Perfecting the Art of Relaxation

December 23, 2015 No Comments

Antigua Feature 2015

With 365 picture-perfect beaches—one for every day of the year—it’s hard to imagine that Antigua’s beaches really are just the beginning. A jagged coastline of yacht-studded bays frames the rolling landscape of rain forests, plantations, historic forts, and the British Navy’s former Caribbean home base.

St. John’s is the charming capital where cobblestoned streets are lined by wooden houses with corrugated iron roofs and Caribbean verandas. It’s easy to get around on foot and the downtown sites are within walking distance. Heritage Quay, a waterfront duty-free complex, is packed with guaranteed shops, restaurants, and boutiques with brand names at incredible prices. Local artwork and handicrafts are in abundance as are great selections of jewelry, emeralds, watches, electronics, china, and English linens. The shops at nearby Redcliffe Quay are housed in restored Georgian warehouses painted in a vibrant mix of Caribbean hues. Within the former trading post, a mix of fine boutiques sell some of the world’s most renowned jewelry and watch brands, plus designer gems found only on the island.

Antigua is best known for its beaches—Dickenson Bay Beach is an island must-see—and many of the cruise line’s shore excursions include time to relax on the sugary-soft sands. Check out Tropical Adventures to see Antigua by sea, or to take an island safari on a 4×4. And the southern and western coasts are swarming with colorful marine life, perfect for underwater exploration.

Every spring, the marina plays host to Antigua Sailing Week, a world-class yachting regatta that attracts high-performance racing crafts from around the globe. There’s also kayaking trips, yacht-racing adventures, and the enchanting Stingray City. For electrifying views of the harbor, head to Shirley Heights, a former military lookout point noted for some of the best views on Antigua.

History buffs can travel back in time at Fort James, the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda inside the colonial Court House, and St. John’s Cathedral, the capital’s most prominent landmark. The baroque structure is marked by two stone spires that dominate the skyline, stretching almost seventy feet into the air. And don’t miss a trip to English Harbour on the south coast of the island. Once a British Royal Navy base, it was the only one in the Eastern Caribbean large enough to accommodate naval-ship repairs. Today, it’s part of Nelson’s Dockyard National Park and features shops, restaurants, and the Dockyard Museum.

One of the island’s most gripping sites, Hell’s Gate, is in a remote coastal region only accessible by boat. The rock formation features a natural cave, tunnel, warm pool, and snorkeling spots; not to be confused with Devil’s Bridge, a natural land phenomenon where blowholes and geysers frame the bridge as waves break against it.

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Sail a luxurious catamaran to capture breathtaking coastline views before a scrumptious lobster buffet lunch.

Visit Nelson’s Dockyard, the Blockhouse Ruins, and Shirley Heights, where the harbor views are awe-inspiring.

Enjoy Antiguan hospitality at the Backyard Rum Shack with an exclusive rum tasting paired with samples of different local dishes. Finish with a purchase of your favorite rum bottles.

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