Antigua and Barbuda

White, sandy beaches receding into the clear, warm water, the cool ocean wind in your eyes. Perhaps the quintessential example of a relaxing island retreat. That’s only half of the Caribbean, especially in Antigua and Barbuda. Known for its beautiful white sand beaches, Antigua and Barbuda is a popular vacation spot. We were in Antigua and Barbuda as part of a cruise through the Lesser Antilles. 

We started the day off on the cruise, where we took advantage of the free breakfasts and buffet. After having eaten, we exited the cruise, which was docked at St. John’s, and headed straight to the beach. Though it would’ve been feasible to use a cab, we decided to ride a bus instead to get the full local experience. Whether we got true local experience could be debated, since we were visiting a resort, but we did see a lot of Antigua and Barbuda. Like other island nations, Antigua and Barbuda is a laid back, relaxed yet vibrant nation, but the infrastructure is quite lacking. The reason for this is hurricanes. Antigua and Barbuda gets hit by hurricanes once every few years, yet the people stay positive, even giving us a seat when we couldn’t find one. It’s a testament to how quickly people can recover from disaster. 

After an approximate 40 minute  ride, we reached our destination, Dickenson Bay, a picture-perfect paradise beach. The glassy water crashed in light waves over the light, pillow-like sand. Perfect. We stayed there for most of the day. From 8:00 AM to around 3:00 PM, I made sandcastles, frolicked in the water, looked for seashells, walked across the coast, and even collected sand for my school, which has a collection of worldwide sand. 

The day would end soon though, and so we called a cab, and went back to central St. John’s. After that, we walked a few blocks, took photos at the V.C Bird monument, which commemorated Vere Cornwall Bird, the first Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda. We kept walking, until we reached an inconspicuous house. Interestingly, it was the cottage of Vivian Richards, one of the greatest cricketers of all time. We rang on the doorbell, and though Vivian Richards wasn’t there (incidentally, he was in India at the time), his half-brother was. He was very amicable, and even let us into their house. We spent around an hour talking to him about Vivian Richards’ childhood, and his rise from poverty. His major accomplishments include winning the Cricket World Cup for the West Indies, and becoming a national hero. He’s a truly inspirational figure.

After visiting Vivian Richard’s house, we went to the nearby markets, which cater to the locals. We returned to the ship in time for an early dinner. We had more countries to visit, and more memories to make. 

Tips: 

  • Public Transport: Use public transport, as it’s cheaper, and you can really get the local experience
  • Local Markets: If possible, visit the markets to better understand Caribbean culture, food, and way of life. 
  • Vivian Richard’s house: For any Richards fan, he lives in St. John’s. 
  • Beach: The beach is free, even though it is owned by a resort. When you’re at the beach, it’s a good idea to buy an umbrella to get out of the heat. 
  • Breakfast: Eat a heavy breakfast if you intend to visit Dickenson Bay, since it’s quite far from St. John’s. That way, you won’t have to eat a dine-in lunch, saving crucial time on a day trip.

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