The Caribbean island of Antigua, and its dependency Barbuda, has a chequered history of colonisation by peoples including the Siboney, Arawaks, Caribs and, ultimately, the British who arrived in the 17th Century to establish a sugar cane industry. Clues to this rich heritage can be found dotted all around the stunning islands, from standing stones and defensive towers to Nelson’s Dockyard and the iconic English Harbour. As the tourist authority’s logo affirms, ‘The beach is just the beginning’ for visitors to Antigua and Barbuda.
Antigua and Barbuda are located in the middle of the Leeward Islands in the Eastern Caribbean. With warm, steady winds, a coastline of natural harbours and unspoilt beaches and a nearly unbroken wall of coral reef, it’s no surprise that it they have become a magnet for holidaymakers. Antigua is the main island where the majority of the tourism infrastructure is found, while Barbuda is largely undeveloped. The climate is truly inviting too, with average annual rainfall of just 45 inches and steady year-round warm temperatures; Antigua is also the sunniest of the Eastern Caribbean islands.
Holidays in Antigua would be incomplete without enjoying a sporting activity and there is certainly plenty to choose from. If you know in advance what you’d like to do we can easily arrange everything in advance; alternatively the concierge at your resort will be only too happy to organise equipment, tuition or anything else you need to enjoy the activities on offer.
Antigua Sailing Week (29 April to 5 May 2017) is a world-renowned international sailing regatta which in 2017 will be celebrating its 50th anniversary. Packed full of dramatic races and plenty of luxury yachts to admire, this is a week-long party of sporting prowess on the high seas.
Cricket is also big here, not least since the island was the birthplace of Viv Richards, one of the best batsmen cricket has ever seen. Cricket fans can enjoy two One-Day Internationals when England play the West Indies in Antigua in early March 2017, so book your seats now!
Diving and snorkelling abound thanks to the huge variety of dive sites, from the stunning coral reef to the numerous shipwrecks which surround the islands. Whether you’re an experienced diver or a first-time snorkeller, there is a beautiful underwater world to be discovered.
Antigua is made for hiking. With many miles of trails and paths criss-crossing the island, you can go on a guided tour or explore on your own and marvel at the breath-taking scenery. The view from Shirley Heights is unrivalled while Green Castle Hill is dotted with mysterious volcanic rock formations. You can even go underground and explore the caves and sink holes which dot the islands.
If you fancy exploring at higher speed, you can now take part in an off-road buggy tour, which is sure to get your adrenalin pumping! For a similarly exhilarating ride by sea, Thriller Tours speedboats will whisk you off around the islands’ coastlines.
Those looking for a more sedate pastime for holidays in Antigua will still find plenty to enjoy. Painting classes, Caribbean cookery courses, yoga in the park or just reading a book on the beach will be sure to recharge your batteries. Hotels such as Blue Waters or Hermitage Bay are the perfect place to relax and unwind in the lap of luxury or you can even escape to a private island off the coast of Antigua and stay at Jumby Bay.
If it is the beach you are after, then Barbuda’s unspoilt and sparsely populated coastline promises miles of beautiful pink sand and turquoise waters which you can usually enjoy all by yourself. At just 15 miles long and eight miles wide, the small population is centred on the island’s only village of Codrington.
A nature lover’s paradise, Barbuda boasts all kinds of wildlife not seen on other Caribbean islands, including deer and wild boar, land turtles and guinea fowl, but most famously of all it is home to the distinctive frigate bird. The Barbuda Frigate Bird Sanctuary, reached by boat in Codrington Lagoon, is home to more than 170 species of birds and a population of over 50,000 frigate birds, making it a must-see for nature lovers and bird watchers.
We can arrange a day visit to Barbuda from Antigua or organise a few days’ stay on the island for those who really want to get away from it all and indulge their passion for the natural world.
As you can see, these gorgeous islands have so much to offer the luxury traveller. We’d be delighted to talk to you about your options for holidays in Antigua and Barbuda, and since we have in-depth knowledge of the hotels and activities we can easily put together the perfect trip for you and your loved ones.