Let me start by saying - for everyone of the bloggers and vloggers out there looking for a luxurious place to get some comp'd stays and excursions: best of luck to you. Antigua is known as the Honeymoon Capital of the Caribbean and is chock full of 5-star resorts, white sand beaches, lush hills, yachts, everything a newlywed couple (or anyone with a large bank account) could ask for. This place is also home to several prominent celebrities and general wealthy-folk - we personally saw the homes of Giorgio Armani, Oprah, Eric Clapton (his is insane, it's basically the entire cliff/mountain in the background of the photo below), and the spot Lionel Messi chose to spend his own honeymoon not too long ago.
With that being said, we weren't able to get the hotel sponsor we were hoping for, but managed to get what I think was an experience 100x more valuable than that: a couch surfer. After 3 hellish days in a rat infested, bug-ridden, no-running-water-having hotel in a small (but lovely) town called Five-Islands, I reached out to a guy named Kerry on Couchsurfing, who was more than happy to welcome us into his incredible home. He lives in Hodges Bay, a neighbourhood roughly 20 minutes Northeast of St. Johns, the capital city of Antigua. His home was on the edge of the island, and each night we fell asleep to the sound of the ocean crashing on the rocks beside us. His house was beautifully designed - himself being a prominent architect and his wife a renowned interior designer - and had a cozy beach vibe to it that wasn't over-done or tacky.
Kerry took our Antigua experience from 0-100 VERY quick. He picked us up in town, took us to the grocery store, made us lunch, and spent the next couple days taking us around the island. He had some on-site meetings with hotel developers and was kind enough to take us to these meetings, giving us every opportunity he could to show us the beautiful country-side, beaches, small villages, and plenty of the stunning homes and hotels he and his wife had designed together. This is what I love so much about Couchsurfing - we got to experience the REAL Antigua, not just the packaged version you buy off a brochure at an airport kiosk.
Antigua is definitely one of my favourite countries of the trip so far - it's simply paradise, offers so much diversity in it's neighbourhoods, and gives endless opportunities for adventure.
Next up we are off to St Vincent to reunite with the rest of the crew!