Sidetracked! Island Vibes Tours

The best day of our lives?  It just might have been.


side·track (sīd´trăk): n. 1. A diversion from the main course.  2. A detour taken with children that you would never, ever take without them.

Myself, my husband, and our daughters, Zoe, Cora and Lena (6, 5 and 1).

Island Vibes half day snorkel tour cruise in the exquisitely beautiful Turks & Caicos. This tour consisted of snorkeling, exploring an uninhabited island, dancing on deck, eating fresh conch and finally having a ‘pool party’ at sea. If it was just hubby and I we would have opted for the full day cruise, but with three kids this 4-hour sidetracked adventure fit just right.


I was looking for a family friendly tour company so we could see some of the islands. I found myself on the phone with ‘Marvelous Marvin’ who suggested the tour might just be the best day of our lives… how could I possibly resist?

The High Point:
Snorkeling on the world’s third largest reef in the crystal clear waters of Grace Bay was as amazing as it sounds. We were lucky enough to see JoJo the sociable dolphin frolicking about in the waves.

Our hosts, Tino and Mo were incredibly welcoming, wildly fun, and safe (yay child size life jackets!). The boat anchored at an uninhabited island where Mo showed us the conch he caught while we were snorkeling. We helped de-shell the conch so Tino could make some delicious conch salad while the passengers explored the island searching for iguana.

Back on board, Tino and Mo showed us all some very colorful ‘top secret’ island dance moves while the music played. I don’t think my daughters could possibly imagine anything more fun than a dance party on a boat. That is, until they anchored the boat and we all had a chance to jump off the diving board on the 2nd deck! The looks on their faces of mixed terror and joy as they hurled their tiny selves into the sea (and daddy’s waiting arms) was as memorable as them crawling back on board dripping wet and beaming with pride.

The Low Point:
Sea conditions are calmest March through September.  In January the sea was still very snorkel-able, but the extra chop in the water had our novice swimmer kids a bit skittish.

My one year old obviously lacks the ability to snorkel or jump off a diving board. Hubby and I simply took turns snuggling her on deck.

The Kids’ Take:

Zoe’s favorite part was pulling the “gooey cool” conch out of the shell. Cora’s was jumping “like Pocahontas” off the boat’s diving board. Lena loved toddling around the shallow pools of water on the island and making new friends to blow kisses at.

The Bottom Line:
The best day of our lives? Zoe and Cora are convinced that Marvelous Marvin was right!  I highly recommend spending a day with these wild and crazy guys. You can check them out at

Disclosure:  Island Vibes Tours comped our half-day snorkel tour cruise.  They did not request that I express any particular point of view, and all opinions are my own.

–Julie Breitigan


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