By Ilona Kauremszky

Q: I can't remember if I have ever seen an article about travelling with teens in your column before. I am planning a week long vacation in the Caribbean with my son in late May. He will turn 16 in June and we are going to do the father-son "bonding" thing. Most of the all-inclusive resorts seem to be the same. He's into action sports more than lying around the beach. Any suggestions are appreciated.

A: Think of the hilarious National Lampoon movie, "Family Vacation" and how Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) desperately wanted to see his kids have a good time. Some of us as teenagers remember family vacations with embarrassing moments, like the time dad paraded in his florescent orange polka dot swimming trunks along the Cote D'Azur. Or how about trying to meet group of teens while dad passes wearing his fedora festooned with collectible stickpins.

Remember teens want to be with teens. The all-inclusive is the way to go especially given the voracious appetite of an adolescent boy. I checked with Martha Chapman of Signature Vacations to get some input on the types of destinations that may suit you and your son.

In Jamaica, halfway between Montego Bay and Ocho Rios on Jamaica's north coast, Starfish Trelawny besides offering the usual inclusions of all meals, drinks, and a wide array of watersports, there's loads of interesting things to do for a modest (US$3) surcharge, including rock climbing, trapeze instruction, and "bouncy boxing" where you don Michelin-man inflated boxing gloves and bounce on your opponent in an air-filled boxing ring.

Over in Barbados, Chapman pointed out that the Almond Beach Village is always a hit with families. There are nine swimming pools, an on-site par 3 golf course, lots of watersports and a computer games room. Lastly, although not technically part of the Caribbean, the Mayan Riviera, south of Cancun, has a number of family-friendly resorts including the Gala Playacar. "They've got exceptional watersports. I saw a huge manta ray and a large eel on a recent shallow scuba dive," says Chapman and adds, "plus there are cool optional day trips like zip-lining across a huge cenote."

For free brochures and more information, contact Signature Vacations at 1.800.830.1111 or visit your nearest travel agent.


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All text & photos 2004.