The beach really is just the beginning in Antigua. There is so much more to see and do….drag yourself away from the sand and head into the island – it has a beat all of its own.
Photo credit to my wonderful travel partner: V.G.
While the pristine beaches are reason enough to visit Antigua – make sure to get out and enjoy the many riches of the island – the music, the flavours and the natural wonders will tantalize you while the sounds of the ocean, the tropical sun and the sand will soothe your soul.
When I think back on my time in Antigua, thinking beyond the beach, I remember dancing in the rain! Sunday nights at Shirley Heights, over looking Nelson’s Dockyard is a must do experience. While the party starts at 4 – we didn’t get there til much later when it was in full swing! People were everywhere – dancing to the beat of live reggae bands, soaking in the views of the stars above and the twinkle of the lights of the towns below. The air was electric as the the beat boomed from the stage, people young and old dancing to the music. Spiced rum punch and the smells and flavours of a decadent bbq wafting through the air only served to make the night richer. Even the rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of the crowd.
Stingray City – another experience synonymous with Antigua. Highly rated in Trip Advisor, it is worth the time away from the resort. It is a great family outing – you can hold, feed and touch the rays as they swim the waters around your legs. The tour guides are there to help you – you can be confident that it is a safe environment to interact with the rays. (The stingrays are actually free – able to come and go as they please.) It is amazing how silky soft they feel and how powerful their wings are as they glide by.
St John’s – capital of Antigua and hub of activity. Spend the day exploring the local cafes and shops. Cruise ships regularly stop at port in St John’s. As such, there are more than enough touristy shops happy to relieve you of a dollar or two! Cruise the stalls for a bargain, or head over to see the wonderful craft and pottery shops for a unique and special gift. Friday and Saturday mornings – head down to the farmers market on the southern edge of the city. Folk crafts, colorful tropical fruits, and a buzzing crowd make for a lively morning. Try the fresh coconut and tropical fruits, including the Black Pineapple, a specialty of the island. Road trip for foodies got it right – the best way to enjoy the black pineapple is on the balcony over looking the Caribbean!
We’ve only just scratched the surface before going back to the beaches with craggy inlets and pristine white sand – the perfect backdrop to the turquoise waters of Antigua. They say there are 365 beaches in Antigua – one for every day! Antigua’s beaches are all public – even the beaches in front of the all inclusive resorts. Why not go to a different beach everyday (check with the hotel to rent towels and beach chairs.) I know I only scratched the surface – so many beaches left untouched! A reason to go back, no doubt! I am not alone in these thoughts with Oprah and Giorgio Armani, among many other jet setting rich and famous, having winter homes tucked away in this tropical paradise. In Antigua, the beach is just the beginning.