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Antigua

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Antigua has plenty to offer its visitors. The island has an easy-going charm, some of the Caribbean's best beaches and incredibly friendly people.

A former British naval base, you will find colonial character, brightly coloured buildings, historic forts to explore and luxury yachts in the harbour.

Our selection of highlights for Antigua

Watch a steel band concert at Shirley Heights

View of English Harbour from Shirley Heights, Antigua

View of English Harbour from Shirley Heights, Antigua

Islanders and visitors alike flock to Shirley Heights to enjoy this Sunday afternoon tradition. This restored garrison, with its magnificent panoramic views of English Harbour, Montserrat and Guadeloupe, comes alive with the island’s biggest barbecue and steel band concert. Whether you choose to eat here or not, simply come and enjoy the magnificent sunset, the music and a few glasses of the island’s potent rum punch. 

Later when the steel bands have completed their set, things start to heat up with the sounds of reggae and lively dancing. While we recommend coming on a Sunday to enjoy the party, you can also climb to Shirley Heights, any time, via the Lookout Trail, a nature trail through the forest that originates at English Harbour.

Snorkel the reefs of Barbuda

Barbuda beach, Antigua and Barbuda

Snorkel or dive among the shipwrecks on the reefs just offshore

Take a boat over to Barbuda, Antigua’s little sister. Known for its pristine 17 mile stretch of pink sand beach it is also an eco-lovers paradise offering complete Caribbean escapism. It’s sparsely populated and largely undeveloped, with waters that are perfect for snorkelling and diving amongst the many shipwrecks on the reefs just offshore. Spend a day exploring the reefs and the gorgeous beach, or take a tour to the Frigate Bird Sanctuary across the lagoon. 

Explore Fig Tree Drive

Fig tree lined road in Antigua

Fig tree lined road in Antigua

Antigua's most picturesque drive meanders from the low central plain of the island up into the ancient volcanic hills of the Parish of Saint Mary in the island's southwest quarter. The road isn’t the smoothest, but it's worth the bumpy ride. It passes through an area of lush vegetation and rainforest and rises to the steep farmlands around Fig Tree Hill (figs are what Antiguans call bananas) before descending to the coastline again. Along the way are banana, mango, and coconut groves, as well as a number of old sugar mills and pleasant little churches. 

Visit Nelson's Dockyard and English Harbour

Nelson's Dockyard, Antigua

Nelson's Dockyard, Antigua

The only Georgian naval dockyard in the world, Nelson’s Dockyard takes its name from Admiral Nelson, who served on the island for three years. This fascinating historic monument with its ruined forts is well worth a visit and was declared a national park in the mid 1980s.  Short hiking trails through the hills lead to great views. Picturesque English Harbour offers beautiful views dotted with gleaming yachts, especially during sailing weeks, as well as a good choice of cafés, restaurants and shops.

Take a helicopter ride over volcanic Montserrat

Volcanic Montserrat - ideas for your free time, Antigua

Take a helicopter ride over volcanic Montserrat

Take a day trip to the volcanic island of Montserrat to discover its volcanic landscapes, mountain trails and views of the smoking plume of the volcano, active since 1995.  Visit the observatory where scientists study the volcano or take a helicopter ride over the island.

Watch turtles between June and December

Hawksbill Turtle, Antigua

Hawksbill Turtle, Antigua

From June to December, three species of turtles lay their eggs on the island: Green turtles, Hawksbill turtles and Leatherback turtles. Sadly all three species are endangered but the Environmental Awareness Group of Antigua and Barbuda is working with local conservationists to monitor and protect the turtles. The group arranges supervised turtle watches led by trained, volunteer guides in season.

Watch fleets of yachts in Sailing Week

Sailing Week, Antigua

Sailing Week, Antigua

Antigua is always popular with sailors for its favourable trade winds and multitude of harbours to explore. However Sailing Week, held in April or May, is one of the largest events on the international sailing calendar.  There are great look-out points around the island for spectators to watch the fleets of gleaming yachts while English Harbour and Nelson’s Dockyard are the central point where crews gather at the end of the day. The Classic Yacht Regatta, held in April, is also a great chance to see some beautiful traditional sailing craft.

Watch cricket, Antigua's national sport

Cricket by the sea, Bathsheba, Barbados

Cricket by the sea, the nation's favourite pastime

Cricket is Antigua’s national sport and the island has produced many world-renowned cricketers over the years.  International and regional matches sell out quickly but you can watch local matches all over the island in the evenings and at weekends.

Dive Antigua's colourful reefs

Snorkelling at Green Island, Antigua

Snorkelling at Green Island, Antigua

Antigua’s reefs offer excellent diving with easy access, with many sites less than 15 minutes’ boat ride away.  The dives are mostly shallow but divers are rewarded with colourful reef fish such as parrot fish and angelfish as well as nurse shark.  

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