Step onto Antigua and play Robinson Crusoe, with 365 sweeping beaches – one for every day of the year. Soft white sands couple with cerulean skies, West Indian flavour meets British colonial charm, the clear Caribbean waters are perfect for swimming and the steady trade winds offer calm sailing across to sister island, Barbuda’s pink coral sands. What’s more, you can choose between some truly breath-taking hotels, including all-inclusive resorts, cosy boutique retreats and chic hideaways. Panoramic cliff top views, luxurious spas, sparkling pools, laid back beach dining and romantic sun-drenched terraces only add to the paradisiacal vibe.
Antigua Sailing Week brings world class racing and extravagant parties at the end of April and beginning of May, but year-round aquatic adventure means you can charter a yacht, swim, snorkel, kayak or windsurf any day of the week. The diving here is perhaps not for those looking to push the boundaries, but it’s a safe bet for beginners. Paradise Reef and Deep Bay are a snorkeler’s dream, and the latter is home to the Andes shipwreck, easily accessible with just a snorkel and flippers. Get out of the water and into a jeep for a rainforest tour, find out more about the island’s colonial history and naval heritage at Nelson’s Dockyard, or jump into a helicopter and take a flight over neighbouring Montserrat’s notorious volcano.
Back on solid ground, sun lovers will find dozens of deserted beaches. For dreamy sunsets get down to Darkwood Beach, and for pelican spotting head to Ffrye’s Bay. Dining can be sophisticated pan-Asian at the superb East at Carlisle Bay, or casual fresh fish and lobster at OJ’s at Johnson Point. To really hit it off with the locals, join a Saturday night street grill or head to Shirley Height’s famous Sunday night barbecue, when the whole island seems to come together and the old garrison reverberates to the rhythms of reggae, soca and calypso.