Easter is on the horizon and it’s time to start planning your getaway, and on this week’s travel agenda we’re jetting off to catch some hard earned Caribbean rays.
The island of Antigua situated in the West Indies, Caribbean, is the main island of the country of Antigua and Barbuda. Steeped in history, it originally attracted Lord Nelson in 1784 with its protective coral reef waters, steady winds and safe harbours- it was the perfect place to hide a fleet. Forming a British Royal Navy base, these features now attract sun seekers from all over the world to relax in the warm waters, enjoy mouth watering Caribbean cuisine followed by locally made Cavalier rum, or to take part in its famous mix of watersports. Right now is also the best time to go as the weathers its driest and coolest compared to the intense heat of July and August.
English Harbour is known as the islands history district and focused around 15 square miles of Nelson’s Dockyard National Park, including the worlds only working Georgian dockyard in the world, Nelson’s Dockyard. A popular spot for holidaymakers, there is also trails leading up to Shirley Heights lookout for an awesome view.
Valley Church beach offers the epitome of paradise- crystal blue waters, white sandy beaches and towering palm trees. You can play Robinson Crusoe on the islands impressive 365 beaches but Valley Church remains a locals favourite for it’s quiet location and lazy shade offered by coconut palms.
Stingray City is a pristine coral reef that can be reached by boat from the eastern side of the island. Home to a large group of tame stingrays, here you can feed and swim with them in their carefully reproduced habitat. There’s also deeper waters nearby for protected snorkelling and scuba diving.
The Frigate Bird Sanctuary on the small island of Barbuda is just a short boat ride away from Antigua and is renowned for its unique selection of protected wildlife, serene beaches and fish full waters. This island is also home to Indian Cave, which contains some amazingly preserved ancient Amerindian petroglyphs.
Regarded as one of the largest sailing events in the world alongside Cowes and Cork week, Antigua Sailing Week, now in its 45th year hosts keen sailors from all over the world to compete in its warm blue waters, this year from April 29th- May 4th. This year also welcomes the return of the Yachting World Round Antigua Race the day before the start of the official event, and expects competitors ranging from small yachts to professionally crewed super-yachts. Whether your taking part in the event or just a spectator, the week also provides some of the best after racing parties, Caribbean style.
Let’s face it, temperatures are going to be hot hot hot so be prepared and take a comfortable selection suitable for both exploring or relaxing at the beach. For ladies, a Vince vest top will go with anything in your suitcase and a staple pair of Paul by Paul Smith shorts will keep you cool when paired with Aspiga sandals. For men, Paul Smith Accessories swimshorts are quick drying and versatile, while a pair of Birkenstock sandals can be teamed with anything. A Paul Smith Jeans t-shirt also gives a relaxed, off duty holiday look.
When on a carribbean island don’t be scared of colour. For ladies a Marc by Marc Jacobs dress is the perfect length to keep you cool while dancing in a beach bar, just pair with a pretty pair of Bruno Premi Sandals and Vivienne Westwood bag. For men, a linen Eton shirt will go with anything, just mix with a pair of Hackett shorts and relaxed Sperry boat shoes. You never know when an evening in Antigua will take you from a restaurant to a reggae bar, so be prepared!
As the rise of all inclusive resorts continues, local restaurants have considerably decreased in recent years, so take a walk along to English Harbour or Dickenson Bay for the best in local West Indian cuisine.