Antigua holds a special place in my travel memories as it was the first Caribbean island I set foot upon. I have to say of all the ones I have visited, it still remains one of my favorites!
The people are incredibly friendly, the beaches are gorgeous and the food is authentic. In all, Antigua is just an awesome taste of Caribbean life and an island I can’t wait to visit again.
Antigua is alive with history and one of the biggest attractions is Nelson’s Dockyard. The Dockyard is now a cultural heritage site and is visited by thousands of people every year. Named after Admiral Horatio Nelson, who lived in the Dockyard from 1784 to 1787, Nelson’s Dockyard is home to some of Antigua’s sailing events including Antigua Sailing Week. The Dockyard National Park is also home to Clarence House and Shirley Heights, the latter allowing visitors some of the most breathtaking views across the island. It really has to be seen to be believed.
If you like the sound of a more historical Caribbean stop, then I would recommend the Antigua Exclusive History and Culture Tour. Not only will you get to experience the above, but you will also have the chance to visit Dow’s Hill Interpretation Center where visitors can delve into a rather impressive multimedia presentation detailing everything about Antigua’s rich history. The views of the harbor are pretty awesome here, too, so have your camera at the ready. The trip is roughly 3 and a half hours in duration so it offers you enough time afterwards to maybe explore one of Antigua’s many beautiful beaches. My personal recommendation would be for Dickenson Bay, which is just a short taxi ride from the cruise terminal.
Looking for something with a little more excitement? Then you must try Yacht Racing. The Clear Caribbean waters are ideal for this sport and after your 45-minute heart pounding race you can relax and enjoy a more leisurely hour as you cruise around the beautiful harbors. Of course, one must sip a fruity rum punch while he or she is admiring the multi-million dollar luxury yachts. It would be a crime not to.
The shopping opportunities in Antigua are quite good, too, so it’s an ideal chance to stock upon some souvenirs for loved ones back home — or maybe treat yourself to something a little more expensive.
If you want to try some local cuisine, there are several restaurants and cafes just a stone’s throw from where your ship will dock. You can’t miss them. I would also recommend a walk to the local food market, too. The fruits and vegetables were very tempting and very fresh. It was a pleasant walk and the atmosphere was amazing.
For those of you hoping to just do your own thing ashore, then you will find plenty of licensed cab drivers within the port area so no need to worry about transportion. When my friend and I visited Dickenson Bay, our cab driver returned several hours later to pick us up. Just be sure they have a badge to show they are licensed. The rates were very reasonable and our driver even took us on a detour as we wanted to try some local cuisine. We didn’t quite find what we were looking for so he returned us to the port, but he was more than happy to help and it allowed us a chance to see a little more of the island.
Whatever you decide to do in Antigua you are guaranteed to have a wonderful time!