Antigua & Barbuda

Capital:
St John’s

Currency
East Caribbean Dollar

Best time to visit:
All year round

In a word:
Fire a grog (drink rum)

Vaccines
None

Essential experiences:
Swim among the stingray city races; Spend a day at each of the 365 islets (for a year!); Barbecue on Sunday afternoon at English Harbor

The jewel of the Antilles

In the Small Antilles, among the outermost of the Caribbean Sea, it has always been a land of contradictions, where five-star resorts and villages of wooden houses contrast.

The Antigua tourist board informs tourists that the island has 365 beaches, "one for each day of the year". The number would perhaps be verified, this does not mean that the beaches of Antigua are really numerous and among the most beautiful in the Caribbean, with coral reefs and wrecks for snorkelling and diving. The island also fascinates for the pleasant colonial atmosphere that emanates from the old stone mills, from the ancient sugar cane plantations abandoned by time and from the totally renewed naval base of Nelson's Dockyard (an arsenal that takes its name from the illustrious Horace Nelson). The nearby island of Barbuda, located 40 km north of Antigua, is an ideal observatory to follow the flight of the mythical frigates and a lovely place to dine side by side with the VIPs in some of the most beautiful Caribbean resorts. [taken from the Lonely Planet]

Discover the Caribbean in 2 minutes (Video)

St Jonh's (Antigua & Barbuda)

Antigua is considered the jewel of the small Antilles, so named by Columbus in honor of Santa Maria la Antigua, the Virgin he adored in Seville. The island still retains a traditional character especially in some districts of Saint John's (the capital) outside the tourist complexes.
The architecture is very lively and the music punctuates the moments of everyday life to the rhythm of reggae and calypso played by local bands that use improvised percussion instruments made from oil barrels.

In Antigua, life is a beach. Its irregular coast is surrounded by hundreds of splendid coves, bathed by magnificent blue waters, while sheltered bays have given shelter to everyone, from Admiral Nelson to pirates and boaters.
If you can get up from the towel, you will find that the island has a distinctly English accent. You will find it in St John’s, the bustling capital, in the charming seaside town of English Harbor, in the historical forts and other vestiges of the colonial past.

But Antigua is also a Caribbean island par excellence, full of pastel-colored villages, a relaxation filled with rum and people with lively eyes ready to greet you with a broad smile.

Further contributing to the magical atmosphere of Antigua are the old stone windmills, which have become the island's symbol and scattered in large numbers among the abandoned sugar cane plantations: don't miss the ancient mills of the Betty's Hope plantation with its small museum.

Antigua is an island of "British" imprint: an English colony led by Captain Nelson, a bitter enemy of pirates! It is fundamentally an island for the rich, but it is also opening up to less demanding tourism with beautiful facilities directly on the sea and with a good proposal to stay both in B&B and in all inclusive.

Dickenson Bay. It is one of the dream beaches we recommend. Easily accessible directly from the port with local city buses, this place is truly a dream! Characterized by an ancient liberty style pier with a white beach that looks like talcum powder and the possibility of renting umbrellas and sunbeds to spend a few hours in pleasant relaxation.

Long Bay, a tranquil reef-protected bay. The sea is turquoise and deep blue, offshore, ideal for snorkelers. The beach is very popular, also because it is in this bay that the Indian Town Point is located, one of the most spectacular landscapes of all Antigua where it is possible to admire the Devil's Bridge, the Devil's Bridge, a natural rock arch always beaten from the waves of the Atlantic.

If life is a beach in Antigua, but if that's not enough, Barbuda is a real beach: a smooth stretch of pink-veined sand that emerges from the coral-covered seabed. The birds and in particular the frigates, from the unmistakable direction, are far more numerous than the people who live on this dream Caribbean island. 

Antigua's tiny sister is the island where you go when you want to get away from it all. And we really mean everything: internet, TV, telephone, water sports, nightlife and more. But don't worry: the extraordinary beaches and the crystalline and turquoise sea will touch you in the soul and will make you forget in an instant all the trappings of civilization

St. John’s. Capital and commercial center of Antigua, it has about 36,000 inhabitants, almost half of the island's total population. The tourist activity is mainly concentrated around the two large complexes facing the harbor: the Heritage Quay, cruise ship terminal and home to modern facilities, including a hotel, a casino and dozens of duty-free shops; and the Redcliffe Quay, an ancient site of the slave market and current citadel of wooden huts and old restored stone buildings that house shops, art galleries and restaurants.

Among the monuments, not to be missed is the majestic Anglican Cathedral of Saint John's, reached via Church Street. Dating back to 1681, the splendid church represents, thanks to its high spiers, the highest point of the city. From here, heading towards the southern end of the capital and taking Market Street, you cannot miss a visit to the quaint market.  

Go hunting for exotic local products such as hibiscus, black pineapple and cinnamon apple along with the more familiar lime, banana, mango and eggplant at the bustling market of St John's, which spills over onto the surrounding streets on Friday and Saturday mornings. It's fun to go there to browse the stalls, have a snack, or watch the bustle of people. Let your nose guide you to the fish market next to the bus station. If you wish, you can have your fish filleted. 

Walking we learn life, walking we know things, walking we heal the wounds of the day before. Walk looking at a star, listening to a voice, following in the footsteps of other steps. Walk looking for life, healing wounds left by pain. Nothing can erase the memory of the journey traveled.

Rubén Blades

The sea awaits us, our adventure continues and soon we leave again, this time destination: St Vincent & Grenadines!

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