This small Caribbean island is a popular haunt for the beauty of its beaches and the tranquility of its waters.
The low-lying Caribbean island of Antigua is celebrated for its year-round sunshine and numerous long stretches of white and pink sands. In fact the locals are fond of saying there’s a beach for every day of the year. At 108 square miles (280 square kilometers), Antigua is the largest of the Leeward Islands.
Most of Antigua is ringed by coral reefs providing snorkel and diving opportunities aplenty. Grab a snorkel and explore the huge reef in the shallow waters at Long Bay. Relax on the crescent-shaped Half Moon Bay, one of the prettiest beaches on Antigua. It’s also popular with windsurfers and surfers. Charter a yacht or dinghy and investigate the coastline for secluded coves and private beaches.
For a change of scenery explore some of Antigua’s interior. Take the Rainforest Canopy Tour and swing through the treetops on zip lines deep in the heart of Antigua’s rainforest. Discover more of the island’s diverse ecology, geology and biology by visiting any or all of its four national parks.
Navigate the rugged terrain of Devil’s Bridge and marvel at the natural limestone arch carved by the sea. Visit Nelson’s Dockyard, the largest of Antigua’s national parks. It houses the restored Georgian yard that was used by the British Royal Navy during the 18th and 19th centuries. Visit the Dockyard Museum, located in the former home of Admiral Horatio Nelson, and view exhibits that chart the dockyard’s history. Go for a walk along the park’s hiking trails that lead you through tropical fauna and past old forts dotting the landscape.
At the northern end of the island is St John’s, the capital of Antigua. It’s a lively city with bars, restaurants and shops. Cruise ships dock in the natural deep water harbor so the area is normally full of visitors. Pop into the cathedral, learn about the island’s history at the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda and check out the farmers market on Friday and Saturday mornings.
The most convenient options to move around the island are taxi and rental car. You will need a permit to drive on the island in addition to a valid driver’s license from your own country. The permit is valid for three months and there is a small fee to pay. Rental agencies will be able to assist you with obtaining one. Alternatively, use the bus system.