Antigua: A Beautiful Island for Beautiful Times
The gorgeous Caribbean island of Antigua, with its fine-white-sand beaches and lofty undulating palms is awash with sophistication, style and of course beautiful sunshine. Antigua is the larger of two islands that make up the stunning country of Antigua and Barbuda. Its international airport, V.C. Bird International, is located just northeast of the capital St. John’s and is serviced by many international airlines. After a long flight from Europe or other parts of the world the first thing visitors will want to do is luxuriate in their accommodation – and Antigua has some of the finest of anywhere in the world. Relax, indulge and pamper yourself -you've travelled this far to get to paradise so make the most of it! This playground for those who love the sun owes its name to the Spanish for “ancient”, but there’s nothing old or decrepit about today’s glimmering resorts and tourist facilities. There’s all manner of places to stay on the island from clean and basic, mid-range, all the way up to the luxurious and beyond (that would be ultra-luxurious, with prices reaching over £600 a night – but if you've got it, why not?). The soft-sand beaches stretch like meandering ribbons as far as the eye can see and are the island’s primary tourist asset. Just sink into the warm grains and let your worries drift away. Among the best are Jolly Beach in the southwest and it's as good as it sounds making it a favourite among holidaymakers. There is also the frequently deserted beach at Half Moon Bay, located in the east and Pigeon Point Beach on the southern coast which are among the best. There are many more beaches peppered around this charming island, some entirely secluded, you can explore them at your pleasure. When you feel like taking a break from the sun (temperatures top 30 degrees Celsius from June to September), a few refreshing excursions will give you a sense of adventure on this amazing paradise island. After all, you can’t come all the way to the Caribbean and just lie on the sand all day every day – there are wonderful sights to see! and great people to meet... The waters off Antigua are brimming with the most gloriously colourful creatures that really should be seen close up. Don’t know how to scuba dive? No problem. A quick and easy lesson at one of the many dive centres on the island with a certified instructor will have you beneath the waves in no time. Where you can marvel at this whole other world – leaving you to wonder why you've never done this before. The best holidays are all about new and thrilling experiences, all the more so, when you push yourself to do something you never in your life thought you’d do. Back on land, and way above it, helicopter tours are popular here. It’s certainly a spectacular way to see the entire island. There is a smouldering giant on nearby Montserrat, just off the southeast coast of Antigua. This about as dramatic as you can get and the view of this explosive volcano from above will be one that will remain with you forever. Still up in the air – sort of – ziplining through the Antiguan rainforest is an adrenalin-junkie activity that will leave you breathless, as you race above the jungle like a monkey (courtesy of a wire). There are many other things to see and do on this island, including taking a cruise out to sea and visiting the old cultural part of the island, in English Harbour and Nelson's dockyard, where if nothing else, the enormous playthings of the super rich - giant yachts – will wow you. Shirley Heights, overlooks English Harbour and with stunning panoramas of the ocean, it is one of Antigua's most popular nightspots. After another spectacular sunset, this old fortress comes alive with the sound of reggae and steel bands, an intrinsic part of the island's culture. For a more laid back end to the day, there are beach bars dotted all around the island where you can casually sip a drink and melt into the evening. But if you want to get glammed-up and spend a night on the town, head to St. Johns and its glittering bars and clubs. When your head finally hits the pillow, you’ll find yourself thinking : Why can’t every day be like this?