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5 Must-Visit Cultural Spots in Antigua and Barbuda

When you think of Antigua and Barbuda, there is a high likelihood that you think of sunshine, beaches and carefree living. This isn’t a wrong assumption because if there is any place that embraces the phrase, “Life’s a beach,” it is here.

However, there isn’t just fun in the sun to be had. There are also a deep culture and a rich history waiting to be discovered.

If you are planning a trip to this part of the world, read on for five must-visit cultural spots in Antigua and Barbuda.

1. Nelson’s Dockyard National Park

No trip to Antigua is complete without an afternoon spent at Nelson’s Dockyard National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in English Harbour. Named after Admiral Horatio Nelson, this beautiful dockyard (the only continuously functioning Georgian dockyard in the world) is home to businesses, hotels and shops and provides a stunning view over the waterfront.

While in the area, stop by The Dockyard Museum, which is located in the admiral’s former home and provides essential context for visitors to the island.

Elsewhere in Nelson’s Dockyard National Park is the 18th-century Clarence House (the official country residence for the Governors of Antigua and the Leeward Islands) and Shirley Heights Lookout (offering the best views of English and Falmouth Harbours).

2. Museum of Antigua and Barbuda

For history buffs who are looking to expand their knowledge of this country, spending a couple of hours in the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda is essential. The exhibits follow the history of the islands from their geological origins all the way through their obtaining political independence in 1981.

The museum is positioned in a beautiful 18th-century Courthouse in St. John’s and is a treat for all visitors.

3. Betty’s Hope

For those who want to understand more about the development of Antigua and Barbuda, some time must be dedicated to learning about the sugar industry. Dating from 1651, Betty’s Hope was one of the first sugar plantations on the island, and visitors can see the restored sugar mill towers and sails while learning about the plantation’s influence on the history of this nation.

This open-air museum does a fantastic job of explaining the sugar-making process while also providing visitors with the opportunity to gain insight into the difficulties of daily life on the plantation, where around 400 slaves lived and worked.

4. Fort James

You can find Fort James, an 18th-century bastion, in St. John. Built with the purpose of preventing intruders (particularly the French) from entering the country, the fort was constructed to guard St. John’s harbour. Today’s visitors are able to see the remainder of the original 36 cannons, a powder magazine and wall remnants, as well as an incredible view of the city.

After you have taken in sights at the Fort, head to nearby Fort James Beach for some relaxation in the sunshine.

5. Wallings Dam & Reservoir

One of the more off-the-beaten-track cultural sights in Antigua and Barbuda, the Wallings Dam & Reservoir was built by the British at around 1900 in order to supply water to the surrounding villages. Unfortunately, due to three years of drought, in 1912 it was drained and then reforested.

Visitors today are able to see the Victorian-style dam as well as a variety of plants and trees such as mahoe, ironwood, locust, mango, and white cedar.

For hiking enthusiasts, the Wallings Dam Trail provides plenty of excitement as well as peaceful tranquility and (for this reason) is popular with both local hike clubs and travelers. The adventurous types can opt to hike up Signal Hill and to secluded Rendezvous Bay.

With so many options for things to do in this country, it is no surprise that many visitors want to continue to return to the islands. By obtaining Antigua and Barbuda citizenship by investment, entrepreneurs and savvy business owners are able to profit from the abundance of benefits that this citizenship provides, including no capital gain or estate taxes, visa-free travel to more than 130 countries, and a stress-free lifestyle in one of the most comfortable climates in the world.

Have you ever considered getting Antigua residency or citizenship in other Caribbean countries? Why or why not? Let us know your thoughts and experiences regarding this topic in the comments below!

Kal Kennard is a Partner at Citizens International, a white-glove specialist firm offering private client services necessary for citizenship investment into the Caribbean. Based in the Caribbean for the past 15 years, she is an experienced consultant who works directly with many professional partners and advises clients worldwide.