Antigua is the largest of the archipelago constituting the independent country of Antigua and Barbuda. The island is only 11 miles wide and 14 miles long. This West Indies jewel offers history, charm, a tropical climate and 365 beaches.

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1 St. John’s, Capital City of Antigua and Barbuda

Formerly known as Wadadli, the West Indies island of Antigua was named by Christopher Columbus in 1492 in honor of Santa María de la Antigua, the Virgin of Antiquity. About 30,000 people live in the capital city of St. John’s. Dominating the colorful rooftops is St. John’s Cathedral. The two islands of Antigua and Barbuda, along with several islets, became an independent state from the United Kingdom in 1981.

Bryson's Pier, High St, St. John's, Antigua and Barbuda

2 Cruise Ship Bow in St. John’s, Antigua

Antigua is only 11 miles wide and 14 miles long yet offers 365 beaches. The year-round temperature hovers in the 70s and 80s. So understandably, over half of Antigua’s economy is derived from tourism. The deep harbor at St. John’s welcomes one-day visitors from cruise ships. Or if you prefer to spend several days basking in the Caribbean sun, then there is an excellent selection of resorts, hotels and cabins to pick from.

Bryson's Pier, High St, St John's, Antigua and Barbuda

3 Heritage Quay Tourist Mall in St. John’s, Antigua

As cruise ship passengers disembark at St. John’s, they immediately walk through Heritage Quay. The two rows of duty-free stores, souvenir shops, restaurants and bars stretch for a couple of blocks. Although the official currency of this independent country is the East Caribbean dollar, this outdoor mall with about fifty retailers is designed to capture as many tourist dollars as possible.

Heritage Quay, St. John's, Antigua and Barbuda

4 Boardwalk Leading to Redcliffe Quay in St. John’s, Antigua

Parallel to Heritage Quay is a shopping district called Historic Redcliffe Quay. This waterfront boardwalk leads to charming old buildings. Many of them date back to the 17th and 18th centuries when this area was the main trade center for European ships. The boutiques, art galleries and upscale restaurants are tucked among alleys and are painted in a rainbow of colors.

Exotic Antigua, Redcliffe St, St John's, Antigua and Barbuda

5 Museum of Antigua and Barbuda in St. John’s, Antigua

The oldest structure still in use on the Caribbean Island of Antiqua was built in 1747 as the Court House. It is now the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda. On exhibit are artifacts of the Arawak people who were also called Taíno. This ethnic group dates back to 200 BC. The Indigenous people became extinct by the end of the 16th century because of war and disease resulting from European colonization. The museum also features other historic displays.

Long St & Soul Alley, St John's, Antigua and Barbuda

6 St. John’s Cathedral in St. John’s, Antigua

From on top of a hill the twin, 70 foot bell towers of St. John’s Cathedral rise high above the skyline of Antigua’s capital city. This is the third Anglican church on the site. The previous two – built in 1681 and 1746 – were destroyed by earthquakes. The Baroque structure designed by English architect Thomas Fuller was finished in 1848. The Cathedral of St. John the Devine is the mother church for the Diocese of the North East Caribbean and Aruba.

Newgate St & Gutter Ln, St John's, Antigua and Barbuda

7 Fort James Ruins in St. John’s, Antigua

In the early 18th century, the British built Fort James as a deterrent against a French invasion of Antigua in the West Indies. Today, during high season, cruise ships pass by it almost daily as they enter St. John’s Harbour. The fort stands watch in ghostly ruins. Although it is only a few minute drive from the capital city, this historic site does not attract many tourists.

Fort James, St John's Harbour, Antigua and Barbuda

8 Cannon at Fort James in St. John’s, Antigua

This is one of 10 cannons around Fort James at the northern entrance of St. John’s Harbour. Each of these 2.5 ton cannons could fire a 24 pound ball up to 1.5 miles. The museum-quality guns are rusting away among the ruins of the British fort. Yet these smooth bores still point out to sea as if waiting since 1706 for a battle that never happened.

Fort James, St John's Harbour, Antigua and Barbuda

9 Couple Wading into Water at Dickenson Bay in St. John’s, Antigua

Dickenson Bay is about 15 minutes north of St. John’s. This is repeatedly voted as the island’s number one beach. So, do not be surprised when you find crowds enjoying the pristine sand. Dickenson Bay is also the perfect setting to wade into the aquamarine water of the Caribbean Sea while romantically holding your partner’s hand.

Belvedere Rd & Anchorage Rd, Antigua and Barbuda

10 Kayaks on the Beach at Dickenson Bay in St. John’s, Antigua

Maybe you are not inclined to sit all day on a tropical beach. Instead, you are thrilled by watersports. Then head to Dickenson Bay. You find everything you need to elevate your adrenaline including kayaks, jet skis, windsurfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, boat tours and lots more.

Belvedere Rd & Anchorage Rd, Antigua and Barbuda

11 Horse Sand Sculpture at Dickenson Bay in St. John’s, Antigua

You will often see children building castles on a beach. But extraordinary time and talent is required to create a detailed sand sculpture like this one of a horse on Dickenson Bay.

Belvedere Rd & Anchorage Rd, Antigua and Barbuda

12 Sandals Resort’s Bayside Restaurant at Dickenson Bay in St. John’s, Antigua

Sandals Grande Antigua Resort and Spa is a highly-rated, all-inclusive hotel in the center of Dickenson Bay. This couple is sunbathing in front of the resort’s Bayside Restaurant.

Belvedere Rd & Anchorage Rd, Antigua and Barbuda

13 Red British Phone Booth at Dickenson Bay in St. John’s, Antigua

The first British phone booth was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott in 1926. Over the next several decades, the distinctive red box became an iconic symbol for the United Kingdom. Today, it is impossible to find any public pay phone. So, you will be delighted to see this relic with its characteristic crown emblem at Dickerson Bay. You will probably have to explain it to your kids.

Buccaneer Beach Club Dickenson Bay, St John's, Antigua and Barbuda

14 Abandoned Bra on Rocks at Dickenson Bay in St. John’s, Antigua

The slogan of one of the hotels along Dickenson Bay is, “World’s Most Romantic Resort.” What better proof is there than this abandoned bra on the rocks next to the beach?

Buccaneer Beach Club, Dickenson Bay, St John's, Antigua and Barbuda

15 Capsized Sailboat Buried into Sand at Dickenson Bay in St. John’s, Antigua

Everything should be perfect when you are on a tropical island during your vacation. But, as evidenced by this capsized sailboat buried in the sand at Dickenson Bay, sometimes you can have a bad day even in paradise.

Buccaneer Beach Club, Dickenson Bay, St John's, Antigua and Barbuda

16 Holy Family Cathedral in St. John’s, Antigua

This white, octagonal structure in St. John’s is the Holy Family Cathedral. The Roman Catholic church was built in 1987. The sleek, modern design is in sharp contrast to most of the buildings in Antigua and Barbuda.

Michael's Mount & Queen Elizabeth Hwy, St John's, Antigua and Barbuda

17 Parliament Building and Government Complex in St. John’s, Antigua

Antigua and Barbuda became independent from the United Kingdom in 1981. The country’s monarch is Queen Elizabeth II. The government is managed by a governor general, a prime minster and a parliament consisting of a senate and house of representatives. The ruling structure is a unitary parliamentary monarchy with democratic free elections. This colonial-style Government Complex houses the major political branches of Antigua and Barbuda.

Prime Minister's Dr, St John's, Antigua and Barbuda

18 Gunthorpe’s Sugar Factory in Ruins in Piggoffs, Antigua

Sugar plantations emerged on Antigua around 1650. They flourished because of unpaid slave labor. The sugarcane was processed in localized windmill-powered mills until the introduction of a centralized, steam-driven plant on Gunthorpe’s Estate. Called the Antigua Sugar Factory, it opened in 1905. The operation eventually had an extensive railway network connecting the largest plantations and also the Sugar Terminal at St. John’s port. But as the island’s economy shifted from agriculture to tourism in the early 1970s, the ASF was closed and now stands in abandoned ruins.

Antigua Sugar Factory, Sir Sydney Walling Hwy, Piggotts, Antigua and Barbuda

19 St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Parham, Antigua

Parham is the oldest town in Antigua, named after a village in East Suffolk, England. After becoming the first successful English settlement in 1632, Parham became the capital of British Antigua and Barbuda. St. Peter’s Anglican Church is the main place of worship in Saint Peter Parish. Architect Thomas Weekes created the delightful Palladian design in 1840. This style of architecture is named after Andrea Palladio. He was a famous Venetian architect from the 16th century.

St. Peter's Anglican Church, Parham, Antigua & Barbuda

20 Parham Harbour in Parham, Antigua

Parham is a quiet community with a population of about 1,500 people. Historically, the town bustled with activity. During the peak plantation era – from the mid-17th century until the end of the 19th century – Parham Harbour was Antiqua’s primary port and often called the Gateway to the Caribbean. The top exports from this large, natural bay were sugar and molasses, a byproduct of the sugarcane process. Parham is located a few miles south of V. C. Bird International Airport. The island’s main airport opened a new terminal in 2015.

Parham Fisheries Complex, Parham, Antigua & Barbuda

21 Windmills at Betty’s Hope Sugar Plantation in Pares, Antigua

The prime tourist attraction in Saint Peter Parish is Betty’s Hope Sugar Plantation. The estate was founded in 1651. By the mid-18th century, the plantation consisted of over 700 acres worked by as many as 400 slaves. The operation was one of the best, most innovative and profitable in the Caribbean. The family-owned enterprise functioned until 1944. Afterwards, the estate became dilapidated. In 1990, the Betty’s Hope Trust began restorations. The first project was to make the windmill on the right operational. Among the ruins you can tour are the great house, cisterns, stables and slave quarters. There is also a small museum at the information center inside a former cotton storeroom.

Betty’s Hope, Pares, Antigua & Barbuda

22 History of Betty’s Hope Sugar Plantation in Pares, Antigua

In 1651, Governor Christopher Keynell established a plantation on the island. The land was forfeited in 1666 when the French seized Antigua. After the British regained control in 1674, King Charles II gave the property to Colonel Christopher Codrington. He also received a 50 year lease for the neighboring island of Barbuda and was appointed captain-general of the English Leeward Islands. Codrington was a brilliant although not always scrupulous businessman. In addition to successfully operating Betty’s Hope Plantation – which he named after his daughter – he controlled another 700 acre sugarcane estate on Barbados. When he died in 1698, the plantation was inherited by his son Christopher. For generations, the Codrington dynasty weathered several setbacks that crippled other plantations. The events included the 1780s drought, the ban of sugar imports to Britain in 1813, and the slave emancipation in 1834. Betty’s Hope finally succumbed in 1944.

Betty’s Hope, Pares, Antigua & Barbuda

23 Stingray City at Mercer Creek Bay in Seatons Village, Antigua

Seatons Village in Saint Philip Parish faces Mercer Creek Bay. The picturesque bay consists of a half dozen coves. The outer edge is shaped by an archipelago of islets. Three of the largest are Guiana Island (far left), Crump Island (center background) and Pelican Island (off camera to the right). In the foreground is Laviscount Island, home to Stingray City Antiqua. This tourist attraction is your chance to swim among stingrays. Also on the island are 50 Aldabra giant tortoises. These magnificent creatures weigh over 500 pounds and can live more than 200 years.

Mercer Creek Bay, Seatons Village, Antigua & Barbuda

24 Rock Arch at Devil’s Bridge in Willikies, Antigua

Devil’s Bridge is a must-visit natural phenomenon at the easternmost point of Antiqua. The impressive rock arch was formed by relentless waves pounding against a limestone headland for millenniums. You will be thrilled to watch blue-white water roar toward shore, blast through a blowhole, rocket into the air and bathe you in a cloud of mist. Devil’s Bridge National Park is located on Indian Town Point in Willikies.

Devil’s Bridge, Willikies, Antigua & Barbuda

25 Naming of Devil’s Bridge in Willikies, Antigua

Tourist attractions are often given alluring names to generate curiosity and increase visitors. Devil’s Bridge may seem like such a marketing moniker. It is not. The name harkens back to when countless slaves committed suicide by jumping off this point into the pounding waves. Most believed death was better than plantation hardships. Some hoped the Atlantic Ocean would carry them back to Africa. Others claimed the devil hid here to collect their souls.

Devil’s Bridge, Willikies, Antigua & Barbuda

26 Idyllic Long Bay Beach in Willikies, Antigua

If the mid-day sun is a bit hot during your visit to Devil’s Bridge, then the perfect place to cool off is only five minutes away. At Long Bay Beach, firm ivory sand blends into warm azure waters. The otherwise rough Atlantic surf is tempered by an offshore reef. This creates ideal conditions for swimming and snorkeling. You can also rent umbrellas, loungers and water toys. Plus, grab food at a small restaurant or purchase souvenirs among beachside shops. The only demerit of Long Bay Beach is the number of resort guests who arrived before you.

Long Bay Beach, Willikies, Antigua & Barbuda

27 Solitude at Long Bay Beach in Willikies, Antigua

The west end of Long Bay Beach can get crowded, especially after mid-morning. That is okay for people who prefer bustling activity. But if you prefer solitude, then stroll toward the east end. When your surroundings look like a print advertisement for the Caribbean, and your smile is stretched from ear-to-ear, you have arrived. Lather on the sunscreen and relax.

Long Bay Beach, Willikies, Antigua & Barbuda

28 St. Philip’s Anglican Church in Ffryes, Antigua

About 3,400 people live in Saint Philip Parish in east-central Antiqua. The parish church is St. Philip’s Anglican Church, built in 1830. It is located in Ffryes. The small town is named after John Ffrye. The early settler started a 132 acre plantation in 1665.

St. Philips Anglican Church, Ffryes, Antigua & Barbuda

29 Crossroads Centre Antigua in Ffryes, Antigua

Eric Clapton became a recoding legend with the Yardbirds and then Cream during the 1960s. He is the only three-time inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was also seriously addicted to heroin and alcohol for two decades. In the mid-80s, his manager Roger Forrester convinced the musician to seek help at Hazelden in Minnesota. In appreciation for those who facilitated his recovery, Clapton founded the Crossroads Centre in Antigua in 1998. He remains involved with the management of the addiction treatment center. Clapton is also a tireless fund raiser for the facility.

Crossroads Centre Antigua, Willoughby Bay, Ffryes, Antigua & Barbuda

30 Willoughby Bay in Ffryes, Antigua

Willoughby Bay in Saint Paul Parish is the largest bay in southern Antigua where the Atlantic meets the Caribbean Sea. The namesake is Francis Willoughby, 5th Baron Willoughby of Parham. He was the British governor of Barbados in the mid-17th century. At the mouth of the picturesque cove is Horseshoe Reef. This is a great adventure for seasoned snorkelers and divers.

Willoughby Bay Overview, Ffryes, Antigua & Barbuda

31 Remote Nirvana at Half Moon Bay in Freetown, Antigua

Antigua has a plethora of beaches – 365 in total. With that many choices for swimming and sunning, why would you drive to the opposite end of the island from St. John’s? When you see this nirvana waiting for you below a hill, the answer is clear. The beach at Half Moon Bay is a stunning hideaway. The flawless shoreline is encircled by tropical vegetation and protected by two dramatic promontories that buffer crashing waves. You have almost arrived.

Half Moon Bay Beach, Freetown, Antigua & Barbuda

32 Incredible Beach at Half Moon Bay in Freetown, Antigua

When you park at Half Moon Bay, you will smile at the lack of cars. When your bare feet take the first steps on the pink-hue sand, your toes will tingle with excitement. Feel the gentle surf lap against your ankles. Savor the sunshine and gentle breeze on your face. Marvel at the crescent-shaped bay with endless shades of blue. Cherish your one-mile stroll from one protective headland to the other. Enjoy your memorable day at one of the best beaches in Antigua and the Caribbean. But dreams like this do not last forever. Although Half Moon Bay is now undeveloped perfection, plans are underway to build a luxury hotel and residential community.

Half Moon Bay Beach, Freetown, Antigua & Barbuda

Barbwire Fence around Cattle Pasture in Countryside of Antigua

The per capita income of Antigua and Barbuda’s 100,000 people is around $18,000. 25% of its $1.6 billon GDP is spent on importing food. With such stretched financial resources, the country’s government is trying to encourage agriculture. But farming continues to decline and is limited to family plots of vegetables and sugarcane. There are also small livestock operations that raise cattle, sheep and goats for local markets.

33 Goats Running Wild along Road in Liberta, Antigua

The prominent livestock in Antigua are goats. It is estimated 36,000 of them live on this West Indies island. Most appear to roam free in order to graze on the shrubs and vines along the roads. In contrast, the majority of the estimated 19,000 sheep are typically constrained behind fencing.

Tyrells Church Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Jonas Rd, Antigua and Barbuda

34 Our Lady of Perpetual Hope Church near Liberta, Antigua

Along Matthews Road in the countryside of Antigua is this pink church with a red roof called Our Lady of Perpetual Hope. The Roman Catholic, Tyrells Parish church was built near the town of Liberta in 1932.

Tyrells Church Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Jonas Rd, Antigua and Barbuda

35 Green Stone Wall and Building in Liberta, Antigua

Most of the homes on the island are very small and built from wood with tin roofs. It is not uncommon to see them in various stages of disrepair. But an interesting feature can be seen among buildings in the town of Liberta. Notice the retaining wall constructed from basaltic green-stone. This material has volcanic origins and is unique to the southern districts of Antigua. Behind is a structure with an elaborate arch made from the same stone.

St. Barnabas Anglican Church, Liberta, Antigua and Barbuda

36 Woman Beneath Parasol to Shield Hot Sun in Liberta, Antigua

Although Antigua is one of the driest Caribbean islands, it is common to see locals carrying a parasol. Their tropical climate averages eight hours of sunshine a day with year-round temperatures in the 80s. When it does rain, the showers come fast and then just as quickly reveal the sun again.

St. Barnabas Anglican Church, Liberta, Antigua and Barbuda

37 St. Barnabas Anglican Church in Liberta, Antigua

Bishop William Coleridge built this as a school in 1842. The building became St. Barnabas Anglican Church a year later when an earthquake destroyed St. Paul’s Church in nearby Falmouth. St. Barnabas is constructed with red brick and local Antigua green stone. The façade brightly reflects the afternoon sun at the back of the church.

St. Barnabas Anglican Church, Liberta, Antigua and Barbuda

38 St. Barnabas Church with Extension in Liberta, Antigua

Although Saint Barnabas has served as the Anglican parish church since 1843, the congregation around Liberta outgrew the quaint yet cramped building. In 1989, an extension was added (shown on the right) while maintaining the original Italianate architectural design.

St. Barnabas Anglican Church, Liberta, Antigua and Barbuda

39 Shirley Heights Guard House in English Harbour, Antigua

The Guard House was built in 1791. It is one of the few restored buildings at Shirley Heights, a former British military base. Six days a week, the Guard House attracts visitors for panoramic views and gorgeous sunsets from an elevation of almost 500 feet. Every Sunday, a huge party is hosted here. The festivities include a barbeque and plenty of rum punch plus calypso and reggae music played by talented steel bands.

Shirley Heights, Antigua and Barbuda

40 Elevated View of English and Falmouth Harbours in English Harbour, Antigua

From the Battery platform, better known as The Lookout, at the former British fort Shirley Heights is this magnificent view of the southernmost point of Antigua. In the foreground is Fort Tyler at the end of the small peninsula stretching into English Harbour. On the right is Falmouth Harbour. In the background are Sugar Loaf (1,042 feet) and Signal Hill (1,207 feet).

Shirley Heights, The Battery, Antigua and Barbuda

41 Shirley Heights Officers’ Quarters in English Harbour, Antigua

Between 1781 and 1825, Shirley Heights contained sixty buildings that housed several British regiments. One of the largest was the Officers’ Quarters. Although it now stands in ruins and is fenced off to visitors, hints remain of its former elegant architecture.

Shirley Heights, Antigua and Barbuda

42 Shirley Heights Cemetery Obelisk in English Harbour, Antigua

Hidden from view of most visitors to Shirley Heights is this white obelisk positioned in the middle of the British military cemetery. The memorial lists the names of about 50 soldiers and officers from the 54th Regiment, Second Battalion Dorsets, who died in service during the mid-19th century. Their final resting place has a commanding view of English Harbour.

Shirley Heights, Antigua and Barbuda

43 Eric Clapton Mansion on Indian Creek Peninsula in English Harbour, Antigua

At the Blockhouse section of Shirley Heights, you will be treated to this magnificent view of Antigua’s southeast coastline. If you look closely at Indian Creek Peninsula, you will see the sprawling mansion of Eric Clapton, the English guitarist who played with the Yardbirds and Cream. In 1998, he founded the Crossroads Centre in Antigua, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center.

The Blockhouse, Antigua and Barbuda

44 Boat House Pillars at Nelson’s Dockyard in English Harbour, Antigua

English Harbour began as a British garrison at the turn of the 18th century. For almost two hundred years, it evolved into an elaborate complex of buildings now called Nelson’s Dockyard. The fort was named after Horatio Nelson. The vice-admiral arrived in 1784 and later became its commander. When the Royal Navy base was abandoned in 1889, it fell into disrepair until an extensive restoration was finished in 1961. Nelson’s Dockyard is now a national park and a major tourist attraction. In 2016, this historic property was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. These boat house pillars are among the most recognizable and photographed features.

The Admiral's Inn Dockyard Drive, English Harbour, Antigua and Barbuda

45 Nelson’s Dockyard Boat House Under Palm Tree in English Harbour, Antigua

Imagine a very large, two-story structure that stood just below this palm tree. This was the location of the Nelson’s Dockyard boat house in English Harbour. The facility was extensively damaged during an 1845 earthquake. In 1871, the roof was torn away by a hurricane. Most of the other 18th to early 20th century British Navy buildings within this national park have been restored to resemble their original appearance.

The Admiral's Inn Dockyard Drive, English Harbour, Antigua and Barbuda

46 Boat House Remains at Nelson’s Dockyard in English Harbour, Antigua

These pillars are all that remain of the boat house at Nelson’s Dockyard that was built in 1797. What is now a sandy beach used to be a central channel or wet dock where British ships moored for repair. While the vessels’ hull was overhauled in the lower level, the sails were hoisted into the second story for mending.

The Admiral's Inn Dockyard Drive, English Harbour, Antigua and Barbuda

47 Copper and Lumber Store at Nelson’s Dockyard in English Harbour, Antigua

The Copper and Lumber Store was built in 1789 to warehouse materials for building and repairing British ships. It is another example of the renovated Georgian architecture at Nelson’s Dockyard. The property was converted into a hotel in 1982. Each of hotel’s suites is named after one of Lord Nelson’s British ships and contains antique furniture.

Copper & Lumber Store Historic Inn, Nelsons Dockyard, St Johns, Antigua & Barbuda

48 Sick House at Nelson’s Dockyard in English Harbour, Antigua

The former Pitch and Tar Store and Engineer’s Office at Nelson’s Dockyard was built in 1778. The historic structure has been transformed into a hotel and restaurant called the Admiral’s Inn. Behind it is this red brick, single-story Georgian building that once served as the British Navy’s Sick House. It is now the inn’s Pillar’s Bar and Restaurant.

Nelson's Dockyard and English Harbour, Nelsons Dockyard, St Johns, Antigua & Barbuda

49 Sailboats Moored in English Harbour, Antigua

After an organization called the Friends of English Harbour was formed in 1951, it took ten years of reconstruction before the Nelson’s Dockyard reopened as a national park. Today, the harbor is filled with yachts, sailboats and other private watercraft. It is also the site of several international regattas each spring.

Nelson's Dockyard and English Harbour, Nelsons Dockyard, St Johns, Antigua & Barbuda

50 Sailboat with UK Red Ensign Flag in English Harbour, Antigua

British Naval ships began using English Harbour as a safe haven from hurricanes in 1671. The site then became an extensive base at Nelson’s Dockyard in 1725. The military garrison remained operational until abandoned in 1889. However, the United Kingdom retained control over Antigua and Barbuda for almost another century until it became an independent country in 1981. It appears the tradition of a civilian ship flying a Red Ensign flag when visiting UK waters lives on.

Nelson's Dockyard and English Harbour, Nelsons Dockyard, St Johns, Antigua & Barbuda

51 Pigeon Beach along Falmouth Bay near Falmouth, Antigua

The Leeward side of Pigeon Point in southern Antigua offers the exquisite aqua water of Falmouth Bay. The waves splash gently across the white sand of Pigeon Beach. On weekends, the area is filled with tourists and locals, especially families with children. During the week, the atmosphere is as calm as a Caribbean breeze.

Pigeon Point Beach, Antigua and Barbuda

52 Shade Trees at Pigeon Beach near Falmouth, Antigua

Spending a day at a tropical beach always sounds heavenly. But when the Antiguan sun beats down for over eight hours and the temperature rises into the high 80s, it is often a welcome respite to sit beneath a shade tree, cool off for a while and perhaps take a nap.

Pigeon Point Beach, Antigua and Barbuda

53 Pigeon Beach near Falmouth Harbour Marina in Falmouth, Antigua

This view from Pigeon Beach showing a handful of sailboats floating calmly in the bay is deceiving. You would never guess around the corner is the very busy Falmouth Harbour Marina. The docking facility caters to mega-yachts up to 330 feet in length.

Pigeon Point Beach, Antigua and Barbuda

54 Woman Zip Lining in Rainforest in Wallings, Antigua

If you want a thrill of a lifetime while visiting southwest Antigua, then take the zip line and rope challenge course operated by the Antigua Rainforest Company. They offer 16 different zip line routes. They range from easy to scream inducing. The attraction is located on Fig Tree Drive near Wallings.

Antigua Rain Forest Canopy Tour, Fig Tree Dr, Antigua and Barbuda

55 Elevated View from Old Road Bluff of Carlisle Bay, Antigua

This elevated view of Carlisle Bay in southern Antigua is yours for a quick photo op from the top of the Old Road Bluff. You will be mesmerized how the gentle waves form almost symmetrical ovals across the beach. In the background is the Curtain Bluff Resort.

Boxer Shack Old Road, Antigua and Barbuda

56 Rocky Southwest Shoreline Off of Old Road in Crab Hill, Antigua

Old Road is a delightful scenic drive for appreciating the beauty of southwest Antigua. While hugging the Caribbean Sea coastline, you will see several bays from elevated points and bluffs. Then, travel down the hills to enjoy exquisite, isolated beaches. You will also catch glimpses of nearby islands and spectacular sunsets.

OJ's, Crabb Hill Beach, Valley Rd, Antigua and Barbuda

57 Crabb Hill Beach and Fishing Nets in Crab Hill, Antigua

Crabb Hill Beach is a gorgeous stretch of sand. Also called Turner’s Beach, it is virtually empty during the week. You will feel like it is your own private slice of heaven. When you get hungry or thirsty, it is a short walk to OJ’s Restaurant and Bar. Their unique décor consists of items washed up on shore like this fishing net. Their slogan is, “If you are not barefoot, then you are overdressed.”

OJ's, Crabb Hill Beach, Valley Rd, Antigua and Barbuda

58 Old Weathered Door in Crab Hill, Antigua

Many homes in Antigua are small, simple and built from wood. What they lack in amenities they make up with spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean or, like this one, the Caribbean Sea. However, years of salt water spray, storms and the beating sun take a heavy toll. Perhaps in decades to come, many of these weather-beaten facades will disappear. But for now, they are an intrinsic part of the island’s charm.

OJ's, Crabb Hill Beach, Valley Rd, Antigua and Barbuda

59 Elevated View of Darkwood Beach near Jolly Harbour, Antigua

It would take you a full year to spend one day enjoying each of Antigua’s 365 beaches. If your vacation to this West Indies island is not that long, then consider adding Darkwood Beach to your short list of places to wear your bathing suit and sunglasses. One look is worth a thousand superlatives.

Darkwood Beach, Valley Rd, Antigua & Barbuda

60 Darkwood Beach near Jolly Harbour, Antigua

Jolly Habour is a small town on the southwest coast of Antigua. Everything you need for a perfect vacation is here. For starters, there is Darkwood Beach where the dress code is a bathing suit with a dab of suntan lotion. You will also find resorts, shops, restaurants, bars, golf course, casino, marina, deep sea fishing, snorkeling … well, you get the idea. Oh, one more thing: exquisite sunsets.

Darkwood Beach, Valley Rd, Antigua & Barbuda

61 Two Loungers on Sand at Darkwood Beach near Jolly Harbour, Antigua

These two beach chairs are currently available for you and your best friend to savor the tropical sun. Unlike cable TV, the Internet or your smart phone, they only offer one view of the flawless sand, calm Caribbean Sea and puffy white clouds as they float across the blue sky. If your fingers get itchy to be doing something, then wrap them around an adult beverage. Better yet, hold your partner’s hand. Sit back, relax and savor every moment!

Darkwood Beach, Valley Rd, Antigua & Barbuda

62 Fort Barrington in Five Islands Village, Antigua

The first fort located on top of this rocky promontory at the southern mouth of St. John’s Harbour was built in the 1650s. The British defense was attacked several times during the 17th century and captured by the French in 1666. The current fortress on Goat Hill was constructed in 1779. Fort Barrington was named after Samuel Barrington. He was a distinguished British rear admiral with the Royal Navy during the latter part of the 18th century. The former lookout station in Fort Barrington National Park is largely in ruins.

Fort Barrington, RobRace Dr, Five Islands Village, Antigua and Barbuda

63 St. John’s Harbour from Fort Barrington in Five Islands Village, Antigua

The trail leading up to Fort Barrington crosses a footbridge spanning a tidewater and then gets tricky during the 300 foot assent. Good hiking shoes are a must. But the panorama of St. John’s Harbour from the observation platform is worth the effort. There are also several small rooms to explore among the ruins of Fort Barrington.

Fort Barrington, RobRace Dr, Five Islands Village, Antigua and Barbuda

64 Deep Bay Beach in Five Islands Village, Antigua

There are five beaches in Five Islands Village, located just a few miles from St. John’s. One of the best is Deep Bay Beach. This view from Fort Barrington should convince you. After climbing down from Goat Hill, watch for a narrow path leading to this spectacular stretch of white sand. Snorkelers and divers are attracted to Deep Bay to explore The Andes. The 1874 British three-masted ship was loaded with asphalt when it caught fire and sunk in 30 feet of water in 1905.

Deep Bay Beach, Five Islands Village, Antigua and Barbuda

65 Leaving Deep Water Harbour in St. John’s, Antigua

Whether Antigua was a one-day port-of-call or a two-week vacation, you will leave the island with a bit of sadness that your visit ended so soon. But your wonderful memories will last forever and lure you back to Antigua soon.

Deep Water Harbour, St. John's, Antigua and Barbuda

66 Magnificent Frigatebird in Flight in St. John’s, Antigua

As your cruise ship leaves the port at St. John’s, it will probably be followed by several magnificent frigatebirds. They soar effortlessly in the sky without ever flapping. The bird’s wings can span seven to eight feet. You may hear Antiguans call them weather birds or man-o-war. Their aerometric design is so perfect that they can stay aloft for days and up to a week. The longest recorded flight was nearly 140 miles.

Deep Water Harbour, St. John's, Antigua and Barbuda