Major Tourist Attractions: Nelson's Dockyard, Mount Obama, Museum of Antiqua and Barbuda, St. John's Cathedral
Boasting 365 beaches, one for every day of the year, Antigua is a tourist-friendly island located at the north end of the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean. Together with Barbuda and Redonda, this nation was once known as the "Gateway to the Caribbean." The British Navy used the islands as strategic bases to guard the major sailing routes that passed by. Much of Antigua’s history is rich with British influences like that of Lord Horatio Nelson, who arrived in the late 18th century to protect the sea lanes from pirates and enemy countries. Today Antigua’s most popular tourist attraction is named after him, the Nelson Dockyards.
With a near constant breeze from the Trade Winds, it’s no surprise sailing is a popular activity here. Each year Antigua hosts one of the world's largest maritime events, Sailing Week. But sailing isn’t the only notable attraction to these islands; the winding coastline offers visitors plenty of opportunities for secluded beaches, wonderful snorkeling, and scenic hiking trails.
The often overlooked sister island of Barbuda is a wonderful contrast to Antigua. Flat and mostly untouched by development, Barbuda was once a scavenger's paradise because so many ships wrecked on its reefs. Now it’s home to one of the region's most significant bird sanctuaries. It is also world famous for its natural pink sand beach that stretches for nearly ten miles. Barbuda isn’t recommended for visitors that are looking for sophisticated nightlife or tourist attractions - it's a place where you can relax, unplug, and create your own entertainment.
If Antigua and Barbuda are on your travel list, here are some activities to keep you busy:
- Explore Nelson’s Dockyard. The historic site is Antigua’s most popular tourist attraction. Restaurants, charming hotels, and souvenir shops occupy the thought-provoking old brick-and-stone naval buildings.
- Take in the sweeping views of English Habour at Shirley Heights. This scenic overlook has a fun restaurant and ruins of an 18th-century fort.
- Really get to know Antigua by browsing its Public Market. Open on Friday and Saturday mornings, travelers will find bananas, limes, mangos, eggplant, and many more exotic items.
- Spend a day or two on Barbuda. This sister island to Antigua has stunning pink sand beaches and is a secluded natural paradise. There’s not much to do but relax and take in the beauty.
- Hike up Carpenters Rock Trail. This beautiful trail leads up from Freeman's Bay in English Harbour to Shirley Heights and the Lookout.
- Monks Hill and Fort George has one of the best, yet least visited views in Antigua.
- Visit during Sailing Week. It’s one of the biggest sailing events in the world and there will be nonstop excitement on land as well as the sea.
Address: Wildey Business Park
St. Michael BB 14006
Phone: 1-246-227-4000 During Business Hours ask for American Citizens Services Unit;
After Business Hours ask for Duty Officer