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jackiehammond Feb 20th, 2006 02:31 PM

T&C, Anguilla, or Antigua
First let me thank everyone who has helped me in my quest to find an island getaway vacation for my 30th birthday. It looks like, with your help, I have narrowed it down to these islands and hotels:

T&C - Coral Gardens
Anguilla - Cap Juluca
Antigua - Sandals??? very unsure about accommodations in Antigua

I ruled out other locations either because of distance (I'm travelling from Arizona), or because these islands seemed to appeal to me more.

I haven't decided because the Coral Gardens Resort rooms don't look very luxurious (no bathtub?), and the island doesn't seem to be all that green. However, the beach and shallow water/snorkeling look AMAZING at T&C.

I am looking for very shallow water, calm water for snorkeling, private, luxurious accommodations, tropical, preferably a beach front bungalow/hut (single unit...I wanted to recreate Bora Bora, which isn't going to happen). :)

Budget - I didn't want to spend more than $500 or so a night, for three or four nights, so about $2000 on accommodations including taxes). Opinions? I need to jump on booking soon, since I was planning on going in June. Also, any recommendations for a day trip to island hop once I decide on which island?

Thanks so much! :)

mymoosie Feb 20th, 2006 04:53 PM

I would not put the Sandals in Antigua in the same category as Coral Gardens or Cap Juluca. While the beach in front is nice, there is no snorkeling in front of it. Also, there is a lot of construction going on at Sandals at the moment as they are expanding, so depending on when you go, this may be a factor. If you want to go to Antigua there are many other places that would be better than Sandals.

T&C is not a lush, green island. It's more of a dry, flat island. But the snorkeling is indeed amazing. =)



jackiehammond Feb 20th, 2006 05:02 PM

Hi Kris,

Thanks for your response. I didn't realize that about Sandals. From what I am looking for, what resort/hotel would you recommend in Antigua? Also, any better resorts than Coral Gardens in T&C with amazing snorkeling? It seems like Coral Gardens doesn't have a bathtub in the room...a must for me. :)

robwi Feb 20th, 2006 06:06 PM

Our family just stayed at the Jolly Beach resort in Antigua 12/24/2005-jan 2, 2006. Antigua has mountains and lush greenery. Nelson's Dockyards and Shirley Heights are impressive historical sites, converted into shops and restaurants. The Jolly had a wide and very,very long sandy beach. There are about 8 Hobie Cats available for sailing. The rooms were large and clean. Our only complaint was that there was not a bar on the beach, (They were all set back a distance.) At the southern end of this beach was a small resort called Coco's which consisted of cabins built into the cliff with outdoor showers etc. It looked very cool. Around the corner was Cocobay, also in the cliffs, which is bigger and gets good reviews. Antigua is fairly easy to get to. We recommend taking the Wadadli Catamaran around the Island. it stops for snorkling, and serves lunch. You see the dramatic Atlantic side of the Island (and Eric Clapton's establishments). At the Jolly Resort, the local music was excellent with no rap/hiphop. A majority of the tourists are from Great Britain and Ireland. We enjoyed our stay. Its a beautiful place.

jackiehammond Feb 20th, 2006 06:13 PM

Thanks for the info, robwi! It certainly is a good deal. I appreciate your recommendations. :)

mymoosie Feb 20th, 2006 06:34 PM

Maybe try the Turks and Caicos Club? It's right down the beach from Coral Gardens so it would be easy to go snorkeling. That's the only one that I can think of that is close to Coral Gardens.

Not sure of which resorts would be good in Antigua. Each time we've gone there we rented a beach studio.

Good luck with your search!


virginia Feb 20th, 2006 06:53 PM

there is a map you could look at go to their FAQ page and scroll down to map of provo. it's a fairly up-to-date map showing newer resorts.

jackiehammond Feb 20th, 2006 07:28 PM

hi kris,

thanks for the info on t&c club. i have seen that resort online before, so i'll look into it more.

hi virginia,

i believe you have helped me out in the past with my quest. :)i saved that link to my favorites. do you know how shallow the water is there at grace bay? taylor bay and sapodilla bay seem to have very shallow water. i guess i am looking for a location like coral gardens (shallow water, right in front of the reef) with more luxurious i dreaming this up? :)

mymoosie Feb 20th, 2006 08:13 PM

To give you a bit of a perspective on that map, we stayed at Aquamarine Beach Houses and walked to CG one time. It took us about 10 to 12 minutes, lumbering along in the sand, in the hot sun, carrying our snorkel gears, etc. Not fun for me. Something to think about. Of course you could always drive to CG, but it's so much easier to just be able to walk a few steps, snorkel, get tired, go back to the room to chill, go back out.


jackiehammond Feb 20th, 2006 08:15 PM

just found out that coral gardens has a tub in the ocean grand suite and ocean penthouse suite...i figure i can always drive on over to taylor bay and sapodilla bay for more shallow water, right? $500/night doesn't seem too bad for a one bedroom ocean grand suite with a tub. maybe it's the decor that looks less luxurious. im leaning toward coral gardens again. :)

jackiehammond Feb 20th, 2006 08:17 PM


good point about the walk. i'd definitely rather snorkel and then chill a few steps away in my room.

blamona Feb 21st, 2006 05:12 AM

Of the 3, Antigua is the lushest. It's very hilly. It has pretty beaches, but the beaches are not in the same league as Anguilla's or T&C's. (Provo) Sandals is also not in the same league as Anguilla or Provo. Food not as good either. You need a car to get around to the different beaches. Antigua also gets cruise ships. You can go over to Barbuda from Antigua, check out the Beach House there. I don't know about snorkeling there though.

Cap Jaluca is spectacular. It looks like Morroccan looking 2 story buildings on a gorgeous beach. Anguilla has the best restaurants in the Caribbean. You do need a car to get around, as everything is scattered around the island. No shopping at all, but you can island hop to St. Martin and St. Barts, for shopping and completely different experience. St. Martin and St. Barts are hilly and more lush looking. (But not lush in the same feeling as Bora Bora.) Not very good snorkeling in that grouping. Anguilla is the hardest to get too. It may require an overnight in Puerto Rico, or fly into St. Martin and ferry over.

Provo has the prettiest water. It's a very dry arid looking island, very flat. Grace Bay beach is extremely long, (miles!) Great snorkeling, some of the best in the Caribbean. From the beach, great snorkeling reef in front of Coral Gardens. Provo looks completely different from Bora Bora, and you might not believe this, but the water is actually prettier than Bora Bora. Bora Bora has spectacular scenery, but Provo's water is so turqouise, it glows. Provo has some gorgeous deserted cays to explore, with small limestone cliffs.

It's hard to find a Bora Bora in the Caribbean, it has a COMPLETELY different feel and look to it. you may want to look into St. John. Pretty scenery, gorgeous beaches, great snorkeling. It's more colorful than Bora Bora, but also more crowded.

If you want to make a decision based on the water, I would pick Provo. (T&C)

caribfan Feb 21st, 2006 05:20 AM

I would choose Cap Juluca. It is romantic and spectacular. They only drawback is I don't think the marine life, is what you are looking for in snorkeling, but the water is calm and beautiful.
I've never been to Provo and would like to try it. Through my research, I would look into the Palms, Point Grace or Grace Bay Club. They are in your price range, if you travel between April thru December. Coral Gardens doesn't look like it compares to Cap Juluca.

jackiehammond Feb 21st, 2006 06:59 AM

hi blamona,

you have helped me on previous threads, and thank you so much for your input. i can definitely take antigua out of the picture. hopping over to st. john's may be an have intrigued my in t&c...prettier than bora bora? i have to check it out bc it sounds lovely!!!

hi caribfan,

i agree with you about the accommodations just from looking at cap juluca. there is a luxury factor there, that i do not see at coral gardens.

thank you both so much for your input!!! :)

blamona Feb 21st, 2006 08:38 AM

jackiehammond: The WATER is prettier than Bora Bora. Bora Bora's overall scenery is spectacular. TC is scrubby and dry looking, not much to look at other than the beach.

Cap is a lot more luxurious than Coral Gardens. Having said that, I would still be comfortable there.

Point Grace, Grace Bay Club would be steps up if you find a special, but even if you walked down Coral Gardens to snorkel, it would be some work. Turks and Caicos Club is a little more upscale than CG, and it's the next property over. Sometimes they may have specials, but their regular rates are above your budget. (PS I like Grace Bay Club and Point Grace more anyway)

Becca Feb 21st, 2006 11:32 AM

Last May was my 30th birthday, and so as not to sink into a deep funk, I did what you are doing and headed for the Caribbean. My husband and I went for 9 nights, spending 4 nights on Anguilla (including my birthday) and 5 nights on St. Barts. We have been to many islands in the Caribbean, and this was by far our favorite vacation. In fact, despite it being my 30th, it was the best birthday I've ever had. We stayed at Cap Juluca in Anguilla, and all I can say is WOW! The resort, our room, the beach, the service, etc. were all amazing. I spent my birthday lounging on that Cap Juluca's wonderful beach, followed by a horseback ride at sunset, and dinner at Blanchard's restaurant. It was fabulous. I was so sad to leave Anguilla after only 4 nights but then we found another gem in St. Barts. We are doing this whole Anguilla/St. Barts vacation over again this August. Please let me know if you have any questions. You also might want to read my trip report from the vacation for more details (just click on my name and scroll until you see the report).

jackiehammond Feb 21st, 2006 03:34 PM

hi blamona,

thanks for the additional info. i didn't realize the distance between the properties, and that was what i was looking for. if a property isn't right next to the reef by coral gardens, luxurious, AND in my budget, i don't think it would work for me. i guess in a perect situation, coral gardens would be more upscale. four seasons would be nice. :)

hi becca!

so, i'm not the only one to escape for her 30th. :) glad to hear you did the same. how did you like the snorkeling on anguilla? i looked for your trip report, but was unable to pull it up. can you post a link to it here? i'd love to read it. i'm finding it hard for other islands to compare to the shallow water in provo.

caribfan Feb 22nd, 2006 07:27 AM

Question for Becca:

How did you get from Anguilla to St. Barth's? I heard there used to be a boat you could take, but now only inter-island flights, which are a pain. I spent my 30th in Anguilla at Cap as well. I'm thinking of going back for my honeymoon and doing St. Barths too.

caribfan Feb 22nd, 2006 07:31 AM

One more thing, have a fabulous 30th Birthday wherever you end up!!

Becca Feb 22nd, 2006 11:54 AM

Jackie: I can't figure out how to cut and paste my trip report, but click on my highlighted name "Becca" and then scroll down to #23 of my postings (maybe #24 after this posting) - it's entitled "Caribbean Islands: Trip Report - Anguilla/St. Barts - May, 2005." Unfortunately, my husband and I never snorkeled in Anguilla, so I can't speak to that, but the water was very shallow and so clear.

Caribfan: We flew directly from Anguilla to St. Barts on Winair. There were no stops, so it was very easy and only took about 15 minutes. You definitely should look into an Anguilla/St. Barts split. The two islands are very different, but they are both so fabulous. I waver on which island is my favorite - it's like comparing apples and oranges.

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