In Horatio Nelson’s time, the safe harbors and protective reef that define Antigua’s 95 miles of coastline made for a great Caribbean base for the Royal Navy. Today, those same characteristics make the island ideal for a romantic getaway. The sailing is still fantastic, with consistent trade winds nearly all year round and Sailing Week a big draw in non-pandemic times. But those deep-set bays make for the perfect vantage point to take in the essence of the Caribbean: Brilliant blue water laps onto soft white sand and the coral reef beckons you out to see what’s beneath the surface.
If you’re so inclined, there are few places as suited to relaxing the day away as the breeze flows all around you and you bliss out on the view. Of course, if you’re feeling more adventurous, you can ride a zipline through a rainforest canopy, frolic with stingrays or try your hand at the West Indies’ favorite game, cricket.
Less than 30 miles to the north, Barbuda is a paradise for divers and birders with its shipwrecks on the reef and the Western Hemisphere’s frigate bird colony. While nearly all of Barbuda’s buildings were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Irma in 2017, most of the island’s small population has moved back after being evacuated to Antigua.
In Antigua’s “Green Corridor” stretch of lush rainforest and rolling hills, you’ll also see plenty of the most eye-catching blues you could ever hope to see in the turquoise waters and azure sky. You’ll also find secluded accommodations that blend in with the scenery and are tailor-made for relaxation. Nelson met his wife on neighboring Nevis, but the marriage ended disastrously. Antigua, meanwhile, offers all the romance you could ever want.
COVID entry protocol
All arriving passengers by air must have a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR (real time polymerase chain reaction) test for SARS-CoV-2 using a nasopharyngeal or oropharyngeal swab taken within seven (7) days of their flight. (This includes transiting passengers). Children below the age of 12 years, entering Antigua, DO NOT REQUIRE a COVID -19 RT-PCR test. Passengers arriving by sea are subject to quarantine according to guidelines issued by Port Health Authorities. All travellers are also subject to assessment by Port Health Authorities for signs and symptoms through a series of checks and the completion of a health declaration form on arrival.
Where you should stay
Catering to all manner of travelers, from couples seeking peace and quiet to families seeking together time, Carlisle Bay is stunning. Beyond its gorgeous beach, a backdrop of hills and rainforest frames this stylish resort.
Cosseted away at Hermitage Bay, this upscale colony of 30 suites discreetly spread over 17 acres of lush beachfront, you’ll forget all your cares and enjoy a host of all-inclusive amenities. The airy suites, built with sustainably harvested tropical woods, feature prime ocean views and a rustic charm, with outdoor showers, freestanding tubs, and canopy beds. Take a windsurfing lesson or a Hobie Cat ride out on the protected bay, then return to a feast of organic, locally sourced fare. The holistic spa offers Reiki, reflexology, and chakra-balancing treatments.
Jumby Bay Island
Named for the playful spirits believed to roam the West Indies, Jumby Bay Island is sure to enchant. Situated on a 300-acre private island with two white-sand beaches, the resort offers plenty of playful diversions, from snorkeling and sailboarding to biking and sunset cocktail cruises – all gratis. Choose from 28 oceanfront guest suites or 36 villas and Private Residences. Blending seamlessly into the island’s landscape are four restaurants: The Estate House, serving European classics with West Indian flair; the new beachfront Veranda restaurant and bar; the oceanfront Pool Grille; and the casually authentic Beach Shack.