I have always loved the Caribbean and have been lucky enough to visit there many times on holiday but also in business especially when I was setting up new routes for British Airways in the 1990s like the Bahamas, Cayman Islands and Cuba.
My favourite island has to be Antigua as I first visited as a 22 year old to work in a hotel on the island for a season. The best place on the Island has to be Nelsons Dockyard which is a magical place with historic buildings. The Admirals Inn is a beautiful small hotel covered in Wisteria and serves up the best and most potent rum punches in the Caribbean.
Antigua lies low in the warm waters of the Caribbean warmed by the passing trade winds, the offshore clouds destined for Antigua's lusher, mountainous neighbours like St Lucia and Montserrat. This gentler, drier climate makes Antigua a sun worshipper's dream and with a beach for every day of the year, you are always just steps from a sun-drenched strand.
I have been to almost every Caribbean Island and have to say Antigua's beaches are some of the most beautiful in the Caribbean and with so many from which to choose, it's always possible to find an uncrowded spot to yourself - in general secluded beaches are more the norm than the exception. Popular hotels are set on the busier beaches such as those around St John's - Dickenson Bay, Runaway Bay and Jolly Beach - all vast swathes of dazzling white sands. Those seeking solitude should flee further south to Johnson's Point and Turner's Beach where the crystal clear waters teem with schools of rainbow-hued tropical fish.
Balmy starlit evenings and gentle breezes are the perfect accompaniment to Antigua's seafood and fresh deep-sea fish. Sample the local crayfish, pepperpot stews, tropical fruits and vegetables or simply relax with a refreshing local rum punch. Calypso barbecues, al fresco dinner dances and beach buffets are all on the menu with romantic wining and dining on ocean terraces a feature in many of the hotels.
Excellent snorkeling can be found along the entire fan-shaped northern crown of Antigua with one of the island's best snorkeling spots on Paradise Reef, a stunningly beautiful 1-mile coral garden just north of Dickenson Bay.
Close to St John's, the Five Islands peninsula is the site of Antigua's major hotel developments and although it's secluded and the sands unspoiled, the beaches can sometimes be crowded. The four beaches of the peninsula boast dazzling white sands, shimmering blue waters and coral reefs ideal for snorkeling and include Hawksbill Beach, Deep Bay and Galley Bay, also home to nesting sea turtles.
More about MartinMartin Lock worked for British Airways for over 20 years, loves travelling and has a great range of beautiful destinations featured on his new venture Silverhairs.com. Have a look at Silverhairs for blogs and Social Forums for the over 50s. Featuring a wide range of interesting articles, offers and discussions.
Silver Travel Advisor recommends Tropical Sky for Caribbean holidays.