With local delicacies made from fresh ingredients that are straight off the boat, there are a variety of foodie hotspots in the Caribbean that are perfect for all ages. Here families can sample tropical fruits picked each morning and regional cuisines made with flavorful spices, then learn about local cooking techniques that have been passed on from generation to generation. The perfect combination of crystal clear waters, tropical backdrops and up-and-coming culinary scenes, read on to discover the top 10 Caribbean trips for foodie families.
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St. Lucia (Hotel Prices & Photos)
St. Lucia is home to waterfront towns that the entire family can enjoy, from Gros Islet to Anse la Ray, where you can sample barbecued seafood served with breadfruit, sweet potato and blackened corn on the cob. The cuisine here has influences from both the French and British, with salt fish and green banana being its national dish. Foodies of all ages will delight in sampling codfishJamaica fritters made with locally grown herbs, followed by cassava cake in cherry, coconut or golden apple flavors. In the morning, Caribbean cocoa tea is a must.
Puerto Rico (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Pack your stretchy pants when traveling to Puerto Rico, as this culinary hot spot boasts an array of delicious food on offer. A combination of Spanish, American and First Nations influences, Puerto Rico is known for their pork and pepper ingredients in cuisines like lechon asado, which is served in anything from 5-star restaurants to roadside stalls. Mofongo is another must-try dish that is made of fried plantain mashed into a bowl with broth, while sipping on an authentic Pina Colada is considered a right of passage.
Jamaica (Hotel Prices & Photos)
It’s simply hard to resist the lure of Jamaica, where you’ll find plenty of family-friendly resorts blasting live reggae music and serving delicious jerk chicken and pork, which is marinated in a piquant sauce and then slow-cooked over a pimento wood fire. Boston Bay is known for its roadside stalls, while tangy jerk is popular throughout the island. You can dine on Curry Conch where Bob Marley once hung out at Pushcart Restaurant, but if you really want to immerse yourself in Jamaican cookery then you can sign up for a cooking class to learn about steamed callaloo (Jamaica’s spinach), shrimp in coconut sauce and banana fritters.
Anguilla (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Take the family to Anguilla for a tropical escape, where you will find beachfront barbecue joints and upscale hotel eateries. Traditional island cuisine is influenced by native Caribbean, Spanish, French, English and African cultures, where there’s an emphasis on fresh local seafood. Sit down and have a feast of conch, spiny lobsters, crawfish, crabs, prawns and shrimp, then try local fish such as marlin and mahi-mahi or indulge in deep-fried fritters. Barbecue and jerk, callalloo (a stew based on African greens) and lobster bisque are also popular.
St. Barts (Hotel Prices & Photos)
If a luxury family vacation is what you’re after, head to St. Barts. You’ll find plenty of high-end restaurants to pamper yourselves, where chefs from around the world cater to foodie-types. Browse the charming sidewalk cafes in Gustavia, then visit iconic beachfront restaurants or the region’s largest wine store, La Cave de Saint Barthelemy. Dig your toes in the sand while you indulge in codfish fritter lunches at La Gloriette or enjoy Michelin-quality cuisine at On-The-Rocks. You can also pack your own picnic and indulge in local favorites such as curried coconut chicken.
Cayman Islands (Hotel Prices & Photos)
More than just a banking destination, the Cayman Islands is a hot spot for foodie families, where you can relax on the Seven Mile Beach and learn about its 300 years of history. An eclectic mix of British, Jamaican and Central American influences, the national dish in the Cayman Islands is turtle soup. More popularly served are its other island delights, including fried land crab, jerk chicken conch fritters and cornbread with custard. Have a night without the kids by enjoying the romantic seaside restaurants like Wharf Restaurant & Bar or sample some of the region’s farm-to-table cuisine at the Brasserie.
Grenada (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Step onto Grenada and you’ll discover the smell of nutmeg lingering in the air as you explore the gorgeous tropical island. It’s nicknamed the “Island of Spice” for a reason, producing cloves, nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon. These spices work together to create local dishes such as ginger pork, curried mutton and crayfish broth, where oil down is an iconic one-pot stew ideal for festivals and parties. Make sure to try the lambie souse, where conch is tenderized and slowly cooked with lime juice, garlic and hot pepper. Finish off your meal with a scoop of nutmeg ice cream.
St. Martin (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Almost like you’re getting two for the price of one, on St. Martin you’ll find both French and Dutch delights to explore. Adults can delight in homegrown libations such as guava berry liqueur made from oak-aged rum, cane sugar and berries, while kids won’t get enough of the famed Johnny Cake with its fried delicious-ness. Dig into a French pastry or barbecue chicken from a roadside stall, or try the one-pot wonder called Locri made with chicken and rice. If you’re there for Carnival, make sure to try conch and dumplings.
Turks and Caicos (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Conch-loving families should put Turks and Caicos at the top of their list, as you can find anything from conch fritters to conch salad to fried conch and conch chowder sold at conch shacks around the main island of Providenciales. The weekly fish fry the Blue Hills neighborhood is another must-have experience for food enthusiasts, while lionfish is also found on many menus. Often served whole, snapper is popular in addition to grouper and lobster tail.
Martinique (Hotel Prices & Photos)
A blend of African, French, Caribbean and South Asian traditions, Martinique is the perfect foodie destination for families that are adventurous eaters. Set in French colonial villas and plantation houses, the eateries here serve tropical dishes that use local fruits, vegetables and fish. Sample the local sausage boudin made from pork or chatrou, a small octopus. Lambis is a large sea snail put in casseroles and stews, while Dorade grilee is a sea bream typically served with potatoes or chips. Adults can wash it down with Ti Punch, a traditional Martinique drink with cane juice distilled in the West Indies.