A Travel Guide to Antigua
Antigua and Barbuda are part of an L-shape of islands that form the West Indies. Antigua and Barbuda sit on the corner with Jamaica to its west, and the islands of Trinidad and Tobago - that sit off the coast of Venezuela - to its south. Antigua is the main island of the two and has been purposefully developed with tourists in mind.
There are 365 beautiful beaches - one for every day of the year. The temperatures are modest and rarely fall below 22°C in the winter and rarely rise above 32°C in the hottest season. There are also regular breezes: ideal for sun worshippers, surfers and sailors. If you arrive in Antigua towards the end of April to the beginning of March there will be many yachts bobbing on the Caribbean Sea ready for the annual race that globally attracts some of the world’s greatest sailing competitors.
The capital of Antigua is St John’s and a great place to stock up is at the quays of Heritage and Redcliff duty-free. Or visit the Saturday Morning Market where you can view a large variety of goods including fresh produce such as exotic fruit grown on the islands. It also sells handcrafted items making excellent souvenirs and memorabilia of your visit.
Many yachts find themselves moored up at the national park of Nelson’s Dockyard. It is the only continually working Georgian Shipyard named after the famous admiral who resided there for several years nearing the latter part of the 18th century. Its global uniqueness is due to its restored buildings and the treasure of its top class marina and the attraction of businesses that support the sailing fraternity. You can also charter a yacht to take you to Great Bird Island – a twenty acre islet home to endangered species of reptiles including the sole habitat of the Antiguan Racer – an indigenous snake.
There are scenic trails that meander alongside the Dockyard which will help visitors to understand its ancient prominence. The scenic splendour can also be viewed from above from the iconic military outlook of Shirley Heights. After the hard walk up visitors can chill and relax in the adapted buildings that now accommodate a bar and restaurant. There is also a party thrown there on Sunday evenings.
If you need a break from the sea there are other great activities such as horse riding, golf, tennis and even a series of zip wires that will speed you through the canopy of the rainforest. Or take a helicopter ride which will take you on a half hour tour encapsulating the island and include a trip to the nearby island of Montserrat and its active volcano in the Soufrière Hills. History buffs may want to visit the sugar plantation of Betty's Hope which also hosts a museum that details the lives of slaves that worked the mills.
There is a wide variety of self catering vacation rentals in Antigua ranging from luxury beach side vacation homes with private swimming pools to condos set in tropical gardens.