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Escape the chill with Royal Caribbean: Antigua

By HarryTuesday 05th January 2016

Try snorkelling in Antigua’s beautiful waters. Try snorkelling in Antigua’s beautiful waters.

Do you spend the winter months dreaming of sunny weather and sandy beaches, wishing you were sipping on a cocktail in a far off place? This winter, Royal Caribbean can help. We’re taking our readers (this means you!) on a journey through the Caribbean, from Mexico’s Mayan ruins to Jamaica’s Dolphin Cove, to escape the wintery chill and show you some of the unforgettable experiences on offer.

In this blog post, the third in our series, we’re exploring beautiful Antigua.

Quick facts 

  • Antigua is one of two islands that make up the country, Antigua and Barbuda.
  • Antigua has an estimated population of just over 80,000.
  • The capital of Antigua is St. John’s.
  • Antigua’s national sea creature is the Hawksbill turtle.

Attractions

If you’re planning a trip to Antigua, you’ve got to try out these attractions:
  • St. John’s Saturday morning market – Spend your Saturday morning the Antiguan way, at the capital’s weekly market. Here you’ll find locally crafted goods, unique trinkets, fragrant spice stalls and vendors serving delicious food. It’s a great place to pick up a few gifts for loved ones back home. Bartering is part of the morning market experience, so get in to the Antiguan spirit with a bit of haggling.
  • Devil’s Bridge – Just outside of Willikies, a small village in Antigua’s east, is a natural phenomenon that will take your breath away: Devil’s Bridge. Formed over hundreds of thousands of years, from the gradual wearing of the coast’s limestone rock formations, this natural bridge stretches out over the water and is surrounded by blowholes which shoot water up into the air.
  • Nelson’s Dockyard National Park – Nelson’s Dockyard is the largest of all Antigua’s national parks, and it contains several sights of cultural importance. Visitors can enjoy the dockyard itself, which is still in use today, as well as the beautiful Clarence House and the Shirley Heights lookout point. There’s so much to see and do here that you could easily spend a day (or two) exploring.
Our helicopter tour will take you high over Montserrat’s Soufriere Hills Volcano. Our helicopter tour will take you high over Montserrat’s Soufriere Hills Volcano.

Beaches

Don’t forget to pack your swimwear; Antigua has some beautiful beaches. Here are two of our favourites:
  • Dickenson Bay – Dickenson Bay is your typical Caribbean beach, with its plentiful white sands and bright blue waters surrounded by lush green palm trees. There’s lots to do on this beach, including water sports and glass-bottomed boat rides, and there’s a bar offering welcome refreshments.
  • Half Moon Bay – For a beach that’s a little quieter, try Half Moon Bay. Boasting pink-tinged sand, this beach is free from organised water sports, rented sun loungers and bars, unlike many of Antigua’s other beaches. It’s a great place for families with young children looking to escape the crowds.

Food and drinks

When it comes to food and drinks in Antigua, you have to be a bit adventurous. Whet your appetite with these two:
  • Fungi – Fungi (or fungie) is Antigua and Barbuda’s national dish, so you’re likely to see it on most menus. It’s made from cornmeal, which is cooked with water, butter and seasoning to form a paste. It is often served alongside okra or other vegetables.
  • Tamarind juice – Tamarind can be found growing all over the Caribbean, which is why it’s featured in many dishes and drinks. To make the juice, tamarind pulp is mixed with water, sugar, vanilla essence and bitters. The result is a sweet sour drink that is both refreshing and delicious.

Shore excursions

We’ve got plenty of Antiguan shore excursions for you to choose from. Here are just two:    
  • Helicopter to Montserrat VolcanoNot far off Antigua’s southern coast is Montserrat, a small island famous for its active volcano. The Soufriere Hills Volcano was dormant for many years, but became active in 1995 resulting in the island’s ‘exclusion zone’. The only way to explore this part of the island is by helicopter. Our Montserrat helicopter tour will take you over the volcano, past what remains of the deserted capital city, ending with a bird’s eye view of your ship.
  • Kayak and Snorkel Eco AdventurePerfect for families of all ages, this score excursion will take you mangrove kayaking, motor boating, reef snorkelling and walking. You’ll get to explore the abundant marine life, as well as the different birds and animals that can be found on nearby Bird Island, a 20-acre islet. After all that excitement, you’ll be in need of some refreshment, which is exactly how your tour will end.

Did you know?

The world’s sweetest pineapple, the black pineapple, is grown in Antigua. Picturesque bay beaches are dotted along Antigua’s coastline. Picturesque bay beaches are dotted along Antigua’s coastline.

Antigua awaits…

Get there with Royal Caribbean. We cruise to amazing destinations all over the world, so what are you waiting for?

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