I guess the first thing to consider is who you come to Antigua with and as important is where you stay. Many people coming from the UK and Europe to Antigua come with pre booked tour operators like Virgin Holidays, Thomas Cook, BA Holidays, Kuoni or some other. If this is the case then when you get to Antigua you will be met by your company's Hotel Rep. Now things get interesting. I don't think it’s wise for me to name companies specifically but I will point out that almost all tour handling and rep companies have strategic alliances and often ownership in the excursion companies. Can you imagine how difficult this makes it for an excursion to be offered to you if your rep is working for a company that co owns another excursion? Many times it is simply impossible and a great number of excursions are not offered at all to guests arriving in Antigua. This is another reason to book before you come. All of the small excursion companies know this all too well. We constantly take guests who were told by their reps that "they are fully booked", "they are no longer in operation", "their boat isn't working", "they don’t have insurance", "you are not covered by our company if you go with them"... the list goes on. This isn't a made up story at all and has been going on since I began working in this industry. I hear it from my friends who have run similar small operations too.
Another situation that can sometimes prevent a visitor from coming into contact with an excursion is when a hotel tour desk is actually rented out to another excursion company. This is very common and as you can imagine can be hard on some excursions that just don’t fit in with a particular tour desk. There are several other situations too other than the main ones above, but I guess I am just trying to give readers a little more info on the big picture. If you see an excursion that you like while you are surfing the net email them and book it. This way you usually get a discount, you get what you want, and you get the day you want. We often turn people away when they wait until the last day to book a tour. At the very least keep the number so that you can call direct to make your booking when you are in Antigua.
My company Adventure Antigua would not exist today if we had not spent so much energy in web development during the early days. If you read the history of our company you will hear how hard it was to be sold by reps and hotels. It is now way easier but there are still many areas where we are not sold.
Actually when Sandals took over Pineapple Beach Hotel a.k.a. Grand Pineapple we tried to work with them but eventually had to pull out. It just didn't make business sense at that time, so now we are not sold there at all. When the hotel closes down to become Beaches or whatever Sandals decides to do with it I will try again to see if we can work something out. For now if you are going to stay at Sandal's Pineapple in Antigua and want to come out with us, you better pre book or keep our number. Remember there is a new tour that picks up just around the corner from the Pineapple Grand at Veranda Hotel.
Anyway, whatever happens I hope you get what you want out of your holiday in Antigua and that the typical sunshine and warmth make you smile for a long time after you leave Antigua. The above info should help you to book or at least bookmark the excursions you want before you get down here. Email us info @ adventureantigua.com or comment here if you have any questions or comments.