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Destination Guide: Antigua
Antigua is the larger of the two main islands that make up Antigua and Barbuda, lying in the Leeward Islands archipelago in the Caribbean Sea, and neighboured by Montserrat and St Kitts and Nevis. If you’re dreaming of the classic Caribbean scene with golden beaches, turquoise sparkling water, a laid-back lifestyle and plenty of sunshine in your very own luxury villa, then Antigua is the place for you.
St John’s is the capital of Antigua and sits about 5 miles west of the airport in a sheltered bay. The other popular area to stay in is English Harbour, which takes its name from the nearby 18th century Royal Navy base, Nelson’s Dockyard, which was once commanded by Admiral Nelson.
Activities: the alluring warm water and sandy beaches are some of the main draws on the island, which means that opportunities for water sports are plentiful when on a luxury villa holiday in Antigua. You could try your hand on a jet ski, learn to scuba dive, go sailing or fishing, paddle along the coast on a kayak, or go snorkelling to check out the local sea creatures. There is plenty to do on if you want to keep your feet dry as well with bike hire, golf, tennis, hiking, birdwatching and sightseeing.
V.C. Bird International Airport is the main airport on Antigua and Barbuda and is located in the north east of Antigua. There are a number of direct flights to Antigua from London and Manchester with flying time approximately 8 hours, and also flights from Frankfurt, Milan and the USA.
Best places to eat and drink in
Being an island, Antigua is well endowed with seafood, freshly caught and flavoured Caribbean-style. Traditional luxuries such as lobster and red snapper are available as well as local specialities such as the fish mahi mahi. If venturing out of your luxury villa to eat try the national dish of fungie (similar to polenta) and pepper pot (a delicious hot and spicy stew).
There are plenty of restaurants dotting the shores of Antigua serving both traditional Caribbean-fare as well as international cuisine. Some of the top restaurants can be found in the islands luxury hotels, such as East at Carlisle Bay, or Carmichaels’ at Sugar Ridge Hotel.
However, there are also some popular independent options such as Il Bistro, serving French style cuisine in a villa style restaurant or Harmony Hall, serving Mediterranean and Italian cuisine, which is set on a hillside boasting fabulous views of Nonsuch Bay.
Many travellers staying in a luxury villa in Antigua will also have the services of a private chef at their disposal, who will be able to cook up some fabulous Caribbean meals and BBQ’s.
There are also some regional drinks you can look out for on the menu on your luxury villa holiday in Antigua; ting is a home-grown sparkling grapefruit drink, Wadadli is a locally-brewed light beer, and Antiguan rum is recognised as some of the most famous (Antigua English Harbour and Antigua Cavalier).
Best time to visit
Located in the Caribbean, the temperature in Antigua doesn’t vary that much year round with averages ranging from a lovely warm 25°C in January and February to 28°C in August. And unlike much of the Caribbean, humidity levels remain fairly low year round making Antigua a great luxury vila destination year round.
High season is considered to be November to February but summer is still a great time to visit the island where you can enjoy the island and beaches being a little quieter. June to Nov is classed as ‘hurricane season’ but these do occur very infrequently with only 6 direct hits in the last 50 years!
If you want to take in special events (or avoid them) then bear in mind that the largest yachting regatta in the Caribbean, Antigua Sailing Week, is hosted in Antigua in April and the 10-day annual Antigua Carnival usually falls during the last week in July.
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