Stunning inland scenery, charming villages and glorious beaches – it’s no wonder that Antigua is a popular honeymoon destination. It’s one of the most visited islands in the Caribbean because not only does it look gorgeous, there are plenty of great attractions and things to see and do in Antigua other than lying on the sand soaking up the tropical sun.
1. Stingray City
One of the most interesting things to do in Antigua is view the wildlife. A trip to Stingray City satisfies that desire on many levels. Begin your journey in Seatons, a city on the east side of the island, where you’ll get to see a number of colorful parrots and monkeys. Them you’ll board a speedboat for a 5-minute trip north to Stingray City. There, you’ll find a large shallow pool in the middle of a coral reef, and in the pool are a number of stingrays that are accustomed to humans and often play with them. You can feed them, swim with them, and snorkel if you desire. Close contact with these gentle creatures is often the highlight of many vacations.
2. Donkey Sanctuary
Did I say Antigua is a great place for animal lovers? This donkey sanctuary, housing more than 150 of the adorable petite creatures, is a delight for adults and kids alike. Managed by the Antigua and Barbuda Humane Society, the facility is open Monday through Saturday. Guests may feed, pet and enjoy all the donkeys, but one little guy stands out as a favorite for most people - Stevie, a gentle little donkey who doesn’t let his blindness get in the way of fun. After being blinded when hit by a vehicle, he has come to love the attention showered on him.
3. Betty’s Hope
If you have an interest in history, head over to Pares Village and visit Betty’s Hope. At one time when the island was a British colony, it was Antigua’s biggest sugar plantation. Today, it’s no longer operational as a plantation but many of the structures are still visible. The Visitor’s Center was once the old cotton storage area and now houses exhibits, pictures, maps and artifacts. Then visit the twin windmills, the cistern complex, and several other of the remaining buildings.
4. Devil’s Bridge
This national park is located in Eastern Antigua and is a site where the Caribbean meets the Atlantic. One of the most notable attractions of this site is a natural limestone arch created by millions of years of natural forces. Although it is possible to walk across it, it’s very dangerous to cross because it’s slippery and there are no guardrails. It’s definitely a good idea to keep children from crossing it.
5. Shirley Heights
These heights sit 492 feet above sea level, and there are spectacular views to see from this point. From here you can see the volcanic Montserrat, the island of Guadalupe, and the stunning Antigua sunsets, but that’s not all. Shirley Heights was at one time a military lookout point, and there are several remnants from that era still visible. The hike up can be pretty strenuous, but the stellar views await and you can enjoy them from the Shirley Heights Lookout Bar & Restaurant if you choose!
6. Galley Bay Beach
You can’t exactly go to an Island like Antigua and not visit a beach. One great place to start is Galley Bay Beach, where the sand is white and the water is turquoise, a combination so striking you’ll be sure you walked right out of a movie. Furthermore, this area is a well-known turtle nesting area, and if you’re lucky you’ll catch a hatching egg! If you’re a surfer, surfing conditions are considered first rate here.
7. Nelson’s Dockyard National Park
Another great stop if you’re a history buff, the “Nelson” of Nelson’s Dockyard refers to Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson, who made his headquarters on the island between 1784 and 1787. At the site you’ll find some of his artifacts, including his personal telescope. Visit one of the many small shops and cafes in the area as well.
I bet you’re already browsing ticket sites to book you vacation to Antigua – right?