I’m feeling so popular! Here’s another Q&A, this time from Kristine. I used the subject line she used in her email to me, since it just made me wish I could look out the window and see something blue or green, instead of grey or white…
What’s your (and your readers) most favorite Caribbean accommodations for two moms travelling solo with toddlers? We’re trying to find somewhere to go for two moms and two toddlers (while husbands stay home to work). Could you recommend your most favorite place?It’s a last-minute plan to go during the first week of March. No more time to read trip reports and research each place, unfortunately. If you don’t mind offering your top picks, we so would appreciate it.
Expense is an issue, as well as travel ease/simplicity and safety. As two moms, we need to go from airport to beach destination then back to airport. Though I’m more of an adventure nature back-pack traveller, I’m not with a toddler, especially without my husband. US Virgin Islands, or other Caribbean destinations (including Central America), are all fine as long we we can get the kids’ passports in time, are safe and healthy, and it’s relatively simple. Our kids love the water. And, if possible, we’d like the option of safe babysitting (even if family-owned place) so that we moms can have a break too. Both kids can sleep and play in two pack n’ plays or safe cribs, if the accommodations offer them. We don’t want to see Mayan ruins with toddlers. Nature is plenty interesting. Perhaps a little hiking. Perhaps my friend and I can switch off watching the kids while the other one of us swims and snorkels.
Thank you for your time and top suggestions! It’s soooo appreciated from two weary moms.
I’m not sure where you’re from Kristine, but my very first thought was Cuba. It’s my first recommendation for a Caribbean destination that is safe, clean, affordable AND adaptable – you could do lots or you could do very little and still have a marvelous time. If you’re from the US, Cuba is not a (legal) option for you YET! If Cuba is an option for you - I highly recommend the Cameleon Villas Jibacoa, which is a totally bare-bones, incredibly inexpensive, but wonderfully relaxing place smack dab between Havana and Varadero. It would be perfect for 2 moms with tots who just want a break from the weather without too much of a resort-ish vibe or drunken louts who never leave the swim-up bar (there isn’t one – but ever notice when there is how the people NEVER leave? A swim-up bar is not a draw in my book!)
As I just realized you’re hoping for the first week of March, put your applications in for the kids’ passports now. Here in Canada you can put a rush and get them in less than a week (I have a friend who got hers in 20min – no joke). Also, since you won’t be traveling with the kids’ daddies, you’ll need notarized (or at least official-looking) letters stating that they know you are taking the kids out of the country and they are ok with that.
The Dominican Republic can also be very inexpensive, but you do have to decide whether or not to take anti-malarials. My VERY well-traveled friend just came back and she said the beach in Punta Cana is probably the nicest she’s ever seen.
Riviera Maya in Mexico can be done at a reasonable price, is safe and clean and offers a few places that would have off-shore snorkeling. Cozumel would be your best bet here – for price point and for snorkeling. Try to get a flight directly into Cozumel, as the ground/ferry/ground transfers would be tough with toddlers if you’re on your own.
If your passports don’t come in time – as I just suggested to Julie – maybe give the Gulf Coast in Florida a try… Possibilities for very cheap flights for two airports (Tampa & St. Petersburg), as well as very cheap beach motel accommodation as well.
Have an amazing time with your toddler and your friend, Kristine! I wish I had thought to do something like this when I had the time! Please let me know if you have any further questions, and please get in touch when you get back!