Labadee is a private resort port on the north coast peninsula of Haiti. Urban legend has it that Christopher Columbus found this idyllic place but what we know for a fact is that in the 1600’s, Marquis de’La Badie, from France settled the area. Though the village and resort were named for him; the spelling of the name being anglicized to Labadee in the 1980s to make it more marketable for tourists.
One can only get there with the Royal Caribbean Cruise lines as they have a formal arrangement with Labadee where they will lease that part of the island until the year 2050; bringing guests on day excursions where they can have an unforgettable day while supporting the local economy.
What to expect
Passengers coming off the ship will discover is that Labadee is much like a paradise island theme park with so much to see and do it is hard to know where to begin.
Attractions include parasailing, the Dragon’s Tail, a roller coaster that reaches speeds of 30 miles per hour and water sports like jet skiing or kayaking in the Bay.
Labadee is home to the world’s longest over-water zip line called the Dragon’s Breath Flight Line as well a water park with a pool in Columbus Cove and a 300-foot long waterslide called Dragon Splash. There are additional waterslides, trampolines, log-rolling in the Arawak Aqua Park.
For holiday-makers that find these activities too energetic, there are plenty of opportunities for enjoying a relaxing day by the sea with the tropical sun, sand and gentle waves.
There are deck chairs, loungers, and hammocks to add to the relaxed atmosphere and cabanas for rent right on the water, so families can still have some privacy.
A lunch buffet, provided by the Cruise lines is included, but if you would like other options; meals and snacks can also be purchased at one of three locations: Dragon’s Café, Café Labadee or Columbus Cove Café.
Their signature fruity, frozen, an alcoholic drink called the Labadoozie is freely available for purchase throughout the day on the beaches and restaurants; sold in a souvenir cup and there is the equivalent non-alcoholic version so children can also have one and not feel like they are missing out.
If guests would like to have keepsakes and mementos to take back home with them, there are plenty of opportunities to buy handmade souvenirs.
The woodwork is quite noteworthy, and travelers should encourage and sustain the island’s economy by purchasing items made by local artisans.
Autism Travel Tips
- The island is suitable for families with autism since they can do activities at their leisure and leave when they please.
- The cruise line staff on the island is excellent with autism accommodations and don’t let special needs travelers wait in any long line.
- The Arawak Aqua Park allocates specific times for guests to use the park to prevent excessive crowding and reduce the wait times and long lines.
- Make sure that you know when your time is scheduled so your child does not miss out on the activities.
- There are plenty of life jackets for everyone, so you don’t have to worry about bringing one for your child.
- There are gazebos built on the beach for shade but make sure you provide necessary clothing, sunscreen and bug spray to protect your child from the sun and any bites.
- If you are relying on the ship for complimentary meals, make sure you are there on time and be aware of what times they are serving the food.
- If your child is on a particular diet, you need to make arrangements with the shore excursion staff as to how to get the customized food items.
- Plan ahead which rides and activities your child will want to participate in, so you ask the staff for accommodations with preset time slots.
- Bear in mind that some of the rides have age restrictions so make sure in advance to avoid disappointment.
- The island is large (there is a complimentary Royal Caribbean shuttle that stops in several spots and runs continuously) so you should factor in the distances between the different attractions.
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