Monday, 21 November 2016

Closest Caribbean Island to the UK - We Travel to Antigua & Barbuda

Rewind to our travels to Antigua and Barbuda.

Hello again!  I love writing in the sand. 💖

We stayed with friends.

We were lucky enough to stay with friends who had a house in Jolly Harbour.  It was a great place to stay and feels very safe, with Jolly beach (more on that below) walking distance and lots of restaurants, bars and a local supermarket if you're self catering.

You could try Airbnb for self catering accommodation.

There are many beach hotels and resorts that look plush and fabulous, some right on the beach and indeed one at Jolly Beach.  

As I didn't stay in any of them I can't comment good or bad but you only have to use Trip Advisor to get some ideas.

Friendly, jolly and content

I found the people of Antigua friendly, incredibly jolly and seemed mostly content with their way of life.

Although if you read the book A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid you would be lead to believe otherwise.

I have read it.  I can understand where the author is coming from but, honestly, I didn't enjoy the read at all.

I will say in the author's defence, I did feel slightly uncomfortable about our comfortable lifestyle. However, that was only me, certainly none of the locals made me feel this way.

365 Beaches

This island is beautiful, and so are its 365 beaches.  Life is laid back and obviously much slower than our way of life - it's hotter to start with.

English Harbour is a must visit 

The yachts moored in the harbour are the most amazing sight and it is quite mesmerising watching the ease in which they are moored alongside each other in the harbour.

English Harbour is, however, manicured and set up for tourists.  The shops pretty much as you would find them in a village at home.

But the locals do set up market stalls ready to haggle! It's great fun to watch.

A great place for lunch or morning coffee

Admirals Inn is truly beautiful with grounds leading down to the water. I had morning coffee there on several occasions and sneaked a lunch too whilst waiting for my man to come off the water!  He was sailing in the regattas and the Caribbean 600.

Watch out for the pelicans

And whilst you are relaxing with your coffee and book, beware the pelicans who can take you quite unaware as they sight their lunch!
Not you!  The fish!

Sheer Rocks Cocobay Resort

It was our friend's birthday whilst we were in Antigua and we were lucky enough to join in the celebrations at Sheer Rocks.

This is in an absolutely stunning location .........Cocobay Resort not just a Restaurant!

A bar, lounge, plunge pool and daybeds and overlooking Ffryes Bay. The food is delicious, the staff attentive and to watch the sunset from here is unbelievable.
 And after you have lounged in the infinity pool, grab a towel and maybe grab yourself a minuty! (my favourite rose wine by the way!)

Inside view of Antigua

St. John's is worth a visit for a real inside view of Antigua way of life. The hub bub of the Saturday market is brilliant and the atmosphere Electric with boomboxes playing and the people thoroughly enjoying life as they live it. Amazing.

I bought pretty shell bracelets for the granddaughters and hats for the grandsons in St Johns.

It's strange how much smaller your think your grandchildren are when they're not with you.  The hats didn't fit, they were much too small so I had to go online at home and buy more. Didn't want the girls to have something without the boys!😕

Jolly Beach

I walked to Jolly Beach from Jolly Harbour.  It's not far at all and after all, I was on holiday and had plenty of time.

I had been warned this beach was a real trap for tourists, where you'd be harassed by beach touts.

I didn't find this the case at all. These people were amazingly friendly and just trying to earn a crust the same as any other market trader anywhere in the world.  They are just a little more pushy but not intimidating in any way.

Beautiful handmade jewellery

I did buy a pretty bracelet from a lady on the beach, but not because I was forced to do so. I happened to like it because of its pretty summery colours.

I also found her really interesting to talk to as she told me about how she made all this beautiful jewellery from shells and coral.

I even walked back along Jolly beach one evening to capture the sunset. It was peaceful and calming.

Plants and wildlife

Of course, the plants are beautiful especially the hibiscus and bougainvillea.  In fact, one bougainvillea petal blew in our window on to our bed and I couldn't resist taking a picture.  It's like tissue paper.

The little lizards are just so cute and I spent many a time just watching them.

My friend used to put a banana out for the little birds, but often found a lizard eating it!

Taxis are fun

Apparently, rent a car at your peril as the roads are horrendous and taxis are readily available.

The taxis are great fun though.  Everyone knows everyone else and there's lots of beeping, waving and greeting from taxis to people on the streets.
There are buses which apparently you can flag down and then just shout 'bus stop' when you want to get off. Please don't quote me on this as we were lucky enough to have friends who lived there who took us around the island and when they couldn't we got a taxi.

And until next time, I leave you with this picture that Malcolm took from a yacht.  Beautiful.
Antigua is the closest Caribbean Island to the UK.  How can you not fall in love with this place?

Have you been?  What did you think?

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