I was destined to love Antigua. It is an island made for anyone to wants to both relax and explore. It’s very unspoiled, laid back, and welcoming! The beaches were some of the prettiest I’ve ever seen– especially the ones on the little islands that surround Antigua! We rented a jeep straight from the airport, and though the roads were a little difficult to navigate, it was so worth it to be able to explore the island and find all of the best spots! My family can’t sit still for long so we made the absolute most of our 10 days there…
WHERE I STAYED
We rented a villa at the Nonsuch Bay Resort and we were extremely satisfied with our time there! It was so luxurious to have the space of the villa– with a full kitchen, a wrap around deck, and bedrooms and bathrooms for my parents and my sister and me. The decor was very minimalist, clean, and simple which I also loved– is it just me or can sometimes island resorts get a little crazy with their island-inspired decor?! ha.
You can get the all-inclusive plan at the resort but we opted not to because we wanted to explore the other restaurants on the island (Nonsuch Bay only has one) and cook in our villa (by cook I mean we had cereal in the morning and macaroni late at night… #whenonvacation). In all I would say that the accommodations were top tier, the infinity pools on the property were stunning, and the staff was wonderful. They threw a New Year’s bash too and set off fireworks! We loved.
WHAT I DID
Hands down one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had. Basically you go in a motor boat out to a sandbar in the middle of the ocean which is surrounded by wild stingrays. Then you literally get in the water and swim around, play with them, and hug them! I have never met such friendly, sweet, soft creatures! The guides were beyond nice and made everyone in the water feel so comfortable getting to know the stingrays! This is my number one MUST DO of the trip.
We took a day trip on the Excellence catamaran to Barbuda. It took about an hour and a half to get there and it was not a smooth ride. If you get sea sick at all I would definitely recommend flying to Barbuda! Ha. But I absolutely love being on the water, so I spent most of the ride on the front deck getting soaked by the waves! The boat docked at one of the long empty beaches on Barbuda and we got off, explored, swam, and had lunch. We also took mini boat tours to see the population of frigate birds, which are extremely rare and fascinating birds. The mangroves right off of Barbuda have one of the largest populations of frigate birds in the world and they were SO COOL to see. There were thousands of them and we got up so close. Even if you’re not necessarily a nature love (ehem, me) it is still a MUST DO. Fun fact: Barbuda was Princess Diana’s favorite vacation spot, particularly because how private and untouched it is. I fell in love with it at first sight!
We took a little dingy from our resort over to Green Island, which was about a ten minute boat ride away. This is a small, peaceful island with gorgeous little beaches and prime snorkeling! You can spot tons of turtles there too which were adorable! This is a perfect afternoon excursion.
English Harbor is a natural harbor that was used as a major English port in the 18th century. It is now restored as a major historic district and is downright charming! Many of the island’s best restaurants are located here, along with some adorable boutiques, so it is definitely worth stopping by and walking around a few times!
Nonsuch Bay also has a widely accredited sailing school right on the property’s beach with all kinds of high end sailboats. I grew up sailing in the summer, so my sister and I took a boat out with one of the resort’s instructors (it was a big boat ha) and had a blast! We even sailed up close to the mega-yachts that were anchored off shore. Swoon.
We found this to be the most beautiful beach on the island! It is so long and pristine. The little cove by the jetty at the far end is less windy and is perfect for sunbathing. Also be sure to walk along the rocks there and find the mud in the cracks and rub it all over your body! It makes a perfect exfoliating mud mask after you bake in the sun and then rinse off in the ocean!
WHERE I ATE
We had dinner here one night and it epitomizes the historic yachty charm of English Harbor! Definitely on the fancier side and absolutely gorgeous at night– it’s right on the bay of the harbor and the atmosphere is just magical.
This is a beachside restaurant where you can also rent gorgeous (huge) lounge chairs/beds right on the beach! It has a vibrant, chic, and relaxed atmosphere that reminded me of St. Barths (kind of like Nikki Beach). The restaurant/bar serves delicious tropical drinks–they have one of the best mixologists in the Caribbean! Be sure to call ahead of time to reserve lounge chairs on the beach!
This was my favorite place that we ate. It is located off of English Harbor right on the beach. It has the coolest atmosphere (very #chic and also reminiscent of St. Barths) and a phenom cocktail menu. They have a live band, seating right on the beach, and an awesome menu. It’s the kind of place where you can bring a book or a deck of cards and sit there all afternoon! Also, be sure to stop into the two boutiques right outside of the restaurant– they have such gorgeous bohemian/island-y items!
This is an ideal spot, located in English Harbor, to grab sushi and a cocktail (my fave). We got takeout too which was delish!
This is a perfect casual family-friendly restaurant located right on the outskirts of English Harbor. The bars down the street from it (by the marina) were really fun and laid back too!
We had dinner here after our excursion to Barbuda because the boat we went on dropped off in St. John’s, where Hemmingway’s is located. It is a traditional, family-owned restaurant and we were very pleased with the seafood! Definitely one of the best, less touristy options in the town of St. John.
Now onto the pretty pictures!
Not going to lie, I wasn’t too thrilled about hopping on another plane after three months of traveling in Europe, until I saw the water…
The sailing school at Nonsuch Bay!
Um, hello paradise.
Cocktail sipping on Jacqui O’s beach!
Did I not say that Jacqui O’s was beyond cool? The decor… I mean…
Nobody likes a shady beach… 🙂
My go-to sandals from the trip touching down on Barbuda!
The unspoiled paradise of Barbuda.
The frigate birds!!! Their wing span reaches 6 feet and they blow out their bellies when they’re looking for a mate… no lie.
My favorite beach read from the trip. Seriously go buy this right now. It will change your life.
Caption says it all.
(btw, this bikini is perfect for snorkeling– or swimming with stingrays– because of it’s extra coverage!)
Kept my cool… !!!!
A little cove off on resort’s property.
Do not disturb.
If you read all of that you are a champion! Haha. Sorry for such a long post, there was just too much sunshine and goodness to share from this trip! I’m an island girl at heart:)
LMK if you have any questions about Antigua at all! Be sure to share this post with anyone you know who’s looking for a next vacation spot or who has been to Antigua before! Now here’s to counting down to spring break!!
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