Antigua for adventure

Think of Antigua, and you probably imagine lazy days on the beach, sipping sweet rum cocktails. But thrill-seekers needn’t fear getting bored — Antigua can offer more than a few ways to fill your days with adventure

Photo by Roddy Grimes-GraemePhoto courtesy Antigua Rainforest CompanyPhoto courtesy Stingray CityPhoto by Roger LewisPhoto courtesy Freestyle Tours

Let the wind take you

It’s probably the most daring of watersports, a cross between windsurfing, wakeboarding, and aerial acrobatics. Riding both the wind and the waves, kiteboarders use a large power kite to pull themselves across and occasionally above the open water, indulging a need for speed, a head for heights, and the skill of balance. Several companies — such as Kitesurf Antigua — offer lessons and rent equipment. Jabberwock Bay on the island’s north-eastern coast and Half Moon Bay in the south-east are both popular venues, with the Trade Winds blustering steadily off the Atlantic.

 

Take a giant leap

You can explore Antigua’s lush interior forests on a sedate hike — or pretend you’re part bird, and take the Antigua Rainforest Company’s zipline challenge, zooming over the treetops, securely strapped into your harness. The array of thirteen ziplines — including the so-called “Screamer,” three hundred feet up in the air — also boasts rope bridges, an obstacle course, and something called the “Leap of Faith.” And yes, after you’ve been there and done that, you can buy the commemorative t-shirt, for bragging rights.

 

Bask with the rays

Their very name has a tingle of danger and they look ominous, but stingrays have a docile and inquisitive nature that some describe as puppylike. You can experience it for yourself at Antigua’s Stingray City, where a population of Southern Rays inhabit a natural sandy pool surrounded by reefs — and like nothing better than to be fed by visiting humans. Trained guides keep a close eye on things, and will even help you set up a stingray selfie, to impress your friends back home.

 

Go up a creek

Antigua’s coast isn’t all golden and pink coral sand. The island’s mangrove swamps and forests — for instance, in the North Sound Marine Park — are both a crucial part of the natural ecosystem and a buffer zone protecting the island from storms and waves. They’re also an intriguing landscape for exploration by kayak or even pedalboat, as in this tour organised by South Coast Horizons. Navigating through narrow channels and around tiny islets, a wealth of wildlife reveals itself among the mangrove branches and exposed roots: birds above, crustaceans at water level, fish and turtles below.

 

Get off the road

On an all-terrain vehicle or ATV, you can literally leave the beaten track in your dust. Antigua’s rolling landscape and traditional cross-island trails are the perfect setting for an ATV adventure, especially in the company of a guide who knows the country inside out, like those at Free Style Tours. The ride’s the main attraction, but along the way you’ll learn interesting tidbits about Antigua’s geology, flora, fauna, and history — plus take in a few amazing views to make it all the more memorable.

 

Caribbean Airlines operates regular flights to V.C. Bird International Airport in Antigua from Trinidad, Barbados, and Jamaica, with connections to other Caribbean and North American destinations