Bespoke and Tailor Made Holidays & Honeymoons to Antigua & Barbuda
Antigua and it’s smaller sister island Barbuda are located in the middle of the Caribbean chain of islands and are part of the Leeward Islands with St Kitts to the east and Guadeloupe to the south. Antigua is about 70 miles square and is 25 miles north of Barbuda. Antigua is often known as the island of 365 beaches, offering a different one for every day of the year!
There are direct flights from the UK to Antigua which take approximately 8 1/2 hours, making it a good option for family holidays, the time zone is 4 hours behind GMT, there are currently no visa requirements for British Citizens and the main rains fall October to December. Antigua does have one of the driest climates in the region with gentle trade winds and clear waters making it a favourite for sailing in the Caribbean.
When you are looking at hotels in Antigua, bear in mind that the all inclusive hotels are busy with families in school holidays, book early if you are travelling with a family. For honeymoons or a couples holiday, try the pool suites at Hermitage Bay or the Beachfront suites at Galley Bay. Curtain Bluff is more adult oriented and has a location overlooking both the Atlantic and Caribbean sides of the island. Another good option for couples is Cocobay with it’s colletion of pastel painted traditional style cottages with two pretty beaches and a wonderful infinity pool. Jumby Bay is a paradise retreat on it’s own 300 acre private island and between June and November you may see turtles nesting here. Carlisle Bay is the optimum in exclusive luxury – there is a calm atmosphere here which appeals to the most discerning clients. Try Blue Waters for traditonal Caribbean ambience and hospitality. St James Club is in a beautiful position on Mamora Bay in the south of Antigua and offers plenty of restaurants and pools. If you want something with a bit of old fashioned charm, go for The Inn at English Harbour.
In April each year Antigua comes alive at the historical Nelson’s Dockyard with the annual Sailing Week (29 April – 4 May). This is a high speed sailing race from the Dockyard to Dickenson Bay and back with more than 1500 sailors competing. There is also a Classic Yacht Regatta which features traditional boats built of wood and steel. American Sailing Week is full of races and day sails and takes place in June. Nelson’s Dockyard is part of a national park and is the only Georgian naval dockyard still existing in the world. It was once the most important outpost for the British Navy in the Caribbean, built in 1725. There are buildings along the waterfront marked with their former use and dates of origin and there is a museum of the area’s history in the Naval Officer’s House.
There are rainforest canopy tours where you can zip across the top of the tree canopy. There are four tours and a bar and cafe facilities. On Sunday nights you can party at Shirley Heights looking out at the sunset over English Harbour accompanied by reggae and steel bands at this old look out point. Antigua’s main carnival is a 10 day event in July full of food, music, art and celebrations commemorating the earliest abolition of slavery in the British Caribbean.
The main town and airport of Antigua is St Johns which rises from the harbour. You can visit the Antigua and Barbuda Museum here where there are ancient artifacts, displays of old farming methods and the cricket bat of Sir Vivian Richards! You can also visit the Cathedral Church of St John the Divine. At Redcliffe Quay there is a retail village built from the historical buildings originally a slave trading yard. Inland throughout the country you can see almost a hundred towers signifying the remains of Antigua’s sugar mills where there used to be about 150 sugar plantations. There are twin mills founded in 1650s which have been restored to working condition at Betty’s Hope.
For shallow diving and snorkelling the coast surrounding these two islands is full of shelves which provide excellent conditions and there is great wreck diving for experienced divers off Barbuda. If you are not a diver but want to view underwater life take the underwater subcat with a expert narrative through the marine reserve and coral reefs where you can see species such as Groupers, Grunts and Angel Fish.
For overseas weddings in Antigua and Barbuda you need a special licence from the Ministry of Legal Affairs but do not require residency. There are several hotels which organise weddings here, ask me for details.
Food and drink is fabulous as you would expect on Antigua, try the traditional national dish of ‘fungi & pepperpot stew’ or the sweet potato dumpling with saltfish ‘Ducana’. Fruits are abundant and fruit drinks here are wonderful made from the local black pineapples, coconut, guava and mango. The locally produced Cavalier Rum and Wadadli Beer are also worth a try! Eating out you are spoilt for choice – try Le Bistro for authentic French cuisine, East at Carlisle Bay for its superb pan-Asian menu and Carmichaels at Sugar Ridge for Caribbean fusion dishes and great views. Papa Zouk is great for creole seafood or if you want a romantic setting go to The Cove on a cliff top at Boon’s Point.
Visit Barbuda for total peace and tranquility. Escape to this beautiful peaceful island which feels like stepping back in time. The most plentiful inhabitants are the Frigate Birds and you can take a boat ride at Codrington Lagoon through the Frigate Bird Sanctuary. These birds spend most of their time airborne as they cannot swim or walk and the best time to see them is during the breeding season August to November. You are unlikely to see many other people during your time on Barbuda, there are around 1100 people living here in the main town of Codrington. Enjoy utter relaxation on beautiful beaches such as the pink sand beach at Palmetto Point.
So whether you are a historian, a sailor or simply want to enjoy the beautiful beaches and laid back life of Antigua and Barbuda, get in touch for a tailor made Caribbean holiday.