Antigua was our first Caribbean island and my first taste of what the Caribbean was really like. I think of all the islands we visited this was the perfect first choice and is still my favourite.
We arrived next to Ryndam and Seven Seas Navigator and to the sound of a wonderful steel band playing on the docks. As soon as our deputy captain made the announcement that the gangways were ready, we were off!
Our plan today was to catch a cab to Dickenson Bay and then come back on ourselves to do some shopping and explore the market just outside the port. We opted to head for the market first, this giving the day a chance to warm up before we ventured to the beach.
The market was ALIVE! It was early in the morning but the people were out, music was playing everywhere and the atmosphere was truly electric. We passed small stalls with lots of fruit and other goodies before reaching the small craft area. This was a little disappointing, not a lot was open but the people were so friendly, not in a “let me sell you something” kind of way either, they were genuine. A simple no thank you was enough to stop them bothering you for a sale but it didn’t stop them wanting to just generally chat, which I thought was nice and it made me feel very welcome.
After a short wander we made our way back towards the port where we would catch our cab to the beach. We had a lovely cab driver who chatted a lot as we made our way to Dickenson Bay. He walked us from the cab, onto the beach and told us where we could hire beds etc. We arranged a time for him to pick us up and off he went.
My first impression of the beach was WOW!! This was my first glimpse with my own eyes of a Caribbean beach and I was deeply in love! To the left was a rocky section with crystal clear blue water and to the right you would find white sand, blue waters and a rather nice Sandals resort.
We chose to sit just in front of the bar which conveniently had large speakers just behind us that were pumping out Reggae music…..the experience was perfect.
We caught a few heavy rain drops but nothing too severe. There was still more than enough sun to bathe in. After an hour or so we saw the famous Aloe Vera man making his way along the beach. I had heard great things about this and was eager to get some! He carries a large Aloe plant on his head, if you want some he simply cuts a piece off, washes it in the ocean then scrapes all the goodness out into a bottle for you. As he does this he tells you what you can do with it, what things it’s good for and that you can also drink it. We each bought a bottle and by now our driver had come back to collect us.
We said our goodbye’s to the beach and the funny few people we had met there and made our way back towards the port. We stopped for some food at a restaurant just inside the port gates. Once finished we made our way back along all the side streets, towards the market, back down again then took a casual stroll around the shops within the port.
Antigua was wonderful, I loved the people, the music, the atmosphere…..I just loved everything about the place and it’s the one island I desperately want to visit again. It was a true Caribbean picture for me, exactly what I expected and of all the other islands we visited I never got that same feeling again, not even in Jamaica.