Family travel is about trying something new together – getting a taste of the unexpected and the unknown. Say buh-bye to the predictable, all-inclusive resorts and experience the exotic with your kids.
Children are playful, inquisitive and often fearless – great companions for an adventurous holiday. So here are the best destinations for your kids to connect with nature and make some truly unforgettable memories on a once-in-a-lifetime trip with your family.
Salsa in Cuba
Cuba is well-known for its golden sand, turquoise waters, and child-friendly beaches. It’s also packed with culture, history, live bands, jamming street artists and sizzling salsa bars. Even though the country is rapidly changing you can still discover the real Cuba in a meaningful way.
In timeless old Havana, a private tour of the city in a vintage car will enchant kids and adults alike. Explore the colonial beauty and glamor of a bygone era and immerse yourself in Cuba’s Caribbean soul, with Rumba music and colorful architecture around every corner.
Remind the budding Ecophiles in your family about the importance of wilderness at Cuba’s pioneering eco-village – Las Terrazas. Walk to hidden waterfalls, get to know the forest on foot and discover this amazing UNESCO biosphere. Spend the night tucked away in the forest of Las Terrazas, at a truly unique resort built around a giant tree. The kids will also love swimming in the crystal clear natural pools and lake. Heavenly!
Experience Magical Peru
Peru – home of Paddington Bear – is a treat for the entire family. There’s so much to see, do and (importantly) eat. Whip up some local dishes, such as chicha or caldo verde, at a cookery class or make your own delicious chocolate from the finest cocoa beans – and you can learn these secrets from a local! The kids can even join you in winding down at the end of an exciting day with an (alcohol free) pisco sour.
The landscapes in Peru are like nowhere else. Magnificent lakes, desert lagoons and astonishing canyons will look stunning in your family album. The wildlife is simply breathtaking – you’ll see graceful condors gliding high above you, alpacas at pasture, sea lions and playful penguins waddling along the coast.
Explore Cusco, the Inca heartland – this gateway to Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley is peppered with both Inca ruins and colonial churches. From here take an unforgettable journey to the fascinating abandoned citadel of Machu Picchu. The ultimate family-travel destination and a glorious adventure for all.
Another highlight, the stunning Lake Titicaca – at over 3,800 metres above sea-level – this highest lake on the planet is also considered sacred by the Incas.
Meet the elephants in Thailand
Thailand – or the ‘Land of Smiles’ – is known for its warm people and welcoming atmosphere. Homestays are a great way of experiencing the hospitality of friendly locals and kids get a glimpse into another culture and way of life. Treat the kids to an incredible elephant encounter responsibly at the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai. Here you can watch elephants play and help prepare their lunch. A lovely way to spend your day with these gentle giants.
Explore the sights, sounds (and smells!) of Bangkok by cycling around the backstreets of Chinatown. Escape the city on a sleeper train and wake up in the serene Khao Sok where you can kayak down the lazy rivers within the gorgeous national park. You just might come across peacefully floating bamboo cottages on the lake.
You won’t want to miss Thailand’s best beach spots: the tropical islands of Ko Phangan and Ko Samui are the perfect serene backdrop for your relaxing getaway. White-sand beaches. Check. Watersports and snorkelling. Check. Good luck convincing the kids to go back home!
Smokin’ Volcanoes in Costa Rica
In 2016, it became possible to fly direct from London to Costa Rica – the happiest country in the world, according to the ‘Happy Planet Index’. Costa Rica is the poster-child for a family-friendly holiday – its stunning Tortuguero National Park is packed with colourful and captivating wildlife such as toucan, hummingbirds (they have 52 different species!), wild cats, tree frogs and sloths.
It is also home to over a dozen smoking volcanoes! Arenal, a star among volcanoes — considered the most active — has the country’s largest lake at its base. As a bonus, the hot springs are just right for soaking in with the munchkins.
Not to mention the country practically invented the term eco-friendly and around a quarter of its land is protected as National Parks or Reserves. In addition to the winning wilderness, there are plenty of museums and markets in the bustling city of San Jose. Down the coast, chill out and enjoy the Caribbean vibes of Puerto Viejo or, to get the heart racing, adrenaline-junkies in the family will love whizzing through the cloud forests of Monteverde on a zip wire. Pura vida!
Explore the Wild Side of Borneo
The wildlife in Borneo is unlike anywhere else in the world. If your little ones are animal-lovers, this is the perfect green travel destination for them. At the renowned Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, which was set up to help the island’s orphaned orangutans, the family can meet the island’s adorable, famed inhabitants face-to-face.
For a chance to spot these captivating animals in their natural habitat, head down Borneo’s longest river – the Kinabatangan River – by boat. As you cruise further away from civilisation, challenge your kids to ‘I Spy’. It will be a once-in-a-lifetime round with the chance of spotting Sumatran rhino, pygmy elephants, Proboscis monkeys, macaques, monitor lizards and hundreds of species of tropical birds.
After a memorable sleepover deep in the heart of the jungle, travel to see more astonishing natural beauty at Kota Kinabalu beach. Relax on the golden sands, grab an ice-cream and access the jungle if you’re so inclined. Now doesn’t that sound like a perfect family holiday!
If you have any unmissable adventure holiday destinations for the whole family, we’d love to hear – leave your comments below!