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Everything about Antigua & Barbuda. I even roamed around St. John's with my professional camera and my GoPro in my hand and not a single soul that.
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- A.R. Corbin (Author of roam around St Kitts & Nevis)
- 17 Incredible Things To Do In Antigua For The Perfect Holidays
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Yes, Antigua's rainforest is easy to reach and full of surprises. Travel up the scenic Fig Tree Drive and begin at the Fig Tree Studio Art Gallery which has arts and crafts from Caribbean artists, and from where you can also take guided rainforest walks. Carry on to take part in a spectacular two and a half hour tour with the Antigua Rainforest Canopy Tour Company ; antiguarainforest. Having crossed a rickety wooden suspension bridge you'll don a harness to traverse a gorge feet across, taking a scattered path along different zip wires.
There are stunning views right to the bottom of the rainforest feet below — if you dare to look. From there take a long walk down to Rendezvous Bay and Doigs Beach, which are secluded and well worth the trek. Within the sanctum of Nelson's Dockyard, you hear plenty of British voices among the boat-owners, supplemented by American and Australian accents.
But what you really notice is the bold Georgian architecture that turns the ensemble into a most characterful marina. Two centuries ago, Antigua had a parallel role to its position today: as a maritime hub for the Caribbean. Nowadays aircraft home in on the island; but as the 18th century gave way to the 19th, this was the base for the Royal Navy in the region.
Horatio Nelson was a frequent visitor, though on one occasion he became so ill before departure for Britain that he ordered a cask of rum to be placed on board to preserve his body should he die. An exhibition of naval paraphernalia includes old dockyard furniture scarred by ancient graffiti, and Nelson's telescope.
Afterwards take the nature trail to Fort Berkeley. Shirley Heights offers fine views over English Harbour, where you can enjoy a lively Caribbean Sunday afternoon complete with a steel band, barbecue and rum punch. Hotel and restaurant menus offer familiar versions of European and American food, though with the bonus of plenty of fresh fish and lobster.
Snacking opportunities are plentiful: corn here, coconut there, and the occasional curried goat served in unnerving proximity to the live, unspiced version. Local food centres on chicken and rice, but the more interesting delicacies include seasoned rice with pig snout and bull foot soup very good hot; served cold it will set and ducana grated sweet potato steamed with coconut milk and spices in a banana leaf.
Try the Sunday breakfast of salt fish and anchova aubergine , cornmeal pudding, fungi and rice pudding — actually a blood pudding bound with rice. For finer dining, English Harbour has the best — if priciest — restaurants. The Reef at the Inn at English Harbour is an upmarket beach bar which serves breakfast and a lunch of tasty Caribbean treats For dinner venture to Trappas, a restaurant and bar which offers good food, cocktails and beers at reasonable prices and draws in the crowds The Beach at Dickenson Bay provides a spectacular setting for fine food , as does the more relaxed Gibsons at Crabbe Hill village, where lunch or dinner is served on the beach Locals drink generous helpings of punch made from rum both dark and light with lime juice and brown sugar.
The local beer, Wadadli, is very good and can be found almost everywhere on the island along with plenty of fresh juices — don't forget to try the fresh pineapple juice from one of the local farms. Work your way from Falmouth Harbour to English Harbour for the best bars, not missing Skullduggery which is renowned for its espresso martinis. Hurricane season officially runs from 1 June to 31 October and is worst in September. The best combination of low prices and mostly sunny skies is in November and early December. There is a limited bus service from the airport, but most hotels offer a minibus service.
The US dollar is readily acceptable everywhere — but usually at below the official rate. Bus services are frequent on most routes, if scary. The Classic week April hosts around 60 yachts every year, including wooden pre-Second World War J Class yachts, schooners, sloops and yawls. Antigua Sailing Week April offers anything from chartered sloops to billion-dollar boats, which circumnavigate the island from Nelson's Dockyard.
Falmouth Harbour, with its myriad marinas, provides the centre of this frenzy of maritime activity. Charter a boat from Horizon Yacht Charters ; horizonyachtcharters. Antigua's tiny sister island, Barbuda, 25 miles north, is barely more than a sandbank — and one of the Eastern Caribbean's least-visited locations.
Here wild horses and goats roam loose amongst the inhabitants of Codrington, the main-town-cum-tiny village that houses the island's air strip. Protected by barrier reefs, the smooth coastline is edged with long pink and white sand beaches that culminate in an uninterrupted mile stretch on the southern shore. At the spectacular Palm Beach you can worship the sun in perfect privacy. Barbuda has a few isolated resorts: Coco Point Lodge is secluded on its own acre peninsula ; cocopoint. Lighthouse Bay ; lighthousebayresort. A two-bedroom suite at the luxurious K Club ; kclubbarbuda.
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