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One of the most unique islands in the Caribbean Sea, Antigua is known for its outgoing personality as much as it is for its beautiful sandy beaches. With a reputation for glamour established by the many superyachts that descend annually for the renowned sailing regatta. The sea breezes caught by the coves make ideal conditions for watersports, which are provided for at most of our five-star luxury hotels, where you can enjoy the authentic Caribbean atmosphere of the island of Antigua, with the finest comforts and best in hospitality. Antigua is an island that has a little of everything. Lively at times but with plenty of peaceful spots to soak up some solitude, this is perhaps one of those gold dust destinations that truly caters to all.
British influences can still be spotted, particularly in the love of cricket and the adoration of the local sporting legend, Viv Richards, as well as in the popularity of boat racing. Despite this, Antigua is still undeniably Caribbean at heart, and there is no better example of this than when the island gets into carnival swing. Steel bands, calypso and soca music and colourful costumes are traditions that go back to the abolition of slavery on the island, and partying is taken very seriously by the residents.
The capital of St John’s is the best place to get a taste of local life. Here, the people aren’t fans of high brow culture, but have a natural talent for telling intriguing stories, with surprising twists and turns bordering on the unbelievable. They have a unique style, a mish-mash of western, island and African influences, making for an eclectic visual that ensures a day spend here is never boring – just go with the flow and you’ll feel like a part of the island in no time.
A restored military lookout and gun battery, Shirley Heights Lookout boasts a spectacular panoramic view across English and Falmouth Harbours, considered one of the best views in Antigua. This idyllic spot becomes even more incredible at sunset — simply admire the twinkling lights of the harbour in your own serene spot or on Sundays, join the party and enjoy a barbecue, as well as local bands playing a mixture of Caribbean and international hits, whilst overlooking one of the world’s most awe-inspiring views.
Make a splash at Stingray City — swim amongst magnificent coral reefs and colourful tropical fish as you encounter a host of incredibly friendly and gentle Southern Stingray in their natural habitat. This excursion offers the unique opportunity to touch and feed stingrays, as well as learn about these amazing and captivating animals from your friendly and knowledgeable guides. At the end of the day, return to base for refreshing rum or fruit punch whilst reminiscing on your day of unforgettable adventure.
Sailing and Watersports
Sunny Antigua has become almost synonymous with sailing, boasting a coastline characterized by deeply indented bays and coves that catch the sea breeze. If you’re visiting during the world-renowned Antigua Sailing Week at the end of April, prepare to be awed as impressive gleaming ocean-going yachts gather at English Harbour for a series of challenging races, while back at the dock, a fabulous array of parties, events and ceremonies create an infectious carnival atmosphere. Sailing doesn’t come to a halt when the festivities end though - private yacht charters can be arranged from most of the top hotels on the island, offering exclusive luxury cruises out on the crystal-clear Caribbean waters.
Whilst the glorious Caribbean Sea means that a lot of Antigua’s main attractions are water-based, there is still plenty to do back on land. Golfers are very well catered for, with a number of world-class and stunningly scenic courses to choose from. While sailing is on the mind of many who visit Antigua, the country’s national sport is actually cricket, and there is an intense devotion to the game across the island. An echo of British heritage, some of the world’s greatest cricket players hail from Antigua. Big, international matches take place here from January through to July, though you can find local games held throughout the year.
English Harbour and Nelson's Dockyard
First inhabited by Amerindians, it is the following period of colonial British rule that has left the biggest stamp on the culture of Antigua. While today it is a delightful mix of African Caribbean and European influences that make up the eclectic personality of the island, the remains of the 18th Century occupation, led by Horatio Nelson, stand as some of the best-preserved example of colonial architecture in the Caribbean. A must-see for any history enthusiast, English Harbour is where you will find Nelson’s Dockyard, once the home base of Britain’s Leeward Islands naval fleet, and now the world’s only Georgian era dockyard still in use.
The saying “life is a beach” is truly the local’s favourite line in Antigua. With a boundless 365 powder-soft white-sand beaches (one for every day of the year, if you please!), you can expect to find the perfect beach for every activity. Admire the peacefully nesting Sea Turtles at Galley Bay, gaze at the distant sight of Monserrat from Ffryes Beach or simply kick back and relax on the mile-long sands of Jolly Beach. Delightful and diverse, Antigua’s beach life will never leave you feeling disappointed.
The Jumby Bay Hawksbill Project
Just a stone’s throw from Antigua’s mainland is Long Island. Here, guests staying at Jumby Bay Island, share their beach with hundreds of Hawksbill Turtles, all protected by the resort-backed conservation initiative, the Jumby Bay Hawksbill Project. With roots dating back to 1987, the scientific team here have a wealth of knowledge on the nesting habits of the resident turtles, and during nesting season, guests are welcome to sign up at the hotel’s front desk to join them under moonlight down on the beach to catch a glimpse of these magical creatures at work – a once-in-a lifetime opportunity that is perfect for those travelling with curious children.
Take a closer look at where food on Antiguan plates comes from when staying at Hermitage Bay, with a visit to the farmer who provides the hotel’s fresh fruit and vegetables. Meet Mr Christian on his authentic island small holding, and taste tropical produce including ackee, custard apple, West Indian cherry and up to fourteen types of mango.
With an appealing temperature year round and a gentle breeze from the northeast trade winds keeping humidity low, Antigua makes a perfect year round destination. Boasting the most sunshine of all the Eastern Caribbean Islands, temperatures range from the mid seventies in winter to the mid eighties in the summer months.
There is a ‘hurricane season’ in the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, Central Mexico and South Eastern seaboard of America between June and November, the months of August and September being particularly susceptible.
These figures show monthly average maximum temperatures and monthly average rainfall for Antigua.
British Airways and Virgin Atlantic direct from London Gatwick. Private charter flights available on request.
From London Gatwick to Antigua: 8 hours, 40 minutes.
NB:Please note that duty free purchases in Antigua cannot be obtained without your passports and itineraries/tickets.
Travelling With Children or Without an Adult
Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country (for example, South Africa) or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.
Visa and Advance Passenger Information
All passengers must ensure they have a valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.
Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.
For up-to-date resort information, visit www.fco.gov.uk
Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs from your general practitioner or a specialist clinic as early as possible before travel. Those planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess their risk of infection with Zika. For information about Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases (such as Dengue fever and Chikungunya), Lyme Disease (caused by tick bites), and to receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures, please visit http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/insect-tick-bite-avoidance/
In addition, we highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations ie, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.
Visit the FCO website and select your destination country for the very latest travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Additional sources of information include: www.hpa.org.uk, http://nathnac.net,
www.fco.gov.uk, www.hpa.org.uk and www.nathnac.org, your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.
For information and advice about the risks associated with Zika virus, visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre website.
Cases of Chikungunya virus have been confirmed in Antigua and Barbuda. You should take steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. For more details about this outbreak, see the website of the National Health Network and Centre.
View the travel advice in full here: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/antigua-and-barbuda