Month: July 2013
Swimming Instructor, Pupil or Dad ? It can be really hard to learn to swim and I had real nerves the night before (I am Dad !). Summer the pupil has been really clingy and I am happy to battle through the tears and there were lots today. I think it can be hard for the instructors when they (the pupil) really are doing anything but listening to you and just crying out wriggling and asking for mummy or daddy – I think there was plenty of wriggling and I would like to know on a scale of 1-10 where Summer rated in difficult-ness compared to others..I didn’t ask.
A half hour later (after the first lesson of a set of 5) and pupil was doing fine and progress has been made. A bit of coughing and spluttering as she started to learn that water was not just a fun layer (I have never let her just sink (on purpose)) today she felt the plunge a bit and then a bit of fear. This was good for her and after we had a normal ‘carry swim’ and I tried to apply some of the techniques and make sure that she ‘got back on the horse’.
Graham from swallings was instructor visit their website – there is a great video for the kind of thing they do. Zoe was very patient with all of my questions as a concerned dad.
Later than evening on Jolly beach Summer seems to have lost any fear she might have had and was trying to blow bubbles. If she is being quiet she is sneaking the saltwater in small doses – she doesn’t get any added on purpose in her diet of course.
After the 5th morning as we started at 8 summer swam with the aid of a woggle under her arms and was learning to grab the side of the pool and ‘spiderman’ along. She also jumped in with help and had started to learn to get used to being on her back. Being on the back is especially weird of course. I think I learned how to train her but its impossible with mum who is simply too scared to apply the same techniques as Graham and this is why swimming lessons are needed really. We would continue with them after Summer got a bit of a break as it was an intensive course after all. We wanted her to enjoy the water again which she was doing. I think a weekly session would be good now. The only issue is cost for us as Antigua is very expensive to live longer than a couple of weeks.
I had a great session kayaking in Antigua today – lots of Jelly’s and interesting events – I blogged on CD here so please read about it there
Take your own Kayak Tour in Antigua Jelly Free !
This viator run tour lasts around six hour and you get to ride out across some of the antigua countryside on the way to the kayak and snorkel adventure. It’s ideal for families and loners or romantic couples alike.
There is a boat ride to the famous Bird Island where the snorkeling and kayaking is based, you will also have a lunch there. So in this tour you get to see a lot and burn off some of those calories. You will probably make new friends too and you never know what the underwater world will show you.
I have to say that both islands feel very different. The first thing you notice is that getting around St Lucia takes a lot longer especially for example the transfer from the airport. So bad is the 2 hour winding trek by minivan I am not looking to visit soon. I think it really hits the islands repeat business. However its not the end of the story. Many will tell you that after this St Lucia is better in almost all respects. I disagree with that apart from there may be a bunch more diverse tours to do as simply the size and topography of St Lucia offers a greater variety of tours. One example is the mountain biking in St Lucia which isn’t available in Antigua.
Antigua has the best beaches, however both islands have great examples you are always closer to a great beach in Antigua. It truly is Antigua’s best asset.
Short transfers no matter where you are on the island.
Stunningly beautiful island but may be bested at times by the magnificence and scale of St Lucia.
All the tours you could need.
It’s size is in fact a Pro for the tourist so consider that this is only an issue for those spending a longer period here.
The jump up in Shirley Heights isn’t as good as in Gros Islet (St Lucia Jump up)
St Lucia Pros
Great range of tours.
St Lucia Cons
The transfer is gruelling. And post that any tour that is often away from the Rodney bay area will require again a hellish trip – but its not so bad really just the transfer is bad as its after the flight and immigration of you like.
We would really like to hear from YOU if you have visited both islands and get your view – please do comment here if you have. We hope this comparison between St Lucia and Antigua has been a good helpful one in your decision making on which Caribbean island to pick!
We are return visitors here (which tells you a lot) and are like many fed up to be told the lack of whatever it is is due to low levels of occupancy. I have made friends with a lot of staff members who do work hard to please. Let down by a poor infrastructure of service (poor selection of drinks due to low stocks) each day being told we expect it tomorrow.
Its a very poor show and this is a very different hotel than we found last year. We won’t be coming back but equally I would recommend as there is none better except the pricy Sandals – another class. It’s improvements are welcome but the lack of day entertainment child care and activities on offer is frankly ridiculous. Its easy to fix stuff with re-employing key staff that have been cut back or lost for whatever reason. When informing management no changes transpire and you just know it is largely ignored. They really do bank on the beach but right now I can’t recommend it as I would like to. The tennis courts were not very accommodating either is it a part of the resort or not ? This resort is actually owned by the Antiguan government and leased by the rex resorts group and then it starts to make more sense why anything is never really developed. Even things like brown water in the bathtub really shouldn’t happen though I know this is not all the rooms and can be fixed.
Bad Points (all can be fixed)
Odd evenings of entertainment (though it is claimed to be daily) Warri pier closed – the restaurant which is far better than the other interior restaurant that is ok but nothing really special.
Beach – excellent and very close to the rooms good facilities beach bar and BBQ nice
Small distances to walk, Staff very friendly and attentive.
I spent a few hours visiting the beach at Fort James and Millers bar and restaurant here. There is some good hiking to be had along the beach and back via the road. I took some photos along the way which will follow shortly. They have a few restaurants being built right close to the fort and the fort itself has a very nice place to get refreshment. I would love to see them spend some of the tourist tax on regenerating the area. It is in need of it however in its current state is quite charming, however could be really excellent and generating good island money.
You can make your own way up to Shirley Heights or do a tour from about 55 USD per person. Doing it by yourself you can save money as the entry fee is 20 ECD per person over 12. However consider that if you are needing to take a cab then ask for the cab fare and then the shirley heights tour found here can be the cheaper way depending where you are living. The views down into English Harbour and Galleon Beach made me think how it could have been during Nelsons reign over the area.
There is a BBQ steel band music stalls and a massive garden with excellent trails for exploring the area and getting some nice photographs. I didn’t think it was toddler friendly in the limited shade aspect and cover so a rain pour could be ruinous for the evening though that is unlikely.
If it’s a nice sunny day then you might be forced to sit out on the grass in the sun so bring shade for your group. It gets busy but is still a great evening. Dancing and a sunset to remember this is one of the must do things in Antigua.
If you have been to the Jump up in Gros Islet in St Lucia or sunday school in Tobago then this is similar but in a very different setting.
On a side note after seeing how good Galleon beach looks it isn’t as good as Pigeon beach in a few areas but is still very good on its own merits. Pigeon beach is just too good for me though Galleon beach is quieter just has less amenities, though the snorkeling is better here.
Other resources – the official site
Along the scenic route (fig tree drive) up you will start to feel the excitement build as this is one of most exciting tours in Antigua. Zipling ! Save money by booking direct instead of through the cruise ship and we include transport. Please contact us.
Click here for more info on this tour on the trip advisor page- Ziplining in Antigua Tour. See more at Antigua Zip Line.
Indian Town Point is an are of national parkland on the eastern side of Antigua. It is home to its more commonly know attraction which is called Devil’s Bridge Seen here..
- Devils Bridge – it doesn’t look like it but is above the water line about 4 feet and here the wave has come in. Rumour has it that it is where many slaves came and threw themselves off rather than face their daily existence any more. It certainly would be hard to survive a swim here so don’t get too close.
- Attractions in the area here are Long Bay a nice beach with a few resorts close by – The Verandah and Pineapple Grand Resort are a couple of them and one eatery that you shouldn’t miss mamas pasta house. In blue it sits middle of the beach – is very clean and well run. It offers local style food and pasta too and the price is great.
- Make sure to take a local Antigua Tour Guide for a better more factual history of the area. We had our inexperienced navigator showing us the way.
- Map of the immediate Area
You might find some local sellers working the area and expect it to be quite touristic like in season which is not to say that the area is bad and for example a local hike would offer some fantastic photo opportunities and bracing air. I will come back and hike it when I have more time and am on my own one day perhaps.
Mamas Pasta Restaurant at Long Bay
Beautiful surroundings and lovely gardens offer some great photographic opportunities.
Antigua really has some amazing cacti. ‘Le monde entier est une Cactus..’
If you do rent a car then a suggested itinerary are these two attractions the long bay beach and Indian Town Point, this makes for a good half day which is enough in this heat. Long bay beach is a lovely fine sanded affair with very gentle water – so don’t assume all east coast beaches are rough. It does get busy with locals on the week end though so remember that.