Island Travel Interviews: Caribbean, Take 9 (Antigua & Barbuda)

The Caribbean was hit by Hurricane Irma this past fall, with Barbuda being one of the hardest hit islands and Antigua experiencing some damage as well. Please note that this interview was conducted prior to the Hurricane and, as such, some of the places mentioned may have been affected. As always, it is good to check on such things prior to making your plans. You can also listen to this podcast for more information about the status of all of the Caribbean Islands. 

With that said, I am so excited to learn more about Antigua and Barbuda from Faith Coates of XYUandBeyond. Believe me, you’ll want to read along not only for the great information but also for the stunning photos.

What to do in Antigua
Image Credit- XYUandBEYOND

Name and Blog Name/URL:

Faith Coates

https://xyuandbeyond.com

Which Island Will You Be Talking About and Why Did You Choose This Island? Antigua & Barbuda WI

How Many Days Would You Recommend Staying on This Island?

A minimum of a week better yet 14 days

What was Your Favorite Thing About/Memory From Your Trip to This Island?

Eating roti on Pigeon Beach just watching the yachties from all over the world relax and enjoy the sun, sea, and sand. The roti lady comes around at about 2pm and for a couple of dollars you get the best roti in the world.

What to do in Antigua
Image Credit- XYUandBEYOND

What is Your “Can’t Miss” Activity on the Island? What activities/opportunities does this island provide?

Sunday Nights at Shirley Heights where everyone comes out to play, dance, drink and eat.

Best Restaurant/Place to Eat?

BBQ at Shirley Heights

What to do in Antigua
Image Credit- XYUandBEYOND

What Surprised You About this Island?

The range of beaches from surfing, to kiting, to gentle peaceful clear blue waters to bob around in. There are 365 beaches on the Island, and there is one for every type of watersport imaginable.

Any Travel Advice for those considering this island as a destination (e.g., where to stay, ease of getting there, how best to get around, language, money)?

Just enjoy the 365 beaches, eat lots of local food – the roadside stands of jerk chicken are amazing. Wander the streets in St. John and enjoy the crazy ambience when the cruise ships get in. Easy to rent a car and drive yourself – after all the Island is only 12 miles long. The islanders are incredibly helpful and friendly and it is very difficult to get lost.

If my readers want to hear more about your island, do you have a link to your full article?

Check out one of the Island’s great historic sites Nelson’s Dockyard. https://xyuandbeyond.com/nelsons-dockyard/

Many thanks to Faith for the fabulous information. I’m ready to book a flight!  And check out this resort— it looks like the perfect luxury getaway! 

Need I say more? Here is a pin for now or later.

What to do in Antigua
Image credit- Pixabay

**Please note that this post contains affiliate links, meaning that, at no cost to you, I may receive some compensation if you click and purchase. Thank you!

 

 

 

Island Travel Interviews: Malaysian Islands, Take 1 (Redang Island)

Welcome back to the Island Travel Interview series! This week we are learning about Redang Island, a Malaysian Island in the South China Sea. Read on as Riz from Lamyerda tells us more about this lovely island. Continue reading Island Travel Interviews: Malaysian Islands, Take 1 (Redang Island)

Island Travel Interviews- Caribbean Islands, Take 8 (Aruba)

Aruba. How I love Aruba. It’s been awhile since we’ve been but I’m quite certain I would still love Aruba. Just off the coast of Venezuela, this Dutch Island had the warmest of breezes and seas when we visited. I’m excited to compare experiences as Megan from Some Places I Am Moderately Excited About shares a more current view of the A of the ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao). 

Island Travel | Aruba
Image Credit- Megan from Some Things I’m Moderately Excited About

Name and Blog Name/URL

I’m Megan, of Some Places I Am Moderately Excited About! (www.moderatelyexcited.com) I curate snarky and educational city guides to destinations all over the world and Chicago, where I’m from and currently living.

Which Island Will You Be Talking About and Why Did You Choose This Island?

Aruba! Aka One Happy Island. This little slice of Dutch Caribbean heaven is one of my favorite tropical island destinations – it feels like you are somewhere much more exotic than just a 7 hour flight from the Midwest!

How Many Days Would You Recommend Staying on This Island?

We personally stayed for 9 full days – we were very overdue for a nice, long, relaxing vacation. But you could definitely get a great experience with 4-5 days!

Island Travel | Aruba
Image Credit- Megan from Some Things I’m Moderately Excited About

What Is Your Favorite Thing About/Memory From Your Trip to This Island?

My absolute favorite memory from our trip was our spontaneous 3 AM swim in the ocean after we got back from one of our (late night) excursions. We dropped our stuff off, donned our suits and headed over to the beach. The water was as warm as your soaking tub and the stars were literally the brightest I’ve ever seen anywhere. The water and sky met at this slightly darker horizon line, but for all intents and purposes, they looked like they were one giant black abyss. Which was both a little terrifying and also exhilarating (especially because I could touch the bottom and there was little to no current – I felt okay being out there!) We swam and watched shooting stars for an hour before the mosquitos came for ransom.

What Is Your “Can’t Miss” Activity on the Island? What activities/opportunities does this island provide?

This island has absolutely no shortage of things to do, eat and see. Whether jet skiing across clear blue water, relaxing on sugar sand beaches, snorkeling or diving by one of the many offshore shipwrecks and dive sites, ATVing through the desert or learning about the Dutch Caribbean culture, you will find something perfect for everyone in your party.

My personal favorite “Can’t Miss” activity is a dead tie between two really unique experiences that are as equally “touristy” (at first glance) as they are so much fun that you’d kick yourself if you did miss them.

  • The Kukoo Kanuku party bus tour will take you on a bar-hopping joy ride (with a champagne toast AND dinner, in some instances!) led by “Mama” with a group of people who will start out as complete strangers, but may create some long-lasting relationships.
  • The Jolly Pirates Snorkeling & Sailing tour will check both snorkeling and sailing off your itinerary – plus give you a chance to imbibe while enjoying a soft sea breeze in your face (if you’re into that sort of thing). Not to mention, when else are you going to check rope swinging into the ocean from a replication pirate ship off your bucket list?!

Best Restaurant/Place to Eat?

The Screaming Eagle was one of the most unexpected surprises and best meals of the whole trip. Ask for a bed – you’ll have the opportunity to eat “dinner in bed” in a special upstairs lounge area – literally, in a bed! Plus, the swordfish steak, truffled potato soup and pork belly were some of the best I’ve ever had anywhere.

What Surprised You About this Island?

While it seems pretty small, it’s actually fairly big with tons of different topographies and places to explore.

Island Travel | Aruba
Photo Credit- Megan from Some Things I’m Moderately Excited About

Any Travel Advice for those considering this island as a destination (e.g., where to stay, ease of getting there, how best to get around, language, money)?

We stayed on Eagle Beach at the Amsterdam Manor Beachfront Resort and I would stay here every time we go back. Not only was it on one of the most highly-rated beaches in the world, it was also a great middle-ground for getting to both the downtown area and the northern side of the island. Not to mention it was walking distance from a grocery store and we had a kitchenette in our bungalow, so it was very cost-effective!

As for how to get around, we managed just fine without a car between the public bus system (you can pay when you get on) and taxis. However, if you want to get over to the other side of the island or see the national parks, etc, you’d best rent a car.

Language and currency are easy – most people speak English and US dollars are widely accepted – if not preferred – everywhere.

If my readers want to hear more about your island, do you have a link to your full article?

Absolutely! You can read my full breakdown of where to eat, stay and play on Aruba by visiting this link! (http://www.moderatelyexcited.com/aruba-a-little-slice-of-dutch-caribbean-heaven/)

This was a perfect getaway from this gray and white winter palette- thanks so much, Megan!

Now I’m definitely in an Island mood… Don’t forget to check out the Island Rum Punch that Living Lark shared with us here….

And look on Skycanner for winter/spring flights here….

Or save this info for a later date by clicking below….

What to do in Aruba
Photo Credit- Mackinaw Road

**This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you click and purchase, I may receive some compensation. Thank you!

 

Island Travel Interviews: Caribbean Islands, Take 7 (Ambergris Caye)

I’ll be quite honest with you, I did not know that the Caribbean extended as far west as Belize. Nor had I heard of Ambergris Caye. But I’m super excited to learn about it! Many thanks to Aimee from Aimee’s Compass for sharing information about the largest island in Belize.

Island Travel | Belize
Photo Credit- Aimee’s Compass

Name and Blog Name/URL

Aimee Binstead, Travel Life Blogger at Aimee’s Compass https://aimeescompass.com

Which Island Will You Be Talking About and Why Did You Choose This Island?

San Pedro is an English-speaking town on the island of Ambergris Caye, in Belize. It’s often forfeited for the island next door, Caye Caulker, but San Pedro has plenty to offer a traveller looking for a vibrant and atmospheric getaway. While Caye Caulker radiates chilled vibes and pastel-painted wooden shacks, San Pedro pulsates with lively residents, colourful homes, and the chime of reggae music from houses and bars alike. You’d be forgiven for thinking you’d arrived in Jamaica! I visited to get a taste of the Caribbean while travelling Central America.

Island Travel | Belize
Photo Credit- Aimee’s Compass

How Many Days Would You Recommend Staying on This Island?

Between 2-4 days is plenty of time in San Pedro.

Favorite Thing About/Memory From Your Trip to This Island?

My arrival in San Pedro couldn’t have been more perfect. After a long journey from Playa Del Carmen in Mexico, taken by bus and boat and lugging a 13kg backpack the whole way, you could say I was pretty exhausted coming through customs. That was, until I made it to the town centre and discovered that I was just in time for the Belize Independence Day festival! There’s nothing like loud, distorted reggae tunes blasting through the air, while locals dance covered in orange paint, to give you a good buzz of excitement. It’s a moment I’ll never forget.

What is Your “Can’t Miss” Activity on the Island? What activities/opportunities does this island provide?

Any visitor to Ambergris Caye absolutely has to rent a golf cart and seek out the ‘secret beach’. Supposedly a 45-minute bike ride from San Pedro, the mission took me a good 4 hours and ended up requiring multiple beer stops and two new friends in order to find it. I can promise you though, when you get there for sunset it’s well worth the adventure!

Best Restaurant/Place to Eat?

Fancy floating on the sea in a rubber ring, and having food and drinks lowered down to you by bucket? (Silly question really). Then you MUST go to Palapas. Palapas is a wooden bar perched on the end of a pier, and while the food isn’t anything out of this world, the experience is pretty unique.

What Surprised You About this Island?

What surprised me the most is the constant energetic atmosphere of the island, which is the result of local children that run barefoot through the streets without pavements, waves between neighbours and strangers, colourful flags that link the painted wooden houses, and shop signs in bright reds, yellows, and greens.

Any Travel Advice for those considering this island as a destination (e.g., where to stay, ease of getting there, how best to get around, language, money)?

San Pedro is a great first stop for anybody travelling into Belize from Mexico. It’s easily accessible from Chetumal ferry port, and though the journey requires all of the visa processing needed to leave one country and enter another, this is simple and straightforward at each port. One big tip for those thinking of heading here though, is to keep hold of any evidence showing that you have already paid a departure fee from Mexico, or you’ll be made to pay it again (around 360 pesos).

If my readers want to hear more about your island, do you have a link to your full article?

To read about my experience on Ambergris Caye; seeking out the secret beach, swimming with sea turtles, and eating street food at the Independence Day celebrations, you can take a look here: https://aimeescompass.com/2015/10/10/sea-turtles-and-the-secret-beach-of-san-pedro-belize/

All of this sounds delightful! Here is a pin to save this for your travel planning:

Ambergris Caye | Belize | Island Travel
Photo Credit- Pixabay

**This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that you if you click and purchase, I may receive some compensation. Thank you!

 

 

Travel Island Interviews: Pacific Ocean Islands, Take 2

Fiji. Just hearing this word conjures up dreamy scenes of clear turquoise waters and beaches for days. Mostly created from volcanic activity, Fiji consists of 330+ islands in the South Pacific Ocean. Juliette and John of Snorkels to Snow share their experience on the beautiful Fiji Island of Tivua.

Island Travel | Fiji
Photo credit- Snorkels to Snow

Name and Blog Name/URL

Juliette and John from Snorkels to Snow

Http://snorkelstosnow.com 

Which Island Will You Be Talking About and Why Did You Choose This Island?

Tivua Island in Fiji. Fiji is made up of over 330 islands so it can be hard to know where to start!

Tivua Island is a beautiful escape and one of our favorite islands to visit while we were living in Fiji.

How Many Days Would You Recommend Staying on This Island?

You only need a couple of nights here to relax and recharge – it’s very remote and small.

Island Travel | Fiji
Photo Credit- Snorkels to Snow

What is Your Favorite Thing About/Memory From Your Trip to This Island?

Scuba diving the MV Raiyawa which is a purpose sunk wreck! It’s awesome to see the beginning of what will become an awesome colorful wreck in future.

What is Your “Can’t Miss” Activity on the Island? What activities/opportunities does this island provide?

Scuba diving, kayaking, snorkeling – and generally just relaxing under the coconut trees and looking out to the beautiful white sandy stretches of beach.

Best Restaurant/Place to Eat?

Food is provided as part of the trip to Tivua.

Island Travel | Fiji
Photo Credit- Snorkels to Snow

What Surprised You About this Island?

It’s everything you imagine a remote tropical island to be! Coconut trees, white sandy beaches and the most gorgeous turquoise waters to swim or snorkel in! It’s hard to believe it’s so close to the mainland of Fiji – it feels like you are days away from civilization and other tourists.

Any Travel Advice for those considering this island as a destination (e.g., where to stay, ease of getting there, how best to get around, language, money)?

You’ll need to get a boat from Denarau on the mainland to get to Tivua. You can even hire out the entire island for a private event if you want! You will set sail with Captain Cook Cruises and enjoy the best of Fiji hospitality not only on the boat but of course on the island too. Fijians are the friendliest people on earth! You might even get the chance to participate in a traditional kava ceremony on the boat. Everyone speaks a English in Fiji but it’s good to know a few local words in Fijian such as BULA (hello) and VINAKA (thank you).

Just make sure you pack a hat, sunscreen and insect repellent.  

If my readers want to hear more about your island, do you have a link to your full article?

You may want to check out Skyscanner for airline tickets now or pin this for later 🙂
Fiji Islands | Island Travel
Photo Credit- Pixabay
*This post contains affiliate links.

Island Travel Interviews: Pacific Ocean Islands, Take 1: Savai’i

 

Located in the South Pacific and part of Polynesia, the Samoan Islands are an archipelago taking up 1,170 square miles. There is evidence of the islands being inhabited as far back as 1050 B.C.

Read on as Laura from Escapes Etc. gives us more info…

What to do in Savi'i
Photo Credit- Escapes Etc.

What Island Will You Be Talking About and Why Did You Choose This Island?

Savai’i in Western Samoa. I chose this little tiny island as I feel it is often overlooked for the more well-known pacific islands such as Fiji. But Savai’i offers a true break away from hectic life and a chance to experience time as a local without much effort. It’s full of wildlife, beautiful beaches, forests and waterfalls to explore but above all it’s the ultimate place to chill out.

How Many Days Would You Recommend Staying on This Island?

As it is very small, I would stay here again for around 4 days, so a long weekend would be perfect.

What to do in Savi'i
Photo Credit- Escapes Etc.

What is Your Favorite Thing About/Memory From Your Travels to This Island?

I visited Samoa when I was on my 8 months round the world trip and it was the break we needed. There’s no phone signal  (unless you buy a local sim), limited internet and super chill. When I think about this island I just think of the detox from gadgets and rushing around I got. It made me stop, chill out and really appreciate the nature surrounding me.

What is Your “Can’t Miss” Activity on the Island? What activities/opportunities does this island provide?

You have to take a swim in the To Sua Ocean trench! It is a giant hole in the ground in Lalomanu where sea water enters. You have to climb down a big ladder to get to the water but it was just awesome to see and go to!

What to do in Savi'i
Photo Credit- Escapes Etc

Best Restaurant/Place to Eat?

I stayed at Joleen’s Beach Fales, which is a family run business and absolutely amazing. Food was included in the cost of the stay so getting to eat the local everyday food was the best! You become part of the family if you stay here which made meal times even better.

What Surprised You About this Island?

To be honest, my friend and I booked this part of a trip on a whim. We wanted to go to a Pacific Island different from the norm, so we just pointed to Samoa on the map and that was set! So really, I had no expectations or knowledge of the Island so everything was a surprise!

Any Travel Advice for those considering this island as a destination (e.g., where to stay, ease of getting there, how best to get around, language, money)?

Western Samoa is made up to 2 islands – Opolu and Savai’i, with the airport on Opolu which is the larger of the 2. To get round the Island I rented a car and used Jeepneys, and you need to get a boat between the 2 islands. Bear in mind that the boat times are not regular and work to Pacific Islander times (by that I mean a fantastically relaxed schedule). The currency is Samoan Tala and is covered in tropical designs such as palm trees. Most people speak English so it’s easy to ask for help if you need it. Make sure you stay in a Beach Fale if you get the chance The beautiful clear blue waters are too good to not have on your doorstep while you’re there! The 2 downsides to Samoa are 1) The mosquitos – make sure you take good replant and 2) the guard dogs which are everywhere!

If my readers want to hear more about your island, do you have a link to your full article?

The Ultimate guide to visiting Samoa

Thanks so much to Laura! Here is a pin if you want to save this for later like I do 🙂

What to See in Samoa
Photo Credit- Pixabay

**This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that if you click and purchase, I may receive some compensation. Thank you!

Island Travel Interviews- Mexico, Take 1

With the weather getting colder, I’m dreaming of warmer days and islands. Our Escape Clause is only encouraging these dreams with talk of Isla Holbox.  Isla Holbox is located on the northern end of the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico. Separated from the mainland only by a shallow lagoon, it is about 26 miles long and 0.9 miles wide. Here’s Kate from Our Escape Clause to tell us more… Continue reading Island Travel Interviews- Mexico, Take 1

Island Travel Interviews, USA- Take 1

This week, we are privileged to hear from Anna of  travelgig. She will be filling us in on her home, Whidbey Island. Whidbey Island is located 30 miles from Seattle and is the largest island in Island County, Washington (4th largest in the contiguous USA). With approximately 55,000 residents, the island is about 55 miles long and anywhere from 1.5 to 12 miles wide. Thanks to Anna for more insider info! Continue reading Island Travel Interviews, USA- Take 1

Island Travel Interviews- Philippines, Take 3

Philippine Island Travel Bohol Samal
Photo Credit- Pixabay

With over 7,000 islands making up its archipelago, it’s easy to see why we are headed back to the Philippines for the third time. (If you missed the first four islands, you can check them out here and here.)  This week, we are headed to Samal with Ruben and Rachel of Gamin Traveler as well as to Bohol Island with Meira from Oimeira. Here are their answers to my Travel Interview series questions… Continue reading Island Travel Interviews- Philippines, Take 3

Island Travel Interviews- Indonesia, Take 1

Hello again! This week is exciting!!! We are going to a part of the world we haven’t visited yet… Indonesia! Thankfully, Chantell from Travel For Your Life and Rain from Words and Wanderlust are here to provide some insight and lovely pictures. Let begin our journey in Bali… Continue reading Island Travel Interviews- Indonesia, Take 1