I’ve been to many islands in the Caribbean throughout my travels, but none has captivated my heart quite as much as Antigua.
My first trip was a one day stop on a cruise. While it gave me a taste of what this beautiful country has to offer, it also made me realise how many more days this island deserved. I have since been back many times.
Whilst the island is small, it’s only 14 miles long and 11 miles wide, it has a wealth of history to offer including the amazing English Harbour and Nelson’s Dockyard.
If you’re up for a party Shirley Heights is a must on a Sunday evening. Not only do you get great music and rum punches you get one of the best views of the island.
English Harbour, on the island’s southeast coast, served as an important British naval base in the 18th century. In fact, it’s still home to Nelson’s Dockyard, a restored colonial naval station, and the harbour and the nearby village of Falmouth still attract boats…just of a very different kind.
English Harbour now plays host to a number of world class sailing and yachting events each year, including those held during Antigua’s Sailing Week, a regatta that takes place around the end of April, beginning of May each year.
In December the island is also home to one of the world’s largest superyacht shows. It’s easy to see why Antigua is appealing to sailors and aspiring boaters alike.
Shirley Heights is a magnificent place, originally serving as a military lookout. It offers stunning views of English and Falmouth Harbours, and it’s also the spot to be on Sunday nights when it turns into something of a party hot spot.
You’ll find Caribbean and reggae music, local barbeque and some of Antigua’s best rum punch.
Antigua prides itself on having 365 beaches, one for every day of the year. Without a doubt, they are some of the prettiest beaches I have ever seen.
From Dickenson Bay, at the heart of Antigua’s resort community, lined with white sand and bordered by pristine turquoise water, to Long Bay Beach where you can snorkel with some of the most vibrant sea life you’ll find off the island.
Long Bay Beach is also home to the natural wonder known as Devil’s Bridge, on the easternmost part of the island. This natural rock arch was formed by thousands of years of coral reef formation and erosion from the Atlantic Ocean, which has crashed into the limestone over time.
Speaking of snorkelling, if communing with wildlife is your thing, Antigua will keep you coming back for more. Eco tours are popular here and I can personally recommend the services of Adventure Antigua who provided me with possibly the best Caribbean eco tour I have ever been on.
Our guide filled our minds with fascinating facts about the history and ecology of the area, while we zipped around the clear waters, learning about the islands, reefs and mangroves we passed.
We saw countless nesting herons, turtles and bright orange starfish in the waters near Jumby Bay, and that was just before lunch. After lunch, which was a delicious, home cooked meal, we headed out to snorkel around a magnificent coral reef before taking in a bit more adventure around Hell’s Gate. This remarkable natural rock formation with its caves and natural jacuzzi is simply amazing.
For those who prefer to remain on land, the old Antigua Recreation Ground, while no longer in use, still remains a historic stop for cricket fans as it’s where Brian Lara got his 400.
The great Viv Richards also hails from Antigua and the newer Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound Antigua is named in his honour.
Whatever your desire, Antigua has something to offer. From history to ecology, friendly people and stunninging views. The island is a paradise not to be missed and one you’ll likely want to return to over and over again.
If you liked this then check out: