Friday, June 5, 2009

Our trip to Antigua

The small but nice pool in the middle of the gardens at the Siboney Beach club, they also had a lovely hammock which scored big points with me.

When we got the invite to John's friend's wedding in Antigua, we figured that since they sent out the invites so late that they were just courtesy invites and that they really didn't want people to come out. But we were determined to foil their plan and actually make it to Antigua. And when I priced out the trip staying at the Sandals resort they had chosen the total came up to be just under $4000. FOUR THOUSAND dollars for a one week trip! It was just a little bit pricey. I mean yes, Sandals is all-inclusive, which means all the food and the drinks are included in the price. But what if you are like me and don't drink very much? And what if you want to spend some time out sightseeing around the island? A day here or there would definitely mean that you were getting screwed out of a bunch of money. Plus, from what I gather Sandals is exactly the same which ever country you travel in, so why even leave the country? They could have had a very similar vacation in Vegas and it would have been loads cheaper, and more friends and family would have been able to come. But I digress. It's their wedding and they should have what they want. Which they did. I was a little shocked to learn that including John and I, there were only three couples able to attend their wedding. Talk about intimate, but it was fun nonetheless.

Having said all that about the Sandals, I have to say that when we did visit with the day pass for the wedding the grounds and everything were lovely, the main pool was huge. Not having to worry about paying or tipping the bartenders and being able to grab food whenever was pretty nice. Although the food that was easily available was just pizza, and wraps and such. The nicer restaurants required reservations. And overall we got much better food outside of the resort.

Where we stayed was a shack compared to the empire that is Sandals. We stayed at the Siboney Beach Club, and the gardens are spectacular. We were surrounded by all types of wildlife from exotic and colorful birds (doves, warblers, humming birds) to intricately colored lizards that had red lips (I call them lipstick lizards), to crabs on the small rocky jetty near our beach. The environment was a live and definitely the main attraction. Our room...wasn't so great. It was very spacious, with a bedroom, a bathroom, a kitchenette and a living room. But our room was infested with mosquitoes, especially the first night where we must have killed about 20 mosquitoes between the two of us. The longer we stayed and kept the windows and doors shut, the better the mosquito situation became. But we also had ants, I know we are on a tropical island, but it was very difficult to keep any food items safe from the ants. Even when we stayed in the middle of the amazon we didn't have this much trouble with bugs. I suspect it was because our room was the cheapest and thus on the ground floor. But I don't think it's too much to ask to have a relatively bug free room...for the most part the rooms were very tidy. But I felt like the floor was always a bit dirty with sand and other debris. Siboney would do itself and it's customers a service with a good vacuum.

But overall, the staff was friendly and it was very convenient that the coconut grove restaurant was part of our hotel. If I had to do it over again I would definitely rent a car, even if they drive on the left. It's worth it to be able to access the more local restaurants and awesome beaches.

We had a great time and we had some great seafood at Papa Zouk's and delectable Roti at the Roti King in St. John's. We also had fun snorkeling on our own at Pigeon Beach. The sister island, Barbuda was a little bit of a disappointment, there are plenty of other beaches to see that are much easier to get to. All in all a trip to Antigua is definitely recommended, just don't forget your mosquito repellent and sunblock!

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