As many around the globe are thinking about heading to a tropical destination for Spring Break, I, too, took a looksy at my favorite playground, the Caribbean. I have done some major adventures in Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, the Abacos, and the Dominican Republic; however, I have yet to discover Antigua or lesser known Barbuda. That’s why I have asked a peer travel writer, Adrienne Smith, to showcase her Caribbean gems.
The floor is yours, Adrienne! Show us what is beyond the beach holiday basics in Antigua and Barbuda!
The Caribbean has come to be seen as an epicenter of tourism over the years for three main reasons. Sun, sea, and sand are the beach holiday Holy Trinity of course – and they are, on their own, three great reasons to go anywhere.
However, to reduce the Caribbean to just these three things – as some do – is truly unfair. The truth is, if all you want is cocktails by a swim-up bar, there are probably cheaper destinations to consider. Dismissing the Caribbean as just the three S’s ignores the colorful dynamism of Cuba, the lyrical musicality of Jamaica – and those are just the best-known that are dismissed. Lesser-known island paradises like Antigua and Barbuda suffer all the worse.
For the avoidance of doubt, if you want a beach holiday, you can certainly have one in Antigua and Barbuda. There are 17 miles of beautiful powdery sand and crystalline blue waters lap the coast. If you come here, you should definitely take the chance to relax on one of the many beaches.
However, the standard beach holiday is not all this stunning country has to offer.
Due to the geographical location of Antigua, it was one of the key centers of the global sugar trade from the 17th century onwards. One of its main plantations was Betty’s Hope, owned by Captain Christopher Codrington, and named for his daughter.
Today, the plantation no longer produces sugar, but has been transformed to an open-air museum. For the architecturally-minded, the stunning archwork is a dream come true. For the historian in you, it is a nod to the complex, troubled history of this country, and is not to be missed.
Sir Vivian Richards’ Stadium
If you come to Antigua, it’s worth making time to bear witness to perhaps the island’s most popular leisure pastime. Cricket is all but a national religion and the stadium is named for one of the island’s most famous sons.
One of the most gifted cricketers ever to play the game, “Sir Viv” – as he is affectionately known – is as close as Antigua gets to loyalty. If you’re lucky, you may even catch a game at the stadium. Played the Antiguan way, cricket is a fast, big-hitting thrill that’s the perfect way to while away an afternoon.
Frigate Bird Sanctuary / Codrington Lagoon
Although most frequently Antigua and Barbuda are referred to as a pair, the latter island tends to be passed over in favor of its neighbor. You may well be based on Antigua alone for your stay. If so, Barbuda in and of itself is an attraction. It’s no less beautiful than Antigua, and its pink-sanded beaches are a highlight.
A highlight to enjoy is the Frigate Bird Sanctuary, a nature preserve where you can see the native birds in all their glory.
Furthermore, the flawlessly beautiful blue lagoon close to the sanctuary is also well worth a visit. Go to the Lagoon Interpretation Center for curated exhibitions of the diverse natural attractions of the island.
**Post contributed by Adrienne King a travel writer and enthusiast of all things off-the-beaten path.