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New York Daily News uncover thrilled adventures in Antigua

The island of Antigua offers much more than simply hundreds of beaches for fun in the sand and surf. From zipping through the rainforest hundreds of feet above the ground to snorkelling with stingrays and dodging massive waves you're sure to uncover plenty of thrill seeking adventures in this unique Caribbean setting.

New York Daily News uncover thrilled adventures in Antigua

While many travellers may envision that life in Antigua revolves around laid-back lounges on the beach at least one recent visitor advocates there’s plenty to do to get your heart racing and your adrenaline pumping. Author Gina Pace recently laid out her suggestions in an article posted on the New York Daily News website.

Pace says she found the biggest thrills on the island in places high above the treetops and out on the surf. While much of the island was cleared generations ago to make room for sugar plantations she notes you’ll still find some of Antigua’s native rainforest still growing along the southwest coast.

The author chose to see the rainforest in an exhilarating way through Antigua Rainforest Zip Line Tours. While the tours start at less than $80 she notes you can also choose faster and longer zip lines, with the biggest adrenaline boost coming from a more than 300-foot long zip line called “The Screamer”, stretching hundreds of feet above the ground. It costs another $10 to add on a ropes course.

After this adventure Gina headed to popular Dennis Cocktail Bar & Restaurant, about a 20-minute drive away. Looking down upon Lil Ffryes Beach and Ffryes Beach she describes watching tourists make their way to the restaurant via small rowboats from their charter boats at lunchtime, joining locals for delicacies such as $25 shrimp with garlic sauce and coconut and $19 curry goat.

While admitting it was tempting to simply stay and lounge at the beach afterwards she was also drawn to try out paddle boarding. She chose to experience this at the Blue Waters Resort in the capital city of St. John’s. About a 15-minute drive from the airport, the location has three beaches with kayaks that hotel guests can borrow plus sailboats and paddleboards that are rented out. Resort rates start at around $340 a night.

The author selected a beginner’s paddleboard, life jacket and an oar. With some instruction and tips on keeping her balance by focusing on the horizon she headed out. While she admits she picked up a few bruises falling off it was a good workout.

The resort’s on-site water sports team also books day tours for snorkelling at local coral reefs. Pace chose a short excursion to Fort Barrington, the site of British ship wreckage from the early 1900s. Unfortunately the weather prevented the tourists from any underwater exploring this particular day.

The next morning however proved more fruitful when she went swimming with stingrays through Stingray City Antigua. While nervous about getting stung she quickly learned the animals only react in this way out of defence and the tour group would be feeding the stingrays a snack of raw squid from a shallow pool. While a bit startling at first to be bumped by the three-feet wide fish she soon found them to be gentle creatures. Her tour group learned how to make the stingrays feel relaxed, too, then moved on to snorkelling with sea urchin, yellowtail snapper and even an angelfish in a reef not far away.

The next excursion was about 20-minutes away at Devil’s Bridge. Naturally formed by ocean waves, some people choose to walk along the jagged rock bridge. It’s filled with blowholes pushed out by the strong waves below. Now hungry from her adventures the author and her companions stopped to snack on grilled corn on the cob and then purchased fresh mangos from roadside stands. They took these back to the resort to eat, followed by a sunset stroll on the beach.

No matter your adventure, the author suggests several ways to get around the small island. Some hotels provide their guests transportation to popular tourist sites or you can hire a daily driver yourself, which may actually cost less than a cab if you plan on making lots of stops. You can also choose to rent a car but an SUV may be a good choice since some of the island’s roads are a bit rough.

Located in the West Indies, this tourist destination is popular with cruise ships and with air travellers. Direct, round-trip flights from JFK Airport to Antigua are especially reasonable with both American Airlines and JetBlue offering rates starting at $280 in the off-season.

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