I asked my friend, Jane, some questions about Antigua (pronounced an-TEE-guh) as a honeymoon destination. Here are her answers:
Why would you recommend Antigua as a honeymoon destination?
Antigua is a great choice for couples are looking for a tropical, romantic destination that’s truly special and unique. The island is ringed by beautiful beaches, has a rugged interior with a small rainforest and lots of fabulous places to explore. At only 108 square miles it’s easy and fun to get around. Think small boutique hotels, interesting restaurants, and funky beach bars surrounded by clear turquoise sea. If you are looking for a fun, dreamy location for your honeymoon, Antigua may be just right for you. It’s easy to get to from the US and is a creative alternative to the usual Caribbean honeymoon locales.
What are your favorite resorts/hotels on the island?
One of the things I love about Antigua is that it isn’t really Americanized and that is really evident in the resorts. You are sure to find one that fits your individual style. Here are 3 of my favs:
Looking for the classic Caribbean feel with a luxurious twist? It doesn’t get any better than Hermitage Bay. Individual cottages with private plunge pools nestled on the hillside overlook the crystal clear water of the bay. Their own organic gardens provide fresh produce for the exceptional cuisine. Quiet, serene, and beautiful – have them pack a special picnic lunch and take you by boat to a private beach for the day, enjoy a latte as the sun rises, and fall asleep listening to the sound of the tree frogs.
If your taste is modern and sleek, check out Sugar Ridge. Located on the western side of the island this hotel features panoramic views of palm lined beaches and the Caribbean Sea with St Kitts and Nevis in the distance. It also boasts fabulous restaurants and an exceptional spa and gym. The sugar shuttle – a classic open top Range Rover – takes guests to the nearby beaches. The beaches in this area are just stunning and the guests at Sugar Ridge get to sample them all. The setting is magical for sunset cocktails.
Carlisle Bay is contemporary luxury on the beach at its best. Cool vibe, European elegance, fine wines, and all on one of Antigua‘s most spectacular bays. Yoga, tennis, a private screening room, and three outstanding restaurants make Carlisle Bay special. Have a private romantic dinner on the jetty or kayak through the stunning mangroves for a once in a lifetime experience.
What's the weather like there during "wedding season" (May - September)?
It’s beautiful! Unlike Maine you can pretty much count on nice, sunny days with some tropical downpours here and there. June to September is hurricane season – while it’s unlikely a hurricane would be an issue, I’d recommend trip insurance. And, since its off season for the Caribbean it’s usually cheaper and less crowded!
How do you know so much about Antigua?
I heart the Caribbean! My husband and I have been lucky enough to visit most of the Caribbean but we kept coming back to Antigua. Our first visit was the winter of '96 after the hurricane (Luis, I think) in the fall of '95. We arrived to an island that was still devastated – houses destroyed, power lines down and things flung all over the island. But the island was still gorgeous and the beaches were wonderful. Early every morning at the resort the goats would be drinking out of the pool and the staff would be chasing them away. In the evening, cows would often be roaming across the front lawn, and an American cowboy from Oklahoma, (Big Mike, according to his belt buckle) would go round them up.
We fell in love with Antigua that trip. Among the destruction you could still see the beauty that Antigua really is. Cades Reef had major damage, but you could see new growth. My all-time favourite Caribbean afternoon ever was spent on Turners Beach that trip – the bar was really just a tent with a cooler. We sat on that beach looking at Montserrat wishing we could stay could stay forever. But, it really was the people of Antigua that were the best. They were friendly, welcoming, and warm despite all the hardships the hurricane caused. Always willing to help us explore their home.
We still tell the story of our first trip to Antigua to friends, laugh about the goats and the cows, and thank our lucky stars that we were so fortunate to have found a place so full of grace and beauty. We are now very fortunate to have a small place there, and we sneak away every chance we get. And you know what? We fall in love with it over and over again.
What are some good resources for learning more about the island?
Some of my favorite websites:
Information about the island and what’s going on:
Get out on the water and enjoy!
www.fishantigua.com – Mikie is the best for a day of deep sea fishing.
www.adventureantigua.com – great small boat charter for island circumnavigation, eco tours, and classic Caribbean sailing trips