I’m back from the most beautiful weekend in Antigua & Barbuda and ever since I made it back to Florida, I haven’t stopped speaking about going back! Before diving in, first things first it’s pronounced: Antigua, An-TEE’-ga!
As a fellow Caribbean native we learn about other islands in Gerography class, and all my life I have been taught to pronounce it as ‘An-TEE-ga’. Until I came across some tourists also on the flight to Antigua who spent 15 minutes (maybe even more) trying to convince me I was saying it all wrong. My entire world flipped upside down, and because I was outnumbered I started second guessing myself. But being the type of gal I am, the minute I made it off the plane, I asked just about every Aniguan I came across how to pronounce their countries name, and I quickly realized I should have never doubted myself! It’s Antigua [An-TEE-ga] & Barbuda! & well, if I am still wrong, I prefer to do as the locals do!
So I spent 3 full days in Antigua and I made use of every minute and every hour! I decided I was going to do as much as I could, see as much as possible and explore every nook and cranny. And thats exactly what I did. From candy-coloured villages, histoical sights, luxury resorts, rainforests, lagoons, sheltered bays and shimering, powdery beaches, Antigua and Barbuda truly won my heart over!
If you prefer the “hustle and bustle,” then Antigua & Barbuda may not be for you. But if you share an appreciation for tranquility and you’re looking to create sparks on an island getaway, Antigua will be your paradise. Here are 5 amazing things to do in Antigua!
Visit Nelson’s Dockyard
The history of this dockyard is what brings people here, but the setting— surrounded by hills and water, is the reason I think you should make an entire day of it. The entire Caribbean has a very colourful past and Antigua is no exception. The English Harbour and Nelson’s Dockyard is the last British naval fort from the 18th century colonial times. So there’s loads of history that lies within the dockyard.
The restored marina is also the centre of Antigua’s modern sailing industry and so is always filled with yachts, sailors and my favorite part, sunset drinking! Most of the old, stone buildings are intact, or have been restored, and they have been turned into museums, shops, bars and restaurants, galleries, and hotels that I think are much more comfortable than the bunk rooms that were present over 250 years ago.
Speaking of hotels, I actually was staying in the English Harbour, at the Copper & Lumber Store Hotel that sits directly next to the Dockyard Museum! If you’re into history and exploring, then choose a hotel on the northern side of the island. You won’t regret it!
Soak in the amazing views from Shirley Heights
After touring the Dockyard, you can enjoy panoramic island views from the ruins of Fort Shirley, perched on the hilltop at Shirley Heights. A restored military lookout and gun battery [you’ll see remnants of military fortifications all over], Shirley Heights is one of the most well-visited landmarks on the islands mostly because of the spectacular 360 degree views.
Not only are the sunsets from Shirley’s jaw dropping but imagine this scenery set to a backdrop of steel drums playing Caribbean flavored music, smoking meals and a great buzzing party atmosphere. Oh, and if you get there on a clear day before the sun goes down, you could see as far as Guadeloupe and the still-active volcanic Montserrat. I wasn’t able to see Guadeloupe the evening I visited but I definitely could see Monsterrat.
Go on an Island Safari
If you’re short on time I highly recommend an island safari tour to see as much of the island as possible. I think this tour is an amazing way to see the island if you opt not to rent a car. Plus, if you did rent a car, you would only have made it to only 2 places in a day and theres no way to learn much when traveling unguided.
With the Safari, not only are the guides knowledgeable of the history and culture of Antigua but you also see everything from beautiful beaches, the English Harbor, Shriley Heights, picturesque views of Devils Bridge and Betty’s Hope sugar plantation where you also stop for a delightful lunch. It’s an action packed day (6 hours total) that I guarantee will live on in your memories for eternity.
Go see Antigua’s little sister & her 17 Mile Beach
The ‘and Barbuda’ part gets left off Antigua and Barbuda most of the time. But the smaller island is worth the trip on a high speed catamaran. I guarantee you will probably never see a more ravishing stretch of sand, nor another foot print when you walk along Barbuda’s 17 Mile Beach. I must admit, as a fellow islander I wasn’t too keen on seeing any beaches, since Jamaica is ALWAYS voted amongst the best countries in the world with the most spectacular beaches. But the moment I laid eyes on the pale, aqua seas and the luminous powder-soft sand, my jaw dropped and I was stunned!
I’m so happy I took the 90 minute boat ride over to Barbuda (20 minutes by plane). Seeing the swaying palms trees, and taking a dip in the crystal-clear shores was perhaps the greatest highlight of my entire trip.
Visit the Bird Sanctuary
Though Antigua has a bird island that you too can visit by boat or kayak, if you manage to make it Barbuda visiting their bird sanctuary is a must. Barbuda has the second largest Frigate Bird Sanctuary in the world after Galapagos. These large sea birds are known for their large wings and their bright red-gullets.
Mating season happens to be in August for these birds, so I missed the real action by just a month! Nonetheless I was able ogle at these beautiful birds, along with several other species like, herons and pelicans.
All in all Antigua & Barbuda won me over! Though I hail from a beautiful island [which will forever be NUMBER 1], coming to Antigua has reminded me to be open-minded about the smaller islands in the Caribbean. Antigua and Barbuda has proven to me that they are easily one of the more beach-heavy destinations within the Caribbean. I mean her, the twin islands pretty much have a beach for every single day of the year. So chances are you’ll find a stretch of sand all to yourself. #WINNING!
I am so excited to visit this charming island once again and I hope I can bring my hubby along next time! Please enjoy my visual diary of my time spent in Antigua & Barbuda below. Talk Soon. Nuff Love, Natasha ♥
Thank you to the entire Fashion Formation Team for inviting me to your beautiful island! I definitely will be back ♥