What to say about the Caribbean island Antigua? I’m a little biased because you can put me anywhere; as long as it’s by the ocean and surrounded with sunny days, I’ll love it. I’m even more biased considering I’ve never left my continent until now but to be fair, I’ve seen plenty of ocean fronts, beaches, and travel destinations across North America.
The Caribbean island Antigua was a first for me and it was one hell of a special treat. My family and I flew 5 hours to this Caribbean gem to celebrate my parents 20th anniversary. I must say, I don’t know why everyone hates on Air Canada. The two times I’ve flown with them, both Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge, I’ve never had any complaints. You’re thousands of miles in the sky heading to a beautiful destination. If you arrive there safely, what is there to complain about? Pick your battles, folks.
We decided to stay in a basic resort, and by basic, I mean 3 star. You know, the kind of resort that doesn’t have all that fancy stuff in your room because you’re never in there anyway. As long as it’s all-inclusive, has amenities, such as a pool and an ocean, book it. Don’t go on a trip just to sit in your room, hang out in the Wi-Fi lounge or do stuff you would do at home. It’s just a waste. Save by booking a clean, standard resort and spend the extra doing excursions and exploring the destination!
Caribbean island Antigua Excursions
Catamaran around the country
That’s exactly what we did. The first excursion was a catamaran around the Caribbean island Antigua. Big ups to Wadadli Cats Catamaran. The staff was amazing and highly entertaining, which you’ll quickly notice is a common denominator from the locals.
This excursion was a full day. The boat picked us up right on the shore at 8:15 AM and we arrived back at the resort around 3:30 PM. It’s amazing that you can go around an entire country in just one day, especially when you come from a place such as Ontario. In fact, you can drive from one end of the country to the other in approximately 3 to 4 hours.
On the Wadadli Cats Catamaran, you get fed (both food and booze) but only after you snorkel some stunning reefs. I saw little Nemos, Dorys and sea turtles. I could have stayed there all day.
You also stop on Green Island, where you can continue to snorkel or explore the island. It’s a nice break from the boat, especially if you get motion sickness like my brother, who fed the fishies for the majority of the trip… If you know what I mean.
Going through the Atlantic Ocean side was awesome. It’s quite choppy, so you get to ride up and down massive waves and get splashed in the meantime. I’d tell you more but you’re just going to have to book a trip and find out for yourself. Just don’t forget your snorkel. I have both a standard snorkel set and the full mask snorkel sets, and I certainly recommend the latter. You can breathe normally which is a huge bonus, and it doesn’t fog up or leak. The boat also provides gear if you don’t have any.
Jet skies available right on the beach
We also took out the jet skis which you can find right on the shore out front of your resort. This was wild, as you get to zip around on an adrenaline rush. We went out to what-the-locals-call The Five Islands and although we didn’t see any marine life, the scenery was worth it. I recommend going for a ½ hour instead of a full hour because you start to get bored out there. 30 minutes is the perfect amount of time.
Land tour of Caribbean island Antigua
The second excursion we did was the land tour. I eventually opted out of this one, as I didn’t want to spend one of my last days driving around. However, the feedback from my family makes me wish I went along. This is a great way to learn about Antigua, the history, the people and the culture while exploring the land. When you stay in a resort, you don’t always get to see the true value of a country. So, do a land tour if you can.
My parents went over to Barbuda, the sister island. It’s a more expensive excursion, as it’s about a 2-hour boat ride but the island is stunning. If you’ve ever wanted to dip your toes in pink sand, Barbuda is the place to do it.
Other excursions available
We decided to skip out on swimming with stingrays because once you’ve seen one stingray, you’ve seen them all. However, if you’ve never done this before it’s certainly worth the experience. Zip-lining was another popular excursion people chose to go on but we chose not to. You can’t take your camera, there’s no wildlife in the rainforests in Antigua and the zip line is over faster than you know it. Mind you, the people who did do it enjoyed it thoroughly.
You can also take a trip to St. Johns Antigua to go shopping. We were going to do this until we heard it’s not worth the time. Apparently, the shops were full of crap. However, you can take a trip to St. Johns on the local bus (yes, it’s that safe). So, if you’re stuck for things to do, this is a cheap excursion.
There’s plenty of hiking opportunities, some that can even be accessed right off the shore. Antigua is exceptionally lush, with fewer flowers than other islands but the sights are worth every moment. So, definitely explore.
Jolly Beach Resort & Spa
The resort was okay (We stayed at Jolly Beach Resort & Spa) but you don’t really spend in it when you have the ocean right in front of you. It was clean and did the job. That’s all I need but if you’re rather fussy, this isn’t the place for you. Oh, and the Internet is insanely choppy even when you pay to have it in your room. Just book the Internet day-by-day instead of all at once because you get 1 day of free WiFi for every day you pay. My brother made the mistake of ordering 7 days of WiFi and was never offered this discount.
The food was mediocre but had plenty of options. All restaurants are free but you need to wake up bright and early that morning to get a reservation. Everyone who went to these restaurants didn’t see the big fuss, and we stuck with the buffet moving forward.
Nightly entertainment was okay. There were no elaborate shows like you see at other resorts but the bands were enjoyable, the music was decent, the fire shows were mesmerizing and the booze helped. Unfortunately, the bar closed at midnight, but you can continue drinking outside of the resort. Again, it’s safe to do so. Mind you, when you’re drinking all day in the sun, midnight is a great time to call it quits. Plus, it ensures you don’t sleep the next day away in a hangover fog.
It was the staff that made this place so incredible. I’d return to Jolly Beach specifically for their staff.
All in all, Antigua is a really friendly place. The locals are exceptional – and exceptionally hilarious, which instantly wins 5 stars in my books. This destination was thoroughly enjoyable. The water was a Caribbean blue (go figure) but too foggy to snorkel right outside the hotel, which was kind of a bummer.
For a 3 Star holiday destination, the Caribbean island Antigua delivered. I didn’t want to leave. Then again, put me by the ocean and I’ll never complain.