Antigua offers an array of amenities for the whole family to enjoy. From water sports and sailing to Zip Lining and Hiking there is something to suit everyone.
Many of the trails in Antigua are not fully developed but lead to interesting sites and natural wonders. There is a very nice trail in the English Harbor area that leads from Nelson’s Dockyard to Fort Barrington and up to Shirley Heights. Another trail starts from the Half Moon Bay National Park and leads to the promontory looking out to the neighboring island of Guadeloupe. Lastly there are some really good trails through the beautiful rain forest starting at Wallings Dam and going up to the Boggy Peak which is the highest point on the island.
Antigua is famous for its sailing history and one of the best ways to explore Antigua by sea is either by sail boat or by catamaran. Antigua is an island of deep bay and harbors sitting between the wild and windy Atlantic Ocean and the more serene Caribbean side making it a yachter’s paradise. There are many international sailing events and regattas the most famous of these being the Stanford Sailing week at the end of April.
For the more casual sailor, you can choose between a party boat, an educational trip, or a pirate cruise on a beautifully restored schooner.
If you want to enjoy the ultimate sailing experience we would highly recommend our sailing partners Catch the Cat Private Sailing Charters in Antigua. www.catchthecatantigua.com Catch the Cat provides luxury private charters, lunch cruises, day sails and sunset cruises. The choice is endless. You can contact Noreen our concierge to reserve today.
Fishing Charters are also a popular activity in Antigua. Guests can enjoy a memorable experience sports fishing in the Caribbean. We would recommend our partners ‘Fishing Antigua’ if you would like to enjoy deep sea fishing, bottom fishing or a catamaran charter. You can check out their website for more details. www.fishingantigua.com If you would like to book a fishing charter in Antigua you can contact our concierge specialist Noreen.
Rain Forest and Zipline Tours
The Antigua Rainforest Canopy Tour is a fun exhilarating experience. It starts high above the rain forest canopy and zooms down to the Leap of Faith which is a jump similar to bungee jumping but safer. There are excellent guides available and state of the art harnesses and helmets are provided.
The interior of Antigua is hilly and dotted with historical ruins and small villages. Several companies offer tours to this unexplored part of Antigua. Tropical Adventures combine inland safaris in open jeeps with kayaking or a visit to stingray City Antigua. Happy Trails Tours use off road vehicles with air conditioning that add a touch of comfort to your journey. Quad bikes are also available to rent from some operators.
There are two 18 hole golf courses on the Island which take advantage of the tropical landscapes and sea views. Cedar Valley Golf Club is located in the Northern part of Antigua. Jolly Harbor Golf Course which is located in the Jolly Harbor Marina.
Diving and Snorkelling
The sheltered western and southern coasts are the primary diving areas. Among the best sites are Cades Reef, the pinnacles of Hercules Big John Reef and Fryes Shoal. There are many PADI certified operators with custom designed dive boats and equipment. Operators include Sea Wolf Diving School, Dive Antigua, Jolly Dive and Indigo Divers.
The bustling and historic port city of St John is the both the capital and commercial hub of Antigua. In the very center is the cruise ship dock at Heritage Quay which is lined with upscale duty-free shops and restaurants. Nearby to Heritage you will find the Vendors Market which is where you can purchase local souvenirs. The third shopping area is at Redcliffe Quay which is a quainter shopping and dining area.
Located 12 miles from St John high on the hill above English Harbor sits this renovated historical site overlooking the sea. It is famous for its panoramic views and on clear days you can see as far as Guadeloupe and Montserrat. A great time to go is Sunday when Shirley Heights hosts the biggest party on the island with entertainment from steel and social bands.
Fig Tree Drive
8 miles south of St John, you will find the most thickly forested part of Antigua called Fig Tree Hill. Ironically there are no Fig trees but you will find plenty of Banana and mango trees lining the roads. A lovely stop along the way is the Fig Tree Culture shop where you can buy fresh fruits, juices, jams and locally made food products. Another favorite stop is Wallings Dam, a historic park with a picnic area and hiking trails.
North of Darkwood Beach and just 2 miles south of St John is the lovely marina complex of Jolly Harbor. It offers a great beach, shopping center, an elegant casino, nightclub, 18 hole golf course, tennis courts as well as a number of really good restaurants and bars. The marina itself is world class and is one of the harbors used for the annual sailing week.
English Harbor and Nelson's Dockyard
On the southern coast of Antigua lies this historic 15 square mile gem. Some of the main buildings can be traced back to the late 18th century when the British ruled the island. The dockyard park has a museum, restaurants and an Inn. English harbor along with the adjacent Falmouth Harbor is known as the international yachting center and is where the annual regatta is located.
Other points of interest in St John are the Anglican Cathedral built in 1847 and the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda. As parking can be difficult in the middle of St John, it is recommended that you take a taxi or bus.
Antigua Sailing Week
Antigua sailing week is considered to be one of the top regattas in the world. A wide variety of boats of all shapes and sizes arrive to take part in challenging races over a 6 day period. It is held each year at the end of April and beginning of May and as well as the racing, the week is filled with beach parties all over the island to give a wonderful carnival atmosphere. Many of the festivities take place in and around Nelson’s Dockyard.
A short private cruise from the mainland will bring you to the Long Island which is without a doubt one of the most stunning places in the Caribbean. It is also home to Jumby Bay which is where many of our luxury Antigua Villas are located. Some of the world’s finest beaches where you can enjoy pure white sands and crystal clear waters are located on Long Island. It is also home to the rate Spanish sheep as well as beautiful birds such as the blue pelican and white egret.
Great Bird Island
Great Bird Island: A bird watcher's paradise. Boat over to this tiny uninhabited islet and see the nesting grounds of the red-billed tropic bird. From April to September you will see laughing gulls, purple martins, terns, and brown noodles grace the island.
Betty’s Hope is 5 miles east of St Jean and has the remains of a 17th and 18th century sugar plantation with and actual working windmill. The windmill was used to grind sugarcane on the plantation. Exhibits of the island plantation era are on display in the visitor centre.