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“The perfect tour of a Caribbean gem”
sgbie, Bartlett, Illinois
Nov 1, 2010 Just got back from Caribbean cruise. Read many glowing reports of the Ad. Antigua Eco-tour, so we skipped the cruise line excursions and booked the Eco tour last Friday Oct. 29th. So glad we did!! We were picked up right on the dock by the cruise ship right at the time promised and then headed over to the Sandals resort where 4 more people joined the tour. There were 24 of us from two cruises and two resorts. Chris, Nicola, and Shamar (spelling?) described local landmarks as we cruised along. At our first stop, we were served our choice(s) of passion fruit or tamarind juice or water as we anchored and viewed the exclusive (and deserted) resort of Jumby Bay. Chris pointed out the starfish swimming below, then dived in and brought one up to the surface so we could all get a good look and pictures before he released it back into the ocean.
We then pulled in close and toured the mangrove swamps and later sailed to Bird Island and anchored there close to the beach. We hiked to the top of the Island (a quick 5 min. hike) with great views of the island, ocean and Antigua island. Then it was back down for some swim time and snorkeling lessons for those of us who had never snorkelled before. The crew supplied the equipment and a quick lesson. The water was only 3-4 feet deep there so it was a good place to learn or just cool off. Back on the boat, lunch was served and it was delicious as other reviews have stated: yummy pasta salad, tossed green salad, fabulous, finger-licked BBQ chicken, plantains (I'm now a fan!) and incredible banana bread.
After lunch we sailed around to the Atlantic side of the island (lots of fun wave action) and anchored off the "calm" side of Hell's Gate--a number of options then: stay on the boat; swim over to the "Jacquzzi;" climb up thru the tunnel over the top and down into the rushing water. Definitely bring waterproof shoes if you decide to do the climb--the formation is weathered limestone with many many sharp points--several of us brought home souvenir scrapes and cuts but the experience was worth it!!! And my husband brought home the t-shirt to brag about us old folks (60) making it to Hell's Gate and thru the tunnel!
Next we sailed back to Bird Island where the boat was anchored out over the reefs for snorkeling. Water was about 10-15 feet deep. The crew supplied bouyancy belts for those of us who wanted some support as well as flippers and the snorkel masks. Chris took the experienced snorkelers out while Nicola toured us beginners over the reefs closer to the boat. I was thrilled to see all the different and beautiful fish and coral--it was unbelievable to me that I was having this experience. We had lots of time but it ended too soon. The rum punch that was then served up as we headed back helped to ease the disappointment of having to return.
Just as promised we got back to the harbor by 4:00, plenty of time to board both the 2 cruise ships. It was a perfect day--can't recommend this trip strongly enough!! If I'm ever fortunate enough to return to Antigua, I'd do this trip again!!!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
The photo above came from our facebook page. THANKS!