We haven’t conducted an official survey, but it’s safe to say that most of our guests, even those who have been coming for years, never leave the resort until it’s time to head back to the airport. While that’s flattering, it’s also a shame because Antigua is a special place with some remarkable things to do and see.
Just a few minutes by taxi from Curtain Bluff, Nelson’s Dockyard in English Harbour is one of the Caribbean’s finest historic sites. Developed as a base for the British Navy in 1725, during the great age of sail, the dockyard was home base for Britain’s Leeward-Islands fleet under the command of Admiral Horatio Nelson, the greatest naval hero in British history. Finally closed in 1889, the dockyard has been completely restored and is now designated as a national park.
High above the harbor and reached by car or on foot via the Lookout Trail, Shirley Heights is a former fortress with superb views across the Caribbean to Montserrat and Guadaloupe. On Sundays there is steel band music from 3 to 6 PM and reggae from 6 to 9 PM. At the Dow’s Hill Interpretation Center you can watch an impressive multimedia presentation of Antigua’s history, from its initial settlement to independence.
For another glimpse back through the centuries, spend an hour in the cool interior of the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda in the middle of St. John’s, a short taxi ride from the resort. The collection of artifacts and exhibits ? ranging from a life-size replica of an Arawak dwelling to the bat of Viv Richards, one of the greatest cricket players of all time — tells the islands?captivating story.
If it’s the natural side of Antigua that interests you most, then take an eco-tourwith Antigua Paddles, based out of Seatons on the island’s eastern shore. Experienced guides lead you through a half-day filled with kayaking, snorkeling, powerboating and hiking adventures. To get even closer to the local marine life, snorkel Stingray City, a crystal-clear ocean pool protected by its own reef where you can actually swim with the rays.
Only a few minutes taxi ride away from the resort you can get geared-up for an adrenaline-coursing ride through the rainforest canopy and over plunging valleys on a Zip-line Canopy Tour. Perfectly safe even for young children, the full tour includes 21 different lines. Photographs are available once you get back to base.
For an even higher view, take off on a sightseeing tour with Caribbean Helicopters based in the VC Bird International airport. Through the window of your Bell 206 series or Eurocopter AS355, you will see the coastline from deserted offshore islands to the downtown cruise-ship port, and from busy Dickenson Bay to pristine and rugged Half-moon Bay. You can even fly over to nearby Montserrat to look down into the crater of its active volcano and see the charred remains of its now deserted capital city.
Adventure Antigua offers three award-winning, full-day, water-based excursions: “Eli’s Original Eco Tour” and the “Xtreme Circumnav” (on specially-designed power boats); and the “Classic Sailing Tour” on a traditional wooden sloop. All tours have themes of history and ecology; a 5 star rating on Trip Advisor and include snorkelling equipment, lunch and drinks.