Antigua, St Kitts & Nevis

Sue Kirkham on 28 October 2015
I was very lucky to be part of an educational visit to Antigua, St Kitts & Nevis in December 2014, organised by the respective tourist boards. We flew with British Airways and we were unexpectedly upgraded to club class which really got our trip of to a great start! After an 8 hour flight we had landed on the beautiful Caribbean island of Antigua.

The purpose of our trip was to discover what different islands have to offer, view hotels and meet managers and resort staff. This first hand knowledge is invaluable and is so useful when helping clients to make their own holiday choices.

ANTIGUA is surprisingly unspoilt with swaying palm trees and turquoise seas and boasts 365 beaches, one for each day of the year! The roads are quiet which makes hiring a car to explore a good idea, plus they drive on the left which is helpful.

During our time in Antigua we visited many stunning hotels including.... Curtain Bluff...Galley Bay...Verandah Resort.....St James Club.....Carlisle Bay.....Nonsuch Bay Resort

Antigua offers many interesting excursions including a visit to picturesque English Harbour with its many restaurants and yachts. Shirley Heights has fantastic views over the harbour and its here that they host a Sunday night BBQ with dancing which is not to be missed!

If you are looking for something a little different why not try swimming with stingrays! A colleague and I took a boat trip a couple of miles offshore to where the stingrays gather to meet the boats. We joined them in the water which was initially a little scary as they are very large and quite strong creatures! We were able to hand feed them and they seemed to enjoy interacting with their visitors - a really interesting experience!

ST KITTS From Antigua it was a short 20 minute flight to St Kitts which is an island of outstanding natural beauty, very lush and green. There is a train which runs around the whole island which takes in all the sights and takes approximately 2 hours. There are lots of historical sights on the island including Brimstone Hill which is quite high up and affords stunning views of the island. Another interesting place to visit is the batik centre where you can learn about the craft and watch the batik process as well as purchasing these beautiful items from the local people.

Whilst on St Kitts we visited Ottleys Plantation which is full of old world charm. Set in the foothills it has wonderful views of the ocean and beautiful gardens full of exotic plants and birds.

NEVIS was our next stop, only a short ferry ride away from St Kitts, but can also be reached by speedboat, making it possible to visit as a day trip. Docking in the picturesque harbour of Charleston we had amazing views of Mount Nevis which is a dormant volcano and we somehow felt we had stepped back in time. Nevis is very unspoilt and the type of place to go if you are looking for complete relaxation. There are even hot springs on the island where you can go to rejuvenate. Whilst on Nevis we stayed at Nisbet Plantation which was full of character with beautiful lawns leading down to the ocean. A lovely touch was afternoon tea on the lawn by day and Caribbean cocktails in the homely bar at night.

It would definitely be worth considering a visit to these islands during our summer when prices can be greatly reduced and the weather still good. It is worth remembering too that if you prefer calmer waters it is best to stay on the Caribbean side of these islands as the waters are rougher on the Atlantic side. We found the locals to be very warm and friendly and proud of their beautiful islands. The food was of excellent quality, especially for seafood lovers with reasonable prices on both food and drinks.

Oh and don't leave the islands without trying a rum punch or two!