From the sites of the historic district to visiting a sugar plantation, Antigua has lots to see and do.
Half Moon Bay
Perched on Antigua’s south-eastern tip, the idyllic Half Moon Bay is located within five minutes of Freetown Village and is home to a wonderfully secluded white-sand beach. It spans the full length of the bay, meaning there’s plenty of quiet spots to be found – as well as a fringe of palm and mangrove trees for those seeking some respite from the sun. Don your snorkeling mask and explore the patches of coral beneath the surface of the turquoise waters, or wade through shallow rock pools in search of miniature crabs and shells. You’ll also find a small selection of nearby bars, restaurants and concession stands.
Pillars of Hercules
The mouth of the English Harbour, Antigua’s charming historic district, is marked by a spectacular wall of limestone rock known as The Pillars of Hercules. The formation of the rock face creates a series of striking columns which are best enjoyed from the water, with regular boat tours taking you on a leisurely cruise along the harbour before presenting you with unrestricted views of the pillars. This also happens to be a popular diving and snorkeling spot, with vibrant coral reefs and a teeming marine life lurking just beneath the surface.
Alternatively, follow a series of scenic trails south of Galleon Beach which culminate at the summit of Charlotte Point – offering breathtaking ocean views as well as historic points of interest, such as the nearby Fort Charlotte.
Nelson’s Dockyard Museum
Also located within the English Harbour area is Nelsons’ Dockyard, a cultural heritage site which forms part of the wider Nelson’s Dockyard National Park on the island’s southern coast. One of the most striking properties in the area is that of the old Naval Clerk’s House, which today doubles up as Nelson’s Dockyard Museum. It details the fascinating history of the dockyards, dating back to the 1700s when the harbour served as a key strategic point for the British Royal Navy. An extensive research library is located within the museum, enabling visitors to explore old books on the navy and Antigua in general. A range of artefacts, including an old cannon, are on display – whilst old sailor graffiti dating back to 1740 can be seen on the walls of the nearby Malone’s Shop.
Fancy getting a bird’s eye view of Antigua’s powder-white sands and irresistible azure waters? Caribbean Helicopters offer fly-overs of some of the island’s best beauty spots, including Half Moon Bay, several uninhabited islands and lush coral reefs. A number of tour options are available, including a full day expedition both in the air and on land. Alternatively, hop on the most popular tour, which takes you over the majestic Montserrat Volcano, or embark on an 18 minute flight north to the island of Barbuda. Whatever your choice, rest assured you’ll be exposed to some spectacular scenery complete with a generous helping of outstanding photo opportunities.
Betty’s Hope Sugar Plantation
Located on the east side of the island, Betty’s Hope was the first significant sugar plantation to operate in Antigua. Established by British colonialists during the 1600s, it remained active for several hundred years and today serves as an open air museum. Two sugar mills mark what was once the heart of the plantation, with several types of ancient machinery also on display. The visitor centre was once a storage room and today features a series of photographs and artefacts which help paint a picture of working life in centuries gone by. The gorgeous surrounding landscapes make this the perfect daytime excursion, offering a unique insight into Antigua’s history.
Antigua Equestrian Centre
Explore the spellbinding landscapes of Antigua’s southern shoreline on horseback, with a range of excursions available courtesy of the Antigua Equestrian Centre. Choose from one or two hour rides or head straight for the beach for a 45 minute soak in the ocean – on horseback! The most popular tour consists of a relaxing one hour excursion through sweeping valley terrain, culminating with a dip in the water at Falmouth Bay.
If you’re an experienced rider then consider embarking on the two hour journey along the shores of Rendevouz Bay, taking on challenging hillside trails, gorgeous sandy beaches and mesmerizing ocean views. All rides depart around 8.30 am in groups of no more than four people.