Monday, July 5, 2010

Ah - Antigua

If you want to get awiay to a place where you can soak up the rays on a beach that is almost always "yours," sail away for the day on a party catamaran, charter your own sail boat for an exhilarating yet relaxing day, snorkel, dive, party with the locals into the evening, tour the island to learn the history, or just spend the day talking to the beach bartender who will tell you tales of the area, then you want to head to Antigua.

As we arrived at the Galley Bay Resort, a boutique all-inclusive resort, we were greeted by a woman with a big smile and the choice of champagne or rum punch (their own recipe- it's the choice you want to make!). Check in was at a simple desk, in the midst of beautiful gardens. The "resort" was no where in sight. We were taken by Bobby, by golf cart, for a quick tour of the resort on the way to our suites.

This resort is beautiful, and secluded. All beaches in Antigua are public beaches. This resort does not get the public (with the rare exception of a few near-by residents) traffic due to it's location. It's a beautiful stretch of beach with a small amount of rocks and coral at the far end - great for snorkeling!

The rooms (junior suites) are beautiful. There are a few categories of rooms, including lagoon-side private cottages with plunge pools (not my favorite - you have to walk out of your "sleeping" cottage take some steps outside to unlock your "bathroom" cottage. Of course, it's extremely private and no one can see in. I just prefer being oceanfront!

We enjoyed the warm waters and the quiet beach. It's a quiet resort, not much to do during the day. We did kayak and learn to sail a hobie cat! And we chartered a sailboat from Shawn for 1/2 day, which was a lot of fun. It included great local food, drinks (both non-alcoholic and the real stuff!) and lots of info about the island as we sailed along the coast.

Sunsets were beautiful. I'm sure sunrises were too, but I never woke up early enough to enjoy them! The food is very good, no buffets!!! There are two restaurants that are included in the all-inclusive plan and one that has an extra charge. After speaking to some of the staff, we found out that the menus were almost identical, just the atmosphere was different. For us, not worth the extra money! And the restaurant staff was so great that they knew what we liked and what to do to make us smile. The best example was one of the waitresses, who always had a serious face, said very seriously that the food at the resort was not fattening at all. The only problem you will have is that the heat and sun will shrink your clothes!!!! She made our day!

Evenings were really nice. After dinner each night, there was music and some nights there was dancing as well. Just bring insect repellent for sunset and the evenings. As in any caribbean island, mosquitos do show up!

The staff at the resort has access to lots of great excursions as well as local happenings. So, it's your choice whether you want to just lay back and relax or get out and see the island!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Yachting in the BVIs - Now it's for everyone!

For those of you who are looking for something totally different, a romantic getaway, or even a great family getaway, that allows you the freedom to be where you want to be just by asking, it's time that you chartered a motor yacht or sailing yacht in the British Virgin Islands.

I was on a 70 foot motor yacht for a week in March, 2010 with my husband and 2 other couples. We had a captain (Philip) and a first mate/chef who made our adventure even more fun. From the time we arrived in St. Thomas, we were treated like royalty. Arriving at the yacht club, we were welcomed, our luggage was taken out of the car and brought directly to our yacht, The Wil Power. We couldn't help but grin ear to ear when we saw our new "home." We immediately took a tour of the yacht, with it's 3 master size bedrooms, all with private heads (bathrooms), a living room, kitchen and indoor eating area as well as a back "deck" for dining as well as for getting into our tender when we weren't docking at a marina and we wanted to feel the land beneath our feet (or go diving, snorkeling, beaching, to to local bars, restaurants, etc.). It also
had an upper deck with a dining area (where we would be having all of our breakfasts) as well as lounge chairs. And of course, the front of the boat - with a huge cushion that at least 3 or 4 people could lie on to catch some rays!

It didn't take long for us to adapt to yachting life. Bathing suits all day - no shoes allowed! And "Pain Killers" the local drink of the Virgin Islands (evidently American and British!!!) until we could hardly stand.

A couple of weeks prior to departure, we received an email with a preference list - for foods, drinks, etc. so that when we boarded, we had everything we dreamed of! Candle-lit dinners, eggs benedict for breakfast, fresh lobster for dinner, whatever we desired, it was ours!

We had a tentative itinerary, but that changed a few times, which was so easy. Philip is a funny, easy-going captain from Guadeloupe, who is also a deep sea-diver (he would dive and not surface for minutes!) and one heck of a great joke teller!

Among the islands we visited were St. John, Tortola, Bitter End, Peter Island, Jost Van Dyke, Virgin Gorda and I can't remember some!!!! We visited the Baths, Foxy's and the Willy-T (where some of us - not me - jumped from the top level of the boat-bar into the water!!!!)

For those of us who rose early, beautiful sunrises, water that looked like turquoise glass, gentle winds and bright sunny skies greeted us. Our days were spent leisurely, and mostly in the water or coming up for air to eat and take a siesta! Dinners were always candle-lit as we watched the sun go down.

It was the ultimate get-away. I wasn't sure I would like being on a boat for 8 days - but after about 1 minute, I was certain I would - and I could have stayed for another week!

Motor yachts are more expensive than sailing catamarans, so there's a vacation for everyone! The BVI's are known for sailing since there is always a gentle breeze, the waters are crystal clear and you always see land! The islands are extremely close to each other - and that's what makes this adventure so exciting!

I can truly say that I don't think I've ever seen more beautiful water. And nature commands your attention at every moment!!! So, if you are thinking about a vacation like you've never taken before, consider the Virgin Islands - by boat!!!!


Hi. Welcome to my new blog page.

I am excited to be able to bring you exciting travel news as well as
photos and comments from my personal trips.

If you have interest in any special location, cruise, all-inclusive resort, etc.,
please let me know and I will research and post it for you!

At Vacation On Your Mind, we don't just sell vacations, we create memories.

So, what are you waiting for . . . GO AWAY!!!!!!!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Hello World!

This is the first post for Vacation on your Mind!