Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda, separated by a narrow strip of sky-blue Caribbean Sea in the middle of the Leeward Islands, are one of the region's most well-rounded tourist destinations.
There are cricket grounds and bobbing cruise ships on the horizon in St. John's parish, the archipelago's small and close-knit capital, while the slap and click of casino chips is never far away.
Most visitors will climb to Shirley Heights Lookout for the best view of the rest of Antigua (the larger of the two islands), where the pearly-white beaches, the deep green palm forests, and the occasional bloom of bougainvillaea spread out to reveal Falmouth and English Harbour, two of the earliest colonial towns here.
Old sugar plantations await inland, while stone churches atop cliffs belie the English influence.
Then there's Barbuda, a haven for sailors and swimmers seeking true solitude.
Best Things To Do In Antigua and Barbuda
Redcliffe Quay is a Great Place to go Shopping
Redcliffe Quay is home to a medley of independent art galleries and trinket shops, souvenir sellers, clothing boutiques, and pottery makers, and is perhaps the coolest and most sophisticated area in all of Antigua and Barbuda.
Aside from the aforementioned Zemi Gallery, there's Caribbean Magic Wallet (selling reggae-inspired island wear), Vera Pelle (with an array of bespoke and ultra-stylish Italian handbags), and offbeat Rasta Pasta (where a fusion of red, yellow, and green imbues everything from Jamaican-flavored hats to Rasta bracelets!).
At the Zemi Art Gallery, you can see colourful islander paintings
In St. John's, Zemi is a welcoming little gallery nestled between the brick-built houses of Redcliffe Quay.
It's the perfect place to come to get a feel for the artsy character of the Antigua islanders, with a medley of colourful Caribbean paintings, crafts, trinkets, and creations on display.
Paintings and sculptures inlaid with whelk shells, decorated with a kaleidoscope of patterns, or crafted from found materials straight from the sands depict the coves and beaches that line the tropical shorelines here, while painted timber bowls (made from the native calabash tree) and sculptures come inlaid with whelk shells, decorated with a kaleidoscope of patterns, or crafted from found materials straight from the sands.
Furthermore, the proprietors are always cheerful and eager to share their knowledge of the area's history!
On 17-mile Beach, you can be alone on the Carib sands
Forget Negril's seven miles of silky sands on Jamaica; the untouched and largely untrodden isle of Barbuda, nestled between the glistening Caribbean waters just north of Antigua, boasts a whopping 17 miles! It runs along the island's western edge, surrounded by sea grasses and sand dunes and separated from Codrington by the waters of a brackish lagoon.
Almost always deserted and empty, the occasional yacht passes by, and the cool breezes help to relieve the tropical heat – it's an ideal spot for aspiring beachcombers and walkers!
Valley Church Beach is a great place to relax and unwind
This narrow strip of glowing, talcum-powder sand that abuts the waters of Lignum Vitae Bay is perhaps the single most quintessential of the legendary 365 (people say one for each day of the year) individual beaches on the islands of Antigua and Barbuda.
The spot is located just south of Jolly Harbour and is required viewing for any dedicated beach lover.
It has a backdrop of rising dunes and black mangroves, and is framed to the north and south by perfectly formed hills.
Cabanas and guesthouses are available just a stone's throw from the beach for those who fall in love with Valley Church!
Bumpkins is a great place to go for a sunset meal and drink
Bumpkins is a great place to spend an evening on the south side of Antigua Island, hidden between the rocks and green gardens of Pigeon Point Beach on the far side of the headland from English Harbour.
The joint is a casual affair just metres from the lapping waves, serving a medley of Caribbean seafood ceviche and fiery (and we mean fiery!) jerk chicken straight off the BBQ grill.
An in-house reggae band takes over on Friday nights, and the sunset views across Deep Bay are simply breathtaking!