If your ideal holiday consists of flying and flopping on an immaculate beach, Antigua has got you covered, and then some! (There are 365 glorious beaches on the island you can work your way around.) But if you’re curious to know more about the island’s history and culture and want to have a little fun should you manage to tear yourself away from the sun lounger, these awesome things you can do in Antigua are totally worth the effort.
Pink Panther Island Safari
The first excursion we took in Antigua was a tour of the island with the vivacious ladies from Pink Panther Safaris. (Available from Elite Island Resorts). In a bright pink (to make the boys wink) jeep the ladies will guide you around Antigua’s best historic and scenic sights including; Nelson’s Dockyard, Shirley Heights, Betty’s Hope plantation and Devil’s Bridge.
Lunch is included at the dreamily located Papa’s By The Sea and the afternoon will be spent recovering from all the concentration on Turner’s pristine beach with a cold beer. (Don’t forget to pack your swimmer like we did!) It’s a great orientation of Antigua, filled with rum punch and random quizzes, and I recommend you do it early on your trip so you can suss out the areas you’d like to return to later.
We’d scoped out the incredible harbour views from Shirley Heights during the day with the Pink Panther Safaris but everyone said it’s the place to be on Sunday night – and they were right. Not only are the sunsets from Shirley’s gawp-worthy but imagine this scenery set to a backdrop of steel drums, smoking BBQ meat and local lager and you’ll get an idea of the incredible atmosphere at Shirley’s on a Sunday. Entrance costs $25EC so bring some cash, especially if you plan to tuck into ribs and beers and dance the night away to the brilliant band who give the likes of the Eurythmics a reggae twist.
You may have already read that Floatfit is the most fun I’ve ever had working out so it’s the perfect way to assuage your guilt if you’ve over-indulged on the all-inclusive! Exclusive to Elite Island Resorts in the Caribbean, Floatfit involves taking a stretch or HIIT class on a magical floating mat in the pool or ocean and not only will it give your core a great workout but it’s heaps of fun, especially if you accidentally take regular dunkings in the water.
On a previous trip to Antigua I discovered another way to burn calories whilst laughing my head off and that was by zip-lining through the jungle. Far from gliding gracefully through the trees like Tarzan’s amour, I giggled and crashed my way around the 13-zip course – you might have better technique than me though! This is a popular activity for visitors arriving on cruise ships so book yourself in early if you’re keen to try it. You can opt to take a shorter version of 6 zips instead of 13 if you’d just like a taster.
If you’re a water baby like myself you’ll love the chance to sail and snorkel with the sparkling new Calypso Cat that departs from Pineapple Beach Club Antigua and The Verandah Resort & Sap. Run by another vivacious team who aren’t afraid to hand out the rum punches (after you’ve snorkelled!) the Calypso Cat will take you to some of Antigua’s awesome reefs and islands.
After our guided snorkel where we swum with stingrays and barracuda we headed to Great Bird Island to soak up 360 views of the bay and then enjoy a drink or 2 in the warm waters. (Staff will kindly deliver a cold drink to where you’re paddling if climbing back on the boat feels like too much effort!) The boat is immaculate with a well-stocked bar and pantry and handy toilet hidden under the front deck. All the snorkel equipment is included and so is a little dance lesson on your way back to Pineapple – guests on the beach remarked how we all went out so seriously and then came back whooping.
All these activities can be booked via the tour desk at your hotel. We stayed at St James’s Club & Villas and Pineapple Beach Club Antigua – more details on both properties will be live on the blog shortly. Our trip to Antigua was arranged via the Personal Travel Experts at Kuoni, who will send you a brief sheet with all the info you need on Antigua prior to arriving at the destination, including tipping etiquette and holiday highlights.
I travelled with Kuoni and Elite Island Resorts on a complimentary basis but all excursions were arranged by ourselves in resort and I wouldn’t recommend them unless they were genuinely awesome!