Antigua Travel Guide

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Antigua Travel Guide

Antigua Local History

The first permanent residents of the island were the Arawaks, they established an agricultural communities on both Antigua and Barbuda around about 2 000 years ago. Columbus sighted Antigua in 1493 and named it after a church in Seville in Spain. In 1632 the British colonised Antigua. Sir Christopher Codrington arrived in 1674 and established the first sugar plantation. The plantation was so successful that slaves were imported to work the lands and the central valleys of the island were deforested and replanted with sugar cane. In order to feed all the people of Antigua, Sir Christopher Codrington leased the neighboring island of Barbuda from Britain and planted it with food crops.

As Antigua prospered, so the British built fortifications around the island making it the most secure base in the Caribbean. The plantations fell apart in the 1800's leaving the plantation owners in financial ruin. The plantations were divided among the richest and in 1834 slavery was abolished. Former slaves moved off the plantations into shantytowns and some crowded onto properties held by the church.

In 1967 after more than 300 years of colonial rule, Antigua achieved self-government as an Associated State of the United Kingdom. Full independence was achieved in 1981.

Antigua Attractions

Antigua Shopping

Fruit and vegetable market This market is open on a Saturday and has a variety of fruit and vegetables to choose from. It is well worth a trip for all you fruit lovers.

Redcliffe Quay There are nearly three-dozen boutiques housed in warehouses set around shaded landscaped courtyards. You can find a variety of good, which are great for gifts and souvenirs.

West Indies Oil Co This shop is a big hit with the kids. They sell British toys, beach games, island crafts and so much more.

Island Hopper This shop specializes in Caribbean made gifts and clothing. You can pick up some T-shirt and casual wear as well as some handcrafts.

Antigua Activities

Swimming with Dolphins Swimming with Dolphins is the most exciting and thrilling activities. A once in a lifetime adventure allows you to learn and experience up close and personal playtime with the dolphins. This experience allows you to gain an understanding of these fascinating mammals. This is an unforgettable moment, which you will treasure for a lifetime.

There are plenty of programmes offered by the various hotels on the island to keep the little ones busy. They are in a safe and supervised environment filled with fun and learning possibilities.

Antigua Parks & Gardens

Nelson's Dockyard National Park This is one of the eastern Caribbean's biggest attractions. English ships took refuge from hurricanes as early as 1671, in this harbour. The centerpiece is the restored Georgian naval dockyard, which was home to the British fleet during the Napoleonic Wars. The park has sandy beaches and tropical vegetation with various species of cactus and mangroves. Migrating African cattle use the mangroves as shelter. The archaeological sites predate Christ, and the nature trails have coastal views and lead you through a variety of flora.

Indian Town The Atlantic breakers have lashed against the rocks for centuries and have carved a natural bridge known as Devil's Bridge. The bridge is surrounded by numerous blowhole, which spout surf and creates a dramatic sight. There are 36 different types of species of birds located in the park.

Antigua Beaches

Dickenson Bay This is one of the island's finest beaches. It has a wide strip of powder soft sand and calm turquoise waters. This beach is safe and generally attracts families with small children. Water sport equipment can be rented at the Halcyon Cove Hotel and food and refreshments can be bought from the local restaurants and casual bars on the beach.

Johnson's Point This is the perfect place if you are seeking solitude. There are no facilities, but the sand is white and the waters clear and calm and is populated with schools of rainbow-hued tropical fish.

Turner's Beach This is the best place to lie out in the tropical sun and cooled by the trade winds. There are fine white sand and clear waters, and when the day is clear you can see the volcanic island of Mostserrat.

Long Bay The crystal blue waters make this an ideal beach for snorkeling. Most of the visitors to this beach come here to sun themselves of the perfect white sands.

Antigua Restaurants and Bars

Antigua Restaurants

Alberto's Located at Willoughby Bay. The cuisine at this spectacular restaurant has an international flair. The best dishes include ravioli, steak and lobster. The food is pricey, but well worth it.

Bay House Located in the Trade winds Hotel, Dickenson Bay. The open-sided dining room is surrounded by lattices and potted plants and has a breath taking view over the hillside and down to the jagged coastline. The cuisine is of an international flair and the Bay House specializes in seafood.

Coconut Grove Located in the Siboney Beach Club, Dickenson Bay. The Coconut Grove is a typical Caribbean restaurant in a coconut grove right on the beach. There are simple tables on a flagstone floor beneath a thatched roof. The restaurant is cooled by the sea breezes. Happy hour at the bar is between 4pm and 7pm when all drinks are half price. The cuisine is International and have the typical seafood, which you would expect from an establishment that is located right on the beach.

The Admiral's Inn Located in Nelson's Dockyard, English Harbour. Only the best quality ingredients are used in this establishment to create the various main courses. This restaurant is located in a 17th century hotel, the atmosphere is exciting and the service is agreeable. Enjoy a drink in the bar before dinner and read the names of sailors who were carved into the wood more than 100 years ago.

Antigua Bars & Clubs

Eighteen Carats Located on Long Street at Market Street. This is a popular and sought after dance club and night bar. Expect to pay a cover charge. There is an indoor-outdoor format, which opens the place up to a view of the downtown St John's. The music includes lots of reggae and soca. This club is open Friday to Sunday from 8pm to 1am.

The Bay House Located at the Trade Winds Hotel. A guitarist performs every Monday and every Saturday there is a local reggae band. This is the island's best mix of singles.

Millers by the Sea Located at Runaway Beach. There is live entertainment nightly, which spills over onto the sand. Millers by the Sea have the best happy hour in town.

The Admiral's Inn Located at the English Harbour. This is a bare-foot friendly joint. Live music takes place every Thursday and Saturday nights, which usually is a local 14-piece steel band. The Admiral's Inn has a real nautical atmosphere with the action centering on a wooden pier.

Antigua children's activities

Swimming with Dolphins Swimming with Dolphins is the most exciting and thrilling activities. A once in a lifetime adventure allows you to learn and experience up close and personal playtime with the dolphins. This experience allows you to gain an understanding of these fascinating mammals. This is an unforgettable moment, which you will treasure for a lifetime.

There are plenty of programmes offered by the various hotels on the island to keep the little ones busy. They are in a safe and supervised environment filled with fun and learning possibilities.

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