Found on north-western Antigua island, the small parish of St Philip encompasses tranquillity with beauty. There is an abundance of hills and cliffs, each of which offers a tantalising opportunity for exploration and the natural splendour is such that it is said to have bewitched even Sir Richard Branson – if it gets his seal of approval, it most certainly gets ours.
With the climate as consistent as it is, given its proximity to the equator, you’ll find temperatures in the high-twenties, low-thirties no matter what time you visit Antigua. The island’s off-season lands in May through to November, owing to the slight threat of hurricanes. If you take advantage of this, you’ll enjoy lighter crowds and a heavier wallet. But if you don’t mind the crowds, and the hike in fees that accompanies the more settled weather, then you’ll encounter less rain between December and April.
If you’re in Antigua, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t allow time to head up Shirley Heights to drink in the stunning views and magical sunset. There’s even the weekly Sunday Sundowner party, which you should definitely check out.
The limestone arches of Devil’s Bridge are an excellent place to simply sit and watch the waves crashing over the rocks. And the Antigua Paddles kayaking and snorkelling trip is one of the best ways to learn about the marine life around the island.
Long Bay Beach is without doubt one of the finest beaches on the whole island (when there’s about 365 to chose from, that’s no mean feat). The sand is so white is appears bleached, and the sea so calm and turquoise you’ll confuse it for a desktop background.
There is also the opportunity to snorkel and scuba dive among the vast sea life found at the coral reef.
Local fare as fresh as it comes, and a taste of simple, home-grown life sprinkled on top, is what you can expect when visiting the fresh fruit, vegetable and drinks stalls of the Public Market Complex.
Or try one of the dozens of local eateries offering a real flavour of West Indian cuisine.
The popular rum bar Papa Zouk’s should be right at the top of your list, when party-time is concerned. Yes, you may be able to supplement your alcohol consumption with seafood offerings, but you don’t go to Papa Zouk’s to just grab a bite to eat.
When atop Shirley Heights, you’ll be able to per down onto English Harbour and Falmouth Harbour, which you may want to spend time visiting on their own. Or you could take a boat ride to visit the fascinating Bird Island.
A more solemn part of local history can be found at Devil’s Bridge where it is rumoured that, during the times of slavery, this was the site of mass suicides of slaves.
There’s a whole host of spots that would appeal to swimmers and snorkellers, and dive centres provide the chance to get up close to the local sea life and coral reef.
This being the West Indies, there’s no shortage of cricket on offer, so check out the lively ARG or the modern Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium.
Buses are available, and they’re the cheapest option, but with dependability being an issue, you should be wary. Taxis offer a more expensive but reliable alternative, or you could always rent a car and be your own travel guide.