Smart Vacations

Caribbean and the South Pacific

For families willing to stray from our shores, several resorts offer brain stimulation for the kids (and Mai Tais and massages for Mom and Dad).

The Lodge at Chaa Creek Adventure Centre, Rainforest Reserve, and Spa, nestled on a 330-acre nature reserve in the Central American country of Belize, is like an instant immersion course in rainforest ecology with a jungle river for swimming, a butterfly farm, and more than 200 varieties of birds. One-bedroom cottages start at $135 a night. For more information, call 501-92-2037 in Belize or visit www.chaacreek.com.

The Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas' Paradise Island features the Discovery Channel Camp for kids ages 4 to 12. Among the camp's offerings are a state-of-the-art science center with live-animal touch tanks and high-powered microscopes, as well as an 11-million-gallon marine-life tank that circles the perimeter of the hotel property. Families can also enjoy six pools (two for kids), five water slides, and a "lazy river" ride in which guests are pulled by a gentle current as they float in rubber tubes. Double rooms start at $185. Half-day camp sessions start at $30. For information, call 800-ATLANTIS or visit www.AtlantisResort.com.

The Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort, run by Jacques Cousteau's son, has a wonderful day camp for infants to 9-year-olds called the Bula Camp, in which kids learn about marine life, ocean ecology, and Fijian customs such as coconut-leaf weaving. Room rates start at $425, camp included; babysitting is available at about $2 an hour. For information, call 800-246-3454 or visit www.fijiresort.com.

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