With the impending reveal of the UK’s green list of countries for international travel, we’re all getting excited and making our predictions for where we think we’ll be hitching off too in the near future. Here at PTS, we’re taking an educated guess that a few of the Caribbean islands will make the green list. Specifically, Antigua and Barbuda. If our predictions prove correct (and we’re keeping our fingers crossed that they will), Antigua could be the perfect summer get-away. Do be mindful that May will be a very limited list, but with further updates in June and July, we are hopeful that Antigua and Barbuda will be included in the not too distant future.
Antigua and Barbuda Are Anticipating Summer Tourism
It’s not just us making this prediction, either. Joel Henry, the manager of the Antigua and Barbuda tourism authority, said, “Antigua’s probably got one of the highest vaccination rates in the Caribbean… and our cases are in single digits, so from our perspective just from looking at the data, Antigua is definitely one of the leading destinations in terms of infection rates and vaccinations, somewhat considered one of the safest travel destinations for this summer.”
Things are certainly looking optimistic for Antigua and Barbuda. Antigua is only a small island of 90,000 people, so not only are the potential risks lowered with the only direct flights coming from the US, UK, and Canada, but it is the perfect spot for the people looking for that “island feel”. They also have a great safety system in place through their certification programme. In their own words, the government, “inspects all excursion companies, so whether you’re going zip lining, or you’re going on a catamaran tour, even the taxi drivers have to do protocol training, all the hotels have to pass certification protocols… It just puts everybody in the same common space, to protect, not only the employees, but also people coming on holiday.” The islands now find themselves in a very advantageous position, with both a beautiful summer destination, and a well prepared and safety system that lends itself to reopening tourism. Joel Henry admits that as things stand, they are “just waiting for people to come on holiday.”
It is wonderful to see international destinations readying themselves for the flow of travel that we are all anticipating, and in the coming summer, a beautiful set of islands like Antigua and Barbuda seems like a spot of heaven for those yearning to get out of the UK again. In Antigua, they are doing all they can to keep everyone as safe as possible, and to make each traveller’s stay one they can relax in. They are communicating directly with the US, UK, and Canada, and those from higher risk countries will need to go through London for at least two weeks before getting to Antigua. Even then, every traveller will be required to do a health screening on arrival, ensuring the safety and peace of mind of the island’s inhabitants and tourists. This is, as Joel Henry said, one of the advantages of being a small island. The remote location of the Caribbean means that travellers are always being filtered through other countries, who each enact their own testing and tracking, which will further ensure the safety of residents and arrivals.
Combining the luxury of their 365 beaches, local seafood and beer, and short distances to all attractions, Antigua will also provide hotel testing when the traveller is ready to leave. This means that you can sink into your holiday and get your test right from your sunbed! With only a PCR test required to assure your stay in Antigua and Barbuda, and with so many activities and locations to enjoy, we could easily see travellers shrugging off the worries of COVID and enjoying a well-deserved break at their very own space in the sun.
Why Should You Visit Antigua and Barbuda?
Antigua and Barbuda has only become a more desirable and adventurous destination in recent years. With the restrictions limiting how many people can be indoors, they have embraced the beauty of the great island itself. You can have your meals on the beach by the restaurant, allowing you to enjoy your local seafood and beer whilst taking in the pink sun and cool breeze. A fire is set up on the beach in the evenings, and a local steel band provides music to entertain you, all whilst you indulge in some delicious, locally-sourced lobster.
You can also embrace local traditions by visiting the roadside stalls, where locals sell mouth-watering grilled chicken and lamb, as well as sweet, buttery corn. You can pick up a whole feast for the equivalent of around £2. The exchange rate being what it is, once you set down in Antigua, the local prices won’t drain your wallet. Without mass market tourist attractions, every aspect of this relaxing getaway pulls you into the local environment and transports you to another world, free of worries but chock full of beautiful scenery and adventure.
When asked to narrow the berth of activities to just the top three, Joel Henry immediately recommended us a day trip to Barbuda as his foremost suggestion. Taking a catamaran over to the small island allows you time to enjoy the gentle ocean and the enveloping scent of the sea, with reggae music for the hour trip. Once you arrive at Barbuda, you’ll find a blissful, Robinson-Crusoe-esque island, with caves to explore and the pink sun shining down on you. A whole day could be easily spent there!
Second on Joel’s list was Nelson’s Dockyard and English Harbour. Found at the southernmost point of the island, English Harbour offers a window into the history of the island, with a wealth of British colonial buildings, ample museums, and a large choice of hiking trails. Perhaps the most famous part of English Harbour is the aforementioned Nelson’s Dockyard. Originally used as a base of operations by the Royal Navy, Nelson’s Dockyard is a UNESCO world heritage site, and is named for the famous British Admiral, Horatio Nelson, who lived in the harbour from 1784 to 1787. Shirley Heights is another must see attraction in English Harbour. Originally built as military lookout and gun battery, its elevation of 150m offers incredible panoramic views across the entirety of English Harbour andthe surrounding landscape. English Harbour is easily reached by both taxi and local bus, with all corners of the island requiring no more than a 10-15 minute journey.
Rounding out our top three activities is a trip to any of the hundreds of beaches on Antigua alone. With the island at a consistent 27 degrees, and served by a cool sea breeze, there is never a day you can’t be spending on the beach! In Joel’s words, you can, “rent a car for a day, pack some beers in the trunk and head over to the beach with your family. You can do three to four beaches in a day. One end of Antigua to the other end is 4 miles… So you can do beach hopping for a couple of days.” With cars coisting just £50 for a day, it’s definitely a good option to round out the top three. Rest assured though, these are only a taste of the activities you can enjoy in this island paradise!
What If I Have Children?
At present, around 95% of the kids’ clubs are already open in Antigua. The two biggest hotels for families are The Verandah Resort and Spa, and the Royalton Antigua Resort and Spa, both of which offer a wealth of indoor and outdoor activities for your children to enjoy. There are also a range of excellent nanny services, so parents can relax as they please, knowing their children are in good hands. Whilst you enjoy a cocktail on the beach, your children could be enjoying water slides, swimming in the safe, shallow sea, or laughing and marvelling at the many stingrays that float leasurely around the resort. They can face paint, play tennis with the local kids, or even go for a little hike in the rain forest. Antigua is an excellent opportunity to embrace their surroundings and have a good time playing outdoors. With its high surfs, the Caribbean Sea is a safe paradise for them as well as for you!
Hoping To Get Married In Antigua and Barbuda?
With so many weddings being cancelled in the past year, there’s no destination as romantic to take your second chance as Antigua! We are, therefore, happy to announce that weddings are back up and running in Antigua, as well. Whilst there is a maximum limit of 25 persons for each wedding, this is where the restrictions end. You can get married on the beach, in your hotel, in a villa, or anywhere else your heart desires. You can even arrive in Antigua by two, be married by three, and then just relax on your honeymoon for the rest of the time! With Antigua being part of the commonwealth, there is also no need to worry about whether your wedding certificate will be valid when you return home.
When restrictions lift and international travel becomes open to the UK again, carving out your own space on a remote getaway like Antigua and Barbuda could be just the relaxing holiday you need. Whether you go alone, with your family or friends, or with a partner, you can claim your space in the sun and enjoy the break we’ve all been looking forward to over these stressful last twelve months! With the first green list for international travel set for announcement on Friday, now is the perfect time to start planning a summer flight from Gatwick or Heathrow to the Caribbean. Travel could be just what this country needs, and we’ve earned it!
To find out more about the Antigua and Barbuda, or to plan your future visit, please view Visit Antigua and Barbuda. To find out more about our suppliers, please visit our travel suppliers page. To ensure complete financial protection when booking your holiday, remember to check if your preferred travel company is a registered PTS member. If you would like the contact details for your most local PTS travel member, please contact our team on 0207 190 9988, or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you.