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Stuart Messham
Airlines and routes, Blog, Entertainment,
Antigua – one half of the dual-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda – is one of the great holiday hotspots: breathtaking beaches, Azure waters, wondrous wildlife, it's got the lot.
But it’s so much more than just a land-and-loaf destination. It’s an island brimming with adventure and history with a surprising diversity that’ll fire your imagination, enliven your spriit and ensure this Caribbean break is one to remember.
Curtain Bluff: there's no hiding the beauty on show here
Let’s talk about the beaches…

There are 365 different beaches on the 13-mile-wide island, one for every day of what sounds like an unforgettable year. All of them are open to the public – even the ones owned by hotel resorts – so you can beach-hop till you drop with no fear of being politely ousted from your sandy slumber.

If additional water sports and beachside refreshments are the order of the day, you should sample the mile-long havens of Curtain Bluff, Hawksbill or Elite Island Resort’s Galley Bay.

If you’re after something a little more remote and secluded, Rendezvous Bay and Half Moon Bay have that rustic, Robinson Crusoe feel.

Stingrays: intimate, absorbing and unforgettable
Let’s talk about the marine life…

The beaming blue, crystal clear waters of Antigua are bursting with marine life, one of the most unusual and friendly being the stingray. These cartilaginous fish can reach sizes of up to 150cm, are more-than-happy for you to glide alongside them and will nibble shrimp from your palm if you come prepared. Just take a boat out to Stingray City and they will be pleased to show you around.

The coral reefs surrounding the island are also home to octopus, sea turtles and parrot fish and most guided trips will provide you with a handheld snorkel scooter to make sure you keep up with the action.

A group of pelicans fly just above sea level
Let’s talk about the wildlife…

Donkeys have roamed Antigua for centuries – brought by early English settlers – and there’s a wonderful donkey sanctuary on the island that will be a firm favourite with the little ones in your party.

Children can feed, pet and groom the donkeys and, should they fall just a bit in love with one in particular, even adopt them.

Another option for wildlife lovers is a pleasant 90-minute boat trip to the Frigate Bird Sanctuary on Barbuda: over 150 species live harmoniously in the Codrington Lagoon and cruising past slowly is a wonderfully serene way to ogle them in action.

Antigua at sunrise: colourful and majestic
Let’s talk about the diversity…

Voyage a few clicks inland on Antigua and the diversity of the island becomes apparent.

You can hike in the thick rainforests of the Walling Nature Reserve and gaze at all the glorious fauna and flora. Or go on a more historical tour, probing your guide about the famous sugar plantations and colonial architecture.

For even more lustrous variation, you can take a boat trip from the mainland and visit a few of Antigua's surrounding 51 islands: swim in remote lagoons, absorb knowledge of the island's ecology and sip cocktails while deciding what to try for dinner.

Antigua has it all.


You can experience the wonders of Antigua with Virgin Atlantic via Heathrow. It's truly one of the world's most incomparable summer destinations.