My favourite fact to share with people when they ask me about Antigua is that it has 365 beaches, one for every day of the year! However, the downside to that comes if someone were to ask me to recommend some to visit, because I can only remember the name of one out of the handful I stepped upon – better to be honest than steer someone in the wrong direction, right?! Half Moon Bay is the one that has been stuck in my head, probably because we had pretty much the entire place to ourselves! It is an idyllic beach that offers hideaways for shade, boulders for those IG shots and of course the infamous golden sands and azure waters the Caribbean has to offer, although the beach sits on the Atlantic facing side, so the waves can get pretty rough. We even bumped into a masseuse looking for clients to pamper on the beach outing. But that’s not all! Half Moon Bay was one of the filming locations for Pirates of the Caribbean (2003), where Captain Jack and Elizabeth are marooned.
Antigua and Barbuda were once under the British reign until they finally gained independence on November 1, 1981. From museums to historic buildings, there are still many pieces of the past showcasing the Island’s heritage. Set along English Harbour, Nelson’s Dockyard, where Admiral Horatio Nelson made his base in the 1780s, includes a marina and Dockyard Museum. Around the area, you’ll also find a vibrant nightlife with lively bars serving rum-based cocktails. Another place to visit where you’ll be transported back in time is the historical monument of Fort Berkeley. Predominantly used to protect English Harbour and the island of Antigua, Fort Berkeley was built in 1704 as part of a strategic defence network that ensured the safety of this beautiful island, housing an impressive array of cannon guns and a bombproof magazine for storing gunpowder.
You may have heard of the infamous Shirley Heights viewpoint, which offers the most incredible views over the entire island, where you can spend a Sunday evening eating and dancing away with locals and travellers alike. But, did you know that you can also begin a hike from this area?! There are several paths to take, but the most common one is The Lookout Trail. If you’d prefer to hike in reverse, take the gravel path from Galleon Beach (okay, maybe I did remember the name of another beach) leading up to the iconic viewpoint of Shirley Heights. Both trails offer closer, picturesque views of Nelson’s Dockyard. Antigua boasts luscious flora and fauna, making this the perfect activity for nature lovers. Be sure to carry extra mosquito repellent and water!
Antigua boasts a range of international cuisines including European, American and Indian. Just as in many of the other Caribbean islands, roti is considered delicious street food in Antigua. With a range of traditional and more Westernised dishes, as well as vegetarian and non-vegetarian options to choose from, or even a slightly different taste from the East, such as Indo-Chinese, your cravings will be satisfied by Chef Raju at his restaurant – New Taste of India! If you’d rather try something more fitting to the Island vibes, I highly recommend stopping at Sweet T’s, located along the main road in Falmouth, you cannot miss this brightly painted roadside eatery! On your visit, be sure to try one of their delicious hard shakes (an alcoholic milkshake), you will not be disappointed! Speaking of sweet things, a summer holiday is incomplete without an ice cream a day in my opinion. This is where Fred’s Belgian Waffles and Ice Cream parlour located in Redcliffe Quay comes in! What makes Fred’s stand out from the rest? He curates his ice creams and sorbets using real fruits, chocolate, herbs, raisins and coffee beans – to name a few. For those with a sweet tooth, choose from a range of ice creams, sorbet, waffles and milkshakes.
A Sailors’ Paradise
Offering warm, gentle winds, safe anchorages, turquoise waters and deserted white sand beaches, Antigua is said to be one of the most idyllic destinations to sail in the world! The winds between December and May bring stable weather conditions for exceptional sailing allowing Antigua Sailing Week (arguably one of the best regattas in the world) to run into the last couple of weeks in April, welcoming sailors from around the globe to enjoy a week of exciting racing in one of the Caribbean’s best sailing locations. On average, it can take between 5 days – 1 week to sail around Antigua, whilst stopping at different ports and points of interest. Whether you are an experienced sailor or not, there are plenty of companies offering sailing trips around Antigua, so be sure to check it out as an alternative travel experience!