Since leaving high school my friend group and I have been speaking about doing a girls trip to another Caribbean island. As we settled down and got jobs it became less wishful thinking and more of a reality.
Travel within the Caribbean is ridiculously expensive so we figured as we had to pay for our tickets (USD$450+ round trip from Trinidad) we would need to skimp on accommodation. Luckily, one of our close friends had recently moved to Antigua and was open to hosting us for a couple days. And so seven of us flew into V.C. Bird International airport (recently voted one of the best in the region) for a 5 day girls trip.
Antigua was a great trip, my friend group is quite candid and close so drama was not an issue and we weren’t too uncomfortable sleeping like sardines at night. Overall, aside from the time we all mistakenly drove off and left my friend Gabrielle all alone in an empty house, the trip went well.
While unique in its own way, Antigua reminded me of St Vincent and Grenada. I know some may disagree but I do believe that the Eastern Caribbean islands share more similarities than differences – I see this in their way of life, landscape, food and even the way their towns are laid out.
Before heading to Antigua, I didn’t know much about the island and unlike most of my other trips, this wasn’t really an educational one, but I’ll share three random things I learned about the island while there:
- Antigua’s native name is Waladli. It was given this name by the first people who inhabited the island but somewhere along the line everyone started calling it Wadadli instead and while not exactly accurate, it’s commonly called Wadadli today.
- There’s a donkey sanctuary. This was a first for me but I’m sure its greatly appreciated by animal lovers. Marketed as an alternative to just another day at the beach, it’s run by the Antigua and Barbuda Humane Society and currently shelters about 150 at risk donkeys. Unfortunately(ish) we didn’t make it to the sanctuary – one of my friends really wanted to go but she was outvoted.
- There are 365 beaches – this is pretty cool. Antigua has some really pretty beaches- my favourite was definitely Turner’s Beach, the water was glorious.
If you’re heading to Antigua, Shirley Heights and Nelson’s Dockyard, Halfmoon Bay and Devil’s Bridge are some must see spots. Some of the spots/ things that my friends voted must do’s in Antigua were:
- Bread and cheese
So I’m realising more and more from my experiences, that Trinidad may be the only island that has almost perfected the ‘street food at night’ thing when it comes to variety and accessibility. Barbados wasn’t a win in this category, neither was Antigua but I will say Antigua’s ‘after party food’ was an experience. When we first got to Antigua and asked about night food they told us their claim to fame is bread and cheese.
Needless to say we were confused and not even slightly impressed. But after a night of drinks and interesting vibes at Joe’s Hideout- an outdoor club in Antigua, they took us for this bread and cheese. The interesting thing about it is it isn’t served on the street – you actually go to the bakery to get it. As most parties finish around the time that bakeries begin baking, the timing is perfect for fresh bread and buns. We caught the baker right in the middle of his preparations for the next day. We pulled up at his house and bakery and were greeted by two humongous dogs who looked like men (no joke) and escorted into the bakery itself.
We were treated to some good conversation, drinks and warm toasty bun with huge slices of Jamaican cheese in the middle – really tasty and cheap! I think most of us didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as we did and the experience made it even better! If you’re in Antigua, find a bakery and have the bread and cheese after a party. Trust me.
2. D-Boat Antigua – Ever jumped off a boat in the middle of the ocean?
I was geeping about D-Boat from the time I heard about it when we were planning the trip. I love water and amusement parks but have somehow not yet made it to Universal Studios so I’m always searching for some type of ride or slide wherever I go and D-Boat was perfect. It was my favourite part of the trip. There were unlimited drinks, water slides, food, good music, a trampoline, floaties and a rope swing all on one boat in the middle of the ocean. Don’t even think twice about it – even if you’re not a water slide /almost die/ adrenaline rush person, you can chill on the boat, the drinks and food are pretty decent and you can swim and lounge in the water. A smaller boat takes you from the mainland to D-Boat and lifejackets are provided. While it’s a bit pricey, it’s extremely worth it. TIP:There’s a significant discount for locals so if you’re friends with an Antiguan get in on the discount.
3. Sheer Rocks
Lounge, plunge pool, daybeds, beautiful view, great drinks, pass on the food. Sheer Rocks was beautiful – really nice spot for a relaxing pool day. Entry was free.
4. Mermaid Gardens
On our final day in Antigua we went on a bit of a road trip to Mermaid Gardens. Not sure how well frequented and known the Gardens are. I wish I knew some more about the history behind the name – if you do please comment below! Anyway, we parked on the side of the road and took the 10 minute trek through bush and down some rocks to Mermaid Gardens.
It was a bit rocky with a couple flat surfaces. Not the best place for swimming unless you’re a strong swimmer as the water was really rough but there were a couple natural, shallow pools you could laze in. I didn’t enjoy it too much as there was a lot of sharp coral and rocks around but it was a good liming spot.
The day was pretty peaceful until one of the guys who took us got stung by some mysterious creature while swimming and his foot decided to look a bit swollen. We figured that it was better to be safe than sorry – someone should pee on his foot. After about 30 minutes of deliberation (who should pee on his foot, how should they do it, was it 100% necessary, does it even really work?) urine was collected, the deed was done and he stopped complaining. Of course we left right after and went to a calm beach where we spent the rest of the day.
I definitely need to lah hay again over to Antigua (and Barbuda this time) in the future as there were so many things I didn’t get to do. I’d probably pass by the Donkey Sanctuary, do a round two at D-Boat, definitely go to Shirley Heights, explore the town a bit more, go see Fort James, do some snorkeling and learn a bit more about the island’s history at their museum.
Hope you enjoyed my lah hay in Wadadli!
While you’re here, Barbuda recently suffered serious damage during the passage of Hurricane Irma. Citizens are currently being evacuated to Antigua, as the island has been described as uninhabitable. If you can, please donate and help this beautiful island get back on their feet. You can donate here or here . Trinis, if you can’t donate money, more information on donating items can be found here. Every little bit counts!
Featured image courtesy: Visiting Antigua and Barbuda