This is a guest post by Sharmeen Ziauddin. Sharmeen is a blogger, freelance journalist, and mum to three children aged seven, five and one. Sharmeen and her family travelled to Saint Lucia during the October half-term break.
Saint Lucia is one of the Caribbean’s most mountainous islands. Located about 100 miles from Barbados on the eastern stretch of the Caribbean, expect flora and fauna, mountains, rainforests and golden sandy beaches. Popular as a wedding & honeymoon destination, it is also incredibly family-friendly and has direct flights from London. Saint Lucia is smaller than London, but there are plenty of activities to keep the family occupied. Here are some of the best things to do in St Lucia with kids.
Explore the rainforest
The Rainforest Aerial Tram is a wonderful educational experience for adults and children and is available in 3 different locations (Baboneau, Dennery and Soufries). Being over 1400 feet above sea level in a cable car-like contraption is bound to get the kids excited. The guide told us all about the different animals that live in the rainforest and the types of plants and food which are grown there. You’ll see many wonderful flowers and birds on the way. After the hour-long aerial tram tour you can go on a 20 minute walk with the guide to explore the rainforest on foot. If your children are over eight and weigh enough they can try zip lining, which is the most fun way to see the rainforest. The whole experience is very family-friendly; there is even a baby-changing table in the toilets.
Take to the water
Driving around St Lucia can be tricky with children as it’s a mountainous island, and changes in the altitude can cause nausea. Boats are a much better form of transport as the Caribbean Sea is very calm. Boats excite children of all ages so you can’t go wrong with this option. The views are breathtaking, some of the best in Saint Lucia as you can see the Piton Mountains on the way. Take a boat trip to Soufriere where you can grab a bite to eat in town and then visit the volcano.
Go inside the volcano
Enter the world’s only drive-in volcano in Soufriere which is on the southwest of the island. My seven year-old son was eagerly awaiting this trip and he wasn’t disappointed despite there being no lava! Sulphur Springs is a dormant volcano even though sulphur can be seen bubbling away, and the steam is visible from far away. The smell of sulphur is like rotten eggs, but you do get used to it. If the smell goes away, it means an eruption is due so it’s a good thing. Further downstream the temperature of the sulphur is not as hot and visitors can bathe in the mud bath. Sulphur is said to have many therapeutic benefits to the skin and locals also go there regularly. My five year-old daughter had a dip in the mud bath and thoroughly enjoyed it. There are changing rooms and a tap so you can wash the clay off. Don’t forget the kids’ swimsuits and towels.
Head for the Beach
The beach is truly beautiful in Saint Lucia. We stayed in the north of the island where we faced the Caribbean Sea as opposed to the Atlantic Ocean, which is rougher. ‘Playing in the waves’ as my daughter calls it, was a first for my children as usually the sea has been too cold or the tide too high for them to confidently go in on their own. The water is warm and shallow, so perfect for small children. I got to relax on the sun lounger while my older two rode the waves for hours at a time.
Play in the water
Even younger children can try some of the activities with an adult such as kayaking, pedalo boats, sailing, snorkelling and water skiing, which are part of the all-inclusive option at Smugglers Cove where we stayed. My son’s feet didn’t quite reach the pedals on the pedalo but he had a fantastic time watching his dad work twice as hard. Other water sports such as jet skiing, banana boats and scuba diving are also available at a fee. Older children would really enjoy the variety of activities available here. I had a go at water skiing; although my children are too young to try (ten and above is an appropriate age) they enjoyed watching me make a fool of myself.
Sharmeen lives in London and blogs at BritPak girl