I visited Antigua a few years ago and enjoyed the still unspoiled natural beauty of the island! I stayed at a typical “all-inclusive” beachfront hotel that turned out to be great for the room and drinks, but not so great for food or culture, so we decided to venture outside the hotel for much needed change and adventure.
Antigua is pretty rural and as you’ll see when you travel across the island, the roads are small and rustic rolling across a landscape of many impoverished people with very little possessions or suitable housing. It forces perspective and a thought provoking challenge to those that believe that living in riches might make for a happier life than those living without, because for the most part, and what I found, was a seemingly happy local population.
As far as tourist destinations there’s Nelsons Dockyard, which is a good place to enjoy a stunning beach, but also brings the history that dates back to the 18th century and British naval officer Horatio Nelson. The beach is surrounded by lush vegetation, hills, mountains, and the historic buildings date back to the 1700’s. Not a bad days trip.
There is also stingray city where you can go to view stingrays and various sea critters.
I would definitely recommend sailing and taking at least one or a few catamaran day trips depending on how much time you have. The views of the island from the sea are breathtaking given the cliffs and dramatic backdrop of different and diverse geography around the island. Like any tropical destination, the ocean is clear and great for snorkeling and diving, but I definitely enjoyed and had the chance to get to know the locals as well.
While on a day sailing cruise, my wife and I became friends with the family owners of Russell’s Bar and Seafood Restaurant. The first time we went we fell in love with the atmosphere and the food was incredible. Our second visit to the venue they had actually closed for a private family gathering, but to our surprise Russell and his family recognized who we were and invited us in to join in the family event.
Antigua is a great island to visit with great beaches and very friendly locals. Make sure to catamaran, tour a bit of the island, and make a visit to some of the local restaurants while enjoying the weather and peaceful vacation!