Antigua is a true Caribbean island gem, fringed with swaying palm trees and 365 spectacular white-sand beaches – all fortunately untouched by the recent hurricanes. Amongst its sandy shores and mountain vistas, bordered by coral reefs and the crystalline Caribbean Sea, this sun-drenched isle is known for its outgoing personality and wide choice of things to do, and we have picked our top 5, following a recent trip this October.
1. D-Boat Something truly distinctive to Antigua, the D-Boat is an experience like no other! Once a 1974 oil tanker, D-Boat is now a state-of-the-art floating entertainment centre with an array of water toys that cascade you into the warm, clear blue waters – perfect to cool off after a boogie on the dancefloor. Over a succulent lunch and a tasty Caribbean cocktail (freshly made on board), bar manager Joel, shared some exciting new enhancements planned for D-Boat, which include a golf platform from the top deck, kayaks and the possibility of a zip-line to the nearly beach. If you’re looking for a spectacular venue for a group of friends, or special multi-generational family celebration this is a must do. (younger family members will love the fact that Justin Bieber frequently visited D-Boat while he was staying at nearby Jumby Bay Island Resort).
2. Shirley Heights A restored military lookout and gun battery, Shirley Heights Lookout boasts a spectacular panoramic view across English Harbour and Falmouth Harbour, and is 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 delicious 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.
3. Island Safari Immerse yourself in Antiguan folklore and culture as you explore scenic off-road trails on this thrilling tour. Take in some of the awe-inspiring views of Falmouth Harbour and English Harbour at Dow’s Hill and the historic landmark, Betty’s Hope, Antigua’s pioneering sugar plantation, founded in the 1650s. It was fascinating to gain a unique insight into the colourful culture of Antigua, and appreciate how bountiful Antigua is, as we learned about the various plants that grow on the island and their uses, including the Moringa tree, known locally as ‘tree of life’. You can feel the deep sense of community as you venture through the island’s villages on this educational tour.
4. Stingray City 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 Stingrays 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. The Stingrays are impressive in size, with many of them spanning at least 5 feet. It’s exhilarating watching them effortlessly glide through the waters. Our guide Snoop, a colourful character, was fantastic and made us feel so comfortable through the whole unforgettable experience.
5. Donkey Sanctuary Antigua’s Donkey Sanctuary has been open for over 26 years and has given a loving home to more than 150 donkeys. Each donkey has its own name and personality and they love being stroked with the brushes provided. A personal highlight is meeting Stevie, a charismatic blind donkey with his own palace! All the donkeys are affectionate, loving to be brushed and posing for pictures.