Prince Harry’s Caribbean tour is well underway, we discover Antigua, the Prince’s first stop
Celebrating 35 years of independence, it is home to enough beaches of turquoise water for every day of the year. Inland, it is lush with deep green palms that stretch all the way down to the coast.
In the towns, it’s a lively affair with reggae and calypso emanating from the shops and bars. And did I mention that it’s 27ºC all year round? You can begin to see the attraction.
SUITE DREAMS The Ocean Point Resort & Spa is centrally located in the capital city St John’s. Pretty, brightly painted bungalows are set around three small but lovely private beaches. Rooms are almost Mediterranean in style with lots of yellows and terracottas. Diamond-shaped patterns in blue and white extend to linen, curtains and cushions.
Most rooms overlook private gardens or the sea.
SURF & TURF Get a real appreciation of the island by taking a tour.
Begin on the water where you’ll sail past hills dotted with fruit trees and past gullies lined with coconut palms. Drop anchor by Devil’s Bridge where you’ll see the natural seawater erosion of the white limestone.
Also from the water, you’ll get a sneak peak into the homes of the rich and famous such as rock star Eric Clapton and former prime minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi. After all that, head to uninhabited Green Island where you can snorkel and imagine you’re Robinson Crusoe.
The taste of the island extends to food served onboard too; you’ll enjoy a lunch of barbecued chicken, fi sh and salad and vegetables.
All is washed down with homemade rum punch served up by entertaining staff. Get up close to a stingray at the imaginatively-named Stingray City. Under guidance, and with a little reassurance, you’ll be taken out to the reef where you can swim among them.
They feed by sucking the food out of your loosely-cupped fist, not unlike a vacuum cleaner. They are rather friendly as they are used to humans. Choosing the best beach is no mean feat here but the all round family favourite is Jolly Beach which offers a mile-long array of sporting activities such as windsurfing, snorkelling and kayaking.
Cherry meets a stingray
FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD The Antiguans don’t cook with a lot of spice but with the subtle use of seasonings and salts so the natural flavours come to the fore.
An example can be found at Hemingways, a colonialstyle open air affair painted in white and pale green, which serves plenty of fish dishes such as curry shrimp and grilled rock lobster.
Jolly Harbour and Jolly Beach
A spicier menu can be found at Miracles on the south coast. Prickly Pear Beach bar sits on a tiny island just off the coast. There are plenty of casual bites here such as barbecue chicken and sweetcorn.
GETTING THERE Expedia (0330 123 1235/expedia.co.uk) offers seven nights at Ocean Point in Antigua from £959pp (two sharing), B&B. Price includes return flights from Gatwick. Antigua and Barbuda tourism: www.visitantiguabarbuda.com.