Jolly Harbour Antigua with a Toddler

You get some very strange looks bathing a baby in an inflatable duck on the back of a yacht in Jolly Harbour. Not disapproving, more just surprised. You don’t see a whole lot of kids hanging around, let alone ankle biters. Although Antigua seems to be limited for marinas that provide water and electricity hook ups (water running out seemed much more concerning with a baby. But she might end up with salt on her! Might be more relaxed next time…), as a base, Jolly Harbour on the southwest of the island had pretty much all the amenities you could ever need.

Not that this originally was supposed to be our Antigua base – the skipper delivering the yacht from Guadeloupe, who would sail her back to France after we left, originally arranged to give us the boat in Falmouth Harbour. He seemed genuinely surprised not to get a berth there during Sailing Week and last minute asked us to meet on the other side of the island instead. Our cottage for night one was overlooking this lovely bay, English Harbour (photo below), just on the other side of a hill from Falmouth. Oops.With an infant, I must admit, being next to the supermarket was probably better than being next to the kick-ass party. Ah, how life changes.


What’s Great About Jolly Harbour?

An American supermarket!! All the Welch’s grape soda, Trix breakfast cereal and Fudgsicles we could take. It turns out 4 adults cannot eat 24 Fudgsicles before they melt in 35 degree heat without a freezer, especially when 2 of the adults did not spend their childhoods’ woofing these things, but it was worth a shot. We found all the food we could want here and all the baby supplies. There’s a fresh counter for lunch meats and things and they stock things like Pampers. If you are coming from the UK and used to squeezy pouches of wholesome baby food with only proper ingredients, I would advise taking food with you still. We thankfully did. Weasel was eating bread, purée and the odd bit of solid food at this point, but we wouldn’t have been comfortable giving her the glass jars of US import stuff with additive after additive. It was a bit of an eye-opener.


A pool! It is a private pool that you pay for, and we didn’t end up going, but we did sit at the sports bar next door debating it on our last day. It’s worth a shot if you have older kids to cool off. The shot below has the pool in the background and the best toy ever – mustard packets!


A pharmacy: It’s one of those pharmacies you only find in tropical countries that stocks a slightly sun-damaged everything seemingly imported straight from 1972. Calamine lotion (heat rash – poor Weasel, a winter baby, had never seen warm weather let alone hot) and yet more sun block were definitely needed and purchased here.

Bars and Restaurants: There are a couple on the grounds of the marina itself, although some were oddly shut (possibly shutdown) whilst we were there. The best one was a short walk away, right on the beach, called Castaways. It’s fantastic at night for dinner (didn’t seem too noisy or raucous for a toddler) and during the day.




Coffee Shop – top of my priority list: Oh yes, there is a fantastic replacement for Starbucks complete with air conditioning. It’s called Starfish Espresso and everything about it is a Starbucks rip-off. You get all the Starbucks goodness but with the added bonus of ‘sticking it to the man’. Awesome. Here’s Weasel looking very unimpressed in there. BTW – Antigua was where I realised why clothes from the US some with little nappy covers. In the UK they’re never without thick tights, so it never made any sense!



What is missing? Better facilities for people moored there. The toilets and showers weren’t that great. And if we were having dinner there in one of the restaurants, we had to walk all the way back onto the boat (or find a quiet bench round the corner) to change Weasel. I know it sounds stupid, it’s tropical right? But I just felt bad if it was a night, if there were people close-by or if there was a smell escaping from her lower regions that could clear a beach.

The Jolly Harbour owner did walk past us one day (conveniently next to a picture of himself on a board, I don’t just know what the dude looks like, I’m not that weird) and I made sure to talk loudly about how I wish there was more shopping and nicer facilities for berth holders. There’s some vain part of me that thinks he might just think about that when he’s planning his redevelopment.

Now for some random photos!


Here’s one of me where my post-baby body almost looks hot because it’s 500 metres away. No zooming in allowed.


The Weasel throne

Happy weasel

And lastly, an awesomely named car rental place for all your rental needs (ok, it’s in Falmouth, not Jolly Harbour, but I can’t resist posting)


Bon voyage!


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