It’s easy to see why this West Indies oasis is so popular.
From rum punch and vibrant colours, to charming local hospitality and the impossibly bright blue aquamarine ocean that draws tourists season after season. Welcome to the land of 365 beaches, one to be explored for every day of the year.
First and foremost, Antigua is the destination for those craving ultimate relaxation, and who want to embrace the slower pace of island life. It’s a veritable feast for beach lovers, but if you can tear yourself away for a few hours, there’s also plenty to discover in this tropical oasis.
The other good thing is that British and American tourists do not require a visa for Antigua, as long as you have an onward flight booked.
Best Time to visit: December to May. Hurricane season continues from June to October, but September is the worst, so is best avoided.
Get to know St Johns, Antigua’s technicolour capital
St John’s is the bright, candy-coloured capital of Antigua. Built by British traders 150 years after Christopher Columbus discovered the island.
At John’s feels like a theme park or wonderland. The colours, the music, the brightly painted plantation shutters and iron roofs. Old shop fronts, with their bright yellow, pink and orange shutters line the quayside, and have been redeveloped into cafes, bars and restaurants.
The south-east corner of the island offers Half Moon Bay, a National Park five minutes’ drive from Freetown village. The more peaceful beaches are hidden away in the less developed, hilly south-west of the island where you find the secluded Darkwood Beach and Fryes Bay.
You can spend a whole afternoon touring the ramparts and the harbour’s historic military fortifications.
Snorkel with wild Stingrays in Stingray City
For marine animal lovers, Stingray City Snorkel Adventure will be the highlight of the holiday. Here you can really get up close with the local Antiguan wildlife. Swim and feed some of these unique and gentle marine animals, who despite being wild, are pretty accustomed to human contact.
The tour takes you out to a stingray-populated sandbank in the middle of the Caribbean ocean (and only reachable by boat). As soon as you arrive you will have the chance to interact with them, stop for selfies and feed them squid. Certainly an experience not to be missed.
Take a rainforest canopy tour
While most people think of palm trees, silky white sand beaches and turquoise ocean as far as the eye can see when they think of Antigua. Not many are aware of its tropical rainforest.
There are plenty of dive operators around the island, with boats going from all the main ports. Here you can see angelfish, parrot fish, barracuda, nurse sharks, turtles and dolphins. But a trip to the rainforest reveals a different side of the island. Learn about the plants, flora and fauna that keep the rainforest thriving after the damage of the island’s rainforests many years ago during the sugar plantation boon.
Travel up the scenic Fig Tree Drive and begin at the Fig Tree Studio Art Gallery, a terrific pitstop which showcases arts and crafts from local, Caribbean artists. Here, you can also take guided rainforest walks and even zipline tours.
The most untouched (or least touched) landscape on Antigua is to be found at Wallings, just off Fig Tree guide.
Hop over to Barbuda for the afternoon
Only a 20-minute flight away, or an hour and a half boat ride away. Barbuda is Antigua’s younger sister island. Unlike its sister, however, it is virtually untouched by tourism. Only 15 miles long and 8 miles wide, the island is rocky and very flat, covered in rugged unmarked roads and tracks.
Go here to experience authentic island life, discover beautiful, unspoilt beaches with pink and white sand. Get to meet the locals, stroll around the island and experience its unspoilt natural beauty.
Trip back in time to Admiral Nelson’s stomping ground
Be sure to visit Nelson’s dockyard, too. A UNESCO World Heritage site, once home to British warships (and Horatio Nelson himself). The only Georgian naval dockyard in the world, this is an excellent spot to dive into the fascinating history of Antigua.
This fascinating historic monument with its ruined forts is well worth a visit and was declared a national park in the mid 1980s.
Enjoy a spa day at Galley Bay
Ideal for newly-weds and couples, Galley Bay is an adult-only resort located in St Johns, set on one of the numerous stunning Antiguan beaches, Galley Bay. This secret hideaway dates back to 1964 and offers luxury Caribbean hospitality and cuisine. Much of the architecture was carried out by the French old master Gauguin.
Deluxe spa treatments include therapeutic massage, body wraps, facials and beauty essentials. The perfect way to take five after a day discovering lively St John’s.
Note: The Galley Bay Resort Spa and Hotel is reopening on October 14th 2020.
Always wanted to try Antigua, but want some tips on where to stay? Get in touch with Camel Collection today and we can help.
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