’s worth remembering that if you’re heading into the hills, it’ll take longer than the mileage suggests thanks to steep and twisty roads – with the most amazing views as compensation. Also perfect for lulling babies and toddlers to sleep…

Check out these posts for more tips on travelling long-haul with a baby or toddler as well as ways to beat jetlag.

beach-sea-st-lucia-caribbean

Where to stay
Since Minnie came along, I’ve discovered the benefits of a family-friendly all-inclusive resort – St James Club Morgan Bay is part of the Elite Islands group, set in the north of the island and the perfect place to start exploring in a bit of luxury.

If you want to explore further, especially in the hills of Soufriere, you can’t beat staying on a cacao plantation – Fond Doux has colonial heritage and makes a great low-key place to relax.

cacao-pod-st-lucia-caribbean

Check out i-escape kids for some more suggestions – one of my best websites for apartments and hotels

What to see
Head in to the rainforest to explore the nature – we took in the views from the Sky Tram before going zipwiring at Babonneau, both of which are unexpectedly child-friendly (depending on the age of your kids!)

Don’t miss the world’s only drive-in volcano – aka the Soufriere sulphur springs, up in the hills. There’s thermal pools to bathe in and otherworldly steam rising from cracks in the ground.

Browse or shop at Castries market – the ideal spot for souvenirs, spices and soaking up the atmosphere, in St Lucia’s capital.

St Lucia’s chocolate heritage stretches back centuries, if you’re looking for an excuse to have a taste (or several) of chocolate – the bean to bar at Boucan by Hotel Chocolat takes you right from the trees where the cacao pod grows to a chance to create your own, while several places have chocolate-inspired menus and even spa treatments.

View the Pitons – the two peaks are icons of St Lucia, and there are various walks you can take to get great views as well as more strenuous options if you’d like to trek the Pitons themselves. We stuck to walking the Tet Paul trail – a toddler-friendly option.

Where to eat
The hotels and resorts I visited – St James Club Morgan Bay, Fond Doux and Boucan by Hotel Chocolat – all had fantastic restaurants on site.

But for some great Creole food, including fantastic fish and an unbeatable view, discover why La Petit Peak in Soufriere tops my list.

soufriere-harbour-buildings-st-lucia

Plan your visit
Check out the St Lucia tourist board site for more tips on everything from accommodation to activities.

And if you fancy stopping at any of the points on the chocolate heritage trail (and why wouldn’t you), there are some more details on events too.

Lonely Planet also has a new guide to the Caribbean – also available as digital chapters. Or try Fodor’s In Focus Guide to Barbados and St Lucia.

 

All images copyright MummyTravels

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