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If the never ending snow is getting you down and and the amount of time you’ve already spent looking for lost gloves has you fearing winter in Ontario, it may time to plan a warm and sunny getaway.
Antigua is an island in the Caribbean that offers the perfect antidotes to the Ontario winter woes:
As a travel consultant one of the perks of this job is that I get to visit some pretty spectacular places to experience them first hand so I can tell my clients.
When I visited Antigua it was love at first sight! I was blown away by the translucent waters of turquoise and azure that looks photoshopped, miles of soft white sand, and all the rum punches, daiquiris, and pina coladas you can drink. Visitors get all this and more on Antigua, 108 square miles’ worth of tropical beauty located just over a four and half hour flight from Toronto. There are 9 direct flights a week currently and starting as low as $420 per person it is certainly accessible to all of us.
The Caribbean was slammed with several hurricanes in 2017 and Antigua was narrowly avoided by the worst leaving it in perfect shape to welcome visitors searching for Caribbean sunshine and vitamin SEA!.
This is not the kind of island where you have to fight for towel space with blitzed college students. For one thing, there are 365 beaches here, which means there are plenty of places to chill for everyone. This beautiful isle specializes in laid-back luxury and honeymoon-worthy resorts, attracting travellers who like their tropical vacations to have a refined vibe.
Antigua is a land of sea and sun, and there are lots of fun ways to take full advantage of both. Spend time on the water: snorkel to see the colourful fish and inhabitants of the reefs, sail or deep sea fish. Beach time should also be high on your to-do list as it is balm for the winter-weary soul (and good for Vitamin D levels, though of course, use sunscreen!). Play in the sand, splash in the water and soak up the sunshine.
Antigua is just nine miles by 12 but feels larger, and one place not to miss is English Harbour. This was awarded World Heritage List status last year for its Georgian-era naval dockyards, and you can admire the massive stone pillars that survive from its great sail loft built in 1797. Nelson was based here and it’s a charming place to visit that combines a national park with a lively harbour reflecting Antigua’s role as the winter capital of the yachting world.Today, the Georgian buildings have been restored and some are still used for maritime purposes like sail making. Visitors can see those as well as modern-day yachts anchored in the harbour and the juxtaposition of past and present is striking. The tour and museum are well done, and also brief enough to keep kids interested.
Messing about on the water is an essential activity here, whether it’s stand-up paddle-boarding or an exhilarating day trip to feel what it’s like to be part of a crew racing a 40ft yacht.
Most resorts offer complimentary non-motorised watersports while memorable excursions include a catamaran cruise to snorkel at the beautiful Cades Reef and a trip to Stingray City Antigua to get in the water with these gracefully flapping creatures.
Inland there’s hiking and biking and zip-lining, while on Sunday afternoon everyone heads to the panoramic Shirley Heights Lookout for a barbecue with steel pan music.
This is a very sociable, family-friendly island where people will happily talk cricket all day, and are masters at showing visitors a good time.
Take full advantage of nature in Antigua. Check out Indian Town National Park which features Devil’s Bridge, a limestone arch that has been created by centuries of pounding by ocean waves; and hike through the rainforest - The vegetation will make you forget that it’s winter back home.
How to get there..
with 9 direct flights a week and many more with one short connection getting there is a breeze. I even have a free stay to giveaway. If you go to my Facebook page conciergetravelgroup and like my page then share it with your friends we will be running a Facebook competition to give away a free stay on this beautiful island.
Another great way to travel for free is to invite your friends and family. Organizing a group will always give the organizer a free space so grab your buddies and lets get your group booked to one of the many beautiful resorts and you can go free!
Where to stay
One of my favourites is the Adults only Cocos.
It really is a wonderfully romantic spot.The beautiful couples-only resort is perched on a secluded ocean bluff – meaning there are spectacular, Instagram-worthy views everywhere you turn.
The vibe of the charming, family-run hotel is very much unpretentious chic. There are 30 rustic wooden cottages in total, each with its own private veranda, large bathroom with his'n'hers sinks, and an outdoor shower. All of them are clean, comfortable and feature dark wooden floors, crisp white linens and a well-stocked fridge, but if it's a special occasion I'd recommend splashing out – and splashing around - in the signature Sunset Plunge Pool Cottage, where there's a private infinity pool…
The all-inclusive Blue Waters Resort in Soldiers Bay has just had a $2 million makeover and is set in 17 acres of tropical gardens with a spa and kids’ club, plus an 18-hole golf course five minutes away.
This beautifully-designed resort with 116 rooms and suites that feels so much more intimate. The rooms are charming and well-appointed, the pool and beach sublime and the food superb. But the best part is the feel, with an ambience that takes you back to a Caribbean that’s very hard to find nowadays.
The Verandah is a firm favourite on the island. An oasis of tranquility and amenity located on 30 beachfront acres, The Verandah is the perfect place for a romantic wedding, honeymoon or family getaway. Situated amongst a backdrop of lush green gardens, stunning tropical views and a shimmering turquoise sea, the incredible All-Inclusive blend of engaging activities, delectable cuisine and entertaining nightlife allows you the luxury to do it all, or nothing at all.
When I was there doing a tour they even had my favourite roast suckling pig at lunch!
The food and entertainment is amazing and you wont be disappointed.
for more information visit our website or Facebook page.
Enter the competition to win a free stay for two.
Lorraine is the go to Travel Professional in Niagara Region. her specialty lies mostly in luxury and group travel and as a foodie many of her personally escorted tours involve delicious food and wine.
Contact Lorraine personally to pick her brains about any travel needs you have. Call 905-401-2995
Self confessed travel addict not looking for a cure, just the next fix! As a writer, College Professor and a Luxury Travel company owner Lorraine Simpson has all manner of access to feed her travel addiction.