A Visitor’s Guide to Antigua
Tucked in the Caribbean and possessing all the qualities of the stereotypical island paradise, Antigua is rapidly becoming a destination beloved with travellers from all around the world. Its long sandy beaches are picture perfect, the white shores being met by the clear blue and jade waters of the area. A long tradition revolving around sailing exists on the island, dating back to its association with Great Britain and the time Horatio Nelson spent stationed on the island. Today this takes the form of the location for the Caribbean’s most important annual regatta; the Antigua Charter Yacht Show, held each December.
For people travelling abroad, one of the most commonly cited reasons given for taking a vacation is the need for relaxation. This kind of resting time is so important that even British Airways are taking the concept on board, using ‘happiness blankets’ in trials on flights to learn how to ensure people are as well-rested as possible after their flights. This is also another reason why so many people are choosing to holiday in the Caribbean, where the island pace of life and atmosphere is famous for its tranquillity and laid back nature. Venues like Harmony Hall are expressly designed to offer the utmost in relaxation to its visitors.
The recent appointment of a new tourism minister for the island means it is likely the numbers of visiting holidaymakers will soon increase. Luxury holidays in Antigua remain the focus, with the harbours often filled with mega yachts and the hotels and other facilities catering towards a high class of clientele. Together, these factors combine to ensure that the time has never been better for a visit to this island.
Each year, late July to early August sees Antigua hosting its annual main festival. This carnival takes over the whole of the central Recreation Ground, found in St John’s. It’s a great way to see the island at its lively best. Alternatively, for something a little quieter, Nelson’s Dockyard is an historic landmark in the English Harbour that is popular with visitors. When the Recreation Ground is not in use for the carnival, it is typical that a game of cricket will be in progress at any given time. The island is also surrounded by lush reef habitats, popular with divers of all stages, as well as snorkel enthusiasts due to the clarity of the water. As expected from an island with heritage like this one, sailing and boat activities in all forms are also widely available.
One of the easiest ways to see the island is with an organised tour visit like those offered by http://www.carrier.co.uk. Antigua is approximately eight and a half hours by air from the UK. Most people agree that the best time to visit the islands is during the British winter, between December and April, when the weather will be at its driest in the Caribbean and there is minimal chance of rainstorms.
Duty free shopping is widely available, generally on production of valid travel documents, with island highlights including the linen available to purchase alongside alcohol and other more traditional duty-free items.