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1st Timers to Antigua/ Jolly Harbour a good base?

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posts: 152
reviews: 3
1st Timers to Antigua/ Jolly Harbour a good base?

Hello! We are 2 couples in our 50's looking to go to Antigua. Have options of staying at Jolly Beach all inclusive or renting a condo nearby...?in one of the fingers of the harbour. Mid price range, do not need lavish accomdations. Just confused as to if while renting the condo we would have beach and pool access at Jolly Beach and how far away is it really. I imagine renting a golf cart would be a good idea, maybe a car also. Would like to see the island, go out on a catamaran, snorkel, beach bar hop and relax on the beach and by a pool. Is Jolly Harbour the beast beach area to make a home base? Thank you!!!!

Destination Expert
for St. John's, Antigua
posts: 4,238
reviews: 69
1. Re: 1st Timers to Antigua/ Jolly Harbour a good base?

Jolly Harbour's an excellent base, and a fantastic choice for the money. All villa guests have full access to two beaches. South beach is part of the main Jolly Beach and has Castaways beach bar, as well as watersports and vendors area. North beach is on the other side of the harbour entrance and is quieter, and great for shelling, but has no facilities as such. There's then the large main pool which is near the commercial area (along with tennis courts and squash court). There's a nice bar and restaurant (the Crow's Nest) right at the pool.

I'd say all areas are walkable from South Finger, but at least a golf cart is needed for North Finger (for shopping etc). That said, a cart is a great idea for days you're staying on the complex.

Car rental is an excellent way to see the island at your own pace, and discover some of the many gorgeous beaches and places to eat. It's not a big island, and is easy to tour by yourself, and whilst not everyone gets on with the local maps, there's always someone around to ask for directions if you get lost (which is huge fun in itself!).

Jolly is the main starting point for most of the water based tours, both the big cats and Adventure Antigua tours, as well as for private charters and fishing trips.

Take a look at www.typicallytropicalvillas.com for a good range of very nicely maintained villas. Not all, especially some of the timeshare exchanges, are as well looked after as they should be, and not all are as well managed.

Just shout if you need any more info.

posts: 197
reviews: 3
2. Re: 1st Timers to Antigua/ Jolly Harbour a good base?

If you decide to rent a condo, there is a very nice grocery store on premise at Jolly Harbour to stock up at though converting your curency to EC$ makes things much easier...just my 2 bits.

Guelph, Canada
posts: 1,534
reviews: 2
3. Re: 1st Timers to Antigua/ Jolly Harbour a good base?

I would recommend renting a condo. You will get much better accommodation and eat much better than you will at an AI.

Cary, North Carolina
posts: 7
reviews: 11
4. Re: 1st Timers to Antigua/ Jolly Harbour a good base?

We skipped an all inclusive option because we didn't want to limit ourselves everyday. There are some great beach bar/restaurants right down the road from Jolly Harbour-- nice beachside dining at night and fun places to enjoy the beach during the day. Would advise to beach hop for sure. We rented a car and drove to the Atlantic side of the island--Half Moon bay was beautiful and the walk around the sea wall is a must! We stayed at Sugar Ridge, but with the B&B option. Packed a cooler each day at the grocery store at JH with ice and beer and headed out. Valley Church Bay is a great beach and has the Nest beach dining. The beach at Gibsons is a great choice too-- their bar is fabulous and a great place to hang out on the beach and watch the sunset. They provide nice beach chairs and some tables.Dinner there was romantic and delicious!

Would surely advise to rent a car-- we got one at Carters which is right by the airport-- they picked us up and drove us to their facility.Driving isn't as difficult as you would think and it gives you freedom to come and go on your own schedule. The maps are not very accurate at all-- we agree that asking for directions can be very interesting and fun. Everyone was very helpful.

We traveled all over on just a few gallons of gas , didn't have to tip a taxi driver and could stop at our leisure. The Bolans area of Antigua is a great choice from what we saw on our travels. Enjoy!

posts: 152
reviews: 3
5. Re: 1st Timers to Antigua/ Jolly Harbour a good base?

Thank you all so much!!!!

6. Re: 1st Timers to Antigua/ Jolly Harbour a good base?

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