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Activities, Antigua

Antigua offers so much more than just a beach holiday, thanks to the wide range of activities available to embark on and partake in. Take a day trip by boat to the remarkable Pacaya Volcano – in Guatemala, or head over to see the yacht racing at Superyacht Challenge. Or, if you’re an avid foodie, book onto one of many interesting and tasty local cooking classes here.

Boat tours

There are many operators offering boat tours in Antigua. You are bound to find something to suit your tastes and requirements, whether you prefer to join others on an excursion, explore this idyllic island on a private tour, or jump on a speedboat trip around the island.

A typical boat trip would include an informed (and often entertaining) commentary about the sights you pass, refreshments and possibly a meal on board, as well as time to relax and embark on a snorkelling adventure.

Privately chartered tours are great fun and usually include a delicious lobster lunch, followed by plenty of rum punch (a traditional favourite in Antigua). Travellers will then stop off at a handful of magical islands to explore, snorkel or just relax on the warm sands.

If speed is more your thing, why not try a speedboat tour? Then, get dropped off on one of the beaches for lunch, before heading off again to another island for some deep sea snorkelling.

For something completely different, you could hire an inflatable 10-ft reef rider boat, designed to fit two people. This handy boat allows you to access the smallest and shallowest lagoons, teeming with marine life. A guide will accompany you the whole time, too, to ensure your safety and comfort is constant.

Cricket

The game of Cricket in Antigua is more of a religion than a sport, being one of the foremost passions in life amongst locals and those travelling here. In fact, there has been a cricket team representing Antigua since the late 1890s.

A day of cricket is a brilliant way to view Antiguan culture first hand, and you are as likely to come across an excellent game on a village green or a beach as an international match at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium, which officially opened its doors in March 2007.

Cricket in Antigua is enjoyed by the whole family and as with many other cricket grounds in the Caribbean, the Antigua Recreation Ground traditionally hosts an assortment of off the field entertainment, especially live music, during breaks in play. Antigua Recreation Ground is the national stadium of Antigua can be found in beautiful St. John’s. A number of great cricketers, including Richie Richardson and Andy Roberts actually started their first-class careers at this stadium.

Day trips

It would be a shame to not explore the many sights of Antigua while staying on this beautiful Island. A great way to do this is by venturing on one of the many day trips available here.

Travellers can join an organised tour, featuring a set itinerary with a host of activities to enjoy. Or, if you’re keen to strike out and discover Antigua with more privacy, you can take a guided tour, by hiring your own vehicle and tour guide; allowing you to stop where you like and spend as much time at a destination as you wish.

If you prefer to just sit back and relax, why not join a coach tour which encompasses the island’s famous historical sites and natural wonders? Visit Nelson’s Dockyard, Shirley Heights, Devil’s Bridge and Betty’s Hope, before spending some time on one of the secluded 365 beaches along Antigua’s delightful coastline.

Day trips by boat are always popular, as is a visit to the islets north of Antigua to see the mangroves. Travellers may even witness beautiful brown pelicans or frigate birds flying above them, alongside barracuda and turtles in the sandy flat beaches.

Hiking

For those interested in the natural beauty of Antigua, or looking to keep active on holiday Antigua has a number of hiking trails well worth exploring. The main hiking trails here can be found in the areas of Christian Valley, Nelson’s Dockyard, and Wallings Dam – famous amongst avid adventurers.

Christian Valley, north of Mt. Obama is a heavily forested area with diverse fauna and a number of rare and endangered bird species. Nelson’s Dockyard National Parks Trails also provide diverse hikes, from moderate to difficult. These hikes offer spectacular views of Falmouth Harbour, Fort Charles, Redonda and St Kitts (in the distance). On these hikes, you will discover the idyllic Galleon Beach and The Pillars of Hercules, as well as the foundation of Middle Ground Barracks and the remains of Fort Cuyler.

Wallings Dam is an area heavily forested, located in the southern part of the island. The Dam itself was finished in 1900 and since then, the area has become an important watershed and attractive forested area, home to a number of rare bird species. The two main hikes in this area both start at the dam and take you through to Rendezvous Bay, or to Signal Hill.

Jeep safari tours

Jeep safari tours provide an exciting way of seeing a different side of Antigua’s beautiful landscapes. These jeeps can handle the rugged and wild countryside of the island, and make light work of the bumpy roads and dirt tracks, taking you to hidden gems that are a little off the beaten track.

The guides on these tours are extremely knowledgeable and recount the history of the island, going back to Christopher Columbus days – through the slave trade history, and up to modern times. Whether you want to visit the rainforest, Nelsons Dockyard, Devil’s Bridge, Bird Island or kayak through the mangroves of the north, there will be a jeep safari for you.

The Jeeps will pick you up from your hotel. Then, in convoy, you will go off-road and embrace spectacular views of the idyllic island and glittering sea waters. Relax and enjoy a delicious local lunch and cold beverages during your trip, too, including fruit juice, water or rum punch.

Local cooking classes

Looking to learn how to cook authentic Antiguan dishes? Why not sign up for a local cooking class during your trip over to amazing Antigua? Not only will you have the chance to prepare and cook local dishes, but each recipe will also be demonstrated and explained in detail. So, you will have a complete understanding of the ingredients and process of mixing, blending, and cooking, enabling you to come away with all the skills you need to prepare these dishes in your own kitchen.

Some cooking classes here also include a guided tour of street markets, where you can see, smell and buy the ingredients used in local recipes. After your exciting market tour, you will return to the kitchen of your host to begin your cooking class. Under supervision, you will then prepare and cook a typically traditional starter, main course and a dessert. Once you’re finished cooking up a storm, it’s time to enjoy your home-cooked meal and perhaps wash it down with a fantastic Caribbean rum punch.

Snorkeling

Surrounded almost completely by the beautiful, thriving, coral reef, Antigua is a great snorkelling destination. The lovely white sands and crystal clear waters here, make many of the island’s beaches ideal for snorkelling; you will see pufferfish, butterflyfish, moray eels, surgeonfish, and shoals of sergeant major fish in abundance.

However, if you want to discover even more snorkelling sites, why not take a boat out to one of the many reefs, where you can discover green turtles, barracudas, stingrays or the impressive nurse sharks?

The Cades Bay Marine Park, the wreck of the Andes (a ship that sunk in 1905 and came to rest in Deep Bay), Stingray City (where you can see and touch the southern stingrays that live in the region), Paradise Reef and the coral gardens – off the tiny, uninhabited islands opposite Dickenson Bay, are all popular snorkelling trip destinations.

Watersports

The island of Antigua is second to none when it comes to watersports. The choice here is extensive and includes jet skiing, wakeboarding, parasailing, water skiing, kayaking, kitesurfing, tubing, as well as trips on exciting Hobie cats and banana boats.

Nonsuch Bay, on the east shore of Antigua (facing the strong and constant trade winds), is an ideal place for kitesurfing. Plus, there’s a training school located right on the beach for you to take advantage of. This bay is completely closed by the reef, with ideal conditions for learning and progressing in this thrilling watersport, thanks to its warm, flat waters and spacious surroundings.

Sea scooter and snorkelling tours are also extremely popular in Antigua. After receiving a tutorial from your guide, you will be able to dive in and propel through the water, taking in diverse ocean life around you along the way on these watersport adventure tours.

Whatever your choice of watersport, you will have no problem hiring the equipment and receiving any necessary tuition from the many organisations and schools based on Antigua’s beautiful beaches.

Yacht racing

Yacht racing in Antigua is extremely popular, with the main races being the Superyacht Challenge, taking place at the end of January into the first week in February, and not forgetting the iconic Antigua Sailing Week Regatta. Both of these fantastic events bring yacht owners from all over the world together, meeting to take part in spectacular racing, with daily pursuit races along the stunning south coast of Antigua. Warm trade winds and ocean swell produce ideal conditions for what is now known as one of the top five yacht racing regattas in the world.

If you want a taste of the excitement of yacht racing, you can always join the crew of a yacht-racing ship for four hours of high-sea excitement. Climb aboard your stylish, smooth, racing ship and learn about the exhilarating world of racing sleek high-performance yachts. After a safety briefing, you can help the experienced crew as much or as little as you like, as you join a head-to-head race with other racers. A truly amazing experience.

Zip lining

Zip lining is extremely popular in Antigua’s luscious rainforest. Not sure what zip lining entails? Well, a zip line is a cable suspended above an incline, to which a pulley and harness are attached to you, and the incline allows the rider to be pulled by gravity along the line; soaring through the skies.

The function of the zip line has evolved over time, from a quick mode of transportation as well as a scientific research tool, to an eco-tourism icon.

Enjoy the thrill of zip lining above the tropical rainforest canopy of Antigua. Starting at the Old Pump House, walk across a suspension bridge spanning the gorge to the far bank. Then, soar above the canopy on 12 zip lines of 52 feet, nine typical challenge elements, one tree house and two thrilling suspension bridges, all providing a bird’s eye view of the exotic rainforest.

Why not try the Forest Express – featuring six zip lines (all differing in depth and length), finishing with an assisted rope descent from a tree 40 ft high. Alternatively, head to the Canyon Express, where you can revel in the thrill of two mega zip lines over the Canyon, almost 1700 feet long, each one at a height of 500 feet.