The island of Antigua; Shirley Heights. Photo by Rick Jamison

Italy to Antigua: #1 Ultimate Travel Guide

With the beauty, Italy has to offer, every street engraved with history, and enough sandy shores for every day of the week, it takes something special to draw out the Italian natives and we can only think of one place: Antigua.

Antigua is the place the heart longs for. We are not only talking about the alluring beaches or tourist spots fit for the adrenaline junkie. You may visit Antigua to flee from the blistering cold, but on this island, you will be met with arenas of history, invited to explore the wonders of culture and explore gastronomy at its best. All this on a 281 km² piece of bliss.

With relaxed Covid-19 restrictions, it has never been a better time to see this island.

And if you are wondering what to include on your itinerary and where to eat, this ultimate guide from Italy to Antigua will tell everything you need to know about this twin island.

7 Fun Facts About Antigua

  1. The Island is called Waladli by its native people and the word translated means “our land”
  2. Antigua has 365 beaches, one for each day
  3. The total population of the island and its sister island are under 100 000. As of 2021, twin country had a total population of 98 000
  4. It is among the smallest countries in the world by size.
  5. The highest point on the island used to called Mount Obama
  6. The Eastern Caribbean Dollar is the national currency, but some establishments will take the US dollar.
  7. People drive on the left side in Antigua

The History of the Island

Waladli has a vibrant history dating back 30 million years, at least according to its tourism site.

The island of Antigua was born out of the sea by a volcano about 30 million years ago.

visitantiguabarbuda.com

The island was colonized by English settlers from 1662 until the invasion of France in 1666. The island saw countless invasions from different groups during that time including from the Caribs, a group that settled in the West Indies. During its association with the United Kingdom, Antigua held a design competition for its flag. The flag which was adopted paid homage to its African ancestry.

It was not until November 1 1981 that the island became an independent nation.

National Flag of Antigua captured by Chris Robert

Where to Stay in Antigua

Petals Lovely Beach Villa

Beachfront apartment at its best. The Petals Lovely Villa is located 200m from Dickenson Bay Beach. And it provides all its visitors with a private beach, ocean views and a place to create lasting memories.

This is where you stay when you are after the island escape, but don’t have a budget to blow.

Cocobay Resort Antigua

Luxury and comfort for a pretty penny isare what Cocobay has to offer. This all-inclusive resort is nestled on a 10-acre piece of delight. While lounging at Cocobay, travelers can expect to enjoy the resort’s private beach, full spa service, and spacious pools.

Each balcony features an astounding view of either the beach or the luscious garden.

One thing travelers should note though is that this Cocobay is an adult-only resort.

St. James’ Club Resort

Fun for the whole family is at the center of this resort’s design. Arriving at St. James’ Club Resort, you can expect to be welcomed by a great expanse of beach, pristine waters, and a whole lot of palm trees.

An unquenchable desire to see the rest of this small island is the sole reason you would want to wander off this Caribbean resort.

Things to Do

Other than its countless beaches, Antigua is filled with so much to do. There is something for the adventurous traveler and still something for those looking to enjoy a laid-back holiday.

For the adventurous at heart, we suggest trying these two:

Devil’s Bridge

This is a thrilling sight to behold. As you stand on nature’s bridge, below you you can notice waves crashing and a particularly strong current. Please don’t try to jump in for a dive or even a swim, these waves are dangerous and the current below is merciless.

Devil’s Bridge. Photo by
Martin Hayes

Hiking Up Signal Hill

If an hour’s hike is the best way to spend your morning, then you cannot miss a hike to Signal Hill. Once you get to the top of this hill, you will see some of the most picturesque views including the sights of Guadeloupe and Montserrat.

But be sure to have 10 USD in hand for an entrance into the Walling Nature Reserve where the hill is.

However if you are looking for land-back moments, there we suggest these:

Touring St. John

St. John is the capital of Antigua and it is filled with history and culture. This is where you go to mingle with the locals. You can walk the streets, enjoy some drinks at the local cafe or even buy some fruit from some street vendors.

Sunset Watching on Shirley Heights

Drive up to this peak point and enjoy a beautiful sunset. From Shirley Heights, you can see and enjoy views of most of the islands. But for something spectacular, wait till it is nighttime and see as lights engulf the island.

Shirley Heights Antigua. Picture by Rick Jamison

You can also enjoy a music and BBQ party held by islanders while up there.

What to Pack

When it comes to what to prepare for your island escape, there is no getting around light fabrics, sunscreen, and a good hat. But with a beach for every day of the year, don’t forget your swimwear, beach towel, and backpack. Antigua is also among the most sustainable islands in the Caribbean and has perfectly clean tap water. We would advise you to pack your water bottle and refill it on the island. Plastic, including plastic bottle, are frowned upon on this island.

If you are looking for a place to restock, checkout our store.

Where to Eat in Antigua

Antigua is regarded as a foodie state for its exquisite food culture. You can eat your way through this island and still not get tired. But if you are visiting for only a couple of days, here are a few must-try hotspots including our favorite dishes at each restaurant.

Ana’s Restaurant & Art Gallery:

While here, try the Venetian Soup. This dish brings a seafood excursion to your place. We are talking shrimp, fish, calamari, and mussels served in broth.

Al Porto

Here any Italian will feel right at home. This harbor restaurant serves classic Italian dishes like pizzas and homemade pasta. Must try dish here is the spaghetti vongole.

Spaghetti Vongole. Picture from Tripadvisor

Ready For an Antigua Adventure?

This small island nestled in the Caribbean is a definite must-visit for every Italian. Once you land in Antigua, you will know you are in for an adventure of a lifetime.

If you are looking to learn more about the Caribbean pop culture, tune in to our podcast.

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