Antigua has hundreds of beaches, from the bustling Pigeon Point to the kitesurfing paradise of Jabberwock Beach. It's fun to mix it up—a day spent in a secluded cove, another spent people-watching at a tourist magnet. When you’re tired of sun and sand you can shoot ‘em up at Reservoir Range, where archery and air pistols are a fun way to work out any lingering pre-vacation stress. A tour of the Antigua Distillery is a spirited way to experience a true taste of the island.
All the signs pointed towards Antigua. The island had warm, steady winds, a complex coastline of safe harbors and a protective, nearly unbroken wall of coral reef. It would make a perfect place to hide a fleet. And so in 1784 the legendary Admiral Horatio Nelson sailed to Antigua and established Great Britain's most important Caribbean base. Little did he know that over 200 years later the same unique characteristics that attracted the Royal Navy would transform Antigua and Barbuda into one of the Caribbean's premier tourist destinations.
The signs are still there, they just point to different things. The Trade Winds that once blew British men-of-war safely into English Harbour now fuel one of the world's foremost maritime events, Sailing Week. The expansive, winding coastline that made Antigua difficult for outsiders to navigate is where today's trekkers encounter a tremendous wealth of secluded, powdery soft beaches. The coral reefs, once the bane of marauding enemy ships, now attract snorkelers and scuba divers from all over the world. And the fascinating little island of Barbuda -- once a scavenger's paradise because so many ships wrecked on its reefs -- is now home to one of the region's most significant bird sanctuaries.