Pros: beautiful, friendly people, great food, fun place
Cons: price, a bit run down in parts
When my parents made the offer of not only going to a Caribbean island instead of -3 degree Pennsylvania weather over my spring break and taking my boyfriend with us, I didn't hesitate to say "yes" with a moronically happy grin on my face.
I had never heard much about Antigua before this trip, so I started looking up information on it. After the trip, I realized I had lots of information to share and tried to tally up important things. I looked at things such as:
- Is it an independent country or owned by another country? If independent, what should I know?
Antigua is quite independent, though Antigua and Barbuda are tied together and apparently, from what the locals said, trying to end that combination. Most of the locals are Black with Jamaica-like accents. Everyone speaks English, and payments anywhere on the island can be made in either Eastern Carribean Currency or the U.S. dollar. $100 EC is $37 US and $100 US is $270 EC. Also, if you intend to rent a car, you'll be riding on the left side of the ride while driving from a driver's seat in the right of the car. It's odd at first, but easy to get used to.
- Speaking of money, how broke is this going to make me?
Things may vary, but our flight out of Newark was $600 per person. Also, we stayed in room at Marina Bay for free since a woman that owned part of the condominium-style rentals was someone my father was friends with. She also took us to the closest grocery store, so we never needed a guide. We rented a car, and I could get back on you if you desire to know the price for that. Renting a car isn't necessary, because van-like taxis will drive you to particular places throughout the island for flat rates. It's a good deal to take one. Our grocery shopping bill was around $600, but that was for 6 people for a week and the alcohol necessary to keep us all smiling. Speaking of food and alcohol, food is incredibly expensive in Antigua. The average dine-out meal will cost you around $80. The only thing cheap there is alcohol. An enormous pina colada cost around $4.50. The same price could be paid for a medium-sized bottle of rum. We also took a ride on a party boat, the Jolly Roger. This cost $60, but it was definitely worth it. All-inclusive drinks, lunch, a great ride, a stop in a small cove where you could have people "walk the plank" or swing off a rope into the water. You could also go snorkeling if you preferred, but we stayed on the ship and swung of the ropes and walked the plank. There was music and dancing, a limbo contest, and a greatly "jolly" time.
- What are the locals like?
The Antiguan people are incredible. There would be people on the beaches trying to sell you boat rides, party boat trips, horse back rides, and so many other things. But they won't bother you if you don't want to be, and they usually don't cheat you. We met many nice people there and even made some friends. They tend to be very risky drivers though, passing on curves and the like. Be very careful if you rent a car.
- What is there to do besides lay on the beach all day?
There are bars peppered throughout the beachside in the Dickenson Bay area where we stayed. It's a nice place to relax in the shade talking with friends and locals. Also, there are tons of water activities. There are Catamaran cruises, party boats, glass bottom boats, and snorkeling trips. There are opportunities to go horseback riding on the beach (highly recommended), clubbing at Lashings, and out to each at fancy fine dining places. There is miniature golf, a barbacue at Shirley Heights (also highly recommended), and jetskiing across the waters. You can ride a banana raft behind a boat or teeter on waterskis. You could go into town (St. John's) and get duty-free jewelry and t-shirts for the poor people stuck home. The options go on forever.
If you desire to know more, just leave me a note and I'll add what you'd like to know to this opinion. Thank you for reading and I hope I piqued your interest in this wonderful island.