Buckle up and get ready for an adventure like no other as we explore the mesmerizing natural beauty of Antigua through its scenic drives.
Picture azure waters glistening under the tropical sun and lush green hills stretching as far as the eye can see. From Fig Tree Drive’s enchanting rainforests and charming Antiguan villages to the coastal splendor from St. John’s to Dickenson Bay, where white sandy beaches and turquoise waters await, Antigua has it all.
So, roll down the windows, feel the salty sea breeze on your face, and join me on a journey through Antigua’s hidden gems and breathtaking vistas. Let’s hit the road and discover the island’s wonders together!
Coastal and Countryside Routes
The magic of Antigua unfolds before your eyes as you traverse the island’s enchanting coastal and countryside routes. From azure waters shimmering under the tropical sun to lush green hills rolling into the horizon, Antigua scenic drives offer a feast for the senses. One notable route to start your journey is the Fig Tree Drive, an engaging journey through rainforests, fruit orchards, and traditional Antiguan villages.
On the other hand, the Valley Road presents an entirely different, yet equally captivating, spectacle. This route winds its way along the southwestern coast, punctuated by sugar plantations that hark back to Antigua’s historical roots. Here, you can also experience local life, as the road takes you through bustling towns like Johnson’s Point and Urlings.
Meanwhile, those with a penchant for the beach life should set their GPS for the coastline-hugging drive from St. John’s to Dickenson Bay. This journey rewards drivers with stunning views of white sand beaches and turquoise waters, emblematic of the Caribbean. Drive slow, drop the windows, and let the salty sea breeze engulf you.
Lastly, don’t miss out on the rolling countryside vistas in Antigua’s interior. Consider taking a leisurely drive around the rural areas of All Saints and Liberta. These peaceful hamlets set against the backdrop of Mount Obama, the island’s highest point, offer a perfect escape from the usual tourist hustle.
Must-See Landmarks and Panoramic Views
No guide to Antigua scenic drives would be complete without a shout-out to the island’s array of stunning landmarks and viewpoints. Begin with Shirley Heights, which offers unparalleled views of English Harbour and Falmouth Harbour. On a clear day, you can even spot the distant island of Guadeloupe.
Following this, steer your way to Betty’s Hope, one of Antigua’s most historically significant sites. This former sugar plantation provides a unique glimpse into Antigua’s colonial past. You can spend a few hours exploring the restored windmills and museum before getting back on the road.
Half Moon Bay, located in the southeastern part of the island, is another stopover that’s worth a detour. This crescent-shaped bay, fringed by a beautiful beach, provides an ideal spot for a picnic or simply a refreshing dip in the sea. Don’t forget to capture some memories with your camera!
Finally, pay a visit to Devil’s Bridge, a natural limestone arch carved by the Atlantic waves. The surrounding area boasts a ruggedly beautiful landscape, sharply contrasting the serene beaches elsewhere on the island. Stick around for the spectacular spray as waves crash into the rocks – it’s a sight you won’t forget.
Driving Tips and Recommendations
Driving in Antigua is a pleasure in itself, but it’s essential to keep some tips in mind to ensure your journey is smooth and enjoyable. Remember that driving is on the left-hand side of the road here. It may take a little time to get used to this if you’re from a right-hand driving country.
Navigation can be a bit tricky as not all roads in Antigua are well-signposted. Consider getting a local SIM card for your smartphone and use GPS to guide you. Most importantly, familiarize yourself with local driving norms and speed limits. Antiguans value courteous driving, so be patient and respectful on the roads.
Lastly, weather plays a key role in shaping your driving experience. While Antigua enjoys fair weather for most of the year, the rainy season (generally from June to November) can make certain roads slippery. So, check the local weather forecast before setting out and adjust your plans accordingly.
Local Dining and Roadside Eateries
When exploring Antigua’s scenic drives, you’re bound to work up an appetite. Luckily, the island is peppered with eateries that offer mouthwatering local cuisine, providing an opportunity to not only satiate your hunger but also delve deeper into Antigua’s culture.
As you navigate Fig Tree Drive, don’t miss out on the chance to taste fresh tropical fruits right off the trees. Fruit stands line this route, offering an abundance of locally grown mangoes, pineapples, and guavas. If you’re lucky, you might even get to try the island’s national fruit, the Antigua Black Pineapple, known for its extraordinary sweetness.
A detour to the west coast will lead you to OJ’s Beach Bar and Restaurant, located near Crab Hill. With a menu brimming with local seafood, from conch to red snapper, coupled with the breathtaking view of the Caribbean Sea, it’s a worthy pit stop on your coastal drive. Pair your meal with a chilled glass of Ting, a local grapefruit soda, for an authentic Antiguan experience.
Inland, the road to All Saints and Liberta brings you closer to local cuisine with roadside BBQ stands. These unassuming spots serve up some of the best grilled chicken and pork, marinated in a mix of traditional Caribbean spices. Paired with a side of Johnny cakes (a type of fried bread) or fungi (a polenta-like dish), it’s a hearty meal that will fuel your journey through Antigua’s scenic drives.
Finally, no culinary road trip around Antigua would be complete without a visit to the island’s many rum shops. Whether you stop by the ones in St. John’s or English Harbour, these shops offer an extensive selection of Caribbean rums. Many also serve ‘goat water,’ a local stew, perfect for those wanting a truly immersive Antiguan culinary experience. Remember to enjoy responsibly and adhere to the local drinking and driving laws.
Can you drive around Antigua?
Antigua is easily navigable by car, making it a great destination for a road trip. The island has a well-maintained road network that connects its various towns, villages, and attractions. Driving around Antigua allows you the freedom to explore its scenic drives, coastal routes, and inland countryside at your own pace.
Can you drive around Antigua in a day?
While it is possible to drive around Antigua in a day, it is recommended to allocate more time to fully appreciate the island’s beauty and attractions. Antigua offers a diverse range of experiences, from stunning beaches to historic landmarks, and exploring it all in a single day might feel rushed. It’s best to plan for multiple days to soak in the sights, engage with the local culture, and savor the island’s natural wonders.
Do you need 4-wheel drive in Antigua?
In general, 4-wheel drive is not necessary for driving around Antigua. The island’s roads are mostly well-paved and accessible with a regular car. However, if you plan to venture off the beaten path and explore some of the more remote areas or unpaved trails, a 4-wheel drive vehicle may provide added traction and maneuverability. It is advisable to assess your intended routes and activities before deciding whether a 4-wheel drive vehicle is required for your specific itinerary.