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Antigua is a stunning Caribbean island which offers year-round sun, picture-perfect beaches and a seemingly endless choice of luxury resorts such as Galley Bay and Blue Waters Antigua. It’s no surprise that it has been a firm favorite with celebrities over the years, from Princess Diana to Justin Bieber. Antigua and the neighboring island of Barbuda have some of the finest beaches in the world. Dickenson Bay, Pigeon Point Beach, Jolly Beach — from lively bar lined shores to tranquil white sands away from the crowds; there’s something for everyone. But Antigua holidays are not just for beach lovers. The island has plenty to offer those seeking a little adventure beyond the beach.
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1. Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
Antigua and Barbuda are surrounded by stunning coral reefs which attract snorkelers and divers from around the world. The water is warm and crystal clear — perfect conditions for underwater exploration. Marine life is plentiful and varied. There is also a number of shipwrecks to explore.
There are some good snorkeling spots which you’ll be able to access directly from your resort. Try Dickenson Bay, Halfmoon Bay and Long Bay. If you’re keen to try diving for the first time, check out one of the scuba centers on Jolly Beach. You’ll be in the safe hands of qualified instructors who are experienced planning scuba diving activities for beginner and advanced scuba divers. Stingray City is a great day out for families. Feed the stingrays, snorkel alongside them and have your picture taken as a souvenir of your experience.
More experienced divers might want to hop on a boat and venture out to the best snorkeling spots along the coral reefs. The Cades Bay Marine Park is the top choice for many divers.
2. Take a Driving Tour
Ask at your hotel about booking an organized tour that will show you the island beyond the beach. Chose from private or group tours. These are a great option if you’re seeking a little activity away from the sunlounger but don’t want the hassle of planning or driving yourself
For a little more freedom and adventure, hire a car and set off on your own. There’s a good chance your resort will have a car rental service, but you can also hire a vehicle at the airport. The island is only 14 miles long and 11 miles wide, so you can comfortably cover the entire island in a few hours if you want to. We’d suggest taking your time and planning your route to include those must-see places on your list. Be sure to visit the capital, St. John’s, which offers enough to keep you occupied for days — from museums and forts to beaches and boat cruises. The Donkey Sanctuary is a popular choice and you can support the great work they do. Stop off at the lookout point in St.Phillips village and take a moment to enjoy the stunning views across Willoughby Bay. Have lunch and a swim in Half Moon Bay, a beautiful stretch of beach with some great restaurants and bars. You’ll be spoil for choice when planning your route. If you’re on an all-inclusive holiday, it’s also worth checking at your resort if any local activities are part of your package. Be sure to plan these into your road trip!
3. Trek through the Rainforest
An Antigua holiday offers a rare opportunity to hike through the heart of lush rainforest, rich in flora and fauna unique to the region. There are numerous tour operators offering guided treks — this is certainly not a go-it-alone adventure! A professional tour guide will not only keep you safe but will plan a route that makes the most of your time. A popular route is around Walling’s Dam and up to Signal Hill. The climb may get your heart pumping, but the views at the top are well worth the effort.
If you really want to push the boat out, book a custom tour and make sure you get the exact experience you’ve dreamed of. You can often request for a delicious lunch too — you’ll certainly be ready for it after trekking through the forest.
4. Antigua Sailing Week
Antigua Sailing Week is one of the biggest events in the Antiguan calendar. If it’s important for you to plan your visit to coincide with this event, make sure to check the dates and book well in advance, as all resorts get extremely busy at this time of year. On average, the event attracts 5000 spectators! The event generally takes place in the last few days of April and runs into early May.
Antigua Sailing Week is a world-renowned regatta and has been running since 1967. On average, 150 – 200 yachts take part each year. Most of the action takes place in Falmouth Harbour, but the event takes over the whole island for a week. The racing series lasts five days. During this time expect nightly parties and a carnival atmosphere! Even if you’re not a sailing expert, it’s impossible not to get swept up in the action and excitement.
5. BBQ at Shirley Heights
Shirley Heights is a restored military lookout in the hills not far from Nelson’s Dockyard, which overlook English Harbour and Falmouth Harbour. Named after the governor who strengthened the island’s fortifications in 1781, this spot has become legendary for its spectacular view and sunset BBQ parties.
From 4 pm to 10 pm every Sunday, crowds of people gather to party as they watch the sun go down. There’s a fantastic mix of tourists and locals which creates a great atmosphere. However, this isn’t just a must-see for night owls. Visit in the afternoon and enjoy the beautiful views from the lookout’s highest point. It’s a great spot to take a memorable holiday snap with an awesome backdrop. Shirley Heights also offers the perfect fitness challenge for runners and hikers. Avoid the heat of the day and go for an early morning run before rewarding yourself with the delicious BBQ.
Antigua holidays are a fantastic choice for beach-lovers seeking perfect sandy beaches, luxury resorts and sunshine every day of the year. But it has so much more to offer beyond the beach. Our top five merely scratches the surface of all this beautiful Caribbean island has to offer. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure or unforgettable memories, consider Antigua for your luxury holiday this year and you won’t be disappointed.