We rolled out and into our chase rental car a Toyota which was almost awesome other than the disgustingly coloured interior which was a light tan colour offset by walnut plastic effect – I don’t want to be Asiaphobic but one of those guys must have had a hand in it.
I was going to show Sanchia Antigua; a place dear to my heart almost in its touristic entirety.
Tip: Use this as a sample DIY day tour of Antigua.
A Rainy Stadium
So turning left out of the Halcyon Rex we came to Jabberwock beach and an interesting set of coastal villages. The beache(s) are ideal for kite surfing and windsurfing or enjoying a romantic evening as they are undeveloped and short and untended.
We then go past some possibly military base like towards the airport this is perhaps the least touristic part of Antigua IMO but it is part or the circuit as Antigua could be viewed as a circle. Further on you reach the curious American University of Antigua where medical students work towards becoming doctors. It’s a curious building looking quite like a palace or something official.
Beyond the new Antigua airport we continue to an even more impressive building. For January the weather was being a bit rainy seasonish and this prevented San from seeing the Sir Viv Richards Cricket Stadium in all its glory, we decided it wasn’t worth stopping and headed towards Parham the original port and capital of Antigua but a long time ago – it barely feels the size of a fishing village but it is the tonic if you have been in touristic areas for a while and want to see a real part of Antigua. It isn’t generally on the tour map which makes it even more cute. Back in the car and off to see and learn a bit about the sugar cane which shaped Antigua during darker times. The skies were dry and getting lighter such is Antigua if it rains it is never for long but I think el nino is making the dry season wetter than normal.
We found the turn off and arrived at Betty’s hope. This was a sugar cane plantation station and has been partly restored. Out of season you may find the visitor centre closed inside you should need around 30 minutes and perhaps prefer more to read up on the sugar cane and how England saw an opportunity to farm it using slaves from Africa. Some of the more harsh graphics depict ships and how they would organise slaves to fit in cramped conditions visually. The centre moves on through time and also goes into how sugar is used or the molasses to make rum and why the sugar trade started to decline through external global changes. There is a fantastic scale model of the plantation. The cost is 2ec per person which is very much worth it.
One of the mills has been restored but the sails are not left on as it is costly to have manpower there running it. I do wish that something could be made more of this place for example the Betty’s Hope water park. I feel Antigua could make great use of a water park and around this general area would be perfect leaving the historic sites untouched.
Sanchia had her first scary toilet situation arise and so we headed out to Long Beach next to find one that looked in a better state ! At some point along we saw some of the wild donkeys that roam Antigua – they ran away but Sanchia was a wiling photographer.
Long Beach and the Grand Pineapple Resort
We parked up in Long Beach after a drive of about 20 minutes more and met a nice girl working there but we were not going to stay long enough for beach toys. Mama pasta was closed but the bar right by the parking provided clean toilets and beer. We had some chat going with female shop attendants at what needs to be described as a row of colourful shops and they won in the end as they spotted something San didn’t have – a hat! We left learning that they were unhappy taxi drivers didn’t bring tourists to Long Beach they take them to places where the drivers get kick backs for bringing in the business.
They are luckier than most as they have a somewhat captive market from the resort right next door the Grand Pineapple and there are others very close by.
I think this part of Antigua is a great place to explore as a hike I want to do that one day. We had to be careful of Sanchia becoming ill again so she stayed out of the sun much more but the signs were good that she was getting to grips with Antigua. In the summer months it gets even hotter. I walked up the beach and checked the resort out a little it seemed quite busy and nice from the beach perspective. I think it must be a decent value option. We had recharged the batteries a bit and it was time to move on with the day trip..
Indian Town Point and Devils Bridge
This is an area of natural beauty and must make for an attractive hike from the local resorts. Otherwise you approach through a hard sandy chalky road to where the peninsula opens out and you can spot where the bridge is. A natural formation of rock has been worn away. Apparently the are was a settlement for native amerindians. We advise you to take great care around the bridge and absolutely you must not swim here as the waves crashing against the rocks will almost certainly kill you. If you are tempted please comment at the end of the article as I would like to ask you how you got this far in life already ! You can see some of the touristic articles for sale as some locals set up a stall.
Sanchia was taking the most amazing panoramic pictures which required a little editing and reducing in size and this spot gave us a great one.. they are of course distorted but fun ways of looking at a landscape.
I always have to cross the bridge and take great care, I couldn’t resist jumping up and down at the thinest point though to test the safety for the coming year.
I made it across safely of course and we headed now south west to a cool out of the way beach called Half Moon Bay, passing some nice picturesque spots one of which was a church. We stopped at the church and got some great photos of it and read a few of the gravestones in the cemetery which was interesting and almost tearful. we walked up the road to the previous bend where an ocean view might be possible on passing by car we had to go back to it on foot to investigate. There were no paths of course but it was a quiet road. The picture was not as great as it had promised and we started back toward the church and the car. Out of the road ahead came a massive big Lorry round the corner and we looked the other way to see the truck had room to use the other side of the road. Sods law told us we didn’t as cars were coming the truck honked the horn and we held our all inclusive tummies in as our heels protruded over the edge of the road facing the centre of the road giving all the wonder traffic as much space as we could. There was not a good ending from leaping off the road as it was a drop too far to be an option. I placed my arm in front of San in some kind of duty of care though it was obvious to her as well she should not step into the road. We looked at each other and time stood still for me as the truck thundered in front of our noses and as quickly as they had all arrived the quiet road returned to serenity. We discussed the event on returning to the car. Next stop Half Moon Bay.
Half Moon Bay
It isn’t far past the church but take it slow to get this view for a moment..
Wind down into Half Moon Bay for the next stop a destination with a few hours needed normally.
We had decided not to risk the heat with Sanchia too much and enjoyed a conversation with local sellers who had a stall where sand was used to make objects that were more unique and Antiguan. We all agreed that shirts made in China with Antigua written on them were not desirable and San supported them in buying a sandy fridge magnet. He had a cool name like stingray or something you might normally remember.
Local artisanal things for sale
We bought beers and sat on the beach Sanchia and I learned of the resort that now remains derelict on the right hand shore as the hurricane messed it up. You get more waves here than normal and it is a fun beach. As on many of the beaches there was an abundance of seaweed and this beach is natural. There are no real facilities for women to go to the toilet here apart from in the sea. There is ample parking. I suggest coming back here on a Sunday then driving and finishing the evening at the roadhouse bar sometime where you get the very best of Antiguan live music.
Continue round and south into Falmouth via Willoughby Bay and the lookout points as we did for some really good views. Sanchia was really becoming the panoramic queen.
In Falmouth Harbour we found nice toilets and coffee at the Skullduggery Cafe where you can marvel at the super yachts parked up as the crew go about their daily chores. One was abseiling down the side cleaning windows. Tarpon swim round the edges of the dock too its just a really pleasant spot.
Instead of pushing on towards Jolly Harbour via Fig Tree Drive we decided to head home as we were getting tired – you might adjust your island tour accordingly but to go the fig tree drive route in the daylight is a treat. We got back to the resort and rested up enjoying the evening meal. It was a big day in all and many attractions crossed off the list. English Harbour Jolly Harbour and more to come…stay tuned and please share this day of the trip thank you.