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Antigua – More Than Small Wonders.

Antigua Small Wonders Image 3

There is more than small wonders in Antigua.  If you plan to travel to a popular Island in the Caribbean, Antigua is one of the best and most visited  It plays host to many wedding celebrations, and is very popular with tourist from all over the world.  If you’re thinking where is Antigua?  It is situated south east of Puerto Rico, and is also known as one of the Leeward Islands.  Antigua’s land area is small, only 280 km² (108 sq. miles), and the population is under 90,000.  One of the smaller Caribbean Islands, the average all year round temperature is around 27°C, but can get hotter.

Spoil yourself with a trip to Antigua, the spectacular weather and friendly people will make you feel as though you are in paradise.  Despite being a small Island, there are lots of things to do to fill your vacation time.  A visit to Antigua’s sister Island of Barbuda is just one of them.

There are exciting shows and casino night life, cinema, restaurants, shopping and many other attractive tourist spots.  If you enjoy spending lots of time at the beach, you won’t be disappointed with this particular destination.  Antigua is the perfect beach holiday destination because there are literally hundreds of beaches on this amazing small island.

A Little Historical Information About Antigua.

Antigua was known as a mercantile resource for the production of sugar in 1632 by the British.  The first sugar plantation was established in 1674, which made sugar Antigua’s major industry during the 17th Century up until early 20th Century.   Sugar cane ceased its’ production in 1972.  Antigua has been independent since 1st November 1981 but still has Commonwealth status.

Like most of the Caribbean Islands today, Antigua’s major industry is tourism.  Antiguans know how to make tourists welcomed, and enjoy a great holiday experience.    If you are a beach bunny, Antigua is the perfect location as it has 365 beaches, a beach within 15 minutes of wherever you may be standing.

Major Annual Events Held In Antigua.

2017 Sailing Week Dates are 28th April – 5th May.

Antigua Small Wonders Image 2 - Sailing

Antigua Yacht Club Marina & Resort – Boat Shows & Sailing week.
The Antigua Yacht Club is the center of activity for the annual boat show and regattas that are world famous. Situated in Falmouth Harbor, it is a short walk from pigeon Beach.  Restaurants, cafes and boutiques and a shopping center are just a few amenities available.

The Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta and Annual Sailing week.
This popular event takes place every year.  You will see some of the worlds’ most exquisite and beautifully designed yachts that come from all over the world to take part in this event.  You will also enjoy the buzz and spectacular sites in sailing circles worldwide.

Popular with the rich and famous, some serious racing occurs around the island.  This is a great event for sailors or spectators.  Over 200 yachts/boats head towards English Harbor and Falmouth Harbor.  The Antiguan waters come alive with an array of sailing and yachting enthusiast.  Sailing during the day, partying during the night.  This is an amazing event not to be missed specifically in you love to sail.

50th Antigua Charter Yacht Show 2011.

LOCATION: Nelson’s Dockyard Marina in English Harbor, the Falmouth Harbor Marina Antigua, W.I.
Was held on: 5th December 2011 – 10th December 2011.
2012 Annual Sailing Week Dates.
29th April 2012 – 4th May 2012, at Nelson’s Dockyard Marina in English Harbor, the Falmouth Harbor Marina.
If you can’t make it this year, book your trip to Antigua early to enjoy next year’s sailing event.

Summer Carnival Season.

Dance all day long at Antigua’s Summer Carnival, located each year in the Capital of Antigua, St. John’s.   This is the center of the carnival celebrations.  The events usually last for ten days, and is a mix of pageants, calypso competitions, and shows.  For the last two days of the celebrations, everyone takes to the streets and dances to the steel bands and music play from the exhibition floats.

The exciting display of exotic costumes and colourful outfits are a wonderful sight.  Many people travel thousands of miles to enjoy the tail end of the carnival’s famous J’ouvert morning.  This starts between 4:00am-5:00am until early afternoon.  Finally the carnival ends with what is known as last lap, which starts from 6:00pm-7:00pm that same evening until mid-night.
Dates:  Last week in July – First week in August.

Some Popular Tourist Spots In Antigua.

Antigua Small Wonders Image 4 - Shirley Heights

Shirley Heights – A Priceless View.
A long time favourite, Shirley Heights overlooks English Harbor.  You will see massive fortifications of Fort Berkley and an incredibly stunning over looking view of the south and south west of the island.  The Lookout Restaurant, stated to have the best parties on the island.  Is open Thursdays and Sundays, and has steel bands playing for your entertainment.  Best seen during the day, but worth visiting later in the day to view the sunset and enjoy a little night life entertainment.

Hours: 24/7 Drive up to the top.

Nelson’s Dockyard – An Official Port Of Entry.
This is one of the oldest and best sights in Antigua.  This historically attractive tourist site is named after the English Naval Hero, Admiral Horatio Nelson.  You will enjoy the Georgian architecture of the stone forts and the museum filled with Georgian artifacts.  Brilliantly engineered a few hundred years ago, the wonderful restored buildings, now have a bakery, shops, a pharmacy, plus several bars and restaurants.

Opens: 8:00am – 5:00pm. Every day.

Enjoy Modern And Cultural Shopping Trips.

Isis One of kind & Unusual Gifts  – Redcliffe Quay, St Johns.
You can get one of a kind and exquisite silver jewellery.  They also sell antique marble soap dishes, ornaments and jewellery boxes made of legal ivory.  Leather goods and Egyptian cotton bedding.  Reasonable prices for the quality of the goods sold, a must visit shopping experience.

Opens: Mon – Fri: 9:00am – 4:30pm & Saturdays: 9:00am – 4:00pm.

Heritage Quay Duty Free Shopping – High & Thames streets, St. John’s.
A two-story shopping complex will suit all types of shoppers.  Designer duty-free, and local made products are available.  Along with the usual tourist type items like ornaments, colourful T-Shirts with Antigua printed on them, jewellery and other interesting trinkets.   This shop is a favourite hangout of cruise ship passengers and can be at it’s busiest on Thursdays and Friday when the Cruise Ships usually land in Port.

Opens: Mon – Sat: 9:00am – 5:00pm.

The Market – Market Street, St. John’s.
At the market you will find fresh fruits and vegetables, and lots of cheap goods. Fridays and Saturdays are the busiest days and there are twice as many vendors selling even more goods.  Go early to avoid the baking afternoon sun, take a good look around and sample some the fresh fruits – can’t be beaten.

Opens: Mon – Sat: 8:00am-5:00am. Situated next to the public bus station.

Getting Around The Island.

By Bus: There is a bus service from the airport (V.C. Bird Airport). But often it is not regular enough for the usual tourist, many of the local residents use it so it gets over crowded. The usual courtesy buses from the main hotels and resorts will collect you and take you to your pre-booked accommodation.  Depending on where you are staying, if you opt for staying in a local village, there is always a main point in which you can get a bus into town, (St. Johns).  Be aware that the local villagers will also use the buses, and that the buses are minivans, and can get crowded.  You should be able to catch one about every 10-20 minutes.  The bus depot area in St Johns is where you will catch a bus back to your village, local area or hotel.

By Taxi: The taxi service is abundant particularly from Town.  Just make sure you ask to see the driver’s taxi license.  Getting a taxi from your hotel or resort is no problem and you can make arrangements to be picked up at a certain time for the return trip.  Prices vary but are generally reasonable.

By Car: Car hire is the preferred and best way to get around the Island.  You will need to take your drivers license. A local driving license is also needed to drive in Antigua which cost $20 US Dollar or $50 Eastern Caribbean Dollar.  All the main roads have improved greatly within the last five years and are well marked and smooth.  However, if you are traveling to some of the more out of town areas, some of the roads are quite bumpy.

An important point of information is, Antigua has a left hand drive. (the country drives on the drive on the left hand side of the road).

Hertz and other car hire services are available with many of their head offices based opposite the airport exit point.  Your best bet would be to book early ahead of your trip through any of the major Car Hire Companies.  For more information see Holiday Autos.

Antigua’s Beaches – A Little Bit Of Paradise.

Antigua Small Wonders Image - Dickenson Bay

Famous for having 365 beaches, you can literally find a beach within a mile from wherever you stand, anywhere on in island of Antigua.

Pigeon’s Point Beach near English Harbor to the south east of the island popular with tourists and locals.  The beach is good for snorkeling and sun bathing.  The ocean view beach bar & restaurant bumpkins,  is open every day and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Long Bay Beach is popular for family picnics and a fun day out, and located on the east side of the island.  Known for being one of the best beach for swimming, with pink sand and calm and gentle waters. it is great for children.  The Beach House Bar & Restaurant serves exotic Caribbean lunches and drinks.  Open from 10:30am – 6:00pm.  Every Thursday night you can join in the beach barbecue and listen to the live steel band.

Antigua Small Wonders Image 1 - Jolly Harbour

Jolly Beach near Jolly Harbor Resort is popular with tourist and locals alike.  The sand is very white and warmed by the high sun.  There are many shopping and restaurant facilities nearby to enjoy. If you fancy some under water adventure, the qualified instructors a run by Antigua’s leading scuba tour operators – Tours are Mondays – Saturdays.

Fryes Beach is located at Fryes Point on the west side of the island.  On a very clear day, you can see the island of Montserrat, which is approximately 33 miles from Antigua.  The ever popular Dennis Cocktail Bar & Restaurant will fill you fabulous local dishes and grilled specialties.   Opens from Tuesdays to Sundays.

Half Moon Beach is popular for its beautiful pink sand, it is to the south east of the island near Freetown Village.  It is shaped like a half moon and is very popular with locals and tourists.  There is a Bar & Restaurant, however it is not always open.  A Picnic basket would go down well.

Rendezvous Bay Beach is a quiet and undisturbed beach on the south coast of the island.  Perfect for a romantic day for couples or for anyone wanting a quiet relaxing beach experience.

Dutchman’s Bay Beach located on the north side of the island is popular for its water sport activities.  Windsurfing, Snorkeling and Diving are common sports carried out there.

Runaway Beach on the north east side of the island, is within walking distance from the capital St. Johns.  Is popular for sunbathing, and relaxing or family picnics.  It is the perfect beach to take small children as the sea waters are clear, warm and calm.

No small wonders that Antigua is very popular Caribbean Island for beach weddings. Visitors all over the World have chosen Antigua to exchange their nuptials.

Antigua’s Night Life.

Casino Fun.

Kings Casino, Heritage Quays, is the Local Casino in St. Johns.  It often has live music on Friday nights.  If you fancy a flutter but want to stay local Kings is the place to go.

Grand Princess Casino, Jolly Harbor.  As well as being a Casino, the Grand has a dance club, a rooftop fitness center, fine foods served in their first-class Restaurant, and Las Vegas type entertainment shows.

Night Clubs.

The Coast Night Club, Heritage Quay, St. John’s. Popular with locals and tourist, this is the nightclub that is very loud and a bit wild.  It offers live music and NO admission fee.

18 Carat Dance Club, Lower Church Street, St. John’s.  Lots of Soca and Reggae music is played.  There is an out-door dance area which is very popular. Admission is between $4.00-$8.00 dollars.  Music played is mainly Soca and Reggae. Opens: Fridays to Sundays 8:00pm to 1:00am.

Rush Nightclub & Connors Sports Bar, Runaway Bay.
This club usually attracts a more younger set of club goers.  Music supplied by DJs that play a mix of Soca, Reggae, R&B and Hip Hop.
Opens: Thursday to Saturday; admission around £4.00 dollars.

Best Of The Restaurants.

The Coconut Grove Restaurant – Siboney Beach Club, Dickenson Bay.
This restaurant has an international cuisine.  Literally based on the beach, visitors can enjoy a varied menu of vegetarian specials and seafood dishes.  All served in a simple comfortably designed setting.  Prices range from around $14.00 – $45.00.  Happy hour usually runs between 4:00pm – 7:00pm.
Dress Code is casually smart.
Opens: Mondays – Sundays.

East Restaurant – The Carlisle Bay Resort, Old Road, St. Mary’s, In St. John’s.
A very high class Pan-Asian cuisine restaurant.  Serves a number of Asian cuisine including Thai, Chinese, Japan, Vietnamese and Malaysia.  Prices range from approximately $12 – $35.  You would be wise to make a reservations, as this is a very popular and somewhat celebrity hangout.
Dress Code is casually smart.
Opens: Mondays – Sundays.

The Pavilion Restaurant – Coolidge, Antigua.
This elegantly styled restaurant provides a very high class silver service dining experience.  With many specialties and the finest wines in the World on offer. Your stay there will easily be remembered.  A continental cuisine is offered which includes lobster, mussels or steak.  Prices are around £30.00 for the main meal.  Reservations must be made.
Dress Code is smart, with men required to wear a jacket.
Opens: Mondays – Saturdays.

Going To The Movies In Antigua.

The New Caribbean Cinema Megaplex – Friar’s Hill Road.
This new 3-D movie movie complex is a state of the art movie house with 8 theaters. It also has Arcade Game Rooms and is the first of its kind in Antigua.
Opens: Mondays – Sundays, last showings from  9:00pm daily.

Deluxe Cinema – St John’s.
Is as an old style comfortable movie house.  It shows the latest movies, independent and Hollywood block busters.
Opens: Fridays – Tuesday, last showing 10:30pm Friday & Saturdays.

As stated earlier, Antigua has 365 beaches and sometime soon, we’ll name them all for you, and open up a special photo gallery.  For now, these few are among the most popular and most visited on the island.  A really fun way to get to see most of the beaches is to hire a guide for the day and go beach hopping.  Speak to the concierge at your resort for help with getting a beach hopping tour arranged.  Alternatively, a licensed taxi driver could be your guide for the day.  Compare prices before you agree on a tour price.

Yes indeed, the relaxed pace, fabulous foods, glorious weather and sandy white beaches are all part of Antigua’s appeal.  If you travel to the Caribbean, Antigua will be a wonderful holiday destination for you.  Just think about the tropical fruits, delicious foods and fabulous climate.  Antigua has some of the world’s most spectacular beaches, all beautiful and sandy with a refreshing sea breeze, blue/green warm sea water.

When you visit Antigua, you may feel as though you want to extend your stay.  Not just because it is the premier yachting destination of the Caribbean. Extremely popular with the rich and famous, as well as every day holidaymakers.  But more for the quieter atmosphere, relaxed pace, friendly people, delicious foods and fruits.  All this just makes you want a repeat visit, of this lovely little gem of an island in the Caribbean called Antigua.

For direct flights from the UK see  British Airlines.

Click here for a wide range of  holiday packages.

Antigua has many small wonders, including some of the most beautiful beaches in the World.


Other Useful Information:

Antigua Tourist Board.

The High Comission of Antigua.

Antigua Small Wonders Image by: Paul Kowalow.

Antigua Small Wonders Image 1 by: David Stanley

Antigua Small Wonders Image 2 – Sailing by: Rodolfo Belloliby.




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