Spotlight on Antigua
Dreaming of sun-drenched powdery white beaches? Gentle waves lapping at your toes as you stretch out on the softest sand? Us too!! And we absolutely know where to go. May we introduce you to Antigua - our new favourite spot for some SERIOUS escapism.
Named by Christopher Colombus during his visit to the island in 1493 (fact: Antigua means “ancient” in Spanish, though there is nothing old hat about this slice of paradise), it sits next to its neighbour Barbuda in the north-eastern Caribbean sea. If you love winter sun, look no further. The sun shines all year and the temperature doesn’t dip below 25C.
With a history of colonisation, the island gained independence in 1981 and today the place is CHILLED - life meanders along its 87 kilometres of tropical coastline at a very leisurely pace. The capital, St John’s, offers plenty of shopping options for colourful local arts and crafts and the hustle and bustle of island life. But it’s Antigua’s beaches that will steal your heart, so here is our pick of the very BEST stretches of glorious sand for the ultimate R&R – enjoy!
Head to the southern part of the island if you’re seeking a secluded spot in the sun. Gorgeous Dickenson Bay is home to the picture perfect Siboney Beach Club – one of our favourite lunch spots. Its rustic charm is hard to beat, as are the crab cakes served up by the Club’s restaurant - Salt Plage Beach Bar. Tuck into their delicious speciality – the Caribbean Curry Shrimp – and work your way through their fabulous cocktail list. This is toes-in-the-sand nirvana, so leave the heels at home and unwind beneath the softly swaying palm trees.
For an unforgettable stay in the lap of luxury, sink into the softest white linen at Carlisle Bay. The super chic suites overlook a beautiful stretch of sand cocooned between two rocky headlands on the southwestern shore of the island. Sumptuous massages in their organic beauty spa? Yoga and pilates in the serene tropical gardens? Snorkelling in crystal clear water? We’ll take it all, thanks! And the sunsets here are a dream. But don’t take our word for it - pack your Paper bikinis and get ready to RELAX.
On the northwest tip of Antigua lies another of our favourite beachside boltholes. The luxurious Blue Waters Resort and Spa boasts first class facilities and has the MOST sensational views over the azure sea (in our humble opinion!). It’s a 15 minute cab ride from the airport so you won’t waste any time on transfers. And it is heaven for the little ones too – a kids club and every water based activity you can imagine is on tap. Plus there are EIGHT bars and restaurants to keep your tastebuds happy. In short, you need never leave (and trust us - you won’t want to).
Beach ennui setting in? We get it – sometimes you yearn more for yoga bum than beach bum. We LOVE a cleansing yoga session. And finding the most inspiring backdrop for a sun salutation is a breeze with Yoga Antigua’s detailed schedule of classes – locations are dotted all over the island making it oh so easy to book yourself a space on a mat. Your mind and body will thank you.
Or head to the hills to work up a sweat! A hike up to the must-see Shirley Heights Lookout should get those endorphins rushing. At 490 feet above sea level the view from the top is jaw dropping. Go at sunset and you’ll see the twinkling lights of Antigua’s famous English harbour (insider tip: Sunday is party night at the Lookout bar).
If you fancy zipping along the top of the luscious rainforest and spotting monkeys and parrots along the way, try a rainforest canopy tour – we dare you! Otherwise delve into the ecology of the island on an Eco boat tour and witness the coastline’s awesome marine life with a mask and fins. The reefs are a paradise for turtles and tropical fish – take an underwater camera for those frame worthy photos! Into wind-surfing and kite-surfing? The best spot for you is hands down the breezy Buccaneer Cove beach. Just a short stroll from the Siboney Beach Club, the water here is shallow and the gentle winds are a windsurfer’s dream.
When afternoon comes around and you KNOW it’s time for a daiquiri, the floating Kon Tiki Bar at Dickinson Bay has your back. Accessible only by a short swim or kayak, you will be blown away by how AMAZING this place is – watch rays gliding through the gentle waves and keep those rum punches rolling!
For a romantic twist to the evening we highly recommend booking yourself in at the super stylish cliff-front Sheer Rocks with your own private rock-pool (we LOVE). Their sustainably sourced tasting menu kicks off with a glass of champagne whilst looking out over the emerald sea. Top it off with a spectacular sunset and you have the PERFECT soiree.
Now who doesn’t love a party vibe on vacation?! There are stacks of pop up bars and beach barbecues at Pigeon Point, one of the buzziest beaches on the island. Drop in at Catherine’s Café and bag a daybed, stay all day sampling their sharing platter and cocktail menu, or pop in at night for fine French cuisine.
We could go on and on and ON about this magical island, but often the most unforgettable moments are the ones you discover for yourself. Bring an open mind and an open heart (and your ABSOLUTE best swimwear) and you’ll have your own out-of-this-world Antiguan adventures. Just remember to tell us about them!!