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Antigua + Barbuda See And Do

Antigua Rainforest Canopy Tour
Fig Tree Drive
Wallings , Antigua
Antigua + Barbuda
Tel: 268 562 6363
www.antiguarainforest.com

You strap yourself into a harness, attach it to cables (ACCT-certified), then zoom through the trees from platform to platform through the canopy. The trip begins with a briefing by the rangers, who then help everyone into their harnesses and put them through a checkup before sending them off among the treetops and across gullies and streams. Be sure to call ahead—on days when the cruise ships are in port, you'll want to wait till later in the day, when you have the island to yourself.

Tours daily 9 am to 3 pm.

Beaches
Antigua
Antigua + Barbuda

On an island of 365 beaches, it's hard to pick just one. Topping our list of favorites is Long Bay, on Antigua's eastern coast. The coral reefs are within wading distance of the shore, and worth the schlep. In 1995, Hurricane Luis destroyed much of the hotel development along Half Moon Bay (now a national park) on the southeast coast of Antigua, which makes it refreshingly quiet these days. For privacy, try the four beaches at Hawksbill on a western coast peninsula (one is clothing-optional).

Boat Trips

On islands with nautical traditions as rich as Antigua and Barbuda's, there are sure to be lots of opportunities for visitors to get out on the open sea, whether its by kayak, catamaran, even faux pirate ship. For a leisurely cruise on a sailing catamaran, try the Wadadli fleet, which runs lunch cruises, sunset cruises, and circumnavigations of Antigua (268-462-4792; www.wadadlicats.com). Local eco-enthusiast Eli Fuller's Antigua Adventures offers two options: a slo-mo tour by 52-foot launch around the North Sound's mangrove preserves or a full-day circuit of the island, with stops for snorkeling and lunch, aboard the high-speed Xtreme (268-726-6355; adventureantigua.com/tour.html). The twin-hulled Excellence offers day trips to Barbuda every Tuesday, sightseeing and lunch included (268-480-1225; www.tropicalad.com). The neighboring island of Montserrat can be seen from many points on Antigua, but its still smoldering, occasionally spouting volcano often inspires tourists to visit the partially devastated island in person. Windward Airways flies there several times daily (www.fly-winair.com), and Caribbean Helicopters offers short sightseeing excursions (268-460-5900; www.caribbeanhelicopters.com).

Devil's Bridge
Indian Town , Antigua
Antigua + Barbuda

Crashing Atlantic breakers carved a natural limestone bridge through the rocks at this popular attraction in Indian Town, one of Antigua's national parks. Legend has it that slaves threw themselves off the cliff here rather than serve the devil in a life of bondage.

History

To get a feel for the country's history, start at the Antigua and Barbuda Historical Museum (Market and Long streets; 268-462-1469; www.antiguamuseums.org), a former government building from 1750 that overflows with local bric-a-brac donated with pride by people from all over the island. Continue on to Nelson's Dockyard National Park (268-481-5022; www.nationalparksantigua.com), a former British naval base of Georgian stone buildings that house both the charming Admiral's House Museum as well as modern inns, boutiques, and yacht charters. There is a similar mix at Redcliffe Quay, St. John, a former slave-holding facility that has been converted into bars, boutiques, and cafés. On Sundays, join the locals for spirited services at St. John's Cathedral (Newgate and Long streets; 268-462-1469), a historic Anglican church overlooking the city and harbor that was completed in 1847. To get a feel for the former importance of sugar on the island, visit Betty's Hope Sugar Plantation (near Pares; 268-462-1469; www.antiguamuseums.org/bettyshope.htm), where you can see two restored mills built in 1674.

Megaliths of Greencastle Hill
Greencastle Hill , Antigua
Antigua + Barbuda

The one-hour, lung-busting trek to Antigua's most unusual attraction is just what the trainer ordered. The 600-foot-high rock formations in the south-central part of the island are said to have been created by indigenous Siboney people for worshipping the sun and moon, but may just be a geological phenomenon.

Nature Tours in Antigua + Barbuda

A third-generation islander whose grandfather built the Lord Nelson Beach Hotel in the forties, Eli Fuller shows visitors a good time on his daylong eco tours. Highlights include trips to the Hawksbill turtle project on Long Island, the nesting grounds of Great Bird Island, and the caves and natural bridges of Hell's Gate Island (268-726-6355; www.adventureantigua.com). Barbuda's Frigate Bird Sanctuary, a mangrove-filled lagoon, shelters more than 175 species and is home to over 5,000 graceful, red-throated frigate birds, whose wingspan can reach eight feet. The Barbuda Express offers catamaran excursions that include a visit to the sanctuary (268-560-7989; www.antiguaferries.com).

Shirley Heights
English Harbour , Antigua
Antigua + Barbuda

Every Sunday night, tourists and locals celebrate day's end with a huge, not-to-be-missed sunset party at this historic fort atop English Harbour. Potent libations, juicy BBQ, live Calypso music, and panoramic views make for a fun night.

St. John's
St. John's , Antigua
Antigua + Barbuda

Antigua's capital is where maddening cruise crowds start their shore excursions and make a mad dash through duty-free land before retiring to their ship. Shops at Heritage Quay sell the requisite jewelry, cigars, designer bags, and perfume in air-conditioned comfort. Skip the T-shirt bazaar at Vendors' Mall in favor of Redcliffe Quay, an area of restored warehouses with candy-colored cafés and restaurants. At the Saturday public market, you can haggle for mangoes, star fruit, plants, and flowers, as well as local arts and crafts, leather goods, and jewelry.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.