Guana trip report

Jun 29th, 2003, 10:56 AM
  #1  
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Guana trip report

Just got back from a honeymoon on Guana and it was all perfectly lovely. We flew on LIAT from Antigua, and due to a mechanical delay we were about 1.5 hours late. (Despite the late departure and arrival on LIAT, they handled the mechanical failure professionally and expediently.) Transfer from Beef Island to the Guana dock was quick and easy, and we were pleasantly surprised to learn that Bridget (one of the managers) had held lunch for us. After depositing our things in the cottage, Anegada (with the best breezes of any of the cottages, but with a sligtly impeded view by the vegetation) we went down to White Bay beach to read and nap in the late afternoon sun.
The beach house is set up with a full bar to make your own drinks--top shelf liquors and a regrigerator full of juices, sodas, bottled water, wine, and beer. (Lemonade and iced tea were complimentary for some reason. I didn't remember that from my previous visit.) Anyway, after having spent too much time in my life standing around waiting for drinks, or asking a bartender to make his umpteenth pina colada in one afternoon, I loved the set up. I could mix a rum punch or any blender drink to my exact liking--and I could do it as often or as infrequently as I wanted without infringing on anybody else's time.

Meals at Guana are pretty good. Buffet breakfast with additional cooked special every morning. They bake their own breads there, so the loaves and muffins are nicely dense while their croissants are prefectly light and flaky. Lunch is also buffet, usually one meat with several salad and vegetable offerings, followed by dessert.
Dinner is a more formal 3 course set meal, but they always offer an alternative to the nightly entree. Food tended to be light and simply prepared. When there were sauces they generally weren't heavy, and you could always request them on the side. Good food, sometimes great food, but it never reached the level of exquisite.

Our cottage was quite spacious--bedroom with separate sitting room, etc. Two ceiling fans combined with the trade winds made the bedroom sufficiently cool enough for me to sleep with a light blanket. Shower pressure was amazing--far better than what I am used to at home, even, and with almost instant hot water. Crabtree & Evelyn toiletries, if that's of any interest to any of you...

Hiking was plentiful, but as we were pretty tired from having planned our wedding and entertaining our guests, we stuck to the easy trails. (I also only had walking sandals, rather than hiking boots, with me.) We saw tons of lizards but only one sizeable iguana--about4 feet in length. The road leading from beach to the cottages was very steep. I slipped twice on it walking down to the beach, so we always took advantage of riding back up at the end of the day.

The beach was lovely and the reefs just offshore were pretty good. However, two days while we were there, the water and wind were so high as to make snorkeling very difficult. The rest of the time it was very calm and almost mirror-like on the water's surface. One day we opted for a castaway picnic on a deserted beach reached only by boat--we loved this and it was one of our highlights of the trip. We were dropped off with a large picnic basket, stocked cooler, two chairs and two umbrellas. Very romantic!

There were about 10 other guests while we were there, many of whom were also honeymooning, and we discovered that mingling with them during the cocktail hour and then at dinner gave us more pleasure than mingling with guests on any other vacation. Like-minded folks, I suppose. The youngest people were a young couple from Britain in their early 20s, and the oldest were a couple from Louisiana in about their 50s. Most of us were affiliated with the field of education--either as professors or as students pursuing advanced degrees--so we had many lively discussions.

The only possible negative thing I can have to say about Guana sounds preposterous. The island only accommodates 30 people, and most of the time you never see them during the day. But at mealtimes the common areas felt a little, well, crowded. If more than the 12 guests present had been there, I think the common areas in the clubhouse would have felt a bit close. Like I said, it sounds preposterous. But I was glad that I was there in low season and not high. Other than that, it was a perfectly perfect vacation. I'd be glad to answer any direct questions you might have...
ejcrowe is offline  
Jun 30th, 2003, 04:03 AM
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Nice review! Was my daughter Corinne and husband Max there during your visit? She is in Education too!
ScubaMom is offline  
Jun 30th, 2003, 06:52 PM
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Yes, Corinne and Max arrived on our second full day at Guana and they were a delight to talk to. in fact, I was hoping to hear more about her dissertation and the issue of caring from the students' perspective, but with all of the lively conversation going on, we were unable to chat about that. As I'm originally from the south but have recently moved to Massachusetts, it felt positively neighborly meeting her!
ejcrowe is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2003, 09:39 AM
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Where exactly is Guana? How expensive is it? Did you fly from the USA or elswhere? Sounds like a wonderful place and you had a great time!!!

Thanks
Mims
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Jul 3rd, 2003, 12:18 PM
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Mims: Guana is part of the British Virgin Islands. We flew into Tortola from Antigua, which is where we got married. From the states you'd have to connect through San Juan or possibly St. Thomas. Tortola (Beef Island, actually) airport is small and only accommodates small aircraft. At the airport a rep met us and put us on a 3-minute taxi ride to the dock, where the resort's boat met us, and we then made our final leg of the journey--10 minutes long. The rack rate for Guana is pretty high--$650 a night for two people in the offseason--but it includes all meals, wines with dinner, the usual suspects of water sports, etc. We were able to get a good deal through an online auction, as did a few of the other couples who were there at the same time we were.

We love Guana--even though it's not a Four Seasons type of place, for us it represents a deeper luxury, a luxury of of time, relaxation, slower pace, and seclusion. I've never seen a place where Nature has been so little intruded upon, or that was more self sufficient. They grow all of their own produce, purify their own water source, generate their own electricity, etc. Most of the island is a nature preseve with tons of animals--mostly of the bird and lizard variety. I really can't say enough good things about Guana, and for the person who wants to slow their pace and enjoy a place where privacy and relaxation are priorities, but where they don't need to be waited on hand and foot, it can't be beat.
ejcrowe is offline  
Jul 18th, 2003, 09:24 AM
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I've been to PSV a couple times and love it. I've always guessed that Guana was similar. I'd love to read a comparison of the two. Are bugs more a problem at Guana than at PSV? I know I'd miss the dogs, but how else do they differ? Guana may be a bit easier to get to and that counts for something. Are there small sailboats available at Guana? I'm tossing out a few specifics, but I'm interested in the whole experience.
SteveL is offline  
Jul 18th, 2003, 09:46 AM
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Ejcrowe, congratulations on your wedding! I have seen many helpful posts here at fodors. Again, best wishes.
andreaac is offline  
Jul 18th, 2003, 04:43 PM
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I call Guana Island the PSV of the BVI, although they don't have flags! I've written reviews of both at www.scubamom.com/caribbean/

Both are private island resort, both have private cottages and lots of beaches. We love them both.
ScubaMom is offline  

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