> Destinations > Antigua and Barbuda > Trip Reports > Trip Report
I hope that people familiar with the area will excuse my verbose descriptions and statements of what might seem obvious.
We flew from Gatwick with Virgin, taking advantage of the Twilight Check-in the night before . This cut out the cattle market check-in in the morning and made the whole trip more civilized.
On arrival there was the usual long wait at Immigration, not what you want after a long flight, but unavoidable so just grin and bear it. Once through it's a short step to baggage reclaim, and outside to be directed to a taxi by the Virgin reps.
The trip to Cocos took about about twenty minutes, where we were greeted by the manager Renato. While we drank our first cocktails, the bags were taken to our room.
We had stayed in room 11 before and having asked in advance, we were put in it again. I don't think any one room is oustandly better than any other, but we like the feel of room 11 because it is set back among the trees. All the rooms have a veranda with two chairs and a hammock. There is a shower room with "al fresco" facilities for the daring.
Having heard about staff changes we were eager to sample the food at dinner. We found that the quality was still good although not quite up to the outstanding presentations we saw last year. We did notice that accompanying vegetables and garnishes were sometimes missing or different to the menu description, but what the hell, you're in Antigua, not Germany. Our only other criticism about food was that the lunch menu did not have as much choice as 12 months ago.
After another cocktail or two (you can ask for anything you like involving local spirits but there is a nightly "special") we retired early to the relentless call of the tree frogs. This chorus starts at dusk and lets you know, if you didn't already, that you're in the tropics. Although the rooms are not air conditioned, there is a ceiling fan which along with the breeze makes the room warm but not uncomfortable.
Being four hours adrift because of the time zone difference, we were up early and ready for breakfast at 7:30, then it was down to the pool and beach to soak up some rays. The pool is not huge, but you usually get it to yourself. The sea was warm but as always, cloudy, great for swimming. Beware the jet ski operation which gets going at about 11 o'clock. They use the Cocos end of the beach and can be quite a disturbance. Fortunately Jolly Beach is huge and not crowded, even beside Jolly Beach Resort, so you can walk along a bit to find a quiet spot, or walk around to Valley Church Beach, between Cocos and Cocobay, which is almost always deserted.
At lunch time the Virgin rep came round so that we could book tours. Having pre-booked Eli's Eco-Tour on line (you get a 10% discount this way) we also arranged to go on the Jeep Safari tour. This is a very informative introduction to Antigua which helps you get your bearings for future trips. The highlight was the off road drive up to Fort George, to stunning views of English Harbour and Guadaloupe, followed by a beach bar lunch at Pidgeon Point.
There have been many reports here of Eli's tour. I just want to say it's all true! You simply must do it. Thanks again Eli and Francis.
Throughout the week the weather was hot with occasional showers, non of which lasted long enough to cause any problems. Because the bluff on which Cocos is located is to the south east of the beach and pool, sunbathing is curtailed by the growing shadows at about 3 o'clock. We found it best to shower and change about then into long sleeved shirts and trousers as well as applying insect repellent to avoid becoming an early evening snack for the mosquitoes.
Our week was over all too soon and after receiving our complimentary HALF bottle of rum it was back to the airport for the overnight flight back to the UK where we were greeted by a thick covering of frost. Ho hum.
Thanks to Steve for this trip report ...