Region & Time Zone: Caribbean, Atlantic Standard Time
Passport Required: Yes
Languages Spoken: English (Official)
Currency: Eastern Caribbean Dollar
Power: Standard US Plug at 110 volts
A little background
Once one of Great Britain's most important naval bases located in the Caribbean Sea, Antigua has transformed into a premier vacation destination for tourists. The winds that used to propel the British to safety into the English Harbour now power maritime activities like sailing and windsurfing, and the twisted coastline that made it difficult for intruders to trespass now provide 365 beaches for visitors to enjoy. And, yes, that is one beach for every day of the year!
During the Napoleonic Wars in 1784 to 1787, this naval dockyard was the home and headquarters of the British fleet. Today, in the fully restored English Harbour, Nelson's Dockyard National Park is one of the best sightseeing exhibitions on the island. It is home to many hiking trails and docked boats that allow you to take a step back into time. The Dockyard Museum showcases exhibits about the Dockyard's history and current archaeological experimentation on the island. Being Antigua's largest national park, it is also filled with waterfront restaurants serving up local food, bars that offer cocktails to quench your thirst and little shops to take home handmade souvenirs.
When most people think of Southern Rays, warm, bright beams of sunlight comes to mind; in Antigua, however, the phrase cooks up a whole different mental picture. Known as "the puppy dog of the sea," Southern Rays of Antigua are stingrays that are indigenous to the waters and well-known to the locals. Many visitors opt to swim and snorkel with the stingrays, and some even have the opportunity to feed them snacks. Guides can brief you on how to handle the stingrays for a friendly and very memorable experience.
Valley Church Beach
Located on the West Coast of Antigua, Valley Church Beach offers the perfect spot for those seeking relaxation. The sand is soft and the waves are serene at this palm-tree lined beach, and since mostly locals use this location for boating and fishing, you are sure to avoid the hustle-and-bustle of the nearby city and casino. Local vendors also make an appearance, offering handmade trinkets or watercraft rental.
Half Moon Bay
Although Half Moon Bay is far from many of the hotels and tourist attractions in Antigua, most visitors agree that the trek is well worth it. It is one of the most breathtaking beaches on the island, and it also happens to be a national park. The waters give off sizeable waves that allow for prime windsurfing and the clear waters allow snorkelers to see fishes, coral reefs and other underwater life with ease. For those wanting to lounge on a beach chair, Half Moon Bay also caters to you with scenic points where you can kick back and enjoy the panoramic seascape. In order to get more bang for your buck at this beach, pack a lunch and bring a beach chair, since you will be away from the city.