Antigua, a Caribbean island in the Lesser Antilles, is a wonderful destination that is rich in beauty, history, and culture. It is the most populous island of the Antigua and Barbuda. One thing to get out of the water early on: it’s pronounced antee-gah, not antee-gwa. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s explore all of the reasons why this dazzling island should be on your travel list.
First of all, it should go without saying that you’ll find some of the most gorgeous beaches on earth year. In fact, the tiny island is just 13 miles across and yet still packs in 365 beaches, which means there’s a beach style for every type of traveler. If you love roasting in the sun and feeling the fluffy of powdery sand between your toes, you can visit Pigeon Point, Dickenson Bay, and Half Moon Bay. There are also secluded coves and plenty of water sports available for those who have a more adventurous streak. Some other notable beaches include Carlisle Bay, Darkwood Beach, and Coco Bay.
The island was named Antigua by Christopher Columbus, who named it after the La Virgen de la Antigua found in the Seville Cathedral of Spain. Following the island’s colonization by the British, the English Harbor became a naval base. Today, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and givesw visitors a look at the preserved historical significance of the area.
Antigua’s culture is a mixture of its indigenous communities, British colonization, and African influences, which all comes to a head at the lively Antigua Carnival. It is a celebration of the emancipation of slavery in the country held during the last week of July until the first Tuesday in August. Steel and brass bands play, beauty pageants and talent shows are held, and there are colorful costumes galore. You’ll hear plenty of Calypso Music, Soca, Pan music, and Zouk played throughout the festival.
Anyone who is into water sports will absolutely love it here. Snorkeling and diving is particularly enjoyable as you can visit the island’s coral reefs to explore the vibrant underwater life. If you prefer staying above water, you can enjoy boat rides and even take a trip to neighboring island Barbuda.
To truly experience the island, you must try the local cuisine. The national dish is fungee and pepperpot, which is made of cornmeal and is similar to polenta. Ducana is a sweet potato dumpling that is often eaten with salt cod. Of course, being an island, you can find plenty of fresh seafood like saltfish and lobster from Barbuda. Desserts include raspberry and tamarind stew, sugar cake, fudge and peanut brittle.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of visiting Antigua is meeting the warm and friendly locals. Antiguans are happy to chat with visitors and this can help you truly understand what the island is all about. You can learn more about traditional customs while speaking to locals and it will help make your trip even more memorable.