The Caribbean is often described as a ‘fly and flop’ destination. With paradisaical beaches, a host of laid back luxury resorts and a setting akin to Robinson Crusoe, it is often overlooked how it is also a hot spot for activities and exploration. First-timer to the Caribbean, Nikki, discovers that whether its doing absolutely everything or simply nothing at all, Antigua has the answer for the perfect getaway.
When I imagined vacationing in the Caribbean, the main images that sprang to mind were those of sandy palm-fringed beaches, invitingly warm waters and the background hum of dancehall beats – a picture of total relaxation. The one thing I hadn’t anticipated was the array of things on offer for those who are prone to itchy feet or a bit too pale for sunbathing to appeal – like myself!
A stay at Antigua’s Curtain Bluff cemented firmly in my mind that a trip here has something for everyone; the all-inclusive watersports are a great addition to a stay and come as part of the standard package. Total flexibility makes it easy to arrange whatever you want, whenever you want, which works perfectly in an age where everything seems to be available on demand. This is a wonderful option for families with restless teenagers, watersports enthusiasts or multi-generational families who all want to be doing something different.
Daily diving trips and twice-daily snorkeling trips out to Cades reef are included, along with yoga and pilates classes – the only things that run on a schedule – while waterskiing and wakeboarding (with instruction), and as much paddleboarding, Hobie cat sailing and windsurfing as you like, can be arranged on a whim.
As a total beginner when it comes to wakeboarding, the staff made me feel totally at ease and were more than happy for me to keep giving it a go, until eventually they had me standing (even if only for a few seconds each time)! This for me, was the perfect way to break up beach time and a great way to cool off after a blast of midday sun, followed swiftly by a well-earned Wadadli (the local beer) at the beach bar.
Tennis courts and a squash court can also be found on-site, with tennis courts looking out over the ocean, surrounded by palm trees, it is the perfect spot to try your hand at the sport. Arranging a lesson with the pros is definitely a worthwhile venture and you’ll no doubt come away having completed a few decent rallies, regardless of your experience level.
All of the tennis pros have been recruited from the local community as part of the hotel’s charity, the Old Road Fund. Donations fund education for the local villagers, training them in hospitality, giving them a university education and sending the local kids to tennis camps with the hopes that they one day return to Old Road Village and work at Curtain Bluff. Following their training, many of the kids grow up to become tennis coaches or staff at the resort, often sticking around for many years to see their own children take over.
While service in the Caribbean is not necessarily polished in many cases, it’s at least guaranteed with a smile here, and after just three days in this paradise, it’s easy to see why so many of Curtain Bluff’s guests also decide to return year after year.