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Antigua Info

Cruise Port
Cruise Ship in St. John's Cruise Port

St. John's Cathedral
St. John's Cathedral

Old Houses
Old wooden House in St. John's

Dickenson Bay
Dickenson Bay Beach

Donkey on the Road
Personal Impressions
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 tourist hordes.

Generally 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.


Antigua 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. 
In 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. 
In 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 agriculture. 
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.


St. John's

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.

Fort Barrington
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 19th century.

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 beaches: 
  • 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 snorkelling.
  • Half Moon Beach near Freetown village on the south east coast has fine pink sand, wonderful cooling breezes and an active surf.
  • 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.
English Harbour
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.

Nelson's Dockyard
The 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 world.

Shirley Heights
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 Islands in 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
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.

Devil's Bridge
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 road signs.

Donkey Sanctuary
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 shows. 

Antigua Sailing Week
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.

Fort Barrington
Fort Barrington

Shirley Heights View
View from Shirley Heights Lookout Point

Nelson's Dockyard
Pillars at Nelson's Dockyard in English Harbour

Betty's Hope
Betty�s Hope

Devil's Bridge
Devil's Bridge