Recommended itineraries Antigua and Barbuda - The Traveller


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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Recommended itineraries Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua is primarily a destination resort: beaches of fine white sand are beautiful, translucent turquoise waters which bathe them too. Some tourists also never leave the enclosure of their hotel and alternate between swimming, sunbathing, dining, cocktails at the beach bar and dips in the pool. Add to that the sand castles with the kids and outputs steelband evening for couples on a spree. That's about the table at Dickenson Bay, where the huge complex Sandals. Nothing very backpacker there! Most resorts also live in isolation, each in his corner, with high walls and guards at the entrance which will ask you to show their credentials ...

It would be a shame not to go in search of the wildest beaches. We like, for example, Hawksbill Bay, south-west of St John's, a section has escaped the grip of the Rex Resort (another all inclusive). Quiet wish, frequented by pelicans who come to fish by diving all around the swimmers!

Even more beautiful: Valley Church Bay, a wonder of white sand, lapped by the waters curacao milk color, highlighted by coconut trees and miraculously remained empty - except for a unique beach bar, The Nest, where we invite you to stop (south of discrete panel Bolan's).Other beautiful carpet of sand in the wake Ffreyes to Darkwood Beach Beach. No shade here, but a direct view of the Montserrat Volcano smokes off.

At the other end of the island (east), do not miss Half Moon Bay, which is very aptly named half-moon. Another 4-star range.


Colonial memories

St John's, the capital, has not much to offer: a market a little neurotic, except Saturday, when the platform dummy passengers disembarking cruise ships (with the same shops as Nassau and St. Martin), a great cathedral that threatens to fall into ruin and a mini National Museum where we still trying to remember if we saw something interesting ...

Fortunately, there Français Bay on the south coast, with the iconic Nelson Dockyards. A bay so narrow and protected the British decided in the late eighteenth century, to make it their main stronghold Caribbean. The old naval base has retained some of its walls and many buildings of the time.
The Admiral's House, the former Victorian residence of the commander of the garrison, is now a museum. We learn all about the passage of Nelson in these places and even on his illicit love affair with Emma Hamilton some ... Many other buildings have been restored: former bakery, canteen, shipyards, stores, warehouses, who have found life through the installation of these places a water sports. Many boaters are here to relax, especially at the time of the famous Sailing Week (late April). Be sure to take a trip to the Admiral's Inn, a hotel located in the old store of tar and turpentine. The terrace is lovely and it is backed by an amazing block flanked by two stone columns. A frame extra to afford a 5 o'clock tea.

A little further on, we take a look at the home of the future William IV, Clarence House, where he served time on the island, then at Dow's Hill Interpretation Center. Finally, climb up to Shirley Heights on the opposite bank, for a view overlooking the bay. A cute bar-restaurant occupies the old stone building of the guard in charge of watching over the harbor entrance. At your feet are held the ribbon of golden sand Galleon Beach and coconut necklace.

Another nice visit in the interior: the sucrote (mill grind the cane) restored the old sugar factory Betty's Hope. Surrounding countryside is scattered, gears and ruins of stone buildings. Last living witnesses of the colonial period, several old churches can be visited. The oldest (1687) is that of St George's Sheets Creek, near the airport, but it has been retyped and with a hideous modern tower that contrasts with its old brick walls. You will notice in the cemetery adjoining the funny way to report dates of birth and death for the first sunrise, sunset for the second ... More "recent", there is St Philips Church (1728, if our memory serves), the belfry of shingles, and the stunning octagonal church of St Peter's Anglican Parham (1840), in blocks of coral. It is open only for Mass on Sunday at 9 am

Natural side

Exploring the North Sound Marine Park, northeast of the island, is another highlight of the trip to Antigua. You may register for a boat trip to the beautiful Bird Island, an uninhabited island, but we highly recommend exploring the place more peaceful, sea kayaking is an opportunity to browse through the channels and intersecting the mangrove to observe all sorts of exotic species of marine birds. See our information about it in "Sports and entertainment."

Those who do not want to grow whiskers wet drive to Devil's Bridge, northeast of the island. Limestone Coast has been sculpted by the waves, forming a sort of natural arch, so "hole blower." Nothing to swoon, but you can explore the cave where the sea is calm.


At first glance, nothing here will remember the Caribbean postcard: no mountains, but large tracts bush, no sugar cane field either, but herds of sheep, goats and donkeys returned to the wild. The roads are missing, the means also, and therein lies part of the charm of Barbuda. The island, one of the most authentic Caribbean, in a single village, Codrington, crushed sun and tormented by mosquitoes at night, bringing along its dirt roads almost all the 1500 inhabitants of the island .

It is a base from which to explore the next day the immense deserted beaches of white sand and pink, then the reserve frigates occupying an island surrounded by mangroves north of the great Codrington Lagoon. Access is possible only by boat. We would be tempted to recommend an inflatable kayak (bring) to go by yourself and take your time.

On site, depending on the season, there are a few tens or hundreds of frigates, perched on shrubs or streaking the sky with their round. They are up to 5000 back to the late summer, just before the mating season begins. It is their largest colony after the Galápagos. Known for its excessive size - up to 2.30 meters - the frigate is so cut out for aerobatic flight and that his skeleton weighs less than its feathers! She is able to perform all sorts of aerial acrobatics, not disdaining, on occasion, steal their catch of other marine birds in flight ...

Engine off, one approaches the pole, between the mangrove bushes. The frigates are there: young of the previous year to brown wings, white head and beak bluish black female head and red legs, male to dress as black as soot. To scare the intruder or impress their mates, they greatly inflate the pocket of red skin on their throat (known as gular sac) in the manner of a balloon. The show is striking.
Otherwise, you will not have much else to do but swim, and take your time. Adventurers will explore the meager remains of ancient times, when Barbuda, under the control of Codrington, was both the pantry and a "breeding" of slaves to the cane fields of Antigua. On the agenda: the ruins of Highland House, the home of family plantation, perched on the hills, and the Martello Tower in the south, where security guards inspected the sea in the hope that it spits out a wreck on the rocks to loot ...

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