Going to Antigua was a last minute decision. I didn’t even have time to think about it. I suddenly had time off from work so I figured why not go some place warm. Antigua was on my top list and was lucky to find a really good deal at a very short notice.
The challenge was booking our flights. With just 2 weeks before our travel dates, airfares already skyrocketed. Direct flights out of New York were already more than a thousand dollars so we opted to fly out of Newark(NJ) which was a couple hundred less. It was still a lot but we didn’t have much choice at that point. Bear in mind though that getting to Newark from Queens can be a lot challenging. A taxi from Queens to Newark Airport is at least $100 including tolls and tips. There are of course more affordable options like the Airtrain that you can catch from Penn Station for $12 or the airport express buses which are like $22 roundtrip.
I originally booked a non-stop flight with American Airlines which somehow got cancelled the day before because of some crew issues whatever that means. So, they rebooked us on a connecting flight to Puerto Rico going there and Miami coming back. It was frustrating but we didn’t have much of a choice. The flight to Puerto Rico was about 4 hours and Puerto Rico to Antigua was an hour. We touched down in Antigua around midnight and didn’t get to our hotel until 1 am. We were starving by the time we got to our hotel. I did call them the day before and informed them of our ETA so when we walked into our room there was food and a bottle of rum waiting for us. We saved the rum but devoured the food.
We stayed at Verandah Resort and Spa which was amazing. We had one of the bugalows overlooking the ocean and the view from our room was spectacular. The resort’s landscaping was beautiful and it was awesome to see hummingbirds just flying around. The property is huge so they drive you around in an electric buggy wherever you want to go within the property. They also have a huge pool but we never used it. We preferred hanging out at the beach. Devil’s bridge is only a short walk from the hotel so we took a hike there one day and was treated with breathtaking views of the ocean and the waves crashing on rocky cliffs. It was a great place to have a little picnic and enjoy the view.
We booked an eco tour with Extreme Circumnav Antigua which was one of the highlights of our trip. We went on this 45 ft. speed boat and circled the island of Antigua. They take you right into the Atlantic so the ride was fast and bumpy but we trusted our captain so it was all good. We stopped at a few secluded beaches of which my favorite was the beautiful and stunning Rendezvous Bay. It looked like paradise. This beach is hard to get to by land because there aren’t any roads that lead to it so it’s almost always deserted and it’s a must see in Antigua if you ask me. The best way to get there is by boat. We also went swimming with very friendly stingrays at Stingray City which was an awesome experience. My gopro camera really came in handy for that one. Snorkeling was also part of the tour. It was rough because you’re in the open sea but they take you to Pillars of Hercules which is a limestone formation and a great wonder in itself. Apparently, it was nominated to become the 8th wonder of the world. We didn’t see a lot fish there but at least we got a close look of the pillars. Another nice place to see is Nelson’s Dockyard. It’s a marina with a lot of historic buildings and interesting shops and restaurants. You can have lunch in one of the restaurants by the water and watch the ships/yachts of all sizes come by or spend an afternoon just walking around the area. You can also buy your souvenirs here if you want.
Last but not least, you can’t miss Antigua’s biggest fish fry every Sunday at Shirley Heights Lookout. Shirley Heights is the biggest and the most popular fish fry in Antigua. This is where most of the tourists come and mix with the locals to party. They have local bands playing, souvenir stalls, barbecue and fish fry of course. We went there late afternoon and watched the sunset. The view from the top is beautiful. It gets pretty crowded at night when everyone in town shows up so use your discretion. We left right before it got crazy but we really had a great time.