Antigua often gets the most love for its fabled 365 beaches. And trust us, those strips of white sand are tremendous. We’ve even tried to visit all 365. Including Antigua’s one nude beach! But, if beaching it is the only reason you intend to visit, you’ll miss out on a lot.
Antigua: The beaches are just the beginning
By far the best time of year to visit is during Antigua Sailing Week. This wild annual event features well over 100 yachts from all over the world. Even some of the world’s most awe-inspiring superyachts come to race. There’s also plenty of local sailing talent on display. And besides the action on the water, you can expect parties day and night. Top musical talent from around the world comes to Antigua during this week to put on a show.
Antigua also makes access to its rich British colonial history easy. Forts dot the landscape in some of the most picturesque locations. Nelson’s Dockyard (named for Admiral Horatio Nelson who made his base here), Fort Barrington overlooking the brilliant crescent of Deep Bay, Shirley Heights, Fort James, Fort Berkeley—they all welcome visitors to take a stroll through history. The capital city of St. John also has numerous historic elements dotted within and is worth exploring.
What to eat
And then there’s the food. Located as it is near the middle of the West Indies, Antigua is blessed with a blend of flavors from throughout the Caribbean islands. But it’s a blend that is uniquely Antiguan. You can get everything from local delights for just a couple EC (East Caribbean Dollar), family focused restaurants like Buba’s, fantastic seafood, and world-class international fare, too. And some of the best dinning options like Sheer Rocks offer sea views that are truly stunning.
And while you’re in Antigua, you must enjoy some English Harbour Rum. By far the best rum made on the island, it’s great neat, on the rocks, or providing the kick in a rerfreshing rum punch.
Where to stay
As for where to stay, well, here again, Antigua delivers practically anything your heart desires—from all-inclusives with local flare to chic villas. There are Budget-conscious offerings considerably better than they deserve to be. Plus, world-renowned resorts like Curtain Bluff, Blue Waters Resort and Spa, Galley Bay, St James Club, and Carlisle Bay deliver the height of Caribbean luxury and perks.
Don’t forget Barbuda
All that is before you consider that the country’s name is Antigua and Barbuda! With the rewards for those who take the ferry over to the smaller of the two islands being many. The most impressive, by far, though is Princess Diana Beach. This massive strip of pristine blindingly white sand has to be seen to be believed. And best of all, if you go soon, you may have it all to yourself.
About those beaches…
Yes, Antigua is world-renowned for it’s magnificent strips of sand, so we can’t completely discount spending some time enjoying the embarrasment of riches on offer. Some of our favorites include Love Beach, Long Bay Beach, Galley Bay Beach, and Darkwood Beach. You can’t go wrong on any of them, but if you really want to visit Patrick’s number one beach, you need to make your way over to Deep Bay Beach! It’s a one-of-a-kind arc of beauty that houses a shipwreck in its depths, has a fort overlooking it perfect for exploring, and hosts some of the best sunsets on the island.
Yes, hundreds of beaches, but the reasons to visit Antigua are so much more. Think adventure travel, some of the best sailing in the world, a vibrant music scene, delectable dining, and stunning accommodations. Oh, and did I mention the sweetest pineapple in the world? To see it all, we highly recommend you rent a car. Antigua is larger than you think!
No wonder they say “the beaches are just the beginning.”
Antigua’s VC Bird International Airport (ANU) offers plenty of direct flight options on a number of airlines. Many at great prices.