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Antigua — A Caribbean Haven
Long Bay Hotel Highlights This Island Gem

A full moon lit Long Bay as we strolled barefoot in powdery white sand. Gentle inner-reef waters lapped the shore and billowy white clouds drifted across the sky. We tried to outdo each other in finding shapes of dragons, bears, characterful faces, and other creatures looking down on us from the crystal heavens. "Just another day in Paradise!" my wife and I joked as we reflected on our "relax and hang around the resort" day. After several days of exhilarating adventure tours of boating, kayaking, 4WD-touring, hiking, and snorkeling on Antigua and its outer islands we had "stayed home" and discovered that our Long Bay Hotel haven offered up some of Antigua’s best experiences.

Antigua Beach
Finding a deserted beach,  Indian Point

LB Hotel Beach
Long Bay Hotel's beach

Cozy Long Bay Hotel is situated on Antigua’s eastern shoreline in a unique isthmus location, with waters to the northeast and northwest. That morning we took advantage of the sunrise over the protected northeast-facing bay near Indian Point — kayaking, Sunfish sailing, then beaching and exploring the rugged coastline outside the bay on foot. Back on the bay we found a beautiful deserted beach to lounge away the morning. We then sailed and paddled back to the resort and took a short walk across the garden grounds for a tasty lunch on northwest-facing Long Bay. The afternoon was spent beach lounging and snorkeling one of Antigua’s best reefs, 50-100 meters from shore. After viewing the bay’s majestic island sunset, we dined well at the resort’s Turtle Restaurant before our moonlight beach stroll.


At the northeastern curve of the West Indies, Antigua is blessed with cooling trade winds, 365 beaches, and a varied terrain of green plains and hills. Its setting is ideal for water sports enthusiasts, sun lovers, and adventurers looking for a unique tropical environment. The 108-square-mile island has only 3,000 guest rooms making it an unspoiled and ideal place to vacation. The windward eastern side of the island has the best beaches for sailing, bodysurfing, and snorkeling, including Long Bay and Half Moon Bay. The windward side is also home to a number of small, uninhabited islands, such as the ecological treasures Great Bird and Guiana Islands.

Great Bird Island
View to Antigua from Great Bird Island

Antigua’s leeward western side has calmer waters, the largest city, St. John’s, noted for its narrow streets, shops, and lively outdoor market, and the majority of the larger island resorts at Dickenson Bay and Jolly Harbor. The south coast is noted for its historical and charming English Harbor and Nelson’s Dockyard, dating back to the 1700s.

Boy and Burros
Young Antiguan with his burros

Many small villages are spread around the island, each with a unique character, such as Willikies with its colorful homes, two groceries and free-roaming goats that are found throughout the island. The friendly Antiguan’s speak an expressive English patois that is hard to understand, but they also speak the King’s English for tourist comprehension. Antigua and neighboring Barbuda form the independent nation of Antigua and Barbuda. The country was granted independence from the English Commonwealth in 1981. Today the average resident’s income and life style rate well in the Caribbean.

Long Bay Hotel

Long Bay Hotel is a real find for those looking for a small inn-like resort. Chris Lafaurie, whose family has run the resort since 1966, heads up the operation with an emphasis on relaxation and personal service. The comfortable accommodations, twenty rooms and five cottages, all face the small northeast bay and resort dock. Stratified limestone shores with native mangrove, acacia, and century plants ring the calm waters with beautiful sunrises and cooling trade winds. The resort’s expansive 10-acre grounds include gardens, a tennis court, and Long Bay’s most appealing section of beach. Northwest-facing Long Bay is noted for its beauty and bather friendliness. A special bonus is the great snorkeling found on its reef’s outer shelf where we found beautiful brain and branching corals and fans, as well as parrot fish, jacks, trumpet fish, and many other marine species. Water sports available in the northeast bay include Sunfish sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, water skiing, and fishing.

Long Bay's Dock
Long Bay Hotel  from its dock

Long Bay's Lounge
Lounge at Long Bay Hotel

Long Bay's Bay
Long Bay Hotel's NE bay & dock

The relaxing lounge/bar and Turtle Restaurant all look out on the northeast bay. The resort utilizes an inclusive breakfast/dinner meal plan that is a major draw. During our weeklong stay the daily-changed menu featured a great selection of quality American and European cuisine spiced with Caribbean flavors. Refreshments and tasty lunches are served on the covered terrace at Long Bay. The resort’s comfortable game room/library has books, board games, darts, and table tennis.

Adventures Galore

Antigua exceeded our expectations for what had first drawn us there…its adventuring opportunities. The local firm, Tropical Adventures, offers the largest selection of premier tours and we opted for two unforgettable all-day adventures — Barbuda and the Island Safari.

Barbuda: A comfortable 85-foot power catamaran, Excellence, whisked us 28 miles north to low-lying and sparsely populated Barbuda, noted for its beaches, its frigate sanctuary and its snorkeling. We were overwhelmed by the desolate beach at Low Bay, almost 20 miles in length with striking sections of pink coral sand. A major highlight was a ride in a small runabout across Codrington Lagoon to the world’s largest frigate sanctuary. Here the 10,000 birds were in full mating rites as red-pouched males vied for female attentions. After picnicking, beach roaming and lounging, we snorkeled Low Bay’s reef where we followed an incredible maze of trenches with beautiful corals, fans, and a multitude of fish.

Barbuda Beach
Low Bay Beach, Barbuda, stretches nearly 20 mi.

Safari kayaking guide with starfish

Island Safari: If we had only had time for one tour, this would have been our first choice due to its variety. In the morning our Antiguan native guide, Drew, took us around the island in a 4WD Rover on narrow roads and dirt tracks through a jungle region and remote farming land. Drew gave us a good appreciation for Antigua’s environment, villages, and its history. Other sights included Buckleys, Liberta, and Christian Hill villages; Monk’s Hill with views of Falmouth and English Harbor; and Betty’s Hope Plantation Museum with its original sugar mill. The afternoon included kayaking along Guiana Island’s mangrove-lined shore, a vital natural fish hatchery habitat. We were then motored by small boat over to Great Bird Island for lunch and a good snorkel session at the fringing reef.
Another tour we would not have missed was Eli’s North Sound Eco-Historical Tour. Eli Fuller is a third-generation islander, an avid wind- and kite-surfer, who runs his tour with a real exploratory flair. He picked us up in his comfortable Wellcraft boat in St. John’s and took us around the north end to Antigua’s northeast islands. Major highlights included Long Island with its Hawksbill turtle project and Jumby Bay Resort; Great Bird Island with a hilltop hike to view the islands and a vast array of birds; a snorkeling tour of an interesting outlying reef; a stop at small, wild Hell’s Gate Island with an adventurous exploration of its cave and climb over its natural bridge; a tour of Guiana Island’s mangrove habitat; a conch-shell-searching stroll at Crab’s Peninsula.

Hells Gate
Looking through Hell's Gate to the Atlantic

Another Day in Paradise

We had yet to experience all 365 of Antigua’s beaches and we would have appreciated several more days lounging at Long Bay Hotel, but our vacation came all too quickly to an end. At least we know a great place to return for more days in paradise!

Frigates on Barbuda
Frigates, males with red poches

Sugar Mill
Old sugar mill

Sailors off Antigua's north shore

Click here for details to plan your own trip to Antigua and Long Bay Hotel.

Les Furnanz
Photos by Rita Furnanz

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