My most recent adventure was a visit to the Caribbean and the beautiful island of Antigua. My last visit to the Caribbean was 30 years ago so I was really looking forward to this short stay. I travelled in December for 4 Nights. Our BA flight from Gatwick was smooth from check-in through to our arrival into Antigua. It‘s an eight-and-a-half-hour flight from London, so a shorter trip is far more practical than other long-haul destinations. The flight was full, our visit coincided with the Cricket Test Match! Food on-board was good, but an extra drink service would have been useful - we could head to the galley to top up though if we felt peckish ! You are given an arrival/customs form to complete on the plane - make sure you complete both sides of the form !! Antigua airport was small and a little chaotic. After disembarking we followed along the signs and headed downstairs to immigration, they will keep half of the form, keep the second part safe, you will need this for your return. The to the baggage hall comprises of just two carousels, just how an airport should be! We headed out to the car park for our minibus transfer. Roads were a little windy and narrow with a good selection of potholes!! We complain about roads here in the UK, a Caribbean driving experience is all you need to remind yourself that we are in fact fairly lucky. The transfer took about 35 minutes. We arrived at our first hotel Blue Waters for a 2-night stay. Located on the Northwest of the island it occupies its own private bay. The hotel comprises of 85 rooms, villas and suites, there are no lifts here and some of the grounds around the resort are uneven. The hotel is well laid out set in 17 acres of well-manicured grounds. Golf buggies are available to take you to and from your accommodation. We were on an all-inclusive basis. The hotel has 4 bars and lounges, and the main buffet restaurant, The Palm has a great choice, and BBQ night was superb - steak, and fish and huge prawns all cooked to order . If you wish to eat in the a la carte restaurants you just need to make your reservation at reception. The Reef - right on the beach - perfect for lunchtime salad or pizza overlooking the blue sea! For a special evening I'd recommend trying The Cove - right on the cliff top ........ amazing Lobster !!! I was lucky enough to share a 3-bedroom suite - the Cove Penthouse - colonial in style, with two colleagues. The Cove Penthouse offers guests a sea view and a huge balcony on the top floor, there are spacious bedrooms all with their own bathroom plus a lounge and fully equipped kitchen. The hotel also has three cottages you can stay in, apparently Amanda Holden is one of their regular visitors ! The suites are more contemporary and along with the standard rooms they are all sea facing. For kids, the kids club is for 5–12-year-olds. Open from Monday to Friday 9:30-4:00 pm the fully trained staff provide lots of activities to keep every mini-guest busy. For over 12's there is a games room offering table tennis/table football and board games. After our first great night sleep we headed to breakfast and enjoyed the buffet and also full menu (items all cooked to order) - just the perfect way to start the day. We took a boat trip from Blue Waters which travelled along the north coast past Jumby Bay Island and on to another small island where we stopped for around 40 minutes . Here we could snorkel ( equipment all provided ) or just swim or enjoy the opportunity to sit on the white sand with a cold beer/wine/soft drink/fizz ! The boat staff were very helpful and friendly providing lots of info about the area. There is the opportunity to snorkel and if you are really lucky you may well see turtles, stingrays and all manner of different fish ( we weren't lucky to see the turtles or stingrays - all the more reason for a return trip!) Back along the bay to the hotel. The minimum cost for a group trip is $600 - for 6 people. If you would like just a private trip the cost would be the set $600. They offer a sunset cruise with canapes and drinks for $125 pp in a group for around 1 hour 45 mins (sunset is a great time to see dolphins and other sea life. The next day we packed our bags and headed off for a Jeep Safari for the day to explore the island, our bags were transported to our next hotel for the next two nights. The Jeep Safari really is a great way to see the island from the back of an open sided jeep with the driver providing the commentary en-route. Couple of important facts..... 40mph speed limit on the island ( if you are lucky to get to this speed, remember I mentioned the potholes before!) It is legal to have 15g of cannabis per person,(over 18 years) and you can grow up to 4 plants per house hold !!! We visited Nelsons Dockyard National Park- situated in English harbour This is a UNESCO Heritage Site. All the buildings have been restored and tell the story of Nelson who lived here in 1780's. The Geogian Naval facility 'is still in use. Block House in the Southeast of the island, high above English Harbour from the 1870's, and Shirley Heights, a restored military look out, and now this is a night venue on a Sunday night, live music with the amazing views. Betty's hope was our lunch stop - a sugar plantation, with two mills fully restored with the sails. We then headed to Devils Bridge - a natural rock formation which has formed into a bridge in the limestone rock. It's on the west of the island on the Atlantic Coast with very rough seas, and then to the left is a sheltered bay on the Caribbean side. Several blow holes have formed powered by the waves shooting the water up. You should not walk on the bridge its very Slippy and not safe with the rough seas, sadly there have been fatalities here. It was now time to head through the rainforest to Carlise Bay, our next hotel in the Southwest of the island. The roads through the centre are very windy, and numerous potholes - not for the bad traveller in the back of a jeep!! Beautiful scenery all the way. Carlise Bay is a different style hotel and has a much more tropical feel due to its location on the edge of the Rainforest. The reception is open plan and has lots of plants and palms as you walk through to the rooms along the beach front. The horseshoe bay here is much longer and wider than the previous hotel. Just 87 suites at this hotel on an all-inclusive basis. All rooms have a balcony or terrace with a day bed for relaxing. There is a diverse choice of restaurants here, and sports facilities for everyone. All included. The lead in Garden suites is 72sq meters and are set back from the beach so no full sea view here. Worth upgrading to the Ocean suites - the same size, split level and a view of the ocean ! Again kids are well catered for here too. The hotel has a speedboat for hire - and we enjoyed a sunset boat ride along the coast, with drinks and canapes en route to see the sunset, a lovely way to end the day. You can enjoy this either as part of a group or private hire - payable locally. We enjoyed dinner at East - a fusion of Japanese/Chinese food all cooked fresh to order and absolutely beautiful. Our Zip wire adventure was only 15 minutes from the hotel. We were kitted out with helmets, gloves and the all-important harness ! Some of us were a little nervous but it was an experience I will not forget, whizzing over the trees and rivers in the rain forest, so be brave and if you head to Antigua it's on the must do list ! If you would like a visit to Antigua, it's an island with so much to offer, the people are so friendly both in the hotels and out and about. Its an island I would return to and maybe take the husband next time !! If you'd like to know more about #Antigua #Bluewaters #CarlisleBay for any sort of holiday request from families to getting hitched in paradise please do get in touch

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