SPA & GYM These are situated next door at Sugar Ridge. Please ask for their current rates at the reception
JOLLY HARBOUR This is the largest marina in the Caribbean and only a few minutes walk from Coco and Cactus. There is a pharmacy, banks, ATM’s, wide range of shops, restaurants and bars, all in a tranquil setting. Also here is one of the largest Supermarkets on the island, offering a bakery plus massive range of provisions and good wine cellar. Just along from the centre is the 18 hole Golf course, sports centre, tennis and squash courts.
DONKEY SANCTUARY A very simple establishment but captivating for children who can ‘adopt’ the donkey of their choice. A small fee will make them eligible for a certificate & photo, plus regular updates on their choice. The sanctuary caters for abandoned, injured and abused animals from all over the island and is a charity. Entry is free, it is situated near Betty’s Hope
STING-RAY CITY A rare chance to swim with Sting-rays. A high speed boat takes you out to sea onto a pontoon where you can stand or swim in the shallow water. Generally about 30 – 40 rays will come in from the Ocean so you can then both stroke, hold and feed them. A well organised professional excursion, safe for children and very recommended. Only 3 trips a day,so book in advance on 562 7297 Snorkels & life jackets supplied
ST JOHNS Overflowing with Caribbean character, here you can step back hundreds of years onto the historic cobbles or jump forward to see the latest 21st century luxury liners. There are plenty of attractive old wooden and stone buildings with others in a perilous state of disrepair. Exploring the Capital of Antigua will only take a few hours, but there are plenty of good restaurants which are worth a visit. Redcliffe quay has many restored waterfront buildings and parallel to this is Heritage Quay where the liners dock, so expect plenty of International ‘duty free’ names. It is safe to walk any of the streets, so perhaps visit the tiny National Museum or the city’s twin towered cathedral. All areas can get a bit hectic when the mega-cruise ships are in town.
RAIN FOREST The scenic Fig Tree Drive climbs right through the middle of the island so expect cooler temperatures, pineapple & banana plantations. Take courage and try the Zip wire courses through the top trees in the forest – actually safe and suitable for all ages. Alternatively use your energy on one of the many marked hiking trails where various Companies organise accompanied walks.
SHIRLEY HEIGHTS To the east of Nelsons Dockyard, Shirley Heights cover a large elevated area and has numerous ruined military buildings and forts to explore. There is also a modern visitors centre which has an audio/ visual presentation of the history of Antigua. However it is the evening gathering which a ‘must’, because of the combination of stunning panorama, Caribbean steel bands and BBQ’s – all around you as the sun goes down. Most people go on the busy Sunday event but if you prefer a less frenetic experience there is also the Thursday evening event. Alternatively go during any day and just enjoy the views, the visitor centre and restaurant
It takes about 40 minutes to get there by a very scenic drive through the rain forest
DEVILS BRIDGE Antigua is situated where the Caribbean sea meets the Atlantic and at this point there is a natural phenomenon called Devils bridge. Here the two seas crash together and have carved a natural bridge out of the limestone. As the ground is so porous when waves hit the coast, water often jets through the ground far away from the immediate coast.
Many slaves ended their lives here by jumping off the bridge into the lashing ocean, but nowadays the area offers fetching views over both the quiet cove and the two seas.
HELICOPTER TOUR These can be booked in the commercial centre at Jolly Harbour with Caribbean Helicopters ( 460 5900) and fly from near St Johns -not cheap but a great way to see Antigua. Even more exciting, try flying through the smoking volcano of Montserrat and get a birds eye view of what destruction this has done to Antgua’s adjacent Island.
NELSONS DOCKYARD During your stay, both Nelsons Dockyard and Shirley Heights are definitely the two essential trips not to miss. Nelsons is the only totally restored working Georgian Dockyard in the world. It is a delightful place to wander around, not only for the historic buildings but also for the variety of yachts which visit from all over the world. There is a small covered market, post office and plenty of cafes / restaurants, plus a small museum which is also worth a visit.
‘CATCH THE CAT’ YACHT CHARTER
This is a quality exclusive charter for just you and your group. ‘Catch the Cat’ is a superb 45ft catamaran with experienced crew who pander to your every need, including a fresh BBQ lunch with wines. Throughout the day all food and drink is complimentary. Sunbathe on the deck or the trampoline, relax in the shade, snorkel & swim off the platform and perhaps take a turn at the helm. Maximum group size is limited to 10 so there are 4 cabins each with a double bed and 4 bathroom or showers. Six or eight hour trips are available.
SCUBA and TUITION
There is a wonderful undersea world around Antigua and the waters are teaming with a huge variety of coral, colourful fish, turtles, dolphin and shark. We recommend Kriss and Wilder at the PADI accredited Antigua Scuba School in Jolly Harbour for their services. If you are a novice and need training they will assist, plus if you or your children (over 8) have never tried SCUBA they can arrange initial instruction in the pool at Cactus and then after a couple of hours when you are confident with equipment, move to the ocean for you first reef dive. A basic certification course can be done in just 2 days or a full ‘open water’ certification course can be finalised in 3-4 days – including all theory and pool sessions.
Beginner ‘Discover’ dives are great for initial exploration of the underwater world, plus you can learn the difference between different species of fish, how to snap that perfect photo and so much more. Based at Jolly Harbour (phone 771 6277) or contact email@example.com
Guests at Coco House receive a minimum of 10% discount off the normal rates from ‘Sunny Rentals’ who have an office conveniently in the Hotel next door.
Their fleet includes a well maintained range of modern vehicles comprising cars, 4×4′s, SUV’s and Minivans, plus they will arrange the necessary temporary Antiguan drivers licence which is required for visitors. They offer an efficient service and vehicles can either be bought to the house, collected from the Office or delivered to the Airport.
For more details of current availability and rates offered to Cactus’s, guests please email Iris at www.sunnyrentalsltd.com