We flew to Sint Maarten and landed on their famous runway that begins where one of the tourist beaches ends. On arrival we took transportation across to the French owned half of the island, Saint-Martin. We stayed in an impressive resort at Anse Marcel. It combined beautiful grounds with amazing pools a stunning beach and decadent French food. If/when we come back to this amazing island I would happily stay in the same place. It was fun to have our 6-month old sharing loungers with us and taking in the surroundings. When we left we crossed back to Sint Maarten to explore lively Philipsburg with its attractive boardwalk. From there we boarded a small luxury boat that takes a mere 200 people and visits small yachting harbours around the Caribbean.
The boat was beautiful and despite having a lower-berth room with no balcony it was still an awesome size with a large living/lounging/dining area. They rarely ever get children on board let alone babies. It caused some consternation with a few of the guests on arrival, concerned they would be listening to a crying child on their voyage. Luckily our son was an angel and did not cry the entire trip. By the end he had many staff and fellow passengers fawning over him and asking if they could hold him. We were very proud parents and this voyage was the most precious trip I had taken to date.
Our first stop was in the British Virgin Islands. We tendered to Jost Van Dyke where we followed a road over a hill to popular White Bay (no dock here) to get a Painkiller cocktail from the Soggy Dollar Bar and enjoy the soft white sand while admiring the beauty of the surroundings. The entire region is picturesque and we had a perfect evening passing by numerous islands while having cocktails and watching the sunset.
The following day we arrived at St. Barthelemy. It is a territory of France and is off-limits to large cruise ships. To make the most of our stay here I prearranged for a rental car with a car seat and booked in for lunch on the opposite side of the island at a well-known restaurant called Le Gaiac. Our time in St. Barths was easily the highlight of the entire trip. It was so much fun to explore it independently. From the hills to the remarkably varied beaches, the entire island is stunning. We hope to return. It is not surprising that it is such a popular spot for the rich and famous.
Next up was St Kitts where we took a gimmicky tourist train that circumnavigated the island. There was some nice scenery but it was painfully slow, poorly narrated, and not particularly fun. In hindsight we should have organized transportation to the beaches and restaurants that looked towards Nevis.
We had quiet days in both St Lucia and Guadeloupe. In St Lucia we unfortunately docked in Castries rather than Soufriere in the beautiful section further south. Having been here before, and given we were with our baby, and there was a Dengue Fever warning, we ended up staying around the port and lounged on the boat. In Guadeloupe I tendered to the tiny village on Terre-de-Haut so I could wander around it. It was cute but not very exciting.
Our final stop before reaching Barbados was in the Grenadines where we visited a beach on the remote island of Mayreau. Here the crew from the boat held a huge barbeque for the guests and brought us drinks while we played in the sand and sea. We had great fortune to meet a local with a son the same age as ours while we were there and overall we had a perfect beach day.
We had to disembark early in the morning when we arrived in Barbados. We went from Bridgetown to the middle of the west coast where we stayed for a few days. We watched the sunsets, lounged in and around the pools, and swam in the ocean. On one of the days we arranged for a private tour of the island and we were greeted by a large, soft-spoken man with a very nice car. The car seat was already prepared to take our baby and he drove us to the major and minor sights of this little country. This was our second visit to Barbados but it was our first time staying there overnight. There is a lot to like about it.
It always amuses me how often we’d hear, “you know he is too young to remember this trip.” I do not relate to this way of thinking. Why would that stop a parent from travelling? At this stage the trip is about us without a doubt, but regardless I don’t think it is a bad thing to be giving him broad exposure to different people, climates, and accommodation even this early in life. We are getting new experiences while spending quality time with him and he is thrilled to be getting oodles of attention from mom and dad while we are on holiday.
This family trip to the Caribbean meant an incredible amount to me. It really made up for lacklustre visits to the region in the past. We discovered new places we love and now look forward to the next time we return.