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Where Luxury and Adventure Meet: Our Trip to Antigua & Barbuda

Updated: 6 days ago

Embarking on a dream getaway to Antigua, our expectations were high. As you may know, myself and Alex have slightly different ideas of what makes the perfect vacay-- I want to explore, adventure, and do the most, and he wants to relax on the beach, drink and eat. What can we say? Opposites attract.


Thankfully, the reality surpassed our imagination, and offered plenty of amazing experiences for us both! Picture sprawling beaches, cultural vibrance, friendly locals and adventures galore, all capped by a

luxurious stay at Sandals Grande Antigua. This idyllic resort, nestled on the most beautiful beach, served as our perfect home base as we set out tp explore the island. Our adventures took us beyond the confines of comfort, leading us on an island tour that unveiled Antigua's vibrant heart and soul.


But the adventure didn't stop there; we took to the sea, hopping on a ferry to the pristine shores of Barbuda. Fun fact: you can do both islands in one trip--double the fun! The journey to Antigua's sister isle was as mesmerizing as the destination itself. We were so spellbound by the beauty and tranquility of Barbuda, and how striking a difference there was between the two islands.


This trip was not just a vacation; it was an exploration of paradise, a tale of two islands that offered us memories to cherish for a lifetime. Here are the highlights!



Our Stay: Sandals Grande Antigua

Sandals never disappoints, and this time was no different-- Sandals Grande Antigua is a little slice of heaven on Earth! This breathtaking resort, right on the stunning shores of Dickenson Bay, gave us awe-inspiring views of turquoise waters and silky sand. These gorgeous beaches practically begged us to kick off our shoes and run wild.


As we dove headfirst into the all-inclusive luxury of Sandals Grande Antigua, we found ourselves super impressed with their on-site dining options.The resort has a group of stunning restaurants with a culinary lineup that could make any foodie weak in the knees. We found in flavors from around the world at Sandals, and let's just say our taste buds are still thanking us for the experience. Oh, and the spa? Total bliss. We melted into relaxed puddles as we enjoyed heavenly massages and treatments that transported us straight to cloud nine.


Dreamy Resort: Hermitage Bay

We have the motto: “we go so you know”. It's our commitment to you: we try just about anything and everything so that we can personally attest to the best of the best in any location.


Since no vacation of ours is complete without checking out the top resorts in the area, we decided to head to Hammock Bay Resort, and this quickly became an unforgettable visit. Among the island's top accommodations, Hammock Bay is a secluded paradise nestled on the west coast of Antigua. Tucked away from all the hustle and bustle, this place had us feeling like we stumbled upon a secret oasis!


The serene beauty of the private beach treats guests to a unique blend of natural beauty and understated luxury. The resort boasts individual cottages with private decks overlooking the waters, perfect for those who prefer privacy and seclusion. Hermitage Bay focuses on providing an intimate experience, with farm-to-table dining and a serene garden spa that embraces the surrounding landscape.It was a slice of paradise where time seemed to stand still, and we relished every moment.


Among the other resorts we visited were Royalton, Verandah, Cocobay and Galley Bay. 





The Sunset Party at Shirley Heights 




When the sun goes down on Antigua, prepare for an unforgettable evening like no other with The Sunset Party at Shirley Heights. This legendary celebration has been a must-attend weekly event on the island for over 30 years. Nestled high up, offering panoramic views of both English and Falmouth Harbours, Shirley Heights comes alive every Sunday evening with the pulsating rhythms of live Caribbean music – from calypso to reggae – even if you can't dance, you won't be able to resist trying! Pair this with the jaw-dropping sunset and the lively, vibrant energy of locals and other tourists, and this party quickly becomes a memory you'll cherish forever. Savor local delicacies from barbeque stalls, and let the island's famous rum punch add a sweet note to your evening. The Shirley Heights Sunset Party isn't just a party; it's an experience blending beautiful sceneries, vibrant culture, delicious food, and spirited music into one truly unique night of fun.



Barbuda


Alex and I embarked on a thrilling adventure with the Barbuda Ferry & Tour Package. Leaving the shores of Antigua, we found ourselves heading towards its sister isle, Barbuda, a gem that sits nearly untouched in the Caribbean.


Our unforgettable journey started from the bustling St. John's Harbour. We could already feel the excitement in the air as we cast off, and we became more and more ready to uncover the unique experiences awaiting us on the island.



Natural Beauty and Exploration

One of our first "wow" moments came when we were introduced to the largest Frigatebird Colony outside the Galapagos. Fascinatingly different from anything we had seen before, the drumming sound of the Frigate Birds echoed in our ears, their feathers flapping. To our delight, we even spotted some turtles bobbing in the waters around! This is a must-see for birdwatchers and animal lovers!


Departing from the sanctuary, we found ourselves staring out at miles of pristine white and pink sand beaches. The calm, serene environment left us breathless. Note that seeing the pink color in the sand is seasonal and dependent on sea conditions, so we felt very lucky to witness it!




Our adventure continued onto the rugged East Coast, where we eagerly explored the open caves of the Two Foot Bay National Park. Amid the wild beauty of Barbuda, the park offered us an edgy, raw side of nature that we could not get enough of.


Right after our encounter with nature’s finest, we treated our taste buds to a mouth-watering catered lunch at the newly built Hillside View Bar & Grill at Two Foot Bay. We savored the fresh Barbudan lobster, sizzling in a garlic-lemon sauce. We had to inform them ahead of our meal preferences,. but thankfully we made the right choice, and the food was fantastic! We bet anything you choose won't disappoint.


We wrapped up our day with some warm water snorkeling at Coral Group Bay. Submerging ourselves into the clear blue waters was magical. Do take note that you need to bring your own snorkels! As we met the vibrant fish and other creatures of the underwater world, we truly felt the spirit of adventure that surrounds these sister islands.




A Meaningful Encounter

When we embarked on our Barbuda adventure, we didn’t anticipate it turning into the deep cultural experience that it became. As we made our way to the wild East Coast, our guide commanded our attention. A weathered yet joyful old man, who had lived his whole life on the island, navigated the unpaved roads expertly. His stories of the land, his life, and his survival – including hiding out in the very caves of Two Foot Bay National Park during hurricanes – gripped us.


Through his narrative, the road blocks formed by aimlessly wandering sheep and goats were no longer just delays – they were charming sides to Barbuda that echoed the easygoing and idyllic lifestyle on the island. Each interruption was humorously addressed by our guide, making the journey less of a tour and more of a leisurely ride through his backyard.


By midday, our stomachs were growling. It was time for lunch, and we were lucky to have our guide recommend the culinary skills of a local by the roadside. It wasn’t your typical restaurant setting, but sometimes, the best food doesn’t come from flashy eateries. Our meals, whipped up using local ingredients and traditional cooking methods, were nothing short of phenomenal. The tangy, distinctly Caribbean flavours were heavenly-- and we were so grateful to discover this hidden gem.


Our day tour turned into a meaningful insight into the life on Barbuda, seeing the island through the eyes of a man who had called it home all his life. It was no longer just about the frigate birds, the pristine pink sand beaches, or even the thrilling caving experience; it was about the testament of human spirit against nature's wrath, roadblocked smiles of farm animals, and the flavourful Caribbean food from a humble local kitchen that added depth to our journey.


If you're thinking about making the trip to Barbuda while in Antigua - we say, enthusiastically, go for it! The journey sets off early in the morning, and although there are some rustic roads and paths, that raw, authentic charm is exactly what makes Barbuda such a must-visit destination. So, go ahead, book that spot on the Barbuda Ferry & Tour Package, and you might just find that Barbuda's magic will captivate you as much as it did us!




Sandals Antigua: Tropical Paradise



As your trusted travel advisors, we want to share with you just what makes Sandals Antigua such a special place to stay. It was truly the perfect home base for our trip, and we highly recommend taking a visit. Here are the highlights:


  • Beaches Galore: Can we just say exquisite? Sandals Antigua is nestled between 365 breathtaking beaches, one for each day of the year! You'll find yourself mesmerized by the deep blue Caribbean Sea and the sunsets that look like a painting in the sky.

  • Lavish Accommodations: Luxury takes on a whole new meaning with the accommodations at Sandals Antigua. Each suite is meticulously designed with modern amenities and the Caribbean aesthetic. From swim-up suites to cliff-top villas with private pools, comfort and luxury go hand in hand.

  • Indulgent Dining Experiences: At Sandals Antigua, every meal is an opportunity to travel the world with your tastebuds! The resort boasts 11 gourmet restaurants, each representing a unique corner of the world. From the fiery spices of the Caribbean to a Parisian patisserie - the culinary journey is truly divine.

  • Exciting (and Relaxing!) Activities: This is Chelax Adventures. Of course, our stories wouldn't be complete without some adrenaline rushes! Water sports, scuba diving, beach volleyball, you name it - there's no end to the fun you can have at Sandals Antigua. And for those serene moments? The Red Lane Spa has your relaxation covered.

  • Eco-Friendly Practices: Besides luxury, Sandals Antigua values sustainability. It's heartening to know that your fantastic vacation is not at the expense of the environment. The resort practices water conservation, waste reduction, and energy efficiency for a guilt-free stay.



All in all, our trip to Antigua and Barbuda was nothing short of amazing. Between beautiful beaches, unique natural experiences, a sunset soiree to remember, the genuine connections we made and the culture we experienced, this trip will always hold a special place in mine and Alex's hearts.


Travel is the best way to relax, discover, and grow, and Sandals Antigua is the perfect destination to do it all. Pack your bags, leave the planning to Chelax Adventures and get ready to make some unforgettable memories.


See ya soon, adventurers!






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