Antigua and Barbuda things to see and do

Tourist offices

Antigua & Barbuda Tourist Office in the UK

2nd floor, 45 Crawford Place, London, United Kingdom
Tel: (020) 7258 0070.
www.antigua-barbuda.com

Antigua & Barbuda Department of Tourism and Trade in the USA

3 Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, 305 East 47th Street, New York City
Tel: (212) 541 4117.
www.antigua-barbuda.org

Things to see and do

Antigua's Rainforest

Get a bird's eye view of Antigua's rainforest. Boldly stride or nervously creep along a high wire course made up of zip lines, swings, suspension bridges and a controlled parachute jump (www.antiguarainforest.com.)

Barbuda

Visit the less-developed Barbuda for its wild beauty, deserted beaches and heavily wooded interior abounding in wildlife. The main town, known as the village, is Codrington. It sits on the edge of a lagoon. Laid-back and old-fashioned, visitors share the winding streets with donkeys and goats, and fast food outlets and noisy bars don’t exist.

Beaches

There are hundreds of beaches on Antigua but some of the best include Half Moon Bay, stretching for nearly a mile on the south eastern coast and popular with windsurfers and snorkellers. For those seeking peace and quiet, the southwestern point off Johnson’s Point is tranquil and the nearby Turner’s beach has great views out to Montserrat. On the north coast Dickenson’s Bay is safe and popular with families, and nearby you find quieter beaches and can even sneak off to uninhabited inlets such as Prickly Pear Island.

Betty’s Hope

The islands' colonial history is brought home at partially-restored Betty's Hope, Antigua’s pioneer sugar plantation. The surviving structures are two stone sugar mills and a still house which form an open air museum and good picnic spot. It was built by Sir Christopher Codrington who named it after his daughter Betty.

Bush Safari

Go for a bush safari in Barbuda. Stop for a picnic in the shade and watch for the wildlife amongst the sparkling salt ponds.

Cricket

Cricket is played to the highest international standard as well as by enthusiastic amateurs in villages all over the islands. Antigua produced one of the finest cricketers the game has ever seen, Sir Vivien Richards and the country’s national stadium in St Johns is named after him. The Sir Vivian Richards Stadium was built for the 2007 Cricket World Cup and is found close to the airport. It is possible to visit the stadium.

Fig Tree Drive

Antigua’s most picturesque drive takes you down the scenic route of Fig Tree Drive. The 32km (20miles) of winding roads travel through the lush tropical hills and rainforest and rise to the steep farmlands around Fig Tree Hill before descending to the coast. Fig is the Antiguan name for banana and along the way you’ll see not just bananas but mangoes and coconut groves.

Frigate Bird Sanctuary.

Situated in the Codrington Lagoon, the Frigate Bird sanctuary is a forty minute boat ride across the water. It is a spectacular sight even for non-bird watchers. In the mating season from September to April this rare bird displays a huge red breast to attract a female mate and they lay one egg on a nest built precariously on the mangrove.

Great Bird Island

Take an excursion to Great Bird Island from Dickenson Bay. Glass-bottomed boats afford leisurely views of the reef, and a restored pirate ship sails around the island and takes passengers for day or evening trips, with food, drink and entertainment included.

Highland House

At Barbuda's highest point of 38m (125 ft) are the ruins of the estate once run by Sir Christopher Codrington. Highland House, formerly known as Codrington House, dates back to the 18th century. Just 5km (3 miles) from Codrington Village still stands the 17m-high (56 ft) Martello Castle and tower, a fortress with a raised gun platform that was originally built by the British to defend the island. Both spots offer great views.

Indian Town Point

The wild side of Antigua can be seen at Devil’s Bridge, a limestone arch on the shore of Indian Town Point on the eastern side of the island where at high tide the Atlantic waves come crashing through boreholes in the rocks near the bridge. Indian Town Point is thought to have been an Arawak campsite before the Europeans colonized the islands. Guided tours are available.

Local Markets

Salivate and haggle over the riot of colourful fruits, vegetables and spices available at one of the best local markets in the Caribbean, situated in the south end of town at the junction of Valley and All Saints Roads.

Museum of Antigua and Barbuda

Discover Antigua and Barbuda beyond the beaches and resorts: the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda is Antigua's oldest building. It is housed in the old Court House, built in 1750. Exhibits explore Antigua's geological origins as well as more modern exhibits such as Sir Viv Richards’ cricket bat.

Nelson’s Dockyard

One of Antigua’s most famous landmarks, Nelson’s Dockyard in English Harbour dates from 1745 and was home to Admiral Horatio Nelson until 1787. It has been lovingly restored after years of decay and today these historic buildings house a museum, craft and souvenir shop, restaurant, hotels and marina. The surrounding national park includes the whole of English Harbour and Shirley Heights which can be visited from the Dockyard.

Potworks Reservoir

Potworks Reservoir is the result of the Potworks Dam, completed in 1970, and is the largest expanse of freshwater in the Eastern Caribbean holding about one billion gallons. The western edge is great for birdwatching.

Redonda

The deserted island Redonda, an uninhabited rocky islet, lies about 56km (35 miles) northeast of Antigua and is the third island that makes up the nation of Antigua and Barbuda and Redonda. The island is famous for its unusual monarchy – no less than four people have laid claim to the ‘throne’- and it has an eccentric and amusing history and small population of burrowing owls, a bird now extinct on Antigua.Boat trips to the island are available.

Shirley Heights

The view from Shirley Heights extends across the harbour and out to neighbouring Caribbean islands of Montserrat and Guadeloupe. This collection of gun emplacements and military buildings is the atmospheric setting for a barbeque with live music every Sunday. Close by is the cemetery, containing an obelisk commemorating the soldiers of the 54th Regiment.

St John's Cathedral

Although it has been rebuilt three times because of hurricane damage, the present day St John’s Cathedral with its dramatic white towers is an imposing landmark built in 1845. It is worth a visit and contains some items from the churches that previously stood on the same spot and the bronze figures of St John the Baptist and St John the Divine are said to be taken from a French ship in 1756.

Stingray City

A drive to the pretty fishing village of Seatons (www.stingraycityantigua.com) introduces visitors to the delights of interacting with rays, followed an exhilarating speed boat ride takes you to one of Antigua’s off shore islands and a shallow stingray pool where one can touch, play with and feed stingrays in a safe environment.

Two Foot Bay Caves

The Caves at Two Foot Bay are popular with visitors to Barbuda and easily accessible although a guide is recommended. Bats, crabs and tropical birds can be seen as well as petroglyphs or rock drawings made by Barbuda’s early settlers, the Arawaks. Access is through a circular chamber through a hole in the cave roof. There are a number of other caves to explore on the island, some with interesting vegetation and wildlife.

Warri

You can’t avoid Antigua and Barbuda's national game of Warri - an ancient board ('count and capture') game that was traditionally played using shells placed in cups: you see it played on most street corners and may even be asked to join in. A National Warri Festival is held every year.

Watersports

Antigua and Barbuda offers an impressive range of watersports including windsurfing, water skiing, beachcombing, surfing, snorkelling, scuba diving, jet-skiing, kayaking, hobie and sunfish sailing. With over 365 beaches to practise on you’ll be proficient in no time.

Yachting and Sailing

Antigua hosts many international yachting events and regattas throughout the year, but even inexperienced yachtsmen and women can take the helm. A number of hotels offer sailing lessons and experiences, while seasoned sailors can charter their own yachts. Those preferring to seek out a secluded cove or sheltered beach and anchor for a day of peace and quiet can do so by hiring a dinghy.

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