Antigua & Barbuda Sightseeing

 

3 hour and all day sightseeing cruises along Antigua’s coast depart from Dickenson Bay and Heritage Quay. Catamaran cruises and eco-tours often include stops for snorkeling and swimming.Many other types of boat trips are available, including cocktail, barbecue and glass-bottom boat cruises. For more information inquire

at your hotel, the Antigua and Barbuda Department of Tourism in St. John’s at the Government Complex on Queen Elizabeth Highway, or on the information booths at V.C. Bird International Airport, St. John’s Harbor and Heritage Quay pier. Fig Tree Drive in southwestern Antigua winds inland through terrain similar to a rain forest and takes about 1 hour to explore by private car. Although this scenic drive is a bit bumpy, visitors are rewarded with views of old sugar mills and lush vegetation. Such tropical fruits as mangoes, oranges, guavas, pinapples, bananas and soursop grow alongside the road. Don’t expect to see any figs in Antigua; fig is the word for banana. Fig Tree Drive residents sell fruits and vegetables from stands in front of their homes. The road leading to Fig Tree Hill provides breathtaking views of fertile valleys and magnificent 1,320 foot (402 m) Mount Obama.

From Green Castle Hill, south of St. John’s between Jennings and Emanuel, visitors can survey the island interior plain and a volcanic formation. Allow about a day to drive the coastal routes, taking time along the way to explore Nelson’s Dockyard in English Harbour, the small fishing villages and such coastal archeological sites as Indian Creek and Mill Reef.

An excellent opportunity to mingle with Antiguans, is a Heritage Market near “the Bridge” on Market Street in Southern St. John’s. At this open air market, you can bargain for fresh fish, fruits, vegetables and spices or simply enjoy the stimulating, colorful atmosphere. Local arts and crafts are featured in an adiacent complex. The market is open daily. Another way to grasp the nature of the island and its people is to watch a game of warri. This ancient betting game is played on a board with 14 holes and a handful of seeds. Originally brought from Africa with slave trade, it has remained a favorite pastime. Air and sea excursion travel north to Barbuda, a parsely populated coral island lined with the white and pink sand beaches that run for miles. Reef harbor Hawksbill  tropical fish and lobster while hiding nearly 100 sunken wrecks. Barbuda’s interior, notable for its wildlife, includes a large natural frigate bird sanctuary, said to be the largest in the Western Hemisphere. The only monument to Barbuda is the Martello Tower; although its origins are unknown, its design and location suggest that it was a lighthuose. Caves near Two Foot Bay, have sheltered Barbudans for centuries, even during the 2004 hurricanes. Dark Cave is home to a species of blind shrimp found in only two places in the world. There are a few guest houses in the main village of Codrington, which is named for the family who leased the island from the British Crown for “one fat pig per year if asked”. Today most of the population lives here, leaving the rest of the island unspoiled. A full day excursion to Barbuda by air includes a tour of the Frigate Bird Sanctuary and Codrington as wella s a picnic lunch with rum punch. Most hotels will make arrangements for the Barbuda day tour, which should be planned at least 24 hours in advance. Eco tours to Long Island and the Jumby Bay resort offer a glimps of the hawksbill turtle, one of the most endangered turtles in the Caribbean. A stretch of sand known asBeach is one of the largest breeding grounds. Turtle watches are organized during nesting season from May to December. Flights to Montserrat, the island paradise devastated by volcanic eruptions in 1995, depart four times daily from V.C. Bird International Airport via Winair.

 

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