With pristine beaches, a gorgeous climate and mesmerising blue sea,there’s little to match an all-inclusive holiday in Antigua. But before you book, let us tell you a little about the place to give you a flavour of its culture and history:
Antigua means “ancient” in Spanish, and was named after an icon in Seville Cathedral; no surprise then, that it possesses such heavenly beauty. The capital, St John’s, is located in the north-west with a deep harbour built specifically to accommodate large cruise ships. However, this is not the only city worth visiting; there are others such as All Saints and Liberta which are fairly sizeable as well.
English Harbour, on the south-eastern coast, has legendary status for its ability to weather powerful storms with effective shelter. Perhaps because of its strategic advantage, it houses “Nelson’s Dockyard”. Named after Captain Horatio Nelson, it is a restored colonial naval base that is well worth a visit. English Harbour and the nearby village of Falmouth have an internationally renowned reputation for sailing and yachting. In fact, Antigua Sailing Week, which runs from the end of April to the beginning of May, brings some of the planet’s greatest sailors to the island. Fantastic if you fancy watching some world class sport whilst on your package holiday.
The weather could not be more ideal for an all-inclusive beach holiday. Not only is Antigua among the sunniest islands in the eastern Caribbean, its light North Easterly wind ensures that humidity stays low. Both Antigua and Barbuda are persistently sizzling, boasting a year-round average of eight to nine hours of sunshine. However, winters are a little cooler, and it is worth noting that July and November are the rainiest months, so make sure you pack some waterproofs if you fancy a visit during this period.
What to see
Antigua is famed for its glorious beaches and its maritime past, but this is not the whole story. The views are simply breathtaking, such as the stunning Shirley Heights, which just cannot be missed.
If hiking is your thing then it’s definitely worth taking the time to discover the amazing, unspoiled views of the island offered by the 5 am Hike Club. Also worth noting is the Environment Awareness Group, which not only offers free hikes, it also enables you to meet like-minded people from all over the world.
If you’re part of a beach-loving couple, you will find a multitude of Antigua hotels geared specifically to suit your requirements with everything from soaking in hot tubs and his and hers showers, to ultra-modern suites with a diversity of cutting edge functions. Of course, your holiday is hardly complete without a romantic stroll. Thankfully, there is a plethora of gentle palm tree lined paths to provide the perfect setting.
If you don’t fancy the hubbub of family hotels and restaurants, you will also find adults-only spas and bistros to enable you to take advantage of a few pre-dinner cocktails before moving onto a candlelit dinner right on the beachfront.
Perhaps you want your holiday to be a little different to the usual. If so, it’s worth considering staying in a sea facing cottage or plantation house to experience a bit of local culture and authenticity. However, this type of accommodation need not be primitive; many still boast infinity pools adjacent to azure seas, providing a sense of paradise on earth.
No perfect holiday is complete without truly exceptional dining, and in this area Antigua doesn’t disappoint. There is a wide range of eateries and restaurants in Antigua set in unique, unforgettable places, particularly around English Harbour and Falmouth Harbour. If you are not on an all-inclusive deal and fancy saving a bit of money, you may consider Trappas in English Harbour, which has a highly reasonable set-menu, while Seafood Friday at Nelson’s Dockyard cooks up a fish supper to die for.
As you might expect, fresh, honest, and authentic Caribbean cuisine is always on the menu. Whether you prefer to savour the taste in a luxurious, fine-dining atmosphere or simply in a little beach-shack, the culinary delights of Antigua never disappoint. For the latter, consider English Harbour as the home of quaint cafes or the cheerful, gentlemanly atmosphere of the old English-style pub at Nelson’s Dockyard.