Antigua Tours and Activities | Enjoy taking part in some of the more interesting activities on the island. Come see what you can do >>
Planning a trip to Antigua with your family and need something that you feel that everyone in the family can enjoy while being safe? Finding these attraction is not always easy. Here are five Antigua family attractions that everyone can enjoy.
Nelson’s Dockyard – Nelson’s Dockyard is one of the most popular Antigua family attractions. Located on the southern end of the island, Nelson’s Dockyard boasts of being the only continuously working Georgian Dockyard in the world. It was initially built in 1725 as a base for the British Navy to guard against neighbouring colonial powers, particularly the French. It gained it’s name from the famous naval commander Lord Horatio Nelson, who was stationed in Antigua for various periods from 1784-1787.
After the decline in the threat from invasion, the dockyard slowly declined and eventually became abandoned. Efforts to restore the area began in 1950’s, and is now the centre of a vibrant yachting and sailing industry. Much of the history has been preserved, and the Dockyard now includes a small museum featuring local historical and archeological artefacts, as well as gift shops, hotels, and stores.
Museum of Antigua and Barbuda
Museum of Antigua and Barbuda – Located in the heart of St. John’s on Long Street, the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda has a long and storied history. Originally built in 1747 as a court house on the site of the first city market, the building survived several major earthquakes before being converted to a museum in 1985. The museum features a number of artefacts such as a life sized replica of an Arawak house and the bat of Viv Richards, one of Wisden’s Top 5 cricketers in the 20th century. In addition, the museum also hosts a reference library and a computer database holding thousands of records.
Stingray City – Stingray City is one of the top Antigua family attractions. Located just outside of Seatons on the eastern end of the island, your journey starts off at the Stingray City base, a lush garden paradise with a number of wildlife including lovebirds, parakeets, parrots, and even iguanas. After a short briefing the real journey begins as you board the boat to take you to a naturally shallow area in the middle of the ocean.
These clear waters are home to the friendly Southern Caribbean stingrays, which are completely safe once you follow the guidelines set out by your guides. Feel free to hold, pet, and even feed these lovely creatures as they whiz by you. There is also a coral reef where you can snorkel and observe a wide range of other marine wildlife.
Wadadli Nature Park
Wadadli Nature Park is one of the only true nature parks on the island. Located at Lyons Estate in the centre of the island, your guided tour will take you around the park to see some of the animals which are familiar on a local and regional level. These include the playful green monkeys, iguanas, parrots, peacocks, and the majestic fallow deer, which is Antigua and Barbuda’s national animal. In addition there is also a petting zoo with familiar animals such as goats, sheep, turtles and cows, which are always a hit with the young children.
Along the trail are a number of different trees and plants which are signposted and form part of the Nature Park’s arboretum.
The Donkey Sanctuary
The Donkey Sanctuary – The Antigua and Barbuda Humane Society provides a home and a safe place for donkeys in Antigua and Barbuda. Due to the number of stray and abandoned donkeys, and the issues that donkeys can have both on the environment and road traffic, this sanctuary was set up with the intention to reduce the stray population and provide care for these once popular beasts of burden. Visitors have the opportunity to feed and pet these gentle creatures, who all love the interaction with people. Each of the donkeys having a short bio and history written up for visitors to learn more about them. Donations are encouraged, and you can adopt a donkey for only $25.
Where do you take your family when you’re in Antigua? Do you have any other Antigua family attractions that you enjoy visiting while here? What’s your favourite local family attractions? Share your secrets below!
I have been on a couple of Sunset Cruises in my time and of course the actual style of cruise can vary greatly depending on the target customer. This particular cruise couldn’t be labelled a booze cruise though the all inclusive bar exists there is a clientele of respect mostly because it’s Antigua and not Mallorca. So you will be safe booking this tour at any age as it did attract a wide range. If you are looking for a booze cruise then you may well struggle in Antigua.
Private sunset Cruise Antigua ?
This is not a private sunset cruise please note for that check out this private sunset cruise by miramar.
Getting to the cruise from Dickenson Bay couldn’t be easier – it actually departs the sandy shores – you will wade out as the waves go out (if you’re smart) to keep your crotch dry ! The ladder descends the catamaran to the beach and it easy to get on and of course the staff are there and helpful. I think this cruise appeals for people especially from Sandals and the Halcyon Cove and the other Dickenson Bay Accommodation options. It leaves from just in front of Sneaky Pete’s at 4:30 pm I believe but check at time of booking. You will have time to settle on the cat and get your boat brief in the calm waters. At no point was this tour or this cruise rough. There was a slight normal light bobbing but it didn’t seem to make anyone feel sea sick.
We got a boat briefing and set off around past the north west corner. You could hang out on the webbing area at the front but you mustn’t jump into it. Strangely some people must be doing that in the past £$^%& ???
A life on the ocean wave – or a sunset cruise.
For me I had been brought down to earth (in a good way) by Sanchia. You see I have been used to going on quite a few boats in the Caribbean but for her it was a first and she was really looking forward to this I saw in her eyes the way I used to look at the Caribbean (I guess my only cure will be abstinence), and she really enjoyed it so much it made me feel so good too.
Because sometimes you forget.
We actually had some really quality talk in part aided by the freedom the ocean gives the mind I believe. We did tuck into a couple of rum punches a speciality on Antigua you should really try them. Part of the joys of a tour is people watching – where are they from ? What are they doing? did they get married in Antigua ? One such couple looked to have been married a while but the key thing that struck me was that his hat appeared glued to his head. There was the trade wind blowing its normal amount and you might make a grab for the hat blowing into the bushes but here how dare he allow his hat to blow into the sea. I think for a moment I was more bothered than he ! It did the dirty deed but he was lucky and it blew in my direction so I was able to trap it for him. After that I turned my attention to his go pro selfie stick I made some small talk but got the impression they weren’t that kind of people (the extroverted talker kind). At some point during my daydream Sanchia had stopped chatting and I asked her if she wanted another drink. I was on a bit of a mission this trip to make me so sick of the rum punch that I could last until the next trip…
Typical Antigua Sunset
I estimate that the initial line out we were a couple of hundred meters out from the shore and we cruised up towards Blue Waters resort we turned at some point there and headed back down the length of Dickenson Bay. It was a lovely evening in terms of the temperature too one could really enjoy the sounds of the twin hulls slicing through the water and the birds from the shore. Antigua is a green and verdant island. When the conditions allowed the sails did come down as right they should. The crew were all happy and good fun and they all got into the whole getting the sail up. Beyond Dickenson Bay is Runaway Bay and then Fort James beach. All are worth of further exploration if you are staying longer. After Fort James that was there to protect one half of the entrance to St Johns. It was a magical time everyone was enjoying the ride and view. St Johns had some cruise ships still in dock they were readying to leave. Onwards we sailed closer again to the shore where there were some funny out crops of rock and resorts and beaches.
Oh yes the crew brought us out some food which was very nice finger food and well appreciated by all. A good variety of fruit cooked meats etc…but no johnny cakes 🙁 I love that Antiguan speciality)
It was getting to what we thought would be the best part of the cruise, the sun set. The boat steadied and set us up for the green flash…
Yet again no green flash for me or at least not convincing – I think some people convince themselves. But still a great sunset.
Another day in paradise over awaiting the fun of the Antigua night and the rest of the cruise. At this point we were quite merry and happy to film our own evidence of such fun. We started back from our holding point towards St Johns again and the return. Well that could have been it the end of a vey enjoyable tour indeed but it was far from over. This is something Antigua does to you with alarming frequency – it gives you an out of the blue experience you didn’t expect and that you enjoy. It started as the cruise ships started to depart were we going to make it in front of them the race began….in the distance we could make out cruise ships that had already passed by like aeroplanes waiting to land in the distance these cruise ships held the sky’s orange to the sea, leaving the ones come right in front of us. We all took pictures of the magnificent beast and we could hear the cheering too of the passengers on the ship and see their flashes going off on their cameras as they took pictures of the cute catamaran below…
You can book this exact same sunset cruise here it is called a lovers rock cruise but it is the same one. Click on the link below to be taken to the expedia website and direct to this sunset cruise.
Did you notice the very weird speedboat water craft at the end of the video?
[editors note: This is the glass bottom boat in Antigua]
Booze Cruise Antigua ?
The crew cranked the music up a notch, as we were ALL in a much more animated state it’s still not a booze cruise trust me 🙂 I don’t know maybe that’s what they go by now the music was party style and some dancing begun down below – a conga ? You must simply try one of these cruises and if your in Antigua I recommend this one. Details after the article.
If you want to check out a video for an Antigua Booze Cruise then this is a good one, it was slightly different to ours this one was the wadadli cats booze cruise.
We had a bottle of sparkling wine ‘Antigua champagne’ given to us you see I had had a big bitch about the resort! – I keep coming back so they do a lot right but still I was very annoyed they had not got the phone fixed in the room and I bitched when we needed the phone most. I had to leave Sanchia at her worst when she was ill to go get a doctor because they had let the phone sit..on top was the non existing wifi and leaving the room door open all day prior after cleaning! I was so happy to find we hadn’t lost anything or at least we didn’t find anything was missing. So we had the Champagne and I had the following vision to be realised…
We didn’t do valentines day 2016 because I am THIS romantic normally !
In short the morning was going to be one on my favourite beach Darkwood Beach. We set off on the 30 -40 minute drive through St Johns.
I decided to stop at Dennis beach bar and restaurant first to get a bathroom stop and show San FFryes beach. I also got interest from Dennis himself for doing some aerial filming another visit. Ffryes was quite rough and also quite busy.
The above shot was taken with the Sony HX60V again we can see here how well the zoom works. This is the best sub 200 USD camera for all round ease and purpose out there IMO.
A rare good shot of the author – well done Sanchia !
A morning at Darkwood Beach
We finally arrived to find Darkwood quite busy but still very much spacious. All went well and Marlon negotiated loungers and umbrella this is from the ideal restaurant at the far end coming from JH direction. There was an asian family arrived shortly after from a cruise ship. This is way nicer than turners (which seems too contrived for cruise shippers) and I also prefer this beach to Ffryes and Valley Church beach. I wanted to get the champagne shot early but pressing is that horrid job first world problematic sunscreen application. It’s a bit easier for me these days since San is around. As a young man I have approached the nearest pretty girl but can spare this cheesy cumbersome tactic these days. I will allow you a moment to cringe. We both couldn’t resist the water and I don’t think to this stage I had yet been fully into the sea. My back was being cooperative and all in all the day was set up nicely.
After a quick dip in the exciting surf – yes El Nino was providing much fun in the waves.
I got the shot I came for it felt a bit embarrassing setting it up but in the end it was way worth it and even had someone else come by to take their own photo of the bottle and glasses ! Would love to find that -its probably lost buried in social media somewhere. My version is the photo at the top of the page. We also tried a couple of selfies..then it was onto plain enjoyment and what a great morning it was too. Families were certainly enjoying the sea and both of us wished we could have had ours there. 5 kids at full price airfares is pretty limiting 🙁
The Asian americans were having an especially good time. The kids loved the waves but I am sorry to report that one of them lost their sunglasses as the surf smashed her over…I write this as a warning to you if you get fortunate. We had some time to enjoy reading too and catching up with self. I eagerly confess that I spent most of the time in the sea it was such fun.
Such a good morning that it was I regret somewhat that we had to leave in order to be good for the sunset cruise that we had booked. All good things must come to an end…
Antigua Sunset Cruise
See the fun we had in the Sunset Cruise post (under construction) – here is a teaser image
What an epic day we had ! I guess just having 7 days makes you cram it all in. Be careful to make sure you don’t do too much of that !
Dinner outside to a steel drum band
We simply don’t have much of a market for air con in the UK.
There are various signals that remind me I am in a happy place I dare say that exists for you too. Audio signals for example in the form of things that I don’t hear at home. Just open the door of your resort and listen to the cacophony of animal life – the specific sounds of the Caribbean immediately put me in a better place. Strangely similar the hum of air conditioning units also do the same thing. There is a historic importance as I always chose warm destinations backpacking many times earlier in my lucky life AND crucially these sounds DO NOT exist back home. We simply don’t have much of a market for air con in the UK. The other sound is that of a good Steel Band unit. I am not sure if I have heard a bad one yet ? It’s an immediate de – stressor and indicator that you are in a place of bliss and relaxation. It’s family friendly and easy to dance to. Strangely I didn’t dance that evening but many of course did it was sweet to see older couples enjoying life. That’s something many young people fail to be able to do. It was always easy to forget that we were going home in a couple of days and the contract we accept is to do just that. Thankfully as I said you forget quite quickly as there is life happening right now and you simply don’t want to miss it.
In it’s arrogance and indifference to the rest of the world it may simply be laziness the twin island country of Antigua and Barbuda has kept hold of a charm that I have seen only glimpses of in other islands. Westernisation has changed Barbados to the degree that it feels very different to Antigua.
I think I was saying I enjoyed the steel band. It was time though to scratch the fear of missing out (FMO) and head up the beach for some nightlife. It was Friday night after all.
Down the beach nightlife at the Coconut Grove
It’s always nice to walk by Sandals, I really don’t think that I would want to stay in the cheaper rooms there they are set well back and high up in the main block (I assume they are the cheaper ones). There are a controlled amount of beach vendors but the best thing about walking up Dickinson Bay at Sandals is that they always have something cool on show I don’t mean like a show inside the grounds, but flames and small designer tents or something for the romantics to hang out by the beach and be waited on; it must be great I will give them that one. On days where the beach ‘has wind’ there are these shielded loungers that allow you to be on the beach shot blast free. Though from my position on my towel on the sand I am imagining the best exfoliation I ever had in years is taking place for free. If its innovation and related to the beach or the first world beach problems in general I imagine there is some guy working for them somewhere designing a fix. If you want to take a look at Sandals Antigua in more depth take a look here.
Such places exude the very best conversation I also find its simply inspiring walking down a beach with light clothing on. It’s no wonder the Antiguan’s live long and wrinkle free. I am told black don’t crack !
Well Ana’s has failed to hit home – there were people having a nice dinner in the ibiza-esque style decor and so we didn’t even stop for a beer.
If there is an art form practised very well in Antigua then it is that of the barman and no better is the example than the resident barman Jermain at Coconut Grove. Jermain and I had a couple of topics of interest that of dancehall music and quads aka drones. Coconut Grove is frequented by some regulars too and the restaurant is recommended by many. We had a fun change of scenery and I introduced Sanchia to Guinness again just in case she forgot from the nights before at Putters bar. Of course we tried the rum punch never two the same on the island ! It was a fun time of course and in parting J gifted us a couple of beers. Of note there was this older guy who really needed to sleep or eat and was being chatted up by a woman whom I did not see as her back was to me but I just was thinking oh my you may end up being disappointed but then again what do I know ! As we were leaving a big bowl of pasta arrived.
Where to start if you have never visited Antigua and want to get the most out of your trip ?More
A closer look at Shirley Heights and English Harbour
I was very happy to get to work with my jobby and new toy my 30x optical zoom camera from sony during the whole trip. Today promised an amazing opportunity to test the zoom magnification out from Shirley Heights lookout. Indeed I wonder what magnification they had back then telescopes history for spotting attacking ships?
Here is what you can do with a tripod mounted 30x optical zoom…
I returned to one of my favourite beaches today
and as it was quiet I decided it would be ok to get some aerial video from up above. Check out the image while it will take me longer to process and edit the aerial video.
An example of the water quality – the dark patches are turtle grass not reef so the snorkelling is ok but its not reef. Still enjoyable.
Also made it to the donkey sanctuary and they have a nice brief explaination tour – you can buy the tshirt or make a donation please to support their good work.
Visit the Donkeys Website Today
I also got introduced to the backyard it’s only open on friday and saturdays and its first come first serve on their excellent menu – they chalk it off the board as it gets nailed. I met up with a friend John who teaches at the Medical University.
It may have been a different day but here anyway are a few photos of my old haunt in Jolly Harbour and the beach. The crows nest has really gone down hill and its a shame. A slam dunk as this bar should be easy to get and keep people drinking.
[EDIT] We no longer have a cricket tour ! If you manage tours and have a cricket tour we would be happy to show that here. Just get in touch.
The following has been left in the blog for now.
You can book this cricket tour in advance online to save hassle or you might decide to do it in person on the island through your hotel or resort tour desk.
This is a 3.5 hour tour that takes you to 3 centres of cricket (Stanford Cricket Ground the ARG (Antigua Recreational Ground) and the Sir Viv Richards stadium pictured below) the chance to meet some former Antigua cricket legends like Keith Fredericks and one of the following Curtly Ambrose, Richie Richardson, Andy Roberts or even Sir Viv Richards himself and a 30 – 45 minute session listening to your questions and telling you about their finest.
The ARG is now mostly used for events like Antigua Carnival.
Sport fishing in Antigua usually means offshore boat fishing (aka Sea Fishing) but there is an increasing amount of lake and brackish water fishing like the salt flats as an example. But firstly lets run down the usual sport fishing that takes place in Antigua.
There are 2 kinds to concern yourself with deep sea and bottom fishing. The former is more expensive and for the more experienced. this doesn’t mean you should discount it outright but you might get more seasick and find it a bit less relaxing, some call this the ultimate kind of fishing indeed a 400 lb fish is extreme. Don’t expect that by the way, one of the joys of visiting the Antigua fishing tournament is that you can see sometimes what such a fish looks like. Even a 200 lb Marlin is very impressive but you won’t see Marlin as they are protected and catch and release applies.
Read this real life experience of a sea fishing tour in Antigua.
Deep sea fishing usually involves trolling lures that this fast pelagic fish kind hit. Fish such as Mahi Mahi (also known as dolphin fish and rainbow runners) King fish, Tuna Marlin Sail fish and Baracuda are on the cards oh I forgot Wahoo too ! This is usually in deeper waters and this is why these kind of charters are more expensive as the boat diesel for a start to get out 10 miles plus is a factor. You might try bottom or regular boat fishing or reef fishing for the fish that inhabit the reefs. Grouper might be your big target fish though in danger as they have a long time before they reach sexual maturity and can’t breed while young. So fishing out a bigger older fish deprives the reproduction. You don’t see many scuba-diving these days. More likely candidates are snappers and hind and grunt fish. Your boat might be able to anchor in calmer water but unless you are used to it sea sickness can affect novice fishermen. This fishing is much more relaxing and less taxing as the fish are smaller but the rods not as powerful. You most likely won’t need a harness here. In deep sea fishing the crew will be ready to get the harness on you should you hook in to a big one. There are lures that have no hooks and that are designed to wrap around the bill of the marlin and sail fish though not common on charters. Because smell is important the bait could be a hybrid bait plus lure so the first part is a lure with bright attracting thingys and then there is the hook where you would hook your baitfish.
What does sea fishing cost in Antigua ?
Prices for bottom fishing are cheaper and you can get around 6 fisherman on the boat from 450 USD splitting the cost (based on a 4 hour fishing session). For trolling or deep sea it is a bit more and expectation is for a longer trip up to 12 hours costing in excess of 1000 USD.
The folks at Antigua Island have organised perhaps the best value and very real trolling fishing tour in Antigua just for their readers ! Click on the contact us and mention you want to book the sea fishing tour that’s all !
What fishes can you catch in Antigua ?
Mahi Mahi, King fish, Tuna (Black and Yellow fin), Marlin Sail Fish, Barracuda and Wahoo. And a host of kinds like snapper grunts groupers and bat fish.
Take a look at the Fishes found in Antigua page.
Take a look at some of these – http://www.superpuppan.se/Antigua2.html
Fishing Websites in Antigua
Fishing on the Obsession in Antigua –http://www.charternet.com/charters/obsession/index.html
See our blog post on this trolling in Antigua
Boating Websites in Antigua
Good Fishing Articles Online
This is a nice account of a guys experience of sea fishing in Antigua http://www.planetseafishing.com/features/read/antigua-adventure-fishing
Good tips here in this forum post on fishing in st James club dark wood beach and dickenson bay
A quick useful and joyful read about fishing from your cruiser Quit Wishin Go Fishin
I read this Cruise ship interview article and it was a short interesting read. Nothing really in depth and more of an Ad! Also not possible to comment as I would have liked. So I would like to ask the Caribbean cruise industry about how their hard nosed business are killing the local tour operator. I mean I don’t want to ask them how they are doing it I know that already I want to ask if there could ever be a softening to the percentages. It just sucks.More
Bored in Antigua ? You’re not trying hard at all !
I tried to fit a bit too much into my day and missed the donkey sanctuary by about 30 minutes. It runs Monday to Saturday 10am to 4pm. I didn’t know what time it did close and this being low season of course it was taking a chance; on the one hand and always a sure bet on the other – adventure. This is Antigua.
I got my fig tree drive fix in on the way and all went ok it’s never fast! That fix starts as you round the tamarind hill developments after passing Jolly Harbour and approach darkwood beach. You get a fantastic view of the Caribbean Sea over arguably one of Antigua’s best beaches. More incredible vistas await rounding the points and bluffs that characterize this part of the isle. It does start to cut back in and until the beach at Curtain Bluff you have amazing views of the mountains to the left that cocoon the colorful villages here, an often overlooked feature of Antigua. The village here after the speed bumps has provided me with the following:
Abandoned cars just left it would seem for decades on the side of the road judging by the foliage and pillaging that has happened.
A guy pressing what appeared to be coconuts for oil by the roadside.
Meandering people – there are no paths and if there are Antiguan’s prefer to walk in the road. For black people in the dark this is either a) Suicidal b) Ignorant c) Macho d) Without choice. I have met all 4 on a single pass through here !
Friendly villagers who wanted their picture taken and for them to take mine.
It has left a lasting impression. In both directions this village signals a change in the road ahead. Today it was the start of the winding road up to the pass. The start of Fig Tree Drive. In one 10m stretch of foliage here you can find mangoes, bananas, bread fruit, figs (of course) and more. Otherwise it’s a sometimes potholed road to the extreme with the possibility of rolling off the edge into a Gully or worse down into a drop of certain write off and a possibility of serious injury. It charms one moment and scares the next. At night the former decreases in favour of the latter, Antiguans don’t help with full beams and fog lamps coming into your path. It’s not that bad though if you take it steady; Antiguans swerve a bit before finally at the last moment missing you. During the day you may find the locals washing their cars and trucks here in the natural streams that pass by, the canopy providing a break from the sun as they toil – Antiguan’s are not stupid. You will see the rasta plaques which speak of something profound nailed to certain trees, the size of dinner plates in various colours. On my next visit I will expand on these. A Rainforrest zipline tour tops close to the pass and signals my decent and a couple of speed bumps. Passing a couple of hikes on the right hand side just before the Gallery (often closed) you are approaching the end of Fig Tree Drive. Again another village a bit less crazy and you shortly arrive at the big pink church Our Lady of Perpetual Hope. I almost always turn right here otherwise (towards Falmouth) I don’t know why I would have taken as a tourist FTD. One notable church for its sheer beauty is the sole attraction until you arrive at Falmouth. I needed to talk to the car rental people in English harbour and passed through Falmouth where my Antiguan (mini life) began this time.
Time was ticking after doing something I may have achieved by phone if it were not for the fact that their phone is unbelievable soft and at best titi is hard understood, no that was a job in person. So time ticks by even if in Antigua they have time, where you come from you have clocks. And It was just taking me forever to get to the donkey sanctuary, was it really this far away from Falmouth – I should normally have taken a different route but drawn by FTD. [I love annoying those who say you can’t start a sentence with the word-and.]
And then it was winding bends on the other side of the island, we have crossed the whole of Antigua ! Past Willoughby bay some interesting construction (see images)and further on I saw the big sign not clearly saying you have arrived but that’s what has happened or have you ? I turned inland and started down a roughened road – it said 1 mile to the Donkeys.
I picked up a local lad who was going to work in the fields around here and I couldn’t understand him well at all ! We made very small talk. I wondered if he was a migrant worker I figured he was under 20, long pants cap and a dick Whittington type pack with what I figured was his supper as it was getting late to start a days work. After some really bad roads and the guy saying yes they did get worse and me knowing what a mile feels like I realized that I must have passed it and the guy knew it but he wanted the ride to last – Ok he said when I arrived immediately at his field. A woman 20 yards ahead informed me that I had passed it, the cute goats had distracted me (if ever you need a distraction take a cute goat. If your buying a used car make sure there are no goats around) as this was where the turning was. What goats you say oh yes on the way I saw a goat farm. A WAY TOO SMALL sign signals your arrival at the donkey sanctuary. On turning back I found the sign goats laughing at me and the road I had missed. Note to you – if the road gets real bad turn back. I was in the non 4×4 rio not at all ideal bring on a Top Gear challenge sketch ! But really it wasn’t all a waste (never is) some of the interior views of the fields were simply beautiful. So beautiful, annoyingly beautiful I had to keep stopping getting out and getting another green and blue polaroid. These won’t do justice to the air of peace and nature that sat there hugging me. See for yourself. So the Donkey Sanctuary was closed but I felt I had arrived. There was an awkward donkey in a paddock left of the gate, my daughter being only marginally harder to take a picture of. I was due to meet up at tradewinds hotel for a special happy hour and I hadn’t even got home to change ! Onwards Tonto, donkey or Rio.
Get this button on your website that means that we think your pretty special ! You won’t just get one of these buttons. We must have visited your business and think that it is worthy of our green badge.
I spent the day being honorary tour guide for two French Canadians Jean and Michel who were great company on the dive boat today. Oh man boy oh boy did we have some of the best diving I have done in the Caribbean this week ! You don’t hear this online about Antigua Diving as it doesn’t get rated – another inaccuracy of the internet.More
Don’t miss out on key information by hiring a local guide. Please note in the information here we didn’t mention St Johns Cathedral which should most definitely be part of a St Johns walking tour.
I took a tour today with my friend Dalston an old local salt who knows this country and St Johns well. We choose cruise ship day as I wanted to get some shots of the single ship in port today as its low season. But first a walk down a residential area showed some characterful houses and shacks. A shanty town I think Dalston referred to it, though I felt no malice but I did see some poor houses that were a bit dilapidated. We had just earlier had some bread and cheese from a local bakery on St Johns Street. The bread is a little sweet but it is one of the few inexpensive things here and I have to say I quite like it.
Walking and Segway Tours available, for those who like a more structured approach with guide.
We also checked out the museum which is worth an hour and has information on how Sugar Cane is made the slaves how they arrived were bought and sold for example and previously the islands Arawak Indians and some artefacts. Entry is 8ECD.
We checked out the ship – its off season now so just 1 per week on a tuesday. The area around here called Redcliff quay has nice shops a casino and all you could need as a cruise ship passenger. It must be manic the moment they first get off the ship. We entered the casino and saw all the slots the card games looked like a little Black Jack.
Yours truly getting a local haircut he kept asking me how much I wanted off and in the end it seemed he didn’t listen, but I always told him just go with what you feel – so I got a local cut, very neat and I can see around the edges where the sun didn’t get through as now I have white border !
We got some food at lunch time and today really the heavens again opened so we did our fair share of dodging it. For lunch we tried I think its called abracadabra or something like that and it serves really good local food and coffee (from ethiopia). It has a fountain with some fish in in the attractive courtyard. I had a breakfast dish which was saltfish served with some toast and boiled eggs – perfect.
Around the market area you can find also the fish market, its by the water unsurprisingly but get there earlier than we did as the catch is mostly already gone. But you can watch the guys make the fishing cages and take a look at the charismatic boats. If you came in by Jolly Harbour you can catch the bus straight out of here direct.
You will only ever find about 10 colours in the Caribbean it seems. The fishing boats green is one that I have seen often. The stink around this area is more than a little fishy.
If you are interested in booking a guided tour please let us ask the guides for you.
Hiking Tours in Antigua Organised Hiking Tours in Antigua
I decided yesterday to make the most of the hire car and get to some places that I had wanted to get to again, Half Moon Bay after a couple of hours on Pigeon beach. I also needed to swap keys with Titi as the Suzuki Vitara plastic key had broken and it was a real pain in the ass opening the door/starting it already (couldn’t figure out its central locking it just always eventually works). The vitara has a nicer driving position but the rio is a lot better on gas and the spec seems better as I can even plug in my shuffle! Anyways I grabbed a few photos of interest in Falmouth..Titi wasn’t in.
Photos of Falmouth Antigua
Photos of Pigeon Beach
On a Sunday its what Antiguan’s do. Hit the beach and when you do you go for a good part of the day. And to be on the beach for this length of time takes equipment ! I saw generators BBQ’s tables chairs thankfully they stop short of tv’s. But maybe not ? After pigeon beach where I didn’t enter the water to have that sticky salty feeling knowing that I wasn’t staying long I took a wrong turn and ended up going up into the Shirley Heights area. Here is one of Antiguas national parks. Its quite spacious up here with large expanses of grass and the tradewinds keep you cool. You would need an afternoon to do it properly and a car or take a guided tour. The views out to the ocean are stunning and the sound of the sea crashing against the rocks would be bettered only later that day (Half Moon Bay). I will blog a couple more photos to give you an idea.
Nelsons Dockyard National Park Photos
Also check out National Parks in Antigua while up there I came by the sign posts for two trails or hikes. I am a sucker for walks like this its adventure for me !
I deliberated in my head and thought it through – why not ? Half Moon Bay could wait – I had water and the hike was listed as being 1 mile. I parked up hid my bags and stuff so they were not visible. It was a Sunday and in the evening there would be some traffic going by the car up to the Shirley Heights Antigua Steel band stuff. I set off for the first hike the Carpenters Rock Trail . I got to this place that looked like a cemetery but I lost or didn’t see a proper trail after also the views from here are staggering just look at this selection of photos.
So then decided I would do the other one the Jones Valley Trail.
Jones Valley Trail and Photos
At a mile long there seem to be 3 sections to this trail, if you are starting at the highest point as I did you will have a very pretty and easy start. There are some tombstones and lovely examples of Cactus.
The foliage is not so thick here. Getting a bit further in the canopy covers you from the sun for the second section and you can go two ways – I went down one and came up the other, I didn’t think the difference was worth mentioning.
Sometimes the trail at this point becomes less obvious and so look for the white bands painted on the branches and trunks and sometimes stones. If you go 5 minutes without seeing one I would head back until you do. I didn’t get lost when I understood this.
You can do the trail in flip flops if you are an experienced flip flop wearer. I hadn’t planned on the hike and running shoes or proper boots would have been better. The final section is somewhat more challenging requiring the use of hands to climb over some boulders in what looks like a dried up stream. I was alerted to several hermit crabs which was quite shocking to find them here I thought they would see or hear me coming and move into their shell causing them to roll down into my path ! I estimate I was around 50ft above sea level in this final section – the dried up stream part. I was enjoying working out how to deal with some of the boulders now. Having to use all fours at times.
– This trail brings you down to Galleon beach area.
I got to a road in the end as I had no way to track time apart from get my phone from my backpack and you fellow hikers know how irritating it is to keep taking your pack off. The end of the line the road takes you to Galleon Beach and a place I had passed by car previously. Antigua does this to you constantly. You will be driving along and all of a sudden you know where you are or that you have driven here previously. It joins up the missing parts get filled in. And so I turned around knowing what I had to cover – at least it made the hike a little more exerting. I took less photos perhaps but it seemed to go quicker. Here are some more photos from the hike. This time going up I took the woodland route.
There are better hikes to be had in Antigua! I hope I get the chance to bring them to you and how to do them best. With a hike you often do need some info. After the hike I was looking forward to Half Moon Bay. I got in my car and drove the wrong way to arrive at the Shirley Heights gig Sunday afternoon til midnight. They always pursue payment quite zealously as if everyone is trying to sneak in, but they allowed me to turn back since I didn’t want to go again at least not right now. It must be stressed that I had not paid to enter the park yet as not always is someone manning the hut. So I would have been hard hit to pay on leaving. As happens in Antigua it all worked out in the end I set off for Half Moon Bay quite a bit to drive and I am not very familiar with this side of the island so much. Indeed I took a wrong turn and got to a baseball game with kids playing. Some older local folk would be able to tell me I thought this was clearly the wrong way. It seems I had asked the wrong person the old guy looked at the woman and spoke in Spanish. This raised some questions of my own in my head and I wished I had asked them how come they were in a non touristic spot not looking like tourists and speaking Spanish. Is there a Spanish speaking community in Antigua ? I eventually turned the right corner after a couple of villages further on and there is a road side railing that is brightly painted on a corner and its great sea views. Just a bit further along is Half Moon Bay down a road. I explore this in a new blog post coming soon