Escape to Antigua: fast flight, cute cottage, sailboats and steel drums

Last week I left this…    to go to THIS! relaxing on Long Bay Antiguasnowy Patrick, RFTD mascot And it was so easy!


A nonstop flight on American Airlines out of JFK was less than 4 hours and cost only $268 roundtrip!  I was on Antigua by lunch.


On this tiny 14-mile wide island, I had my pick of lodging.  Although the Copper & Lumber Store Hotel at the 18th century Nelson Dockyard was sorely tempting, and the exclusive Jumby Bay and private Hermitage were top contenders,  I chose the solitude of private cottages up on Dutchman’s Bay for my island escape.

The humble title of these self-catering cottages belies their fine teak floors, their perfectly maintained porch and garden, and their well-appointed kitchen where we mixed killer Spiced Rum & Tonics, my favorite sailing drink – and a morning island coffee which I savored in complete bliss before the sea.

And best of all, the turquoise waters lapped so close to my bed that I could almost dip my fingers into the salty water from my pillow!

Austrian kite boarders travel far for the winds of Antigua!Antigua, an outside island, gets strong winds on the eastern side.  This brought kite boarders from Austria who entertained us each day.  (check out my GoPro video in the next blog for their leaps and flips!)


international yachts in Antigua's Nelson DockyardAs one of the most northern islands, Antigua was the first reached by sailors from Great Britain in the 1700s and Nelson’s Dockyard still today attracts yachts from all over the globe.

To enjoy some sailing ourselves, I hired skipper Daniel, and his 14m sailboat, the Voilactus.

me and the skipper on Antiguaour sailing yacht in Antigua, Voilactus








sitting on the rail in the sail on Antiguahike to the hilltops above Deep bay AntiguaWe sailed out of Jolly Harbor and down to Deep Bay for a swim and hike.  At times I sat on the rail, my feet dangling in the surf, as it was pushed ever closer to the water by the 20 knot winds, .   Other times, I took the helm and tried to resurrect my rusty sailing skills, beating into the wind and seeking that loft that the perfect angle of sails and wind can bring to a sailboat.

Then we rounded 5 Rocks and headed north to motor around the mammoth cruise ships docked at St Johns.

port of Jolly Harbor, Antigua
local scenes Antiguasnorkeling Long Bay Antigua The island is easy to explore with good signage (“think left, stay left”, I kept telling myself)  We passed typical Caribbean homes, winding down into tiny waterfront villages.   On protected Long Bay, we stopped for a quick snorkel and lunch.


sunset on Antiguasteel drum orchestra at Shirley Point, AntiguaAt sunset, we headed for Shirley Heights for the weekly steel drum orchestra.  It was the best $10 I spent for an 18 piece ensemble and a romantic view, overlooking the illuminated masts of English Harbor, below.

So for a $268 flight, a $150/night cottage, a $145 car rental, and a $290 sailboat charter, I had a killer island escape.

Wanna go?

Melanie Tucker and her design service at Rare Finds can create a one-of-a-kind getaway, for either a few days or a few weeks.  Contact her today and get away!

yoga under the palm trees of Antigua
yoga under the palm trees of Antigua

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