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Family of 8 looking for activities in Antigua- please help!

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posts: 54
reviews: 12
Family of 8 looking for activities in Antigua- please help!

We are all very excited for our July trip to Antigua-

I have relied on tripadvisor for many, many vacations and have found the info to be MOST valuable- so thank you SO much for answering our questions!!

8 of us are staying at St. James Club-

2 of us are 40 year old party timers (us) w/ 2 kids aged 8 and 14

2 set of grandparents- aged 64-70 (varied interests)

I know that I have a ton of questions here, so please respond to your area of expertise- I'd hate to exhaust anyone! but we are SOOO curious! We want to experience the whole island and decide upon a future retirement destination... or not...We hope to get a good feeling for Antigua during our 1 week stay, so any and all info is helpful to us- we are not millionaires that can afford multiple trips- even though we LovE to travel!

we are interested in:

*the best snorkeling trip to see great fish-we've read there is good snorkeling at the resort and then read otherwise- where? thanks! also 1 boat trip out- which one- local people- probably w/only 1 Grandpa

*shopping for Grammie's- where and how to get there? not super fancy stuff

* best island tour? We would love to see what Antigua has to offer early on in our trip, so we can revisit what we loved

* 4-wheelers? we've done this every where else- haven't heard of it in Antigua- any info?

* we've heard St. James Club doesn't have much night-time entertainment.. are people just missing it or should we head out at night? we like a few drinks w/ a little entertainment- nothing major

* 2 SERIOUS deep-sea fishermen in the crowd (have boat- fish often) should we book from St. James club boat or find locals?? where? help!~

*casino question- Grandpa #1 loves casinos- I've seen photos of St. James Club casino, but can't find info- where is it? when open? worth it or go elsewhere?

*Shirley Heights- looks like everyone was bored in the Sun. party night photos- is it a must-do Sun. or just a good view to do anytime?

*Rainforest?? really? is there one? photos look like forest- should we go? what will we see? zip line through rain forest or woods?

*definitely not last on the list- Church? I saw the photos of the cathedral- wow! which is the best to see- must-see? any masses close to St. James that we may hit? when? where?

* can I keep thinking?? sorry! and thanks!! the best info is from those who know!! Lucky yOU!

THANKS FOR READING AND responding! Kellie and Family in PA

posts: 519
reviews: 6
1. Re: Family of 8 looking for activities in Antigua- please help!

I can help on some of your questions, so here goes:

posts: 519
reviews: 6
2. Re: Family of 8 looking for activities in Antigua- please help!

Sorry, hit the wrong key and lost everything!

Re: snorkelling - Antigua is not the greatest snorkelling destination. You can snorkel off the beach at St James Club, and go out into the Atlantic- side bay. I have seen some great squid and a few other fish there. There are trips you can take to snorkelling destinations, but don't expect anything really fantastic.

What are Grammies?

What do you mean by 4-wheelers?

There isn't much night-time entertainment at St James Club. A band or a solo player, maybe. The area that everything happens locally is Falmouth/English Harbour, which you can reach in 10 minutes in a car, but I believe most things are closed in July. However, people do sit around in the bar, the lobby and the terrace having a few drinks and chatting. In my opinion, the management is missing out by not keeping the poolside bar open in the evenings, as it is a lovely setting. The main bar, in the reception area, is air-con and ghastly!

The casino at St James closed a few years ago.

In my opinion, Shirley Heights is the best entertainment you will ever get if you get into the party spirit. The steel band is the best I have heard anywhere, and the view is fantastic. The barbecue is good, and the rum punches are great. For us, it is a not to be missed occasion every year!

There are plenty of churches in the southern end of the island near St James which you can reach easily by car. You will pass plenty of them on your way from the airport, but I don't know if many of them hold Masses. The hotel will be able to help you on that when you arrive.

As an aside, to us the place is paradise - we love the island, the resort, the people - everything. I hope you do too!

posts: 54
reviews: 12
3. Re: Family of 8 looking for activities in Antigua- please help!

Hi- thanks!

Grammies= grandmothers

4-wheelers= ATVs, quads, like motorcycles but 4 wheels

how about cab rides? reasonable to catch a cab for all we want to do or should we rent a car?

Highland Village...
posts: 185
reviews: 6
4. Re: Family of 8 looking for activities in Antigua- please help!

Two great snorkeling trips that we have taken are Eli's Eco Tour and Wadadli Cats circumnavigation of the entire island. On the Eco Tour you make a short stop at an island for a little bit of hiking to the top of a small hill to see the birds and views -- not difficult but anyone who doesn't want to go can stay at the boat. You also go through mangroves and hear a little about the ecology of the island. There's also a snorkeling stop. Wadadli Cats goes all the way around the island, you can see all the beaches and resorts and natural wonders (Devil's Bridge, Pillars of Hercules) and there's also snorkeling stops. Both were great experiences. I think the Eco Tour was a little bit shorter in length. You might also want to take a trip to Nelson's Dockyard, very historic and there's an interesting short hike to the remains of a fort. You can also walk around and see all the interesting boats there. Not a long excursion, we only spent an hour there but there are several nice beaches nearby so you can combine that excursion with a trip to the beach -- however, if you go on Wadadli Cats they take you through Nelson's by water so you might not feel the need to visit it again. Have fun, we love Antigua!

Guelph, Canada
posts: 1,397
reviews: 2
5. Re: Family of 8 looking for activities in Antigua- please help!

Shopping: St. John's is the capital and has the most shopping. It's on the west side of the island, though, so not very close to St. James. There might be a tour from St. James or you could take a cab or rent a car.

Ziplining: Not in a South American style rainforest but still fun. Back and forth across a lovely tropical ravine. Our teenagers loved it. Might be very hot in July - we were there in December.

4 wheelers: I'm not aware of any excursions of this type in Antigua.

posts: 54
reviews: 12
6. Re: Family of 8 looking for activities in Antigua- please help!

Thanks so much- we love to check everything out while we are there- your ideas are now marked on my to-do list- thanks so much for replying, much appreciated- Kellie

posts: 54
reviews: 12
7. Re: Family of 8 looking for activities in Antigua- please help!

thanks for the info! I thought the photos of the "rain forest" looked a bit "temperate foresty" but hey- who cares! I am having a hard time finding info about 4-wheeler excursions, so I bet you are right, there may not be any- maybe we should move there and open one!! thanks again- Kellie

posts: 54
reviews: 12
8. Re: Family of 8 looking for activities in Antigua- please help!

Thank you so much for the detailed info- I apologize for taking so long to do so, life got a bit crazy there for a spell- but I am not back on track thinking of tropical vacations- so thanks again!!

We booked for July with extended family- it is so hard to plan activities for all, when no one else in the group really goes on the computer- I keep telling them what they are missing, but they like to leave it up to me- all of your information has been copied and pasted into my Antigua itinerary- if you think of anything else to add, I would love to hear from you again- my apologies again for delayed thanks. Kellie

Houston, Texas
posts: 129
reviews: 28
9. Re: Family of 8 looking for activities in Antigua- please help!

Highly recommend you try the Antigua Rainforest Canopy Zip Line tour on Fig Tree Drive... friendly and professional staff and a lot of fun for your family. Also consider taking a Caribbean Helicopter tour of the island or the volcano on nearby Montserrat.

posts: 54
reviews: 12
10. Re: Family of 8 looking for activities in Antigua- please help!

We are also interested in a night out near St. John's- any great dinner recommendations?