Antigua reminds me of a beautiful woman who is having a quiet night in, and you are fortunate enough to meet her for the first time. There is something about her, no doubt, but it is an understated beauty. Hey, need I remind you this is the Caribbean, so the island is bound to impress right? That being said, Antigua has 365 beaches which is the most in the Caribbean, and one for every day of the year as the locals are fond of saying. This Caribbean pearl is a regular stomping ground for the rich and famous for very good reason. When you first lay eyes on the beaches of Antigua it all comes into focus, as this stunning island is the most beautiful beach destination I've ever had the privilege to visit. Antigua, my honey, you are a total knockout!
The journal left off in Saint Martin, after an excellent visit to the gorgeous little island. I had to rouse myself early to prepare for an 8:00am departure on Liat for the thirty minute flight across to Antigua. Things did not seem so organised at the airport, and the money changer was closed, but I finally got my
act together with some East Caribbean dollars for the taxi ride to Fitches Creek, a quiet residential area only ten minutes drive from the airport. I've chosen to use AirBnB again, as Antigua is know as an exclusive resort island, and I was keen to keep the costs at a reasonable level. I was greeted by my lovely host Cheryl on arrival, and on this occasion I had a semi detached house over two levels to myself, with everything needed to live comfortably including the huge luxury of a washing machine. AirBnB is an excellent option for accommodation, and I would strongly recommend you give it a try, particularly when it comes to the more expensive destinations.
Similarly to Saint Martin, I chose a short three day stay in Antigua to try to keep costs down. Cheryl put me in touch with a great taxi driver Tyrone, and he became my constant companion for the duration of my stay. He is a bit of an institution on the island, and used to play cricket with the legendary Viv Richards when they were young boys. During my first full day Tyrone drove me around the capital St John's, and it
was great to get a feel for the city in the presence of a local who proved to be great company. He also took me to a hilltop for views of the city including the port where Caribbean cruise ships drop off their passengers for a short visit to the island. I enjoyed strolling and driving around St John's, the city has a nice energy but didn't seem overwhelming at all. We went to a supermarket and I sorted myself out for some supplies overnight, before embarking on a tour of the island the next day.
And what a magnificent day the full tour turned out to be. It was one of the most unforgettable days of my life. I raved about cricket with my man Tyrone, and he told me the various Caribbean Islands that famous Windies cricketers through the decades came from. He was also very knowledgeable about the islands in general, and I learnt so much in the company of this gracious man. He also packed in the sights, starting off with a visit to the beautiful Dickenson Bay beach on a glorious sunny day.
The colour of the sand and the sea
is like nothing I've ever seen! What an absolute knockout the beaches of Antigua are. After snapping away like a madman at Dickenson Bay beach Tyrone drove me back to St John's and we visited the famous Antigua Recreation Ground, where Brian Lara broke two test world records with scores of 375 and then 400 not out. Recently the Chinese have funded and built a magnificent new arena to replace the ageing Recreation Ground, the Sir Viv Richards stadium just a short drive from the capital. Again I was able to walk inside and take photos unimpeded, and I made sure to grab a few snaps of the magnificent statue of Sir Viv in the main entrance, raising his bat nonchalantly after carving out another domineering century. The great man took on and dominated all comers during the famous era of West Indies cricket, and it's a real honour to be in his home country.
Then we drove down to the south coast and the magnificent Jolly beach, with stops along the way at several spectacular viewpoints. By golly, I felt jolly when I saw the stunning blue water and brilliant white sand of the beach. There are no
filters required in this tropical paradise, you just point and click your camera for photos that truly take the breath away. On a clear day the beaches of Antigua are unsurpassed, and Tyrone regaled me with stories of meeting rich and famous vacationers, or even people choosing to buy houses to spend part of the year in Antigua. These include Eric Clapton, who has a magnificent cliff top house on the jagged coast of English Harbour. This was our final destination for the day, and there's plenty to keep visitors occupied in this gorgeous part of the island. The views of the ocean from the top of the cliff are off the charts, and the harbour itself is gorgeous.
There was a festival scheduled to take place that evening with reggae and steel bands performing, but in a very isolated location. I was already buzzing from the beauty of the beaches, and was more than happy to call it a day and head back into town with Tyrone. The beauty of the Caribbean is due partly to the compact size of the islands, so in the right hands it's possible to book a driver for a day (or even
less) and get to see most of the major attractions and beaches that are on offer. It makes travelling around the island an absolute breeze, and the pain of long commutes seems a distant memory here in the West Indies. I didn't really know what to expect before visiting Antigua, but the beaches and the friendly locals have just blown me away. Come to think of it, basically all of you should be here now!
"Man, it don't matter when you come in to bat, the score is still zero." Viv Richards
As I continue my travels, until next time it's signing off for now
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