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Antigua: questions about beaches

Agoura Hills...
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Antigua: questions about beaches

Already stressed out of trying to plan a Caribbean vacation: we discarded

Jamaica and decided for Antigua, but due to flight schedules (mileage plan)

we should stay 9 days instead of the original plan for 6-7 nights. We know

hotels are mostly isolated and there is not too much to do but we are fine

as long as we can enjoy the beach as we enjoy swimming, snorkeling, walking,

etc, which brings this concern:

Are the beaches clean and free of creatures such as sting rays or others?

(we've been to Aruba and beach was perfect).We are considering these hotels

for the 9 day stay:

Halcyon Cove

Cocobay Resort

Siboney Beach Club

Blue Heron

I will appreciate any comments on these beaches or the hotels themselves,

or any other information you consider may help my decision towards a great

vacation (March 1-10) or any other hotel (in this price range) you may


Many thanks


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1. Re: Antigua: questions about beaches


Good choice! Antigua's absolutely stunning and you'll have a fabulous trip. The hotels aren't all that isolated especially the 2 at Dickenson Bay - and there's loads to do as long as you get out and do it...many fall into the hotel beach trap which is far too easy to do! My recommendation is to rent a car - you'll get 100 x more out of the island (tropical rentals)

OK beaches/hotels - the beaches on Antigua are all clean and safe. I lived there for years and never came across anything nasty - I've heard a couple of jellyfish stories up at Jolly Harbour (as the water is silty) but nothing other than that.

Siboney and Halycon are both located at opposite ends of Dickenson Bay (with Sandals between them). The Halcyon has a wide sandy part right in front of it - Siboney you'd have to walk a little way down. Both nice mid range hotels - Halcyon is one of the most popular/busy all inclusives so bear that in mind. Beach is quite busy as there are lots of hotels, restaurants and apts sharing it but Runaway Bay is 2 mins away and much quieter.

Cocobay - individual huts located on a gorgeous stretch of the island. The beach there is nice enough - Ffreyes is about a 2 min walk round the corner and now has Dennis' bar on it - one of my favourite beaches on the island. Darkwood and Turners only 5 mins away by car - both stunning. Sheer (restaurant) is amazing and well worth a trip no matter where you stay. Close to Jolly Harbour (lots of restaurants, bars, a Casino, and services etc) and approx 40 mins north of English Harbour via a drive through the rainforest. St Johns approx 15-20 mins.

Blue Heron - On Turners Beach about 5 mins south of Cocobay and Jolly etc. Don't know too much about the hotel - very similar to Halcyon from what I hear. The beach is fabulous (joint favourite with Ffreyes) and again close enough to English Harbour and St Johns. Couple of really good restaurants on the beach itself (Gibsons especially) and another up towards Gibsons across the road that has great views (3 Martini).

Personally I'd opt for either of the 2 latter as I just think it's the nicest part of the island (a little biased as I used to live right up in the hills there!). Also if you like snorkelling, Cades reef is right across from Turners - you'd need to get a boat there but it's useful to know.

Enjoy your trip

Fallston, MD
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2. Re: Antigua: questions about beaches

As an aside, "TravelEdmund" .........

Welcome to TripAdvisor, "antigua-jane" ! Well put.


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3. Re: Antigua: questions about beaches

Would you please tell me how the beaches are at Galley Bay Resort?

Fallston, MD
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4. Re: Antigua: questions about beaches

For: "palmlady" ....

I think the beaches are quite nice at GB. Could possibly be a problem if one spouse wants shade and the other enjoys full sun and they want to sit quite near each other. You might ask, "salsalady" on the recent GB thread as this resort is out of TravelEd's budget range, I think.


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5. Re: Antigua: questions about beaches

Thank you.. can you tell me about Shirley Heights ? I just read in a travel magazine that this is a place not to miss... I have seen mention of it as well on here. Not clear what it really is all about...

Easy to get to from GB ? If I recall they have an evening BBQ on Sundays with live music ?

Your comments are so appreciated... coming in April.


Agoura Hills...
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6. Re: Antigua: questions about beaches

Many thanks to Antigua Jane and Terry Fallston for helping me.

We have narrowed our list to Cocobay and Siboney as others are too expensive, or not

recommended by you and other reviews.

We like all the positive reviews regarding Siboney also that it is not too far away of the city, restaurants, but I find it pricey considering their rates do not include even breakfast.

Cocobay looks very good, but we wander if it could be too isolated for a 9-day stay and it has no TV

(not that we plan to be watching TV but we are very realistic, and last year we spent 7 days at Belize while it rained nonstop, and the TV helped). It may be worth to rent a car? (we never drove on the left side of the road).

It surprises me that there are not too many pictures, not to mention videos, about

Antigua. After researching for many days I have seen just a few that keep coming up,

no pictures of St John, beaches, etc.

As we enjoy so much swimming and extended beach walking, my ultimate question is if

Dickinson Bay is better beach, and how crowded?

BTW: We have enjoyed Aruba (Marriot), Bora Bora, Moorea, and some time ago the “old”

Fiesta Americana in Cancun, all those places have spotless beaches, and there are close by

places to go, walk, etc.

Thanks again


United Kingdom
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7. Re: Antigua: questions about beaches


For photos go to the Antigua Newsgroup Forum and click on the photos link you will find lots


Have fun - Mun

Cape Elizabeth...
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for Portland, Antigua
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8. Re: Antigua: questions about beaches

I don't consider Cocobay to be particularly isolated. There are quite a few other resorts in the vicinity, and it isn't terribly far to St. Johns. There really aren't many places in Antigua (except perhaps English Harbour) where there are lots of hotels/restaurants/shops/bars within walking distance. So there isn't much within walking distance of Cocobay either, but there are quite a few things nearby.

I always recommend renting a car, even if you only do so for a few days. Antigua has a lot of diversity; different parts of the island have a whole different feel to them, and I think it's really worthwhile to check it all out. Personally I also like to have the car to visit different beaches, go out to different restaurants, etc (but to be fair, I live in a relatively isolated area of the island so that colours my view).

Antigua is more comparable to Moorea than to BoraBora....and it is of course not as spectacular (but then again, what is????). It is developed to about the same extent as Moorea. Not many non-residents really know how to find the truly isolated beaches, so you most likely won't have that type of experience that you may have had in BoraBora. That being said, Antigua's beaches nicer than the Society Islands (other than the Bora Bora motus) because Antigua has lovely powdery sand beaches, unlike the coral beaches of the Societys.

Birmingham, UK
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9. Re: Antigua: questions about beaches

My husband and I went to Cocbay for our honeymoon in June 2006 and we had the most fab time. We visited Jolly Beach and if you like commercial hotels then you would like it. Cocobay in comparison is a little patch of paradise.

The pace is slow and we loved it! The staff are fab, and you end up having a laugh with them all at the bar by the end of your holiday!

The restaurant serves lovely food - we were never disappointed!

The best thing of all was the infinity pool. I lived in it! The views were amazing. I would also advise that you upgrade your room to a seaview room - it's well worth it, and email them too before you arrive. We did and we upgraded to the best rooms in the complex!

I cant fault Cocobay - its not luxury, or commercialised but has a rustic charm that fits in well with a holiday that you hope to be chilled out and romantic.

If you do go, try and book in at Sheer which is the adjoinung restaurant - its expensive though. Another restaurant is Indigo on the Beach, this is another amazing restaurant. Carlisle Bay which is the hotel that Indigo belongs to is amazing and mega expensive.

I loved our time in Cocobay so much that I wanted to go back this year but instead we are doing a safari in Kenya. I have been searchnig for hotels with an infinity pool!

Good luck and enjoy!



Agoura Hills...
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10. Re: Antigua: questions about beaches

Thanks again to MUn,Cessnapilot, and Emma & Mark !

I just reserved for 9 days at the Jolly Beach hotel.

For all I have researched, the Jolly Beach hotel appears to be a good

balance between price/convenience, probably similar with some good

experiences I have with some no-so-new hotels like the Marriot at Aruba,

and a couple of Fiesta Americana in Mexico.

I almost went with the nice cottages at the Galleon Beach, but since they

do not offer any meal, nor TV, no pool, nor air conditioner or others

amenities I'm sure it will be better to rent a car and check all the other

places on the island to make thinks more easy for the next time.

I'll bring some nice pictures.


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