The fabulous coves down on the west coast of Antigua make magnificent sailing havens, none more so than the finger-like peninsulas at Jolly Harbour. An attractive, well-equipped marina provides excellent berths for some of the Caribbean’s most luxurious vessels in a spectacular setting. Modern, stylish waterside residences in tropical pastel colours have been smartly constructed to fit perfectly into the harbour design, many with their own little jetties right on the doorstep. The resort has its own 18-hole golf course as well as tennis courts and a sports centre and there are two beautiful beaches to choose from. Even if you haven’t arrived by yacht, it’s impossible to resist an opportunity to get out on the water and there are plenty of opportunities to do so with a variety of boat and catamaran tours available. In the evenings, the bars and restaurants around the marina come alive, with everything from Italian and Greek cuisine to Caribbean specialities and seafood.
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There are plenty of places to dine in St John's and a wide variety of cuisine, whether you're looking for local specialities or more internationally recognised food, there will be something for all tastes.
If you fancy trying some traditional Caribbean food, be aware that it can be typically spicy, but full of flavour! Locally caught fish and seafood including lobster, red snapper and shrimp are a common addition to the menu as well as barbequed chicken, usually accompanied by seasoned or spicy rice.
If you want to sample some true Antiguan dishes, lookout for the following on the menu:
Ting is a deliciously refreshing grapefruit drink you will often see in cafes in Antigua, and you may have heard of ‘English Harbour’ – a famous brand of rum which is distilled here on the island. Antigua also has its own beer called Wadadli, a type of lager also brewed on the island
You may have heard of ‘English Harbour’ rum, which is distilled here on the island of Antigua. Traditionally rum shops were a meeting place for the village men, who would enjoy a game of dominoes over a round. In 1929 some local business men founded Antigua Distillery Limited, and is today where a few different brands of rum is produced. Tours are available to book from St. John’s and will take you on a mini bus to the distillery, where you can learn all about the history and production of this tipple, and maybe even sample some?
Each Caribbean island has its own beer, and Antigua has created a type of lager called Wadadli. They brew this alongside other popular international drinks. The brewery pride themselves on preparing the beer using traditional artisan methods, and tours are available from St. John’s.
There are plenty of neighbouring islands to discover, and boat trips are available to book, departing from all the main harbours around Antigua. Take a day trip to its sister Barbuda, or one of the many smaller islands such as Bird Island, Guiana Island, Green Island, Rabbit Island, Hell’s Gate Island, Redonda Island and Long Island. Most trips will offer a barbecue lunch and stop off somewhere you will be able to snorkel in the clear turquoise water.
There are also opportunities to charter a yacht or catamaran whilst spending time in Antigua - a crewed vessel for two or more people, a great idea for a special occasion. There are many companies which offer this from a few hours, to a whole day or even longer and give you free roam to the secluded bays only accessible by boat.
For the eager fishermen among us, nothing beats a day of deep sea fishing in the sunshine, with the chance to catch some unusual creatures you wouldn't normally see in home waters.
Fig Tree Drive
This is a five mile long road in the south of the island, which is famed for being the most picturesque, even if one of the most bumpy! The drive is lined with mango and ‘fig’ trees (Antiguans call bananas figs) and winds through an area of the rainforest. If you decide to hire a car on your holiday, don’t miss the wonders of the flora and fauna of this road, whilst exploring the island.
Bright and friendly sting rays can be seen up close and personally at this snorkelling base located in the east of the island near Willikies. From the main centre you will be whisked away on a short speedboat ride to a shallow pool where you will also be subjected to the fantastic colours of the tropical fish and be able to explore the coral reefs.
Antigua Forest Zip Line Tours
A fantastic experience for all the family. You can spend the whole day here in the south-east of the island, zip-lining through the canopy of the rainforest, exploring the greenery in an invigorating and speedy way. Tours are supervised and guidance is provided.
Betty’s Hope is an old sugar plantation, where now stands just the remains of two stone mills. It was the first one in Antigua of its size. It is named after its founder’s daughter and is a dominant piece of history to the island as it was one of its main agricultural businesses and provided sugar to the rum industry.
There are four national parks on Antigua, each with something different to offer, yet all reflecting the diverse biology on the island.
Green Castle Hill
Named after one of the tallest hills on the island, peaking at 565 feet above sea level. Be careful as the climb up this hill is only recommended for experiences hikers and his is the only means of access. It is recommended to visit this national park with an experienced guide only.
Fort Barrington National Park
Previously entitled ‘Goat Hill’, Fort Barrington is now named after the admiral who re-built the fort in 1779. The ruins of the lookout station remain in this national park, from its days of protecting St. John’s Harbour against attacks in the 1600s. It is one of the most interesting ruins to explore on Antigua and after a brisk and refreshing climb up the hill, provides fantastic sea views from the top.
A natural arched carved by the sea from soft and hard limestone rock, set within the beautiful Indian Town national park. Be careful as the terrain around here is rugged and slippery – swimming is not permitted here. It is recommended to visit this national park with an experienced guide only.
The most popular national park in Antigua still serves as a marina and hosts many sailing events during the year. There are nature trails that can be taken from here but the park also houses businesses, shops and restaurants.
Scuba diving, Snorkelling
Jolly Harbour Val...local event
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Antigua & Barbuda...national event
Whit Mondaynational event
Mango Festivalnational event
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