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Antigua...an Amazing Island of Splendor, Tranquility and Authentic Beauty

Updated: Oct 29, 2021

Antigua is truly a Caribbean island with raw beauty, gorgeous beaches, turquoise water, and the serenity you long for while on vacation. Antigua was at the top of my favorite Caribbean island places visit!



Welcome to Antigua! We visited in early December for a week. The island was quiet with beaches sparsely populated and in some cases we had beaches to ourselves. The residents of the island are friendly and appreciate the tourists. The snorkeling is beautiful with starfish and conch shells laying on the ocean floor making the snorkeling exciting and fun!


“I knew I was in paradise when we came upon a photo shoot with beautiful models for Michael Kors clothing and perfume. I decided right then that this island was very special!"

We arrived on the island after dark and had difficulty finding the hotel so we didn't start off on the right foot! We stayed at our timeshare exchange at the Tranquility Bay Resort located on Jolly Beach. The resort was very dated needing renovations badly with outdated furniture, tile and kitchenettes. We were not overly impressed. It was clean and that was about it. I would not recommend the resort but loved the beach! White sand, clear water, and gorgeous palm trees. The beach views made up for the lack of other amenities. The resort was in walking distance to restaurants and Jolly Harbor. We rented a car like we always do because we have to tour the island. We need to see as many beaches and try out the snorkeling at each beach. You never know what you will see from beach to beach.


Near our resort was a mountain you could walk up and overlook the Tranquility Bay area and watch the boats come in and out of the Jolly Harbor. The view was breathtaking! The water was turquoise in color and very calm for snorkeling.



Our favorite beach was at Morris Bay. It was gorgeous. You could walk forever and the snorkeling was excellent. We found starfish, sand dollars, and conch shells. The locals would sell conch shells on the beach in the mornings...the Queen conch shells were gorgeous. We were fortunate the locals were selling them to take home for souvenirs.


Below: Morris Bay photos


Every island that we have visited in the Caribbean has a unique characteristic and Antigua had a few...the gorgeous white sand beaches, conch shells, wild pigs, wild goats, and the colorful fruit stands. We also saw many women walking with young babies on their hips. No strollers, just walking, sometimes barefoot for miles.


St. John was one of the main cities on Antigua and had a large harbor. Shopping for souvenirs was also plentiful. We took a day trip to Stingray City to swim with the Stingrays. I would highly recommend the trip. It was relaxing and alot of fun! The Stingrays didn't disappoint! We swam with them and had alot of laughs! We did another boat trip from the St. John harbor to snorkel a snorkel trail. But it was a windy day, the water was very churned up and it was difficult to see anything at all and to stay close to the group. I am a good swimmer and have snorkeled many places but I didn't like that experience at all. But the positive about the trip was the cruise around the island to see the many beaches, sugar mills and to hear the history of the island.


Another awesome beach was Carlisle Bay. Wow, it was another beach for a magazine. There is a high end resort on the bay but all beaches are open to the public so we were able to walk the beach and enjoy the beauty! This was another beach with models on a photos shoot assignment! On our way back to Jolly Beach, we also stopped at Darkwood Beach. Another white sand beach and worth the visit!



A drive we enjoyed around the island was to Falmouth Harbor. The huge yachts and sailboats were amazing to see. Not a world I will ever experience in my lifetime but was interesting to see. We also drove up to Shirley Heights to overlook the English Harbor. Worth every minute of the drive to get there. The view was something out of a magazine. It was enchanting! I would go back to Antigua just for that view!






TIPS TO TRAVEL ECONOMICALLY AND GET THE MOST FOR YOUR TIME AND MONEY

I also get asked many times, "How do you travel so often and keep it affordable?" A few tips are below:

  • For me, planning and researching is part of the excitement of the trip! Visioning is so much fun!!!

  • I plan all of my own trips and research, research, research on the internet. I utilize TripAdvisor, Frommer's, and blogs from other travelers to find the information I need for my trip. I do ALOT of reading and researching. It takes patience to plan a good affordable trip!

  • I have a budget in mind for each trip and challenge myself to stay in the budget. Depending on the location, I typically start planning and booking hotels, cars, etc., approximately 9 months out. Hotel prices usually get more expensive the closer to the trip unless you are willing to do a last minute internet deal. Car rental and airline prices also go up the closer it is to your trip. Occasionally you can get a last minute deal but something else may be more expensive and you are really not saving. I like to plan!

  • For hotels, I use Booking.com, or Priceline.com. I look for hotels with good reviews, pay when you stay, and free cancellation in advance.

  • We have done all-inclusive in a couple of tropical locations years and years ago but found that we do not eat and drink enough to make it worth the extra expense. We like to go off site from the hotel and experience the local cuisine and traditions. We have not done all-inclusive in the last 15 years. However, all-inclusive is wonderful if you want to stay at the resort for all meals, not rent a car, and have the hotel shuttle you to your destinations. That has worked for us in Jamaica and it was very relaxing! But I would not drive in Jamaica so all-inclusive was the smartest option! If you enjoy all-inclusive, the earlier you book the trip the lower the price. Unless you are game and are not a planner, and are willing to travel where the last minute deal is advertised. Then you could get a great all-inclusive deal!

  • If we are flying, I use the Skyscanner app to check airfare prices and I try not to buy until about 60 to 75 days out. There are times where I will by earlier if the price is super reasonable. I usually do not book on Skyscanner. It will tell me the site that is the most affordable to purchase the tickets and if it is a more well known trust site, I go directly to the site to purchase the tickets. Many times Skyscanner will take you right to the airline website. Skyscanner will search all airlines and will sort by price, times, shortest trip, etc.

  • Have a credit card that gives you miles or hotel points. We will use points for many of our trips. We are American Advantage members and have an Advantage credit card. We try to fly American as often as we can to earn points and then use those points for future airline tickets. Our credit card is tied to our Advantage numbers and awards points as well.

  • We drive if the location is in the United States and we can drive and sightsee along the way. If we need to rent a car, we reserve online using Booking.com, Orbitz.com, or Priceline.com. They are usually the most reasonable. I watch for specials and never book a luxury vehicle! We also have a credit card with a low limit that we use for vehicle rentals that provides insurance as a credit card benefit. We always decline the insurance when we are in the United States. If we are traveling out of the United States, we check with the credit card if the insurance is valid internationally. We have found it is valid in Europe, Canada, U.S. Virgin Islands, but in other locations, we are forced to purchase the liability insurance from the rental car company.

  • While there are free maps online for most destinations, I always go onto Amazon and buy a map of my destination, especially if it is international. I do not buy maps for tropical Caribbean islands. I just get one when we arrive. But for countries like Costa Rica, Panama, Belize, England, Canada, Germany, France, etc., I always purchase a good map. As you do you research, you can use the map to highlight the places you want to visit and the sites you want to see. I have it as a reference later for putting my memories and photos into a photobook!







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