Caribbean Travel Guide: Antigua & Barbuda

Caribbean Travel Guide: Antigua & Barbuda

Antigua & Barbuda Travel Guide

The country of Antigua and Barbuda is located in the centre of the collection of Leeward Islands in the eastern Caribbean. Antigua is the main island in the union and has a population of about 87,000 people. The capital city, St. John, has about 31,000 residents. Barbuda is a highly unspoilt and undeveloped island, located about 30 miles away. It has an even smaller population of 1,500, sometimes being outnumbered by tourists, which is the primary industry of the union. Antiguans will proudly tell you that despite their small size, 14 miles long and 11 miles wide, that their Caribbean island has 365 beaches – one for every day of the year. That is very impressive. And, they will even more proudly tell you that you can choose to swim at any one of them – even if the best and most expensive hotels are located on those same beaches!

Hotels in Antigua & Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda is a land of sheer pleasure, and it might not be the first thing on your mind to reserve for accommodation. And just in case you did find the time to do a little research about hotels and resorts in Antigua and Barbuda, you’d know that the place is a world of luxury in the form of world class resorts and hotels. This article is a snapshot of five special accommodation facilities in Antigua and Barbuda, all of which are fully loaded with the high class amenities and services that will make your Caribbean trip one to remember for the rest of your life.

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Galley Bay Resort, St. John’s

Galley Bay Resort, Saint John's

Surrounded by tropical gardens, this al inclusive adult centric resort provides beachfront and garden accommodation to those looking for noting short of the best on their stay in Antigua and Barbados. Facilities include spa, fitness centre, sports like tennis and many more entertainment packages. The Euro-Caribbean Seagrape Restaurant and the elegant Gauguin Restaurant offer mouth watering food in great ambience to add more value to your stay in the resort.

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The Villas at Sunset Lane, St. John’s

The Villas at Sunset Lane, St. John's

Nothing other than The Villas at Sunset Lane captures the Caribbean essences with considerable flavours of Spanish and Mediterranean style in accommodation facilities. The gardens add to the beauty of the resort, as does the in ground pool. Exercise and massage rooms ensure that you have proper places to work out. The artwork inside the living area is breathtakingly beautiful and overwhelmingly special. The warmth of the experience of living here is bound to add a new spice to your vacation in Antigua and Barbuda.

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Hermitage Bay, St. John’s

Hermitage Bay, St. John's

Antigua’s all inclusive Heritage Bay overlooks the Caribbean Sea and is made of 25 stunningly beautiful cottages, all providing an atmosphere of utmost luxury for inhabitants. The whole facility is so pleasing to the eye that one wonders as to what efforts the construction in difficult terrains would have consumed. St. John is a wonderful place of beauty in itself, and the time you spend in this fantastic place becomes totally unforgettable when you live ina place as special as Hermitage Bay.

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Jumby Bay, A Rosewood Resort, St. John’s

Jumby Bay, A Rosewood Resort, St. John's

All inclusive living is a dream experience, and it is a dream-come-true with Jumby Bay’s 40 suites and 11 villas on a private island in St. John’s. You get mouth watering food and the best of wines and liquor with the package. Play tennis all day long if you feel like it, or head off for non-motorized water sports. Better still, burn some calories at the fitness centre. Rosewood Resorts is an experience worth cherishing, and the pleasure is worth the time and money.

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Blue Waters Antigua, St. John’s

Blue Waters Antigua, St. John's

Being given a chance to custom pick the ingredients of a truly Caribbean luxury recipe, you would definitely go for beaches guarded by deserts of white sands, freshwater pools, lonely yet charmingly beautiful beach coves, tropical greenery in all its grandeur, and a whole lot of laziness. What if you were given the perfect concoction of all these ingredients? If you find this hard to believe, it is time you booked with Blue Waters Antigua, a premier resort in St. John’s. Sit by the pool and sip away at a light cocktail as you bathe in the gentle sunlight that lightens the whole arena up. This is as good as it gets.

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Cocobay Resort, Bolans

Cocobay Resort, Bolans
Cocobay Resort, Bolans

Honeymooners looking for a luxurious and pampering stay in Antigua and Barbuda have a superb choice in the form of Cocobay Resort, a 53 room beachfront all inclusive adult centred resort that has been defining standards of great service for some time now. In house bars shall suffice in catering to your evening thirsts, and the wellness centre ensures that your extended vacation does not show on your belly. Live entertainment shows to keep you engaged and interested, and guided nature walks to get you up close and personal with nature in this beautiful part of the world; the resort has everything well planned for you.

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Carlisle Bay Antigua, Saint Mary’s

Carlisle Bay Antigua, Saint Mary's

The unspoilt beauty of the south coast of Antigua blends perfectly with the super special accommodation facility provided by one of the most renowned resorts here, the Carlisle Bay. The spacious suites get you quickly into the holiday mood, and so does the beach nearby, along with all its glorious sights and sounds. The Carlisle Bay Cool Kids Club makes the resort the perfect destination for a family vacation. Other features include two restaurants, air conditioned gym, spa and many tennis courts.

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Verandah Resort & Spa, Saint Philip

Verandah Resort & Spa, Saint Philip

Head to this self proclaimed eco friendly resort (there aren’t many of those in the whole world) for waterfront and water view junior suites with verandahs. The Kids Club makes the resort family friendly, and the pair of beaches along with the freeform pool adds value for water lovers. Non motorized water sports also make for exciting engagements. The stunning Devil’s Bridge isn’t far from the resort. There is a spa inside the resort to keep you fit and fine. The resort’s restaurant offers delicious food and nice drinks.

Reef View Apartments, Cades Bay

Does the thought of living in a lavish apartment with the option of cooking and barbequing make you feel all excited? If you answered in the affirmative, ReefView Apartments of Cades Bay are perfectly suited for you. Quality beach action is guaranteed with ReefView Apartments, and you get a real taste of Antiguan life here. There is absolutely zero chance of a dull moment when you are a guest at ReefView Apartments, and you find this out right from the very first moment.

Beach Laws Strictly Enforced

Why? Because both the Antiguan government, and more importantly, the Antiguan people, take the enforcement of their beach laws very seriously. The law states that all beaches belong to the people of Antigua. It also states that if hotels, or any commercial entity, purchases property to do business on the beaches, they are obligated to build walkways and provide the general public with access to the beach. It is against the law to prevent any Antiguan access to their beaches. That is even more very impressive.

Host of Attractions & Activities

Just like how you would be surprised that such a small country has 365 beaches, you are going to be amazed by how many attractions and activities exist for your entertainment in Antigua.

Antigua has something for everybody. You could go: watch a cricket match LIVE (Instead of the usual worldwide TV broadcast), play tennis or golf, biking, horseback riding, sea cruising, boating, windsurfing, diving, snorkeling, hiking, bird watching, fishing , kayaking, swimming with sting rays, on a helicopter ride, zip line canopy tours and sugar estate tours.

Uncovering Antigua’s Big Secret

I found out Antigua’s big secret – their guest list. If you are like some American fans, who absolutely adore their Hollywood actors and American celebrities, then you may not mind accidentally meeting a few of them, while you are sun tanning on those 365 beaches Is it possible? Absolutely! How come? It is because some very powerful international celebrities have residences in Antigua! The list is impressive!

Meeting Celebrity Guests – The Dream for Die Hard Television Fans

Imagine how you would feel if you met: Sir Richard Branson (Virgin Group Chairman), Georgio Armani (Fashion Designer), Silvio Berlusconi (Media & Sports Mogul, Former Prime Minister of Italy), Timothy Dalton (former James Bond Actor), Eric Clapton (Musician/Singer), Ken Follet (Writer, Pillars of the Earth, Eye of the Needle) and Robin Leach (TV Host, Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous). When I was last in Antigua, I was lucky enough to meet the celebrity Caribbean and Jamaican hotel billionaire mogul, The Honourable Gordon “Butch” Stewart, O.J. (Order of Jamaica). So, start packing, you never know who YOU may meet!

Meeting Celebrity Cricketers – The Dream For Die Hard Cricket Fans

If you are a cricket fan, then you would be thrilled if you met the following Caribbean cricketers who reside in Antigua: Sir Dr. Vivian Richards (Former West Indies Batsman & Captain, Medical Doctor, with Antigua’s cricket stadium named in his honour), Andy Roberts (Former WI Fast Bowler) Curtley Ambrose (Former Fast Bowler) and Richie Richardson (Former W.I. Captain).

Cricket – Booming Sports Tourism Industry

On my last business trip to Antigua, I decided to make reservations about 2 weeks before my departure date. Big mistake! Almost every room in Antigua was booked out and obviously the least expensive rooms were grabbed up first. Why? There was a Test Cricket in Antigua. So a host of Caribbean fans, from inside and outside the region, had swarmed into the island and booked out most of the hotels rooms for a whole week. The least expensive room I could find started at US$200 per night.

Fine All- Inclusive & EP Hotels

Antigua and Barbuda have traditionally positioned itself in the marketplace, as a destination for a middle-class to upper-class clientele. The country has a wide array of hotels – both under the All-Inclusive and European plans. The Caribbean Resort Chain, headquartered in Jamaica, Sandals has a hotel in Antigua. As usual, it would be advisable for travellers to book early to get the best rates, particularly because there are limited rooms in this relatively small country.

Music – Influenced by Jamaica & Trinidad

Antiguans heartily enjoy their Caribbean music. The most popular genres of music there are Calypso, Soca, Reggae, Steel Drum and Zouk (a rhythmic type of music from the French Caribbean islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe). Antiguan music is heavily influenced by music from Jamaica and Trinidad. Steel drums are particularly fascinating because they are hand made from the 55 gallon storage drums used to transport Trinidad’s most precious resource, oil. Steel Drum Orchestras produce the most fantastic music, of all genres.

It is sure to “just blow your mind!” This is a “must-see” activity – if you are interested in music and culture.

Internet Hosting & Gaming

Over the years, Antigua has become recognized as a centre for legalized online gambling.

Antigua was one of the first countries in the world to regulate, legalize and licence this very popular gaming activity – via the internet, while customers participated from the comfort of their homes. So you can expect to find internet gambling all over Antigua’s computers.

Politics – Stable Democracy

Antigua and Barbuda is a stable federal parliamentary democratic representative monarchy. That means the symbolic head of state is Queen Elizabeth in England. Her local representative in the countries appoints a Prime Minister after there are democratic elections of members of parliament. From 1951, Antigua’s politics was dominated by a father and son team as Prime Ministers, Vere and Lester Byrd. This is no longer the case.

Mount Obama & Hospitality

When the US President , Barack Obama, was inaugurated in November 2008, Antigua was the either the first, or one of the first countries in the world, to decide to name something in his honour. They announced it soon after the November inauguration, but waited until the President’s birthday, on August 4, 2009, to rename their highest mountain, Boggy Peak, Mount Obama. That was quite an honourable gesture. It was also smart tourism marketing. Which other celebrity is bigger than President Obama?

Clearly Antiguans know themselves. Clearly they know how to attract the most powerful celebrities in the world to come and build homes in their country …. Clearly these most discriminating guests have found something special about Antiguans and Antigua You need to come and discover it for yourself. So get ready to go beach hopping – but remember to bring enough swimwear to enjoy all of their 365 beaches.

Attractions in Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda’s natural treasures of beauty beseech you to live the time of your life being guests of the islands. All shades and sounds of beauty, as unleashed by nature are in their full bloom in these parts of the world. No wonders, hundreds, thousands and millions of visitors converge here to witness beauty of the magnitude that not many places on earth offer. With this article, readers get the sense of amazement that the attractions of Antigua and Barbuda can put them into.

Stingray City, AntiguaStingray City, Antigua

Arguably among the most popular tourist locations in the whole wide world, Stingray City is an unbelievable interface between humans and some fascinating creatures. Stingrays will excite and bedazzle you with their crazy ways, and you get to see them from as close as it can possibly get. You can also go for snorkelling and interact with these magnificent creatures. The clean turquoise waters provide for the perfect setting for such a wonderful experience. Feeding the stingrays is an experience that you can’t get over for the rest of your life.

Devil’s Bridge, East Coast

There is a lot of fascination and history about this place, about how slaves used to jump off the arch to die, and how the place got its name. Devil’s Bridge is best seen from a distance, and that is not because of the story but because of the fact that the arch is rather dangerous anyways! The national park here captures the island’s history beautifully, and makes for some good time to spend learning about the place. The remains of a prehistoric Amerindian community are also in the vicinity, and might interest you.

Dickenson Bay, Antigua
Dickenson Bay, Antigua

Dickenson Bay, Antigua

Antigua is popular as a ‘beach a day, all year long’ destination, owing to its 365 beaches. And if you are on a filtering exercise, make sure that you pick Dickenson Bay as it offers a whole menu of beach activities that shall interest all kinds of beach lovers. You can spread yourself out on the inviting sands all day long, to check out the glass bottom boat tour. Better still, you can pick from the many water sports activities to get the adrenaline rushes going. Be on the lookout of dolphins in the distance for a truly unforgettable swimming session with these adorable creatures.

Miguel’s Holiday Adventure, St. John’s

Miguel and his staff are dedicated to carving out an unforgettable tour for you, so you can depend on them for a crazy and enjoyable day on the beach. Get away from the crowds by opting for this adventure and let Miguel and his boys do the planning. Enjoy special drinks all day long and stay in the holiday mode. The environment has a tranquilizing effect on you, and this is one of the most special features of Miguel’s Holiday Adventure in St. John’s. Make this a priority on your extended visit to St. John’s.

Half Moon Bay, East Coast

You’ll need to put in a determined show to visit this breathtakingly beautiful part of East Coast, and your efforts are well rewarded by the sights and sounds of the place. Sunny days are fantastic opportunities and invitations for you to pack for Half Moon Bay and soak in the vibes of the water in the evening as the setting sun paints the skies with its red hues.

Restaurants in Antigua and Barbuda

All the diving and sight seeing you do in Antigua and Barbuda is going to take its toll eventually on you! So does that mean that you have to get back to your rooms and waste time in recuperating (although that might not be a bad idea if you happen to be living in one of the top luxury resorts of the place)? Why not take the foodie way out? Head off to one of the many great eating places in Antigua and Barbuda and fill yourself up to the brim, and of course, enjoy the complete platter of great music, nice ambience, mouth watering food and courteous service.

Abracadabra Restaurant and Disco-Bar, Antigua
Abracadabra Restaurant and Disco-Bar, Antigua

Abracadabra Restaurant and Disco-Bar, Antigua

Nelson’s Dockyard shall certainly be on your to-visit list in Antigua and Barbuda. You might as well add a little note alongside to snap off some time for lunch or dinner at Abracadabra Restaurant and Disco-Bar. This Southern Italian restaurant is among the popular eateries and hangouts in this region, both with locals and regular visitors. The chef, Salvatore Piras is a legend of the food business here, and his menu of pastas and seafood is worth your time and taste. The menu is frequently updated, which means that there surely will be a crazy proposition awaiting the food adventurist inside you.

Pepperz N’ Lime, St. John’s

Latin and Caribbean cuisine combine to make a lethal combination at Pepperz N’ Lime, a premier restaurant in the scintillating St. John’s. The staff won’t miss a moment to make you feel special, and the chefs work diligently to lend irresistible tastes to the offerings on the menu. Seafood, wraps, salads, beach specialities, Mexican stuff, and some other known and unknown delicacies – the menu is long and impressive. DJ nights and Tequila games scale the experience up infinitely, and make Pepperz N’ Lime the destination to be in.

Sheer Rocks, Saint Mary's
Sheer Rocks, Saint Mary’s

Sheer Rocks, Saint Mary’s

World class service with world class food means a world class experience, and you can bet that you’ll get such a treatment at Sheer Rocks. Sipping away at cocktails to die for and pecking away at snacks worth living for, and staring at the unadulterated beauty of the Caribbean beauty alongside; if this is not world class, then nothing else is! The staff here is remarkably friendly, and their warmth adds a special flavour to all the others that you enjoy here. Sheer Rocks is a must visit, any time of the year.

Cafe Bambula, St. John’s

Forgetting about being Antigua and Barbuda would sound strange, considering the fact that the place is a heaven for tourists. But you won’t mind the change of ambience when you get to Cafe Bambula, a place of serene beauty and fine dining. Fresh fish like no other place, perfectly made sauces, good old rum punches and mojitos, and the perfect service are just a few of the endless list of USPs of Cafe Bambula. The French-Mediterranean tastes of the menu will definitely bowl you over, so make it a point to visit the cafe.

Mama Pasta, St. John’s

Nothing beats the winning combo of pizza and drinks. Mama Pasta is your asylum when the urge to gobble a quick pizza takes you over. The pastas and pizzas here are fresh and oozing with flavours. The setting of the restaurant, overlooking Long Bay is perfect. Homemade food packs different flavours from the regular offerings in regular restaurants, and Mama Pasta’s food is home made with love. The place is remarkably clean, and this makes the eating experience all the more impressive. Try out a small pizza anyways, even if you don’t feel like eating one, and you’ll end up having a bigger one soon.

Shopping in Antigua and Barbuda

So you set waves running in your social circle back home by updating with your check-in at Stingray City, or one of the other renowned tourism hotspots in Antigua and Barbuda! The thought of getting something for those crazy pals and family is bound to be at the back of your mind all the time on your tour. Your vacation to Antigua and Barbuda is an opportunity to shop at some great outlets and buy cool stuff for your loved ones, and for yourself as well. So, read on for an introduction of five great places in Antigua and Barbuda from where you can shop for good stuff without being scared of getting ripped off.

Redcliffe Quay, St. John’s

The quayside is a home to quite a few shops offering art works and gift items for you to take back home. Apparel and accessories can also be purchased from the shops, and that too at earthly prices. Shopping experience at Redcliffe Quay is not merely about purchasing stuff as you can also get down for a cup of coffee over snacks at one of the cafes in the area. And of course, the oldest part of St. John’s has its own charms, and you will find it hard to ignore the historic vibes that emanate out of the restored Georgian buildings here.

Heritage Quay, St. John’s

Early morning walkers have an incentive in taking the route to Heritage Quay in St. John’s, as the sight of several village folk shopping and selling items like sugar apples, pineapples tamarind and many more on Saturday mornings. On other times, you can go to the market hall for a more arranged shopping arena and get a feel of how local shopping is done here. And of course, you get to taste some indigenous varieties of fruits and other edibles.

Vendor’s Mall, St. John’s

Between St Mary’s Street and Redcliffe Quay is the famous Vendor’s Mall of St. John’s, a bustling market place specially catering to the local vendors, which means that you have a whole range of items up for grabs at affordable prices from here. The chirpy sellers will excite and interest you, but depend upon your better judgement while negotiating prices of T-shirts and some cute little souvenirs. Vendors also sell art and craft items that make for a good buy from your Caribbean tour.

Seahorse Studios & Gift Shop, At Falmouth Harbour

T-shirts and table linens are best purchased from Seahorse Studios and Gift Shop at Falmouth Harbour. Signs and batiks are also available, and the prices will not blow you apart, so you can safely consider doing a considerable part of your commemorative shopping here. The affiliated branch at English Harbour adds paintings and engravings to the catalogue, with special focus on seascapes.

Harmony Hall, St. John’s

The hall is a wonderland of art and great artists of Antigua, and a must visit for art lovers. Even if you are no connoisseur of art, the gallery is the perfect place to tune your tastes to perfection, especially when there is a distinct Antiguan flavour to it. The annual Antigua Artist’s Exhibition and the Craft Fair are carnivals that unleash a world of art and shopping on visitors in November. The nearby sugar mill tower now doubles up as a bar, so find the time to visit that as well.

Nightlife in Antigua and Barbuda

Nicole's Table, St. John's
Nicole’s Table, St. John’s

Nicole’s Table, St. John’s

Your Caribbean tour is not complete without an engaging session with locals, something that you are guaranteed at Nicole’s Table where you have the option of taking the Caribbean style classes held especially for visitors. Get closer to the real flavours of Caribbean as you treat yourself to some startlingly delicious snacks and drinks yourself, learning a few tricks of the cooking trade along side. Nicole’s Table will make you elated and compel you to come back again and again.

Outbound Lounge, St. John’s

Airport lounges hardly get any better than this. Outbound Lounge is all about sheer pleasure, from comfy leather seats to massage your pampered backs to some stunning combinations of snacks and drinks. If the thought of being treated like a top league politician in home constituency manages to get that evasive twinkle in your eye, waste no time in adding Outbound Lounge to your scheme of things. Add buckets full of pleasure to your airport time by going for Outbound Lounge.

Dickenson Bay, Antigua

Antigua is one place where you cannot complain of the absence of the custom made beach. And if a huge crowd is out of your wish list, Dickenson Bay is a worthy option for you with its calm and serene beauty. There are quite a few resorts in and around the area, and despite not being overly upscale, they suffice in providing comfortable accommodation with requisite facilities. And of course, there are restaurants and bars to let you dine and enjoy late into the night.

Sports-Mon Pub, St. John’s

Ladies Night and Karaoke Night are nights that make for unforgettable moments in Sports-Mon Pub. Hit the place on a Tuesday and get a first hand experience of how the people of Antigua like to dance the nights away. Talented locals entertain you to the fullest, and the drinks flow like air along an Antiguan beach. The staff is friendly, and the chefs know their flavours inside out.

Royal Naval Tot Club, English Harbour

As attested by several visitors to Antigua and Barbuda, the Royal Naval Tot Club is not one to be missed, and not one that is easily accessed. If you get the timings right, you can have the extreme pleasure of experiencing the wonderful hospitality of the club. Anyone close to English Harbour in Antigua must make it a point to check for this, and hit upon the slightest glimpse of opportunity, as the Royal Naval Tot Club adventure deserves all efforts from your side.

King's Casino, St. John's
King’s Casino, St. John’s

King’s Casino, St. John’s

If you happen to be looking for some high voltage casino action, there isn’t a place better than King’s Casino in St. John’s. Evenings are electric here as people converge upon the quarters to bet and enjoy a night of unadulterated casino. Poker is the buzz all around. The three tables get occupied pretty early in the evening, and this calls for you to get up and hit the casino earlier than usual. Be advised to take a friend or two along, just to keep the rash bets in check!

Major Cities in Antigua and Barbuda

Having a list of islands that will easily roll down and go past your feet is one thing, but having a custom designed weather for most part of the year to go with it means something special. Welcome to the special world of tourism pleasures in their purest forms of existence, welcome to Antigua and Barbuda. The white sand beaches of Antigua come really close to emulating a heaven on earth. Towering luxurious resorts enshroud the streets of the towns, and the cities are fully prepared to give you the delectable tastes of contemporary living. Your visit to Antigua and Barbuda is your chance to check out two of the most amazing cities in the Caribbean. This article takes you closer to the personalities of these two cities.


Barbuda’s only town Codrington is best reached by requesting a waterway lift from the Lighthouse Bay personnel, although there are other conventional ways to do this! The tiny village is home to close to 1,000 cheerful people, and you can get a hang of that really soon as you will most probably find a happy and gleeful local ready to take you around the town and act as your guide for the day. The central point of your visit to Codrington has got to be Madison Square that houses several small yet lively shops. Everything is scaled down to the size of the village, right from the ruined building of the historical maternity hospital to the tourism office building. All day long, you will get to see scenes from those feel-good rural based novels. Photographers don’t have to go about looking for shots, as there are beautiful moments to be captured on all sides of the camera. Codrington is about living the rural Caribbean life, and doing so with a characteristically Caribbean smile. Cash in on the opportunity to take a day’s refuge in this special Caribbean town – Codrington.

St John’s

St. Johns, Antigua
St. Johns, Antigua

Visitors arriving upon the shores of Antigua and Barbuda’s capital city St. John’s are welcomed by the glorious sights of the white baroque towers of St. John’s Cathedral kissing the skies. The fact that the building, despite having been ravaged by earthquakes twice in its history, continue to stand tall and effuse the vibes of Caribbean resilience captures the spirit of the city like nothing else does. The cruise ship dock has been recently revamped to go with the city’s tag of ‘ideal for tourism.’ The ever increasing volumes of impressed and overwhelmed tourists to Antigua and Barbuda have meant that the hotel industry has boomed here, and this is evident in the number of renowned high class luxury resorts of St. John’s. The Museum of Antigua and Barbuda in the colonial Court House is perfect to begin the sight seeing as visitors get to know about the history of the place. Beaches are in all directions, and you can actually be confused trying to work out an itinerary here! There are some really special places for shopping and fine dining as well, so you get a dash of city life with unadulterated natural beauty in St. John’s.

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