When it comes to family fun, Antigua means business. From ziplining and wildlife tours to luxury beach resorts with amenities for every member of the tribe, there’s more reason than one to book families on this larger of two islands of Antigua and Barbuda, located on the northern part of the Eastern Caribbean.
Kim Jack Riley, the newly appointed director of tourism, USA, for Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority, agrees, saying, “Antigua and Barbuda is perfect [for multi-gen travel] as research shows that 18-34 year olds prefer a little adventure on their vacations, ranking experiences like safari and wildlife tours and ziplining, while older generations, ages 50-64, say they would opt for more laid-back options such as sightseeing, cruises and visits…Antigua and Barbuda has all of the above.”
A lush tropical island that spreads over 108 sq. miles, Antigua offers endless outdoor adventures for the young and fearless. Think kayaking, kite surfing, ziplining and cave diving. Resorts, including Jumby Bay, A Rosewood Resort; St. James’s Club; Curtain Bluff and Blue Waters Resort all offer engaging kids programs ideal for families. “Many of the properties organize daily on-property entertainment that includes music, dancing and limbo and fire shows where everyone is encouraged to participate,” says Jack Riley. “Many of the properties across the island also have organized activities for children and teens that include kids’ clubs, arts and crafts, sailing, kayaking, paddleboarding, beach volleyball, cricket and rounds of crazy coconut bowling.”
Blue Waters Resort, in particular, caters to families with its variety of kid-approved facilities, including child-friendly pools, kids menus in all of the resort’s restaurants, and kids buffets during the holiday season. There’s also the Blue Waters Kids Club for ages 4-12 with arts and crafts, beach games and an adjacent “Secret Garden” for outdoor fun. A babysitting service is also available at an additional charge four the tiniest of guests ages 14 months up to age 4.
Blue Waters features a wide range of accommodations to suit all needs, from recently renovated rooms to spacious suites. Larger families can book the 2- or 3-bedroom Rock Cottage, featuring a separate living area, kitchen and views of the Caribbean Sea, or a more budget-friendly Hillside Junior Suite offering an open plan living area and bedroom with an en-suite bathroom. For more information about the resort and its amenities—three secluded beach coves, six restaurants and bars, and a watersports center—travel agents can go online to the Blue Waters Agent Academy to download information packs, watch informational videos and view available incentives. Afterwards, agents can take an online test to become a certified accredited Blue Waters agent. Rates start at $433 per night sgl for travel from April 21 to Dec. 19, 2017. For more information, visit bluewaters.net.
Fun for All
The most important part of a family vacation is the bonding and Antigua’s renowned beaches are a surefire crowd please. But Jack Riley wants visitors to know that Antigua is more than just its pretty beaches. “Combined, millennials and baby boomers rank: beach vacation, culture and history, and escorted group tours as the top vacations preferred,” says Jack Riley. “We like to say that with [Antigua and Barbuda’s] 365 beaches, that the beach is just the beginning. We do of course offer stunning beaches, water and relaxation, but we have exciting activities including a variety of fantastic restaurants, beach bars and activities from riding horses on the beach to safari tours to catamaran tours and snorkeling excursions.
“Visitors have the chance to sample our local culture and heritage through our capital, St. John’s with the historical downtown, and we are host to the newest UNESCO World Heritage site with Nelson’s Dockyard and Park, where visitors can step into history.”
Groups can book trips to a stingray farm, Stingray City, or boat tours and excursions including a day trip to Barbuda that includes a visit to the Frigate Bird Sanctuary. For a truly unique daytime experience, families can book time on the D-Boat, a permanently moored ocean playground by Maiden Island, just offshore the coast of Antigua, where “kids, teenagers, and adults who like to embrace their inner kids can enjoy watersides, and floating trampolines and inflatable toys,” says Jack Riley. “There are two levels with plenty of seating for those to sit, relax, and enjoy the food and cocktails with stunning views. It is ideal for multigenerational groups, millennials and those who want to have fun in the ocean in a fun and friendly atmosphere.”
All in all, “Antigua and Barbuda is the perfect destination as it offers a variety of activities that appeal to any age group while maintaining the privacy and intimacy that appeals to everyone. There is the perfect mixture of beach options, history, culture and gastronomy that attracts visitors time and again.”
For more information, go to visitantiguabarbuda.us.