Antigua has been economically transformed
from the poverty-stricken island it used to
be to a modern vacation haven. Today
Antigua is more modern and less relaxed
than many other Caribbean islands. Most of
the hotels are owned by overseas companies
and not all locals are happy about the
Antigua has everything for a nice family holiday, especially white sand
beaches, but it's not one of my favoured islands. I miss the friendly
Caribbean atmosphere. English Harbour is one of the world's most
attractive yachting centres. The panoramic view from the Shirley
Heights lookout point is one of the best in the world and worth
the trip to Antigua. Cruise ship passengers do best to spend their
short time mainly in the English Harbour area.
is a small island nation located in the eastern Caribbean, known for
its stunning beaches, warm weather, and rich history. The island has
been inhabited for thousands of years, with evidence of human
settlement dating back to around 2400 BC.
The island was
first discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493 during his second
voyage to the Americas. Columbus named the island after a Spanish
saint, Santa Maria de la Antigua, but he did not establish a permanent
settlement on the island.
In the early 1600s, the
English established a colony on Antigua, which they used as a base for
trade and commerce in the region. The island's fertile soil and warm
climate made it ideal for growing sugar cane, and Antigua quickly
became a major producer of sugar, rum, and molasses.
the 18th century, Antigua became one of the wealthiest colonies in the
Caribbean, with a large population of enslaved Africans working on the
sugar plantations. The island played an important role in the
transatlantic slave trade, with thousands of Africans passing through
its ports on their way to North America and Europe.
1834, slavery was abolished throughout the British Empire, and Antigua
underwent a period of social and economic transformation. The former
slaves were given the opportunity to purchase land and establish their
own businesses, and the island's economy shifted towards tourism and
Throughout the 20th century, Antigua
remained a popular tourist destination, with its beautiful beaches and
tropical climate attracting visitors from around the world. The island
gained independence from Britain in 1981 and is now a sovereign nation
within the Commonwealth.
Today, Antigua is a thriving
island nation with a diverse economy based on tourism, agriculture, and
offshore finance. Its rich history and cultural heritage are evident in
its historic landmarks, museums, and festivals, making it an ideal
destination for travelers who are interested in exploring the
Caribbean's past and present.
Antigua is a popular and regular port of
call and St John's can see several huge
cruise ships each day. The Antigua cruise
ship dock is located at Heritage and
Redcliffe Quay, in the capital of St,
John's. This modern dock can accommodate
up to four cruise ships at one time. The
Cruise Ship Dock leads directly into the
Heritage Quay Complex, a shopping and
entertainment area with duty-free shops,
restaurants and a casino.
From virtually anywhere in St. John's you
can see the St. John's Anglican Church.
It was originally constructed in 1683 but
rebuilt in 1843 after an earthquake.
In 1779 the southern entrance to St.
John's Harbour was strongly fortified by
Admiral Barrington, who had defeated the
French off St. Lucia in 1778. The fort is
a giant semi-circular gun emplacement. It
is placed upon a hill on the harbour's
southern side. Fort Barrington continued
to play an important role in defence of
the island until the second half of the
Antigua is said to have 365 beaches, one
for every day of the year. All of
Antigua's beaches are public. Some are
totally secluded, some have resorts. To
mention only a few of the most beautiful
- Jolly Beach on the West Coast is a
perfect powder white sand beach with many
restaurants and resorts. It's a great
place to stay, except you like it quiet.
Close to Jolly Beach is the Jolly Harbour
Marina with a big shopping complex and a
Golf resort. In the area are some nice
budget hotels. St. John's is only 11 km
away and can be reached by public bus.
- Dickenson Bay along the island's
developed north-western coast has sugary
white beaches and tranquil seas. Hotels
and restaurants line the expansive shores
of the beach.
- Long Bay Beach near Willikies at Long
Bay on the east coast of Antigua, West
Indies. It's fine white sand and crystal
blue waters make it a great place for
snorkelling or just relaxing in the sun.
- Carlisle Bay Beach near the village
of Old Road on the south coast offers
fine sand, clear waters and excellent
- Half Moon Beach near Freetown village
on the south east coast has fine pink
sand, wonderful cooling breezes and an
- Crab Hill Beach (also known as
Turner's Beach) at the village of Crab
Hill on the south west coast offers a
great snorkelling. On very clear days you
can see Montserrat on the horizon.
The beautiful natural harbour has a rich maritime history.
English Harbour is Antigua's graceful and
evocative historic district, located in
the Nelson's Dockyard National Park.
There are trails through
the Park. The
most popular one is the Middle Ground
Trail, which leads from Pigeon Beach past
military ruins up to Fort Berkeley.
Dockyard is named after Admiral Horatio Nelson, who lived here from
1784 through 1787. Nelson's Dockyard is a cultural heritage site and
marina in English Harbour. Developed in the eighteenth century as
a base for the British Navy, the Royal Navy’s
Caribbean fleet was established here. Today Nelson's Dockyard has been
completely restored, and it is now the only Georgian dockyard in the
Drive up to the lookout on
Shirley Heights for Antigua's most magnificent view. The site is named after
General Shirley, who was Governor of the Leeward
the late 18th century. Overlooking
English and Falmouth Harbours, the
panoramic view from Shirley Heights takes
in the neighbouring islands of Guadalupe
and Montserrat. The historical military
complex is mainly in ruin except the
lookout that has been reutilised as a
restaurant. On Sunday afternoons the view
is accompanied by barbecue, rum punch,
and the plangent strains of steel band
and reggae music.
Betty's Hope was one of the earliest
sugar plantations. It was build in 1651 and is located in the
limestone district of Antigua.
Many African slaves worked here,
supervised by a handful of European
managers. One of
the two sugar mill towers has been fully
restored. New sails have been installed
on the mill and the crushing machinery
has been restored to working condition.
The Devil's Bridge is a natural limestone
arch at the East Coast, formed by
seawater erosion. Over a long period of
time the enormous breakers from the
Atlantic repeatedly assaulted the rocks
and eroded away the soft part of
limestone. It's said that slaves from the
neighbouring estates went there for
suicide during slavery times. The waters
around Devil's Bridge are always rough
and anyone fall over the bridge never
come out alive. Devil's Bridge is
difficult to find, because there are no
When you drive around Antigua, you will
see many donkeys beside the road. The
Antigua & Barbuda Humane Society
offers a permanent home for donkeys at
risk. The primary missions are to improve
the welfare of animals through humane
education and the prevention of cruelty,
and to offer shelter and humane care to
all animals in need of protection in the
State of Antigua and Barbuda.
It is a ten-day festival of colourful
costumes, beauty pageants, talent shows,
and especially good music. The
festivities, which celebrate
emancipation, are exciting and extensive,
ranging from the Party Monarch and
Calypso Monarch competitions of
Calypsonians, the Panorama steel band
competition, and the spectacular Parade
of Bands to the Miss Antigua Pageant and
the Caribbean Queen's Competition. In
addition to these major events, the
nonstop revelry of this eleven-day
carnival includes innumerable smaller
festivities, including local concerts,
food fairs, parades, and cultural
The coasts of Antigua are ideal for yacht
cruising and racing, with constant
trade-winds, and many harbours for
exploration. Easily a week could be spent
cruising around this picturesque island
of the Caribbean. The sister island of
Barbuda has shell laden beaches so long
that they dip below the horizon.