The man to see for water sports in Antigua is Tony Johnson. Antigua also is a good jumping-off spot for charter-plane investigations of small islands near by. Nevis, for example, is a dramatic island where Mrs. Mary Pomeroy has turned Nisbet, an old sugar plantation, into a charming five-room guesthouse ($20 for two). Anguilla, an island 16 miles long that is almost all virgin beach, has a simple hotel, the Anguillan, where two can sleep—and eat—for only $8 per day.
Just to the northeast of Antigua is Barbuda, where last year William Cody Kelly of Cincinnati opened, on a splendid crescent of protected beach, the most unusual sportsmen's resort in the West Indies—Coco Point Lodge. Here everything is made for hunting and fishing, and the $85-per-day fee for two includes meals, liquor, guides, tackle, skin-diving gear, guns, licenses, Land Rover and small boats. A 42-foot motor sailer is $150 per day, and a 30-foot sport fisherman, $80. There are 10 immaculate beach-front units. Fishing is for grouper, yellowtail, snapper, jack and marlin. Duck and guinea fowl are shot from now until April, dove and fallow deer (one per person), in the fall in the island's scrubby forest. There are 73 wrecks around the island for expert scuba exploring.
Leeward Islands Air Transport (LIAT) has special day-trip charter rates to most of these islands—to Nevis, for example, it is $102 for six people in a Bonanza.
MARTINIQUE AND GUADELOUPE
At last, at last, the French islands, particularly Martinique and Guadeloupe, are coming into their own. Yachtsmen who sail the Windwards and Leewards go to these islands to eat—and to admire the beautiful women. So should tourists, now that two sparkling hotels are open this season. The new one in Guadeloupe, the Caravelle, has 100 rooms, a casino and a beach at Sainte Anne. The rates are $42 to $46, with two meals. In Martinique the Cap Est, a 30-minute drive from Fort de France through cane and banana plantations, has 15 tile-roofed double cottages, two chefs from metropolitan France, a swimming pool and a beautiful beach. The Hotel Europe on the Savane features, in addition to a menu that would do the best Paris bistro proud, such Creole specialties as calalou—an herb soup—and crayfish, sea urchins and stuffed crab backs.
This chain of islands is described in Roy Terrell's article, beginning on page 18. Last month two resort hotels opened—the St. Lucia Beach and the Grenada Beach, doubling the room capacity of the entire area. They arc, like Antigua's Jolly Beach, part of the Caribeach group. Rates at both are $48 per day.
Since it has been as carefully cultivated as an English garden for the past 50 years (SI, Dec. 25, '61), the only thing really offbeat about this popular island is that nothing is.
This is where the folks from Trinidad go for a fine weekend, and BWIA runs what amounts to a shuttle of Bonanzas and DC-3s between the two. The spectacular beaches are lined with coconut palms, which this year arc striped with red, white and blue paint in celebration of Trinidad and Tobago's new independence. The crystal lagoons are full of bonefish and tarpon, and two or three miles out to sea are jack, mackerel, barracuda, snapper, dolphin. Unlike the fish in many other areas of the Caribbean, they will take a fisherman's lure, particularly when the fisherman is guided by Cecil Anthony, a genial fellow of enormous girth. From January to July, Cecil "chums" by planting bamboo buoys on which flying fish lay eggs—apparently caviar to tarpon. Cecil will rent you a small native boat, put-put outboard and tackle for $2 a day, or take a party of five out on his large boat for $40 a day. His guides also take groups out to Buccoo Reef, where in water only waist-deep (sneakers are a must for walking on the coral) all the glories of reef life can be watched through a faceplate.
Best place to stay is Arnos Vale, a group of cottages on a small cove, set in tropical gardens filled with orchids and hummingbirds. Rate is $38.
This big, noisy island can hardly qualify as a retreat, but it's not exactly in the mainstream either. There is good hunting in the jungles of the mountainous interior for deer, alligator, wild hog, duck and dove, but hunting is difficult for tourists to organize, as is boating and fishing. The biggest thing to happen to Trinidad in 1962, besides its independence, was the opening of the Trinidad Hilton, an upside-down hotel with lobby and pool deck on top of a hill, room levels spilling down the slopes below. The hotel overlooks Queen's Park Savannah, a large grassy plain surrounded by Italianate villas. Cricket, soccer and flat racing all take place here. One way to get away from the crowd during one of the year's eight six-day racing programs is to sit on a balcony at the Hilton and watch the races with binoculars, placing bets by telephone with any one of 17 different parlors. Another way is to go down to the docks some afternoon and hire a boatman to take you to the mangrove swamps, where you can watch clouds of scarlet ibis return to rest at sunset. The cosmopolitan character of Trinidad makes for better food than is to be found on most British-colonized islands. One place that specializes in such native dishes as leg of lamb roasted over a guava-wood fire is the Hilton's La Boucan room. Another is the Belvedere, an aerie overlooking all Port of Spain and across to the Venezuelan shore. Its Austrian proprietors turn high the recorded Viennese waltzes to drown the steel band at the Hilton far below and make a specialty of such Trinidad game as quenk (wild pig) and tatoo (armadillo).