In 1784, Great Britain’s Admiral Horatio Nelson sailed to Antigua to create his country’s Caribbean base. The island’s safe harbors and protective coral reef seemed the perfect spot to hide a fleet.
Today, Antigua provides an ideal hideaway for vacationers looking for a sunny holiday in the Caribbean. Antigua and Barbuda together comprise the island nation of Antigua. The largest of the English-speaking Leeward Islands, Antigua is 14 miles long and 11 miles wide.
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On the south side of the island, English Harbor offers a scenic reflection of the island’s colonial past. Don’t miss a trip to the carefully restored Nelson’s Dockyard which today remains as the world’s only Georgian-style naval shipyard.
Antigua’s capital and largest city, St. John’s, in the northwest, houses pastel-colored buildings, the impressive 17th century Government House, 19th century baroque St. John's Cathedral, a museum and the bustling Public Market, and an Arts and Crafts Market selling produce and local creations.
What To Do
Zipline across the rainforest at Fig Tree Drive and climb the “Stairway to Heaven” for a bite at the Canopy Café.
Hike the trail or drive to Shirley Heights, named after past governor Sir Thomas Shirley. Overlooking English Harbor and Galleon Beach, this former military lookout offers incredible panoramic views.
Go deep-sea fishing for blue marlin, sailfish, tuna, wahoo and more in the clear blue waters surrounding Antigua. Tour Antigua's North Coast, passing through the scenic countryside and such historic sites as Betty's Hope Plantation.
Take a speedboat past the uninhabited islands and blue waters of the North Sound to Stingray City, where you can snorkel and feed the local stingrays near an amazing coral reef.
Snorkel along the palm-fringed southern shores of Half Moon Bay. And finally, watch the day fade on a sunset catamaran cruise along the island’s pristine shoreline.
When to Go
Blessed with an average yearly rainfall of only 45 inches plus low humidity, Antigua is one of the sunniest islands in the Eastern Caribbean. The driest months are February to April. Temperatures range from the mid-70s F in the winter to the mid-80s F during the summer.
A festive time to visit the island is during Antigua's annual Carnival from the end of July to the first Tuesday in August.