Antigua is beautiful. Turquoise waters and enough beaches to visit a new one every day of the year, it’s fairly evident why lots of people will spend their days on the island soaking up the sun and swimming in the sea. If you’re staying more than a couple of days however you’ll certainly want to explore more of the island, and Antigua has a whole host of activities available. It’s a fairly adventurous island, with some thrilling activities and unusual outings to be had.
- Go off road – A number of rental outlets on the island offer out off road dune buggy style vehicles for you to explore the island on semi-lead tours. It’s a bumpy ride, up and down the many hills, including a lovely stop at the top to take in the sights, and the smells of the lemongrass. Rental companies requires a driving license from your home country, and this isn’t surprising as you’ll be on the roads quite a bit to get to some of the tracks, and these carts can move!It’s a fairly simple accelerate and brake system, so no changing of gears is required. They accelerate pretty fast and as you’re not fully covered up and have the wind rushing past you it really does feel like you’re travelling pretty quick. They are all fitted with roll cages and you’re simply told that if they do roll, then keep your arms and hands inside the vehicle and you’ll be fine.
It’s probably not for the faint hearted, but for any thrill seekers it’s great fun and will have you shrieking and laughing throughout.
- Visit the floating bar ‘Kon Tiki’, in Dickenson Bay. Antigua has plenty of bars but the floating bar shouldn’t be missed. A fairly new edition to the island, it’s off shore and requires a ride in the bar’s little canoe to reach it. The owners are friendly and chatty, and when I visited (and they had only just opened) they had thrown a party almost every evening so far.They serve up cold beers and spirits & mixers including the local ‘ting’. It’s a laid back place, with people dipping in and out of the water to cool off between beers. Sunset here is really beautiful too, with the bar making a lovely silhouette.
- Go zip lining through the trees – Antigua Rainforest zip lining tours offer an adventurous day out, with zip lines of varying lengths criss crossing through the forest. It’s a lot of fun, and the staff are all so nice which makes it even more enjoyable.They have lines starting comparably low down right up to a great long one across the canyon. You fly across strapped on to a friendly instructor which will make you feel safer stepping out, and there are some fantastic views to be had. Even the walk from line to line through the forest is lovely, although a little hot.
- Understand the history of the island at Betty’s Hope – Betty’s Hope was a sugarcane plantation established in 1650 when Antigua was part of the colonies. Betty’s Hope is named after the daughter of General Christopher Codrington who’s family owned it during it’s operation. It’s no longer operational but is one of only a few original mills left standing.It has been converted into an open air museum and visitor centre. It’s now a peaceful memorial, with a lot of history and some of the original train carriages left on site.
- Overcome your fears at Stingray City – One of the island’s most popular sites is Stingray City, a natural sandbank a few hundred metres out from the coast that attracts tens of sting rays to the area. It takes some getting used to, having the rays swim so close to you, and you’re told to shuffle your feet rather than stepping in case you tread on one, so if you’re particularly nervous this activity may be a bit too much. The rays do sometimes take a little nibble on you, which is actually more like a slight suction, which isn’t pleasant but doesn’t hurt.
The location itself is incredible, gloriously blue water and despite it usually being quite popular, it doesn’t feel too crowded.