St. John’s

Sail Away

MSC Buon Gusto - - Contents -

The largest of the English-speak­ing Lee­ward Is­lands, Antigua is the big sis­ter in the twin is­land na­tion of Antigua and Bar­buda. Antigua is best known for its soft beaches, serene coves and ex­ten­sive coral reefs, but it is also a cru­cial his­tor­i­cal site, o er­ing a unique per­spec­tive on colo­nial life in the Caribbean.

The English set­tled on the is­land in 1632 but they were un­able to gain per­ma­nent con­trol un­til 1667, due to erce re­sis­tance from na­tive Carib In­di­ans and Dutch and French forces. By the 1800s, Antigua was a lead­ing pro­ducer of su­gar cane and a thriv­ing port, earn­ing it the nick­name “Gate­way to the Caribbean.”

Today the steady trade winds that drew Bri­tish naval ves­sels to Antigua fuel the is­land’s most pop­u­lar pas­time, sail­ing. Antigua Sail­ing Week is a premier an­nual event that takes place in late April or early May, and is con­sid­ered to be one of the top three re­gat­tas in the world.

St. John’s, the cap­i­tal city, is home to the Cathe­dral of St. John the Di­vine, which dates back to the 17th cen­tury. It was re­built in

1845 af­ter the pre­vi­ous two in­car­na­tions were de­stroyed by a se­ries of earthquakes. Boast­ing in­tim­i­dat­ing white tow­ers and a frag­ile stone shell, this iconic church is cur­rently un­der­go­ing an ex­ten­sive restora­tion pro­ject.

Another An­tiguan gem, Nel­son’s Dock­yard, stands as a tes­ta­ment to 18th-cen­tury nau­ti­cal life. The dock­yard blends the old world with the new, show­cas­ing re­stored colo­nial ar­chi­tec­ture as well as a very mod­ern, pre­miere yacht­ing ma­rina. Be sure to visit the O cers’ Quar­ters which now hosts a gallery where lo­cal artists’ works are dis­played. For a more his­tor­i­cal mu­seum ex­pe­ri­ence, the Mu­seum of Antigua & Bar­buda is in the his­toric St. John’s Court House, which was built in 1750. The mu­seum’s ex­hibits trace the story of Antigua from its ge­o­log­i­cal birth to po­lit­i­cal in­de­pen­dence.

The coral reefs that once pro­tected Antigua from for­eign in­vaders now at­tract divers and snorkel­ers from all over the world. The pro­tected wa­ters of Long

Bay fea­ture many ex­clu­sive re­sorts for va­ca­tion­ers who want to swim among the is­land’s fa­mous fring­ing reefs.

Taste of St. John’s

A pop­u­lar dish in Antigua is Pep­per­pot Soup, a sa­vory blend of salt pork, onions, okra and hot pep­pers.

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