Antigua has a fascinating history – discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493, it then became a British colony in the late 17th century. The architecture and rough cobblestoned streets evoke memories of this past, with wonderful historical ruins to explore. But the real attraction lies around its coastline.
Through its association with sailing and beautiful beaches, Antigua really comes into its own. The strong trade winds that brought the British colonists their fortunes now attract a different sailing crowd – the pleasure seekers. The sunken coral reefs which protected the fledgling colony now serve as a haven for snorkelling and diving enthusiasts. The unpretentious island of Antigua is also home to some real hidden gems. Visit the exquisite Georgian buildings along Nelson's Dockyard or take a picture postcard shot from the spectacular Shirley Heights. Observe the mass of yachts bobbing around English Harbour, or hire a boat to take you to the uninhabited Green Island. Choose from our non-stop flights to Antigua and start discovering this Caribbean paradise.
After Columbus contacted the new world in 1492 and the subsequent colonisation of the Caribbean islands, Antigua was turned into a sugar-producing settlement by the British. The island’s colonial heritage is still in evidence today – at Nelson’s Dockyard, with its Georgian architecture, the Shirley Heights Fortress, and at the plantations themselves, including the famous Betty’s Hope. While the trade winds and coral reefs that once attracted Nelson and the British Navy, have since made Antigua a popular destination for sailing and snorkelling.
You can expect year-round sunshine on Antigua. Annual rainfall rarely tops more than 45 inches on average, making it the driest and sunniest island in the Eastern Caribbean. The north-easterly trade winds that flag only in September, make it ideal for sailing at just about any time of year. Antigua’s low humidity and high temperatures – it is very rarely below 20 Celsius at any time – provide plenty of opportunities to relax and unwind on one of the island’s many beaches.
Antigua is a relatively small island with just 15 miles of roads, so finding your way around is easy. Hire a car to explore the island at your own pace (please note that you will have to pay for a permit to drive on the island, in addition to the rental charge). Taxis have fixed rates for transfers to the airport and hotels. Taxi drivers are also qualified tour guides who can be hired to show you around the island, for a small fee. Their knowledge is rich and will give the local flavour.