Tourists and anyone interested in immersing themselves in nature should never miss out on the opportunity to explore the natural attractions Antigua and Barbuda has to offer. With its numerous beaches, lagoons, harbors, reefs, mountains, hills, and volcanoes, it is one of the best countries in the Caribbean to get up close and personal with nature.
Antigua and Barbuda is a paradise for ecotourists. If you are a nature-lover, staying here for a week or two won’t be enough; you may want to consider being a citizen of this splendid country for good.
You can be a legal citizen of this Caribbean nation by making an Antigua and Barbuda citizenship application. The Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by Investment Program is an excellent way to get a second passport, which is one of the most powerful in the world since it allows holders visa-free travel to over 150 jurisdictions.
When you have an Antigua and Barbuda passport, you can enjoy lifetime dual citizenship since you won’t be required to renounce your current nationality unless that is required in your home country. You can benefit from various tax benefits as well should you decide to become a resident on the island in the future.
Antigua and Barbuda’s Top Nature-Based Activities
Once you’re in Antigua and Barbuda, put these ecotourism experiences on top of your to-do list:
1. Swimming and snorkeling at Great Bird Island
If you want to explore Antigua’s off-the-beaten-track beaches, head to Great Bird Island first.
Great Bird Island is the biggest marine reserve in Antigua. It is found in the northeast part of the main island. Although it is a private area, it is open to the public.
The island has beautiful beaches with white sand and clear blue water. It is perfect for swimming and snorkeling since the corrals are teeming with different varieties of tropical fishes and other marine life.
While on the beach, you will also be amazed by the various species of birds you will see around.
Great Bird Island is also an excellent spot for hiking. While following the trail, which ends at the top of a hill overlooking the area, be on the lookout for an Antiguan racer, one of the rarest non-venomous snakes in the world.
This species is so rare that you can only find it in the Great Bird Island.
Other species you need to keep an eye out for while in the area are the near-threatened lizard Antiguan ameiva or the Antiguan ground lizard, brown pelicans, red-billed tropicbirds, and West Indian whistling ducks.
2. Swim with stingrays
If you can’t get enough of Antigua’s beautiful waters, the next best ecotourism spot to head to is Stingray City. Aside from taking a dip in the refreshing seawaters, you can get up close and personal with some gentle stingrays.
Stingray City is a stunning white sandbank with clear, blue waters, located about one mile offshore. It is the natural habitat of several stingrays, starfish, tropical fishes, corals, and other fascinating aquatic species.
Before going to Stingray City, you will receive a short lecture about these gentle sea creatures and tips on how to make the most out of your interaction with them. Once you are at the sandbank, you can stand or swim with the rays. You feed, touch, and play with them too.
After the encounter, you can explore the surrounding area by snorkeling. You won’t be disappointed by the coral reefs and colorful fishes you will encounter underwater.
3. Go hiking at Wallings Nature Reserve
The Wallings Nature Reserve, which is one of the largest national parks in Antigua and the first community-managed park in the country, is located in the John Hughes Village.
The park has several hiking trails, each one leading to an endpoint that overlooks fantastic views of Antigua and nearby islands. During your hike, you will see a variety of fascinating trees, 40 species spread across the reserve. These include the hog plum, sandbox, silk cotton, and the strangler fig tree.
The Wallings Nature Reserve is also home to different species of native and migratory birds. Some of the species you may see while hiking here are black whiskered vireo, collared pigeon, and West Indian Euphonia.
After reaching your destination, take the route that passes through the back of the reservoir, where you will see water diversion channels and sediment traps that will delight your eyes.
If you are hesitant about exploring the park alone or with your family, hire a guide to take you through your chosen hiking trail.
4. Visit the Devil’s Bridge National Park
Another national park in Antigua, the Devil’s Bridge National Park is a natural limestone rock arc. It was formed through millions of years from the Atlantic Ocean waves crashing into the east coast of Antigua.
The arc itself is a sight to see. It is one of the country’s natural wonders. Aside from this attraction, you will see a lot of geysers and blowholes around shooting high waters as the waves constantly hit the coastal rocks.
Additionally, Devil’s Bridge has an important cultural place in Antiguan history. The area is home to a prehistoric, Amerindian site, which suggests that primeval settlers may have settled here and used the area for fishing.
After visiting Devil’s Bridge National Park, drop by Long Bay Beach. This coastal area boasts of fine white sand and clear azure water, perfect for snorkeling and swimming.
5. Bird watching at the Codrington Lagoon National Park
If you love birds, you won’t be disappointed by the variety of avian species you will find in Barbuda.
The Frigate Bird Sanctuary, which is located in Codrington Lagoon National Park, Barbuda, is home to one of the world’s largest colonies of frigate birds. More than 2500 of these species live in this reserve.
Aside from frigate birds, there are other avian species found in the lagoon, which is also known for its mangrove forests. These include the Christmas birds, gulls, pelicans, terns, tropical mockingbirds, and the endangered West Indian whistling tree duck.
While you’re in Barbuda, go for a unique caving adventure at the Darby Sink Cave, a 70-feet deep and 300-feet wide sinkhole. Its tall palm trees, ferns, and lianas make it look like a mini-rainforest. Aside from the fascinating flora, you will also see different species of lizards, iguanas, hermit crabs, and other creatures.
Don’t forget to visit the Princess Diana Beach or River Beach, another spot worth visiting in Barbuda.
Aside from delighting your senses, you will experience various health benefits when you immerse yourself in nature regularly. As such, in addition to having a balanced diet, you will enjoy improved wellness when you engage in the activities these ecotourism spots offer.