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The language is English and the US dollar is widely accepted.
Antigua means “ancient” in Spanish and the natives call it Waladli or Wadadli.
Christopher Columbus was the first European to visit Antigua in 1493. He called the island Antigua in honor of "Santa Maria de la Antigua", an icon in Seville’s Cathedral.
Antigua was home of some of the most gruesome mistreatment and murders of slaves in the 1700s. All existing slaves were emancipated in 1834.
Today, Antigua's economy is primarily reliant on tourism, and the island is typically promoted as a high-end and luxury Caribbean destination.
Our goal was to explore St. John’s and hit a beach for sunbathing, swimming and snorkeling.
Short list of beaches for sunbathing and snorkeling: Darkwood Beach, Ffryes Beach, Dickenson Bay and Valley Church Beach
Antigua has some beautiful beaches, 365 to be exact. We wanted to sunbathe, swim and snorkel and thus we decided on Darkwood Beach as a good compromise of the three. I don’t think we could have gone wrong with either of the above three beaches.
Dickenson Bay is the most popular beach, but usually gets real busy and it is not known for good snorkeling. Click on the map below to go to google maps for more details.
Darkwood Beach was not very busy on the day we were there. You will see forested hills, sand and the ocean from the beach and only a few houses. There is a restaurant on the beach and an inflated water slide with a kids play area in the water, so I assume it will get busy at times. Snorkeling was best by the rocks to the South.
After relaxing at Darkwood Beach, we asked the taxi driver to drop us off at St. John’s Cathedral which dates back to 1847. The church is closed for renovation since 2016 and thus we could only see it from the outside and take a walk through the cemetery around the church.
Walking West on Long St., we passed the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda and got to Vendor’s Square near the post office and Heritage Quay for some souvenir shopping. Everyone who needs more shopping opportunities can go South to Redcliffe Quay.