Antigua and Barbuda: Renowned for its 365 pristine beaches, Antigua and Barbuda also has plenty to keep adventure-seekers, foodies, cricket fans and craft enthusiasts happy. There are eight things which can make travelling to the country adventurous and memorable.
HIKE THE HIGH GROUND
For the adventurous who want to discover the natural beauty of Antigua & Barbuda, hiking hotspots include the Pillars of Hercules, Christian Valley and Mount Obama (formerly known as Bogey Peak -the islands’ highest point).
A popular Sunday afternoon tradition, the walk up to Shirley Heights (a restored garrison) offers far-reaching views of English Harbour, Montserrat and Guadeloupe. It’s the perfect spot to watch the sunset and enjoy a glass or two of local rum punch.
Based at RasFreeman in Liberta, Humble and Free Wadadli offer hikes with an insight into the history, faith, vegan food and sustainable way of life of the Rastafari.
GET ALL CRAFTY
Cedars Pottery (margriehunt.com) features the ceramics and stone carvings of husband-and-wife team Imogen Margrie and Mike Hunt.
They also offer two-hour paint-a-pot sessions where you can decorate mugs, vases, animal shapes and soap dishes, with Mike on hand to answer your creative queries on colour selection, paint effects and patterns. Once you have completed your masterpiece, it takes a couple of days for it to be glazed and fired.
Rhythm of Blue in English Harbour is the home of potter Nancy Nicholson who uses locally sourced clay to produce distinctively decorated ceramics, art and jewellery – all inspired by the ocean.
Half Moon Bay- DON’T FORGET THOSE BEACHES…
There are 365 to choose from (including a 17-mile stretch of pink sand on Barbuda). Some of the most glorious are Dickenson Bay, Ffryes, Half Moon Bay, Hawksbill, Pigeon Point and Rendezvous Bay.
EAT LOCAL, ORGANIC FOOD
If all the hiking, creativity and driving around is making you hungry there are several places that will give you an authentic, organic taste of Antigua.
Chef Jermaine Jonas is the culinary genius behind Bushbungalow, a farm-to-table, minimal waste, plant-based restaurant and farm shop at Colesome Market, where you can also join events such as zumba and yoga brunches.
The last decade has seen a rise in vegan and vegetarian eateries in Antigua. Based on the Ital-Rastafarian principle of cooking with coconut milk, One Stone Ital Shack is one of the longest-established vegan food stands in St John’s. Vegan 100 and Queen’s Royal Treats – both located just outside St John’s-are also worth tracking down.
Just to the north of St John’s, at Hodges Bay, Dawne’s Soliel Kafe is a small eatery and bar offering a blend of creole dishes using seasonal vegetables and seafood. Be sure to try one of their delicious drinks infused with local herbs and fruits.
HIT THE ART TRAIL
Several artists live and work in Antigua & Barbuda. Tucked away in the lushness of Fig Tree Drive, surrounded by giant silk cotton trees, you’ll find the delightful Fig Tree Studio.
Owned by artist Sally Harker, it’s a wonderful space to browse artwork, carvings and painted calabashes. Other artist studios include Gilly Gobinet and Heather Doram, while Zemi Art Gallery in St John’s houses the colourful works of Stephen Murphy.
GO BIRDING ON BARBUDA
If the travellers hop over to Antigua’s sister island of Barbuda, they’ll find a largely undeveloped and sparsely populated gem that’s a must for nature lovers.
As well as coral reefs and shipwrecks for snorkelling and diving, birdwatchers should take a boat trip to the Frigate Bird Sanctuary at Codrington Lagoon where the mangrove forest supports a colony of some 5,000 magnificent frigatebirds.
From June to September, green, hawksbill and leatherback turtles nest on the beaches of Antigua & Barbuda.
CHECK OUT THE CHURCHES
Driving around Antigua & Barbuda will give you an opportunity to visit historical sites, including Nelson’s Dockyard (the only Georgian naval dockyard in the world) and Fort James.
They can also visit the imposing St John’s Cathedral or St Peter’s Church in the first capital of Parham. On the road to English Harbour, meanwhile, they can’t miss the beautiful pink church Our Lady of Perpetual Help (Tyrell’s Catholic Church).
CATCH A CRICKET GAME
Antigua is renowned for its four cricketing knights -Sir Vivian Richards, Sir Andy Roberts, Sir Richie Richardson and Sir Curtly Ambrose.
Cricket fans should make their way to the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium to see a bronze statue of the venue’s namesake and, during cricket season (normally September to May), to watch local, regional and international matches. Cricket grounds are dotted around the island and usually feature the three essentials of watching cricket in Antigua: food, rum and music.