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Antigua v St. Lucia v. Barbados

Belfast, United...
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Antigua v St. Lucia v. Barbados

Sorry, I know these questions usually annoy the regulars- but we are trying to decide between St. Lucia, Antigua and Barbados for a week next November....!

There is no doubt that St. Lucia looks by far the most stunning but living in Ireland, I know only too well that there's a reason for all the greenery - it's called rain! We went to the British Virgin Islands in September a couple of years ago and despite loving Tortola, did get rained out quite badly... so that is something we are trying to avoid this time, especially as we'll only have a week and the sunshine will have to get us through the UK/Irish winter!

Having looked at climate charts, Antigua looks a bit drier than the other two, is that correct?

In terms of things to do, apart from relaxing we always enjoy doing a day-trip or two - are there enough places to explore (historical towns, plantation houses, nature reserves etc.) in any of the three islands?

Otherwise, we like it nice and quiet - preferrably adults only - but I know that depends on the resort we pick (and avoiding any half-term and Thanksgiving holidays, of course). Antigua seems to offer more all-inclusive options than the other two, not a must at all but it obviously does help when trying to estimate the overall cost...

Any advice would be most appreciated!

Monika

St. John's, Antigua
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1. Re: Antigua v St. Lucia v. Barbados

Just looking through this thread and wondering why this post never got any replies!

With response to the climate, I find Antigua and Barbados to receive roughly the same amount of rainfall - although Antigua does have a higher chance of storms that may bring showers, it's not much more and only an issue june-november (although if you're visiting then, its STILL a great time)

With regards to things to do:

1.The Wadadli Nature Park, which contains a wide range of animals

365antigua.com/green/WadadliAnimalNaturePark…

2. The donkey sanctuary

http://www.antiguaanimals.com/donkey/

3. Stingray City - which receives nothing short of rave reviews

http://www.stingraycityantigua.com/

Unfortunately, I will admit that we do not keep as good care of our historical buildings as we should, but along those lines, here are a few suggestions

1. Nelson's Dockyard/Shirleys Heights - One of the only working Georgian Dockyards, named after Admiral Horatio Nelson. During the day, there is a 10 US fee (i think) to tour the grounds, as well as a FREE animatronic show up the hill on the history of Antigua and Barbuda

On Sunday nights, you have the renowned Shirley Heights party, where locals and tourists come together to have fun

2. Fort Barrington/Deep Bay - A beautiful beach, with a fort located on one end that you can walk up and explore

3. The National Museum in St. John's - a restored colonial Courthouse where you can see various historical artifacts.

So yes, lots of options, and I'm sure others on the board will add their suggestions

UK/Antigua
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2. Re: Antigua v St. Lucia v. Barbados

Hi Monika, and sorry to reply a little late - I managed to miss this one completely.

I've only lived on two of the three (Antigua and Barbados) but have visited St Lucia many times, so can compare fairly well.

I freely admit I feel least safe, and least welcome on St Lucia. It's a beautiful island though, with wonderful scenery (and rain!) and there are some great smaller resorts. Sightseeing is all about the natural world, and the volcanic scenery is lush and lovely.

I find Barbados, which is 'home' to one side of my family, a little artificial now. Not all of it, of course, but it's so geared to very up-market tourism, especially on the West Coast, that it now feels more like the South of France than the Caribbean for me.

In terms of things to do, as DTG rightly says, there's more than enough on Antigua to keep any visitor happy, especially for such a short stay. There are, as you've already spotted, a large number of really excellent AI resorts (actually too many IMO), and the majority of these are adults-only. Depending on your budget, you might want to look at Galley Bay, Carlisle Bay, the Inn at English Harbour or Cocobay - without knowing what sort of budget you're looking at (in terms of stars etc) it's hard to be more precise though.

For an island that's all about the beaches (and there are some truly lovely beaches on Antigua - far more than either of the other two), there's a surprising amount of greenery to be found, especially in the southwest - and for such a dry island, we even have a little bit of 'rainforest' to explore. A stop half way up Fig Tree drive to visit the old Wallings Reservoir is well worth the effort, and there are some wonderful hikes starting from there.

There's a huge range of day trips available - I'd always recommend one on the water - even a circumnavigation - to get a real feel for the island, and there's also the option of taking a look at Montserrat, or having a day over on Barbuda - one of the last really unspoiled islands in the region.

Please feel free to ask any other questions - and I'm sure you'll get equally positive responses from posters on the other islands boards about their own favourites as well!

If it's any help, sometimes it's easier to simply find a resort you really like (regardless of the island) and take it from there - at the end of the day, especially if you're planning on going AI, that's where you're going to spend most of your time.

Belfast, United...
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3. Re: Antigua v St. Lucia v. Barbados

DTG/Mizgeorge - thank you so much for your detailed and very helpful replies (DTG, thanks also for your reply on the Barbados forum, much appreciated). I'd naturally expect posters on the various forums to be a bit biased towards "their" island but it's a great way of getting a good overview and some different opinions...!

I am really starting to like the look and sound of Antigua, especially the fact that it is quieter and less built-up than Barbados with less of a partying crowd but with still enough options for a couple of great excursions. One of the main reasons we had looked at St. Lucia was the volcanic nature of the island (it's one of my hubby's great interests) so a day-trip from Antigua to Montserrat might just do the trick in this respect! We particularly like the propensity of adults-only places, as well as the AI option (it's really not a must as we are not heavy drinkers and often skip lunch; nevertheless it's a very handy way of being able to know exactly just how much your holiday is going to cost without too many unwelcome surprises re food and drinks bills). As for our budget, we are looking at a midrange option. I really like the look of Cocobay, Cocos Hotel and possibly Hawksbill. I'd be grateful for any guidance on the pros and cons of each one!

Many thanks again,

Monika

UK/Antigua
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4. Re: Antigua v St. Lucia v. Barbados

Hi Monika,

Cocos or Cocobay would both be great options for you - I slightly prefer Cocobay, but they're close to eachother and both on the same lovely chain of west coast beaches - and look across to Montserrat, which is a great view! They're close to Jolly Harbour, which is the start point for many trips and tours, both water and land based, and in an area with lots of alternative spots for eating out if you fancy a break from the resort.

Cocobay also has (on premises but not included in AI) the lovely Sheer Rocks restaurant, which is a favourite spot, especially for their tapas brunch.

Hawksbill is a lovely little resort that often gets forgotten about. It's a bit 'older' in feel, but has gorgeous landscaped grounds and four beaches, including the island's only clothing optional one.

I think Cocobay would be perhaps the best choice on balance, but all would suit you well.

Sarnia, Canada
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5. Re: Antigua v St. Lucia v. Barbados

We went to St. Lucia in November 2011 and it rained every night and almost every day, although not all day (the sun would come right back out). That said, all three of those islands are very nice but November is the end of the hurricane season so you are likely to encounter rain whichever island you go to. But again, it rarely rains all day in the islands. Usually a 10 minute pour and then the sun comes back out.

Brampton, ON
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6. Re: Antigua v St. Lucia v. Barbados

I've been to St. Lucia and just got back from Antigua yesterday and much preferred Antigua. While St. Lucia was nice, I found the people less than welcoming (as someone else noted above) and it just did not have the same feel about it as Antigua. Beaches on Antigua were also much nicer and I couldn't get over the views and colour of the water. I already know I definitely want to return to Antigua, whereas St. Lucia I could live without.

Belfast, United...
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7. Re: Antigua v St. Lucia v. Barbados

Thank you so much again - everybody on this forum has been wonderfully helpful and I am almost swayed! (-: Might just wait until after Christmas to see if there are any special offers before booking (at the moment British Airways holidays seem to be the cheapest for a "flight and hotel" deal for Cocobay and Hawksbill). I am sure I'll be harrassing you with plenty more questions before then!

I know November is the back end of the hurricane season and we can expect some showers. (at least they'll be warm!) Just trying to avoid a scenario like last September when we spent a week on Tortola and only got two mornings of sunshine, otherwise non-stop rain (although B.V.I. was still absolutely breathtaking and we liked it much better than St. Thomas where we spent a couple of days before flying back).I suppose when you live in Ireland you get somewhat obsessed with finding a place that has a a dryish warm climate!!!

Chipping Norton...
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8. Re: Antigua v St. Lucia v. Barbados

We stayed at Cocobay for 1st 2 weeks of November this year. The first week was glorious and we had almost no rain at all. The 2nd week was more mixed - but we still had sun every day mixed with showers.

The previous year - same 2 weeks, we had showers almost every day and some tremendous thunder storms at night - but still lots of lovely hot sunshine.

Neither year was anything like a wash out. (And we definitely recommend Cocobay............ already planning our next visit!)

9. Re: Antigua v St. Lucia v. Barbados

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