Travel: Lazy Days in Antigua, Part One

CIA_map_of_the_Caribbean w. circleThere are beaches, and there are beaches. And then there’s Antigua, which has a beach for every day of the year. My husband Francis and I spent 11 days in Antigua at the end of December, so while we didn’t have enough time to see all 365 bits of coastline, we managed to make it to a few. Of course, that meant we had to first leave “our” beach, the one that was just steps away from our apartment at Runaway Bay. It practically took an act of God just to get us to put shoes on, so heavenly was our home base. Let’s start there.

We stayed at the Barrymore Apartments, seven nights in Unit 7A – upstairs, with a full Caribbean Sea view – and then the last three nights downstairs with a side view of the water. Many hours were intentionally frittered away just staring off into the horizon as the skies changed color and the water lapped against the shore. These deck-view shots will explain why.

Our beach at Runaway Bay, AntiguaSunset at Runaway Bay, Antigua 1aSunset at Runaway Bay, Antigua 1c

When we weren’t staring off into the distance, our short-range view was on the birds and lizards that came to visit and eat the bread crumbs and Cheerios that we set out for them. Although a common species, I really like the boat-tailed grackles, because they’re shamelessly entertaining. Here’s a place to find a sampling of their many calls, if you’re interested. And here’s what they look like prancing around our deck and shaking their tail feathers.

Boat-tailed grackle, AntiguaBoat-tailed grackles - AntiguaPuffed up grackle 1b - AntiguaPuffed up grackle - Antigua

Some of our other guests…

Antiguan bird friends 1bAntiguan bird friends 1a

Lizard - Runaway Bay, Antigua

And wherever we go, there is ALWAYS a visiting kitty.

Visiting kitty, Antigua 1aVisiting kitty, Antigua 1b

For food, a trip to the First Choice grocery store a couple of miles up the road kept us well stocked for the duration of our trip. I became a quick fan of Wadadli, the local beer and also the name given to Antigua by its original Indian inhabitants.

Then, just steps away from our apartment, one of the best Italian restaurants I’ve ever had the pleasure of dining at, La Bussola, served as our destination on our first and last evenings. These guys had both the food and the service dialed like nobody’s business. (Just a note on the dress I’m wearing in the photo below: my next-door neighbor bought the same one! Isn’t that funny/weird? I guess that’s what happens when you find your fashion at Fred Meyer.) And finally, the picture of our apartment’s microwave is for all of you industrial design fans out there. Observe their clever use of Comic Sans font.

Wadadli Beer - AntiguaDinner at La Bussola - Runaway Bay, Antigua


Example of Comic Sans font in industrial design - Antigua

Finally, I’ll wrap this week’s post with a shot of our apartment building, taken from the water. No tropical trip is complete without a waterproof camera, and Francis swears by this one: Nikon Coolpix AW100. It’s not expensive, either. Notice that there’s only one person on the beach (me) — it was like that quite a lot of the time we were there. Quiet spots can still be found! The beaches of the world are not all overrun.

View of our apartment - Runaway Bay, Antigua

Join me for my next post on Antigua, when we actually LEAVE THE APARTMENT.

Have you spent any time in the Caribbean? Tell us your favorite Caribbean scene. Or queen. Either works. Just remember, no more love on the run.



  1. says

    Runaway Bay – what a wonderful name! It looks idyllic, can’t wait to read your next post, Laura!

    I spent a week in the Caribbean on a cruise, years ago (1993, I think) – on business, can you believe! I was PR director for a pharmaceutical retail group that had a biannual conference for all its pharmacists. My job was to look after the trade press journalists that accompanied us to report on the conference. Best memory: glass-bottomed boat trip, drinking rum cocktails (and yet I still managed to remember it!) The next conference I went to with them after that was in Hong Kong. Well, it was a hard job, but someone had to do it….
    Debbie Young recently posted…Let There Be Light! – Casting Light on the Darkness of the Winter SolsticeMy Profile

    • Laura Zera says

      Any getaway to fun and sun is a good thing, no matter where! Glad you guys were able to do that. How/where did you find the hot deal — internet search?

  2. says

    Soooo pretty! Yay for Antigua and Fred Meyer fashion, not to mention visiting kitties. I actually had a Fred Meyer withdrawal stage when we moved to Charlotte and I had to start going to Target. I’ve never taken a warm weather winter get away, but I did work two winters in Florida and loved every minute of it. Coming back to Seattle must have been quite the shock!
    Jeri recently posted…JeriWB Blog Resolutions 2014My Profile

    • Laura Zera says

      Two winters in Florida?? Nice!! I always find that when I’m in places like that — sunny, warm, tropical — I think, “Wow, people really live like this all the time,” and then I wonder why we don’t! So yes, Seattle was a bit of a downer.

  3. April says

    The gecko & the cat both have a similar lazy glazed look in their eyes (guess you get that on Island time), only the cat is obviously imploring Francis “take me home with you” (except it must not know Seattle)! Beautiful pics, gonna look up the waterproof camera, been meaning to get one! Sigh, thanks for sharing!!

    • Laura Zera says

      I totally wanted to bring the cat home! It was a stray, the one kitten left from a litter that was still coming around (and its black-cat mama was spotted from time to time).

  4. says

    Oh Laura, absolutely gorgeous (both you and the scenery)! The two of you look so relaxed and that should be what a vacation is truly all about. By the way, you didn’t mention, how was it getting there?

    Thanks so much for sharing and I’m looking forward to reading/seeing more :)))
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    • Laura Zera says

      Oh my God, you’re right, I didn’t mention the trip down, which was not uneventful, unfortunately. An older (70-ish) woman was looking and sounding quite disoriented, and “problematic,” to me as we all boarded the plane in Miami. Francis quipped, “I hope she’s not sitting next to us,” and then I said, “I hope she doesn’t ground the plane.” Sure enough, an hour into the flight, she had a panic attack and the pilot decided to turn around and take her back to Miami. We landed heavy as we hadn’t burned enough fuel off yet, so there were fire trucks lined up along the runway as we came in. Luckily, the crew didn’t need to be changed, and we didn’t damage the landing gear, so we were back in the air within two hours. But that poor woman should not have been traveling alone!

  5. Deniece says

    oh my gosh! What a beautiful place. Thanks for sharing Laura – all apartments should have a kitty. I loved that.

    • Laura Zera says

      The caretaker wasn’t too happy when I showed him a photo of the kitty sleeping in our apartment, though! I hope he doesn’t chase it off. Poor little thing was so happy to have a soft, quiet place to sleep (I mean on the chair, not dissing Francis’s belly… ha!).

    • Laura Zera says

      Thanks, Chris! I surprise myself sometimes with how fascinated I can be by a bird or a lizard. I can watch them for ages. Part of that “do nothing” talent that some of us have. :P

  6. says

    Laura, thank you for this beautiful post! For a few moments, I was there! I love the Caribbean, though it’s been awhile since I visited. I spent my honeymoon in St. Thomas and St. John and made dive trips to the Caymans and San Salvador. I also did a photo shoot in Punta Cana, DR. But I’ve always wanted to go to Antigua. Maybe now’s the time to plan a trip! Love the photo of the two of you, by the way. You look so happy! Looking forward to Part Two! x Laura
    Laura Whitfield recently posted…Living in the Tension (or what to do when you’re terrified)My Profile

    • Laura Zera says

      Okay, I am not kidding when I tell you that I had JUST been thinking about you and Liz and then within minutes, your comment showed up!! I was thinking about volunteering trips to Africa because a friend from Africa had posted a piece that really gives them/the volunteers a bad rap and I was thinking about how to respond to it.

      You’ve been to some great places! I haven’t been to any of the ones you listed, but I will say that I’ve heard Antigua gets pretty high marks from the ‘experienced Caribbean traveler.’ So yes, go!

      Thanks for your comment and kind words, Laura. Be well and I hope your year is off to a great start.

  7. says

    Runaway Bay sounds like the perfect name to runaway from every day life.

    Great pictures! I’m so jealous of those beaches and sunrise/sunsets. There’s something about water that makes my mind wander and think about an assortment of things.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Denise Baer recently posted…Expect the Unexpected!My Profile

    • Laura Zera says

      Hi Denise, I’m with you, just put me near some water, and I’m happy. I’ve never been a fan of “land-locked!” Sorry to make you jealous (but I had fun, and that’s what counts, isn’t it? HA!) and thanks for stopping by.

  8. says

    Laura, the view from that deck is so gorgeous. They wouldn’t have been able to dislodge me when the week was up. I would have feigned inability to understand what the staff were saying, or possibly a broken leg… anything to stay there and keep lookin’ at that!

    And I also feel so badly for that poor woman with the panic attack. My aunt has not been able to see her family in another city for that very reason, too anxious to fly alone, no one to fly with. But glad you landed safely!
    Belinda Pollard recently posted…How to get that book written this yearMy Profile

    • Laura Zera says

      Ha, feigning inability to understand would be pure comic gold, considering everyone speaks English! And yes, that poor woman, I hated the idea of leaving her alone back in Miami, too! I wonder who she called, if she went home or to the hospital, if she ever made it to Antigua…

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