Coming down with the Winter Blues? Grace Toby, our contributing editor (and in-house travel advisor), has rounded up three family-friendly and affordable Caribbean getaway options that won’t break the bank and will satisfy the whim of every traveller on your list. Whether you’re looking for total relaxation, a bit of fitness or a hint of adventure, one of these curated options is sure to fit the bill.
The Caribbean is full of idyllic beachy locations and the Bahamas, which has over 700 islands and cays, is the ideal hotspot for Canadians. Its proximity to residents in central and Atlantic Canada makes it a short flight with limited (or no) time difference, and the centrally located International airport means you’ll waste no time arriving at your final destination. This makes it an easy and flexible option for a long weekend as well as an extended getaway. Plus, this tropical oasis boasts 340 sunny days a year, endless beachfront properties, and some of the softest sand and clearest water in the Caribbean.
Ready to pack your bag? Here are three ways to do your sun-drenched getaway.
1. A full-service megaresort
If you’re looking for a resort that checks all the boxes, then beachfront megaresort Grand Hyatt Baha Mar is guaranteed to please every guest in your group, regardless of age. Nestled along the northern shore of Providence Island, Bahamas, this brand-new property is already racking up awards. With sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean, this luxe resort is less than 10 minutes from the airport—meaning you’ll be poolside sipping on Bahama Mamas in no time. An ideal resort for both small and large groups of friends and families, and especially great for multigenerational travellers because it offers an assortment of activities. Enjoy six stunning pools, each with its own design, ranging from intimate, cabana-style loungers and swim-up bars to cliffs for jumping and secluded grotto with an underwater window for viewing sea creatures. The culinary offerings range from high-end restaurants, such as modern Japanese outpost Katsuya to Shuang Ba for haute Chinese cuisine, or keep it casual and dine at a beachside food truck, French café or conch shack. For adults, there’s nightly entertainment, including a piano bar with live jazz, a casino, and several bars and lounges. Plus, a free all-day kids’ club that includes an animal sanctuary and discovery centre where guests are welcome to feed turtles, pet sharks and stingrays. For those seeking wellness and fitness or a little activity, there’s a world-class spa, nine tennis courts (hard, clay, grass), an 18-hole golf course, a full-service gym equipped with Technogym and all non-motorized water sports are free. Bonus: It’s pet-friendly, so you can bring Fido.
2. Personalized getaway
For sunshine with a side of adventure or with a more personal touch, book a getaway through a website that'll curate your perfect trip. Booking.com boasts over 8,000 properties in the Caribbean and has the widest selection of properties. There are over 30 different types of properties to choose from, ranging from a houseboat, a luxury tent, aparthotels (serviced apartments), a lodge, and a bungalow or villa. It also allows you to connect with other travellers to get firsthand suggestions, such as where to find a waterpark or zip-lining centre for the kids, or where to score the best ice cream parlour in town.
3. Home away from home – but better
If you prefer to live like a local instead of a tourist, then book a property through online marketplace, Airbnb. You can tailor your search to your specific dates, so you’re not committed to a week or can easily extend your stay. When searching for your ideal property, be specific with what your needs: a fully-stocked kitchen, an extra room for an infant, or perhaps a separate suite for in-laws. Ask your hosts for the inside scoop on local haunts or where to find the best secluded beaches. Looking for something a little extra? Search for properties that have a pool or hot tub, or offer at-home cooking class. Bonus: You can consider putting your own home up on the site to make a little extra money while you’re travelling.