A Private Island
Set on a 300-acre private Caribbean island a six-minute boat ride off the coast of Antigua, Jumby Bay is completely undisturbed by the outside world. It’s reachable only by boat (they’ll hook you up with a private transfer ferry), with no cars in sight, and nothing else on the island except the Jumby Bay resort itself. It’s one of the top Caribbean islands to put on your beach vacation circuit.
One week if you’re not going for the holidays, and ten days if you are. There is a minimum of a ten-day stay for Christmas and New Year’s – but rest assured, there’s plenty to do.
When to go:
During the winter months, hands down. Besides the fact that the island is closed for the summer and during hurricane season, the winter is also when the weather is most pristine.
The resort features forty different rooms and luxury vacation villas, spread across the island. Each villa (either three or four bedrooms) is steps away from the private, pristine white beaches, and each suite comes with unparalleled views of the Caribbean Sea – in fact, you have a view of the sea from pretty much any given spot on the Island. It’s a nice backdrop, to say the very least.
A Different Kind of All-Inclusive
Jumby Bay is also an all-inclusive experience, which means that once you set foot on the island, everything the sun touches it at your disposal. Complimentary cocktails, rum tastings, cooking classes, yoga classes, all the watersports (from hobie cats to wakeboarding), the Kids Club, and even the yacht trips which feature sunset cocktails at sea and snorkeling. If you can think of it, they probably have it, and it’s probably part of your pre-paid package.
Wine and Dine
The food is a whole separate experience. For most meals, you have a choice of four dining options. The Jumby Bay Veranda is an all-inclusive breakfast and lunch spot during the day. It transforms into a sophisticated beach-side Italian a la carte restaurant by night. The Estate House (which resembles a colonial home more so than a restaurant), features an 1830s bar. It has some of the finest European and Caribbean dining. Most nights of the week they have live music. The Estate House is only open for dinner and afternoon tea, and only by reservation, so plan accordingly.
On the more casual end is The Pool Grill, which is open for a la carte breakfast and lunch, skirting the oceanfront infinity pool. And for a day of grab-and-go, Jumby Bay recently opened The Beach Shack. As its name implies, it offers local street food. Most days there are lobster or chicken wraps, locally caught fish, and ceviche for your Caribbean lunch. But our favorite was the Tuesday night farm-to-table dinner – which is held on an actual farm. There’s no menu and only one large table. The waiters come around and serve you seafood and meat fillets that are so fresh, that they still think they have plans this evening.
During the daytime, though, you should bike to the farm anyway (all guests are equipped with beach cruiser bikes, all inclusive), especially if you are traveling as a family with children. Besides the berries and greens that are growing on the island, you can also pet the tortoises (and their babies), the chickens, and the rabbits. It’s worth it.
The staff are attentive and friendly – to the point where they leave hand-painted sea shells on your pillow every night (of which you will acquire enough to bring back as souvenirs to everyone you’ve ever met).
Other than that, it’s the Caribbean sun, free drinks, and the whole island is your oyster.