An Antigua all inclusive is all about comfort and the little pleasures in life.
I have recently come back from my Antigua holidays, during which I got to know an island that is nothing short of amazing; packed with adventurous things to do; where the people are truly wonderful and there are many gorgeous beaches – which are just one of its many treasures.
Read more about Antigua in my post “How To Make The Most Of Your Antigua Holidays.”
One of the things I didn’t think I’d enjoy but ended up loving was staying in an Antigua all inclusive: it perfectly served its purpose, with a lovely room facing a fantastic garden and overlooking the ocean; a bunch of nice restaurants and bars where I could meet my friends and eat good food and have one too many rum punches; and the possibility of organizing expeditions around the island.
During my time on the island, I also had the opportunity to explore a few more Antigua all inclusive resorts. So this post is for those who are planning their holidays in Antigua and aren’t quite sure which Antigua all inclusive they should pick.
Indeed, while any Antigua all inclusive typically has comfortable and cozy rooms, one or more swimming pools to relax or exercise, bars and restaurants for a nice night out, the location can vary a lot – some are blissfully isolated, others are right on one of the best beaches in Antigua.
This is to say that not all Antigua resorts are the same. In this post, I aim to provide some insightful information about the nicest Antigua all inclusive to help anybody who’s planning a trip to this gorgeous Caribbean island make an informed decision when booking their accommodation. Keep in mind my list is absolutely non exhaustive, and there’s an element of my personality and preferences in the selection of the Antigua all inclusive resorts I recommend!
Most of the Antigua resorts described in this post are property of Elite Island Resorts, who has recently launched the incredible choir retreat holidays, where guests can join a choir led by professional vocal coach Mike King – just a reminder of the many things to do in Antigua.
All Antigua all inclusive resorts have access to splendid beaches
The Best Antigua All Inclusive For The Perfect Holiday
This is my favorite Antigua all inclusive, though I am highly biased since it is the place where I spent most of my time while on the island. The Pineapple Beach Club is part of the Elite Island Resorts group; it is located on Long Bay, one of the best beaches in Antigua, right outside the nice small village of Willokee and at about 20 minutes drive from the international airport.
What I love about this, among all Antigua resorts, is that it provides a full Caribbean experience, with buildings in the traditional style of the island (wooden and colorful) and all located around lush gardens, and providing views of the ocean or even beachfront. The property is quite large, but all rooms are at a stone’s throw from the beach.
This is an adults only Antigua all inclusive – meaning that only 16+ and above are allowed to stay on the property. It’s ideal for a relaxing escapes and perfect for couples and families who either don’t have kids, or have left them at home and want to take a break from their parenthood duties.
During my time at Pineapple Beach Club I was able to check out a few rooms. Some have been built recently, and are a bit more modern than others. All are comfortable, anyways, as in any proper Antigua all inclusive resort. All rooms have a large bed, a TV, a telephone, a coffee and tea maker (with actual good coffee!), a safe, a shower or tub and a hair dryer.
It may seem like a small thing, but the coffee maker did make a difference to me. Especially at the very beginning of my holidays I was battling jet-lag, so I enjoyed a very early morning coffee in the comfort of my porch, facing the park and the ocean. One more reason to love this Antigua all inclusive.
At Pineapple Beach Club there’s a variety of dining options. One thing that friends who stayed at other resorts envied me for was the fact that the main restaurant is on a terrace right on the beach. Having sea views while eating is certainly a perk of staying at this incredible Antigua all inclusive. If I am not a massive fan of the buffet (never mind me, I am a picky eater!) I enjoyed the food at the Pineapple Grill, the finest restaurant in the resort; and I loved the fast food (which actually has plenty of healthy choices) at the place right behind the main bar.
The Oathouse is another place that makes the Pineapple Beach Club an amazing Antigua all inclusive: it’s a barbeque style place located on a hill from where there’s incredible views of the beach below.
Among the activities offered at Pineapple Beach Club there’s hobiecat sailing; kayaking; paddle boarding; snorkeling on the off shore reef. There’s also tennis courts and a fitness centre. This Antigua all inclusive resort also helps organize trips around the island for an additional price.
Last, but not least, all personnel at the Pineapple Beach Club is incredibly kind and friendly, making it a great choice among the many Antigua resorts.
In short: of all Antigua all inclusive resorts, the Pineapple Beach Club is perfect for people who aren’t traveling with children and are looking for a fantastic beach right at their doorstep, and care to have a good choice of restaurants.
Click here to read more reviews about the Pineapple Beach Club. And click on this link to check availability and best rates.
A room with a view is almost for granted in a fabulous Antigua all inclusive
On the other side of the same road where Pineapple Beach Club is located, there’s another Antigua all inclusive belonging to the Elite Island Resorts group. The Verandah Resort and Spa is located on the north east coast of Antigua, on a property that borders the famous Devil’s Bridge National Park and that is so large that it has its own secluded hiking trails and that at times feels like a labirynth to explore.
What I truly liked about this Antigua all inclusive is the easy going atmosphere, with a nice bar right on the beach; and the feeling of being in a small (or shall I say large, given how big the resort is?!) village. Another quite important reason to love the Verandah is that it’s adopted a green policy of recycling and not wasting plastic – something that shouldn’t go unnoticed in an ever so polluted world.
Contrary to the Pineapple Beach Club, the Verandah welcomes families with children, who can enjoy the large pool (one of the largest in Antigua) or the tranquil waters of the bay and who can also be left in day care at the resort Kidz Club, where there’s a playground and a splash pool. There’s also babysitting services for an extra charge – not a bad thing for an Antigua all inclusive!
Verandah rooms are lovely. What makes it one of the best Antigua all inclusive resorts is the choice of accommodation, with 3 kinds of rooms: hillside, waterview and waterfront. There even are two bedroom villas, perfect for families, and two-bedroom plunge pool villas. All rooms have coffee making facilities, safes, showers or tubs, a phone and the most comfortable bed, and a lovely balcony to relax.
The Verandah has three restaurants: a buffet style restaurant; Buccaneer which offers tasty Caribbean style food, and the elegant Nicole’s. Matching the restaurants, there’s 3 different bars. Easy to see why this is a great choice among Antigua resorts.
At the Verandah Resort and Spa a wide range of activities is on offer: there’s tennis courts; a fitness club; snorkelling and kayaking; paddle boarding; windsurfing and hobie cat sailing. Tours of the island can be arranged for an additional price and there’s also a rental car agency right behind the main reception area. Boat rides can be taken to Green Island and Bird Island – easy to see why this is an incredible Antigua all inclusive.
In short: of all Antigua all inclusive resorts, the Verandah Resort and Spa is perfect for families with children and offers a lot of activities on the site or right near it.
Click here to read more reviews about the The Verandah Resort and Spa. And click on this link to check availability and best rates.
Location is everything for an Antigua all inclusive
Galley Bay is an award winning Antigua all inclusive, part of the Elite Island Resorts group, located on a very intimate location on the Caribbean sea, which I loved because of its refined yet never pretentious atmosphere. It is located on a gorgeous beach, one of the best beaches in Antigua, and surrounded by lush tropical gardens, complete of a lagoon and a bird sanctuary. The property strives to be eco-friendly, and even has an on site fruit and vegetable garden.
Galley Bay Resort and Spa is located on the west coast, which means that the sunset views are splendid. I had incredible sunrise views at the Pineapple Beach Club, but I have to say that admiring the sunset is one of the nicest things to do in Antigua – making this Galley Bay a perfect Antigua all inclusive.
The reception area is located right next to a historic sugar mill, and a wooden causeway leads all the way to the cottages, passing the lagoon. There’s 98 rooms, all within tropical gardens and the overall impression is one of tranquility and privacy. All rooms have easy beach access – a nice addition to an already perfect Antigua all inclusive resort. Some rooms face the lagoon, others face the beach.
The Superior, Deluxe and Premium Suites are located directly on the sand. I experienced a room right on the sand when I travelled to Mexico’s Yucatan, and I truly enjoyed stepping right on the beach as soon as I was awake – so it is easy to see why I think this is one of the best Antigua resorts.
There are three open-air beachfront restaurants and two lounges, all serving delicious food. The best to me is Ismay’s, named after the oldest member of staff. There’s obviously live entertainment, cocktail and barbecue parties – in line with other Antigua all inclusive resorts. There’s even weekly movie nights, with a cinema set right there on the sand – I think the only time I saw something similar was in the Maldives.
In line with the tranquility of Galley Bay Resort and Spa, all the water sports on offer are non-motorised. Among them, there’s hobie cat sailing, snorkeling, paddle boarding and kayak. There’s a gorgeous swimming pool and some jogging trails and tennis courts, making it the best Antigua all inclusive for active travelers. Activities on offer to guests for an additional price include island tours, catamaran cruises and zip lining.
In short: among Antigua all inclusive resorts, Galley Bay Resort and Spa is perfect for those who are seeking tranquility in an elegant yet easygoing setting, and those who care about environmental protection.
Click here to read more reviews about the Galley Bay Resort and Spa. And click on this link to check availability and best rates.
A good Antigua all inclusive is bound to have stunning sunrise or sunset views
St. James’s is located on the south-east coast of Antigua, and it is known as one of the best Antigua all inclusive resorts thanks to its outstanding service. Part of the Elite Island Resorts group, it caters to any kind of traveler – families, couples and even singles. It’s the kind of place where visitors can completely unwind from the stress of every day life and an ideal place to enjoy all that Antigua has to offer: the beaches as well as the inland adventures.
The resort is located on two incredible Antigua beaches – Coco beach and Malmora bay. It boasts four pools, three of them adults only, and all of them with views of the ocean. There’s also four tennis courts and a fitness center with a yoga deck: in other words, it a great Antigua all inclusive for those who like to stay fit even when on holidays.
There’s 247 guest rooms, suites and villas – some of them are incredibly luxurious and perfect for honeymooners, making it one of the best Antigua all inclusive resorts for a romantic getaway.
Families with children appreciate the Kidz Club (and the babysitting for an additional fee), where children are entertained by trained stuff with a wide range of fun activities: they can stay there even for dinner, giving parents the chance to have a nice romantic dinner in one of the resorts restaurants. Easy to see why this is a top Antigua all inclusive for families with children.
Speaking of dinner, there’s four incredible restaurants, one of them is the lovely Italian style (with a touch of Caribbean) Piccolo Mondo.
On offer, there’s a range of non-motorised watersports, a dive-shop and guests can also book catamaran expeditions. Last but not least, there’s the fantastic Tranquility Body & Soul Spa, where unique treatments are done, using locally-sourced products. Easy to see why the St. James’s Club and Villas deserve a mention as a fabulous Antigua all inclusive.
In short: St. James’s is the perfect Antigua all inclusive for those seeking a romantic place, away from all the chaos of their daily life.
Click here to read more reviews about the the St. James’s Club and Villas. And click on this link to check availability and best rates.
These are not the rooms of any Antigua all inclusive – just a lovely mall!
What makes Jolly Beach Resort and Spa one of the top Antigua all inclusive resorts is the fact that all rooms face the ocean and that it is set on a mile long, white, sandy beach with pristine turquoise waters – thought to be not only one of the best beaches in Antigua, but also in the Caribbean.
The resort is located at around half hour drive from the international airport and boasts a whopping 464 rooms, that go from supersaver to beachfront cottages – in other words, it caters to any need and any budget. All rooms have a private balcony (I love my own balcony – the best place to drink my morning coffee!), a mini-fridge, coffee and tea makers, in room wi-fi (perfect for internet junkies like me), a safe and obviously a tub or a shower.
There’s five great restaurants, including a buffet and Bocciolo, which serves Italian food (and as it is expected, I think Italian is one of the best cuisines in the world). I also love the Antiguan buffet brunch on Sundays. I actually could have it every day. And as if this is not enough, there’s also Margarita, a Mexican style restaurant that opens every day for dinner. I am a lover of all things Mexico, so just this is enough for qualifying Jolly Beach as an incredible Antigua all inclusive.
Adding to the food choice there’s the bars, with award winning bartenders – not something to underestimate, as drinking good cocktails is one of the things to do in Antigua.
As if the amazing beach were not enough, there’s two swimming pools, a spa (at additional costs) and a wellness center, and a wide variety of tours are on offer for guests at an additional cost. Watersports that can be practiced include hobie cat sailing, windsurfing and even pedal boats. There’s also a gym, tennis and even basketball courts. Last but not least, there’s a Kids and Teenz Club, so that parents know they can take a break from their children.
In short: Jolly Beach Resort and Spa is the perfect Antigua all inclusive resort for just about anybody – but foodies will love the many dining options.
Click here to read more reviews about the the Jolly Beach Resort & Spa. And click on this link to check availability and best rates.
I hope this post is helpful, either for daydreaming a bit, or for deciding on the best Antigua all inclusive for your holidays in Antigua.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means I might earn a small commission if you buy a product/service via one of my links (at absolutely no extra cost to you).
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When thinking about Antigua holidays, most people immediately start picturing gorgeous, white sand beaches, palm trees and an endless refill of piña coladas or daiquiris while laying lazily in the sun.
I have just returned from a trip Antigua, where I have spent an incredible week, and I can promise that there’s much more to this tiny island than meets the eye. It surely caught me by surprise, and in a wholly positive way. My Antigua holidays were nothing short of perfect.
As soon as I arrived in this tiny Caribbean gem, I met its sunny, friendly and incredibly welcoming people. Billboards around the island greet visitors with a massive “Welcome to Paradise” – rightly so, because anybody who spends a few days is ab solutely charmed by Antigua beaches, and finds an incredible variety of things to do in Antigua, making it a perfect holiday destination.
Sure enough I made the most of my Antigua holidays. This post aims at providing a few tips on things to do to make the most of your Antigua holidays. But before doing that, I shall share a few facts about this beautiful country.
Antigua beaches are incredible – it’s easy to see why it is considered a paradise
A Few Facts About Antigua
A Bit Of History (and culture)
Antigua and Barbuda is a twin-islands nation in the heart of the Caribbean. No more than 100000 people live in the archipelago, whose capital is the colorful and lively Saint John’s. Barbuda was severely affected by Hurricain Irma in September 2017, resulting in all its inhabitants being evacuated to Antigua, which on the other hand was hardly affected: Antigua beaches haven’t suffered any damages.
The English settled in Antigua in 1632 and in Barbuda in 1684: slaves were brought in from Africa to be used on the sugar plantations, with slavery finally being abolished in 1834. Antigua and Barbuda became independent on 1 November 1981, remaining part of the Commonwealth of Nations. Antigua has a rich history, and as I will explain in this post, one of the top things to do in Antigua is learning about it.
One thing I didn’t know before my Antigua holidays is that the national sport is cricket – there’s fields across the island, and a state of the art stadium too. Another beloved sport is sailing, with Antigua sailing week attracting lots of locals as well as tourists from all over the world.
People In Antigua
If there’s one thing I loved during my Antigua holidays, that’s the people. I think it is hard to beat the welcoming vibe, the genuine friendliness and the smiles of Antigua. Anywhere I went people were nothing but nice to me, always keen for a chat, always helpful. A friend and I noticed how, whenever we said “thank you” the locals would reply “you’re welcome.” Such a small, simple thing that truly made a difference and restored my faith in the Caribbean region, after a close to disastrous trip to Cuba.
To read more about my experience in Cuba, read this post.
The majority of people in Antigua are of African descent (around 95%); and around 80% are Christians, one thing which is reflected in the many colorful (and some really antique) churches scattered around the island. One of the nicest things to do in Antigua is visiting the churches, though it’s not always easy to find them open.
Languages In Antigua
The official languageof Antigua is English– though one of the first things I noticed after arriving is that among themselves locals speak Antiguan Creole. Around 10% of Antiguans also speak Spanish. As everyone speaks English, getting to talk to the locals is very easy, and in fact it’s one of the nicest things to do in Antigua.
An overcast day didn’t bother my Antigua holidays
When To Visit Antigua
Antigua gets two seasons: dry and wet. Needless to say, it rains a lot in the wet season, and I would advise against booking any Antigua holidays between August and October, when there’s a higher risk of hurricaine. December to April mark the dry season, and are thus high season. July and August are great months to visit for cultural events (it’s when the carnival takes place). I visited in May, for sailing week, and the weather was pleasant, mostly sunny, with the occasional short and strong showers.
Getting To And Around Antigua
Antigua holidays are easy to organize as the country airport is served by many international airlines, such as American Airlines, United Airlines, Air Canada, Delta, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic. There’s direct flights to many cities in the US, to London Gatwick and even to Milan Malpensa in Italy.
Once on the island, most people get a shuttle to their resort and join a guided tour to explore a bit. Yet, one of the nicest things to do in Antigua is driving around aimlessly: that’s how I stumbled upon forts such as Fort Barrington or Fort Berkeley; and why I recommend renting a car.
As in most former British colonies, driving in Antigua is on the left (or shall I say wrong?) side. Renting a car isn’t just one of the nicest things to do in Antigua: it’s also much cheaper than joining a guided tour, especially if the costs can be shared among several people. In order to rent a car, a valid driving license is needed, which will be used to issue a temporary license typically valid for 90 days.
The driving on the left shouldn’t be of concern. There is a bit of traffic in the capital, but locals are used to tourists looking lost and confused and in fact often stop them to offer directions and help (and how nice is it to meet the beautiful locals during Antigua holidays!). Outside the city, there really aren’t many cars at all – just a lot of speed bumps, pigs and donkyes roaming freely: so drive slowly!
Currency In Antigua
The local currencyis the East Caribbean Dollar (XCD). At the time of writing, the exchange is $1 USD to $2.7 East Caribbean Dollars. Locals commonly use the word “dollars” to refer to XCD, which caused a lot of confusion during my Antigua holidays. I was almost outraged when I was asked to pay $10 XCD for a meal in the streets of St.John’s, but then I realized that’s less than $4 USD!
Long Beach is one of the best beaches in Antigua
17 Things To Do During Your Antigua Holidays
Enjoy the amazing Antigua beaches
I know what a good beach looks like: I grew up in Sardinia! So take my word for it – Antigua beaches are beautiful. Imagine sand as white and soft as it gets; add thick vegetation as a backdrop and clear, turquoise waters, and it’s easy to get the picture.
What’s best is that Antigua beaches are empty! I am not sure if it was due to the day or the time of year, but surely was a real treat to have the beach all to myself on certain occasions.
The following are only some of beaches that should not be missed during Antigua holidays:
Darkwood beach: this is one of the best beaches in Antigua, often swept by the strong winds thus making it a favorite for those who like wind surfing or kite surfing.
Turners beach: among Antigua beaches, this is pure tropical perfection. There’s a few restaurants right on the beach, where to enjoy the famous Caribbean food and atmosphere.
Rendezvous bay: considered one of the best beaches in Antigua, this pristine beach is located on the south coast of the island and it can only be reached on a four-wheel drive.
Morris bay: among Antigua beaches, I’d say this is a hidden gem where it not for the fact that it is super easily accessible. I can’t explain why there was literally nobody there when I went, but the complete lack of people surely was no deterrent to my full enjoyment. The beach is located opposite Old Road village.
Long bay: among the best beaches in Antigua there’s the one that I went to every day, as that’s where the resort where I stayed is located. It sure was a nice perk to my Antigua holidays. The beach is small, the incredibly white and soft, and the vegetation is thick all around. There’s a few boats docked on the beach, and when I went to see the sunrise (jet-lag hit me really badly!) I spotted a few locals enjoying an early morning swim.
Snorkel and kayak on the reef
Antigua is famous for its clear waters, so one of the ultimate things to do in Antigua is to kayak through the mangroves and then snorkel to admire the beautiful marine life.
Practice water sports
With such gorgeous waters, Antigua is a great location for water sports. Windsurfing and kite surfing are popular on the island. There’s also some great diving spots. I would have loved to go diving during my Antigua holidays, especially after having tried it in the Maldives for the first time, but unfortunately I didn’t have time to do it.
Yoga is a nice way to relax during Antigua holidays – photo courtesy of Michael Ball
I had tried yoga only one ages ago, but when I saw it was on offer at my resort, I decided to give it another try. One of the nicest things to do in Antigua is learning the best Pranayama yoga practices, which help relax the mind and the body.
Chase the Race (or just go sailing)
Chase the Race is one of the most fun things to do in Antigua during sailing week. Every day a beautiful catamaran sets to sail to follow the regatta, going on the open waters and offering passengers a wonderful experience at the seas, with plenty of opportunities to snorkel, and eat and drink on board.
But… I admit I didn’t do this one, though my Antigua holidays were right during sailing week. Those who read my blog know that I love swimming, I love the ocean, I go diving, snorkeling and all. One thing I can’t do, though, is sailing. I have tried to sail in Panama and it didn’t go quite well. I thought I’d spare myself the suffering, and spare my friends (who went to Chase the Race) the worry of seeing me in agony for sea sickness. Those who went said it was an incredible experience, so I thought I’d share it with you.
Here’s a selection of some other great sailing tours in Antigua:
The impressive view from Shirley Heights after a hike – one of the nicest ways to enjoy your Antigua holidays
Hike (yes, hike!)
Antigua is hardly known as a hiking destination, yet there’s various good trails around the island and during my Antigua holidays I had the chance to go on a short and sweet hike that offered impressive coastal views. I joined a local group, Wadadli Trail Blazers, and with them, all dressed in their pink shirt (they had one for me too!), I walked from English Harbor to Shirley Heights.
All along the trail, the views were splendid. I had no idea that Antigua would have such a rugged coastline in points, and since it was the very end of the dry season, the landscape was barren: small cactus plants were scattered along the trail, their colorful flowers bright against the otherwise brown land. Once at Shirley Heights, the view was absolutely breathtaking, leaving me with no doubts that hiking is one of the nicest things to do in Antigua.
A sunset from Shirley Heights is unmissable during any Antigua Holidays
Enjoy the sunset from Shirley Heights…
Speaking of Shirley Heights, one of the unmissable things to do in Antigua is going there to enjoy what may well be one of the most beautiful sunsets in the world. Every Sunday the local restaurant (Shirley Heights Lookout) throws a massive party with live music and a barbecue. Just my luck had it that I happened to go on a Sunday!
I arrived at around 5:00 pm, and was immediately immersed in the festive atmosphere: imagine a moltitude of people drinking, talking, dancing to the tunes and just having a good time. I’d dare say one hasn’t had proper Antigua holidays if he hasn’t been to Shirley Heights for sunset!
Embrace jet-lag to admire the sunrise: it’s one of the nicest things to do in Antigua
… and sunrise at the beach
When jet-lag hits, make the most of it! That was my motto during my Antigua holidays. Since I fell asleep so early, and woke up before sunrise, I decided to make the most of it and walked to the beach to enjoy a fabulous light. I was one of the very few at that time of day – just two locals swimming in the calm sea, and a bunch of birds flying around announcing the day was about to start. It was definitely worth it.
Zip lining is a fun thing to do during Antigua holidays
Go zip lining
My first zip lining experience was in Mexico. Since then, I became addicted, and I do it whenever I have a chance. I tried it in Argentina and other places. So of course when I learned about the Antigua Rainforest Zipline Tours I knew I had to go. Flying from one tree to the other in the thick rainforest is one of the most fun things to do in Antigua. I didn’t find it scary at all, and the guides made everyone feel safe and comfortable all the times.
Devil’s Bridge is one of the unmissable places to visit during Antigua holidays
Visit Devils’ Bridge
In Indian Town and not far from The Verandah and Pineapple Beach Club, Devil’s Bridge is one of the unmissable places to visit during Antigua holidays. It is a splendid natural bridge at the head of Indian Creek, with blow-holes thorugh which water sprouts high and fast. According to legend, the devil lives down there and if two eggs are thrown in the water to boil, the devil will give back one and keep the other.
One of the nicest things to do in Antigua to learn about its history is visiting Betty’s Hope
Go to Betty’s Hope
Sugar mills are scattered all around the island, reminding visitors on Antigua holidays that the island was one, enourmous sugar cane plantation at some point in history. Most of the mills are in ruins nowadays, but the ones at Betty’s Hope are perfectly kept. The estate was granted to Christopher Codrington in 1674 and the family owned it for more than 250 years. It costs $2 USD to visit the twin mill towers, one of them perfectly restored.
Another great place to visit to discover more about Antigua rich history is Naval’s Dockyard, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It’s nice to visit the donkey sanctuary during Antigua holidays
Visit Antigua’s Donkey Sanctuary
Antigua Humane Society gives shelter to more than 150 donkeys in its Bethseda sanctuary. There’s many neglected donkeys around the island, and here they find a safe haven, with food, medical care, water and love. I am a big supporter of animal rights and responsible tourism, so it goes without saying that during my Antigua holidays I had to pay a visit. There is no admission fee but donations are welcome.
Explore St. John’s
The capital of Antigua is absolutely lovely, and I am glad I insisted on visiting during my Antigua holidays. It is a colorful city, full of character and with a friendly vibe: I went with a friend and wherever we went people welcomed us with a smile.
Among the places of interest in St. John’s there’s the Cathedral, originally built in 1683, replaced in 1745 and rebuilt in 1843 after an earthquake. At the moment, the Cathedral is undergoing restoration works so I could not visit the interiors. Other things to do in Antigua’s capital are visiting the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda, which provides great insights into the history of the city; going to the colorful local market and eating the delicious street food.
Even shopping malls are gorgeous in Antigua
Try the taste of the Caribe
Oh, and about the food! Most people who go on Antigua holidays stay at resorts and end up eating international food all the time, at most venturing for a Caribbean style barbecue. It’s a pity! Food in Antigua is delicious: a combination of local and international ingredients; full of flavour and with just the right amount of spice.
When I visited St. John’s I was attracted by one of the many small stands in the street. A lovely woman was pouring the biggest portion of pork stew and rice and beans on a plate for a customer, and it looked yummy. He (like all people in Antigua!) was so kind and welcoming that he insisted I had a bite off his plate, and that convinced me to order a full portion.
As I gorged down the food, the owner explained that she had been in the catering industry for a long time but that she decided to open her own place because she was tired of serving tourists with paninis and international food: she wants them to try the local specialties. She has a point, for sure! I concluded that one of the unmissable things to do in Antigua is trying the local food.
A great way to learn more about the food (and with that, about the culture) of Antigua is joining a cooking class – it is one of the nicest things to do in Antigua. These are the best cooking classes on the island:
No Antigua holidays can be called such without a good cocktail!
Drink all the delicious cocktails
No Antigua holidays can be called such without a good amount of cocktails. As any other Caribbean island, Antigua produces great rhum so it goes without saying that the best drinks are all rum based. Rum punch is the most common cocktail, but I’d say that the daiquiris (mango or strawberry) are great too.
Join a choir workshop
Possibly the most fun thing I did during my Antigua holidays was enrolling a choir workshop. I have always liked singing, but never thought about pursuing this. When I saw that Elite Island Resorts offered a choir workshop to its guests, I didn’t think about it twice. Every day, for two hours each time, I attended a choir class led by celebrity vocal coach Mike King along with 25 other guests. The penultimate night of my stay, we had a performance. It was one of the most exhilatating, uplifing experiences of my life – so beneficial to my mind and soul that I want to pursue it at home as well. Here’s a short video of one of the songs we performed – the video is courtesy of Joe Allam.
Relax in one of the fabulous resorts
Antigua is packed with excellent accommodation options that suit all budgets. There’s small traditional inns as well as gorgeous all inclusive resorts, which are a perfect solution for those on Antigua holidays who are in need of some relaxing time. I will be writing a more in depth post about the best Antigua all inclusive, but meantime here’s a blurb about some of the best resorts in Antigua:
- Pineapple Beach Club: located in Long Bay, it is an adults only resort with nice, comfortable rooms and a bunch of restaurants and bars to pick from, from casual to smart dining.
- The Verandah Resort and Spa: a massive resort with beautiful cottages with Caribbean style decor, all having sea views. It is very eco-friendly.
- St. James’s Club & Villas: famous for its exceptional service, its main perks are the two beautiful beaches and a wide range of water sports on offer for guests.
- Galley Bay Resort and Spa: the most intimate of the four, located on a gorgeous white sand beach; there’s also a beautiful spa.
Have you ever been to Antigua? What did you like the most about it?
Legal Disclaimer: I visited Antigua for the #lovenantiguabarbuda campaign hosted by Antigua and Barbuda and Elite Islands Resorts. Many thanks go to Traverse Events for putting together an amazing trip.
Pint it For Later