Rear view of carefree woman in turquoise dress walking on a white sand beach, Barbuda, Antigua & Barbuda, Caribbean, West Indies

Editorial Team


Inspiration comes in many forms on the Caribbean islands of Antigua and Barbuda. For pop legends Duran Duran, it came while they were holidaying on Antigua, gazing across the azure sea. Their record company wanted a video for their latest single, Rio. They found a classic 1936 wooden yacht down at English Harbour, donned their Antony Price suits and set sail along the spectacular Antiguan coastline. The result? One of the most iconic music videos of the 1980s, the gold standard of the glamour of the time.


Actor Robert De Niro was similarly inspired when he sailed off the long, pristine beaches of Barbuda. The star of Raging Bull and Goodfellas was so taken by one stretch of sand that he insisted the captain drop anchor and let him wade ashore. Today, that spot is where you’ll find his restaurant – a Nobu no less – and arguably the hippest dining experience in the Caribbean.


But in Antigua and Barbuda, the beach is just the beginning. Sailing has been the lifeblood of the islands since the British established docks here in 1728 and built a trading hub. Now known as Nelson’s Dockyard, today its waters are alive with sleek, gorgeous yachts. If you’re feeling inspired, the National Sailing Academy on Falmouth Harbour teaches every child on the island to swim and sail and also offers sailing classes for visitors. Or you could treat yourself to a private charter from Nicholson Yacht Charters. They’ve been providing luxury yachts for charter since 1949.

Redcliffe Quay, St John's, Antigua
Redcliffe Quay, St John's, Antigua
Redcliffe Quay, St John's, Antigua
Redcliffe Quay, St John's, Antigua

The food in Antigua is fresh and fabulous too, zinging with local ingredients and flavours. Colourful markets, delicious walking tours of St John’s, home cooking experiences, beachside shack snacks and award-winning cuisines at upscale restaurants such as Cutie’s… you name it, these islands have got it.


And then there’s the rum. One of sour, two of sweet, three of strong, four of weak: the local rum punch in Antigua is a must-try. OJ’s Beach Bar & Restaurant on Crabb Hill lays claim to serving the most traditional punch, with batches hand-made three times a week following a secret family recipe. The rum punch at Sheer Rocks, a stunning clifftop bar at the Cocobay Resort, is easily the most Instagrammable. Or learn to make your own at Quin Farara’s, the oldest rum shack on the island, right in the heart of St John’s. Lisa Farara will give you the basics – her family has been importing rum into Antigua since the early 1900s. It’s up to you to give your rum punch its own personal twist.


You can’t help but be inspired by that most Caribbean of instruments, the steel pan. It’s the mainstay of Carnival, fish fries and sporting events on Antigua. Listen out for the legendary Hell’s Gate Steel Orchestra, based in St John’s. Founded in 1945, it’s the world’s oldest continuously operating steel band, with classes for beginners to experts on Saturdays. Yet even this traditional instrument has undergone something of a renaissance on Antigua, with young musicians such as Khan Cordice and Zahra Lake pushing it into more contemporary and sophisticated areas.

Dish with fresh lobster with rice and vegetables on wood table background, Caribbean

You’ll find inspiration too at Ras Freeman, a Rastafarian community set on an old slave plantation in the town of Liberta. They offer tours of their compound, tabernacle and kitchen, explaining age-old beliefs that are surprisingly in tune with the world’s new focus on wellness.


The pursuit of wellness has also inspired Carla Gonsalves-Barreiro from Paddling Duck Teas, who has created a range of herbal teas based on the traditional bush teas her grandmother made. The Antigua Vintage Tea House, high above Fig Tree Drive, is a great place to sample a brew. Or you could join local legend Vorn Johnson on one of his informative eco-hikes and he will point out all the ingredients growing right there in the wild.


You see, inspiration can be found everywhere on Antigua and Barbuda, and often in the most unlikely of places.


The question is, what will the islands inspire you to do?

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