As new destinations open to UK travellers for holidays in 2021, many of us are wondering what it’s like to go abroad at the moment.
But, we’re here to reassure you. With Antigua now added to the UK’s green list for travel, we’ve checked in with Marsha, from our office on the island, to see what you can expect on a holiday this year…
Can you travel to Antigua from the UK?
Hello and welcome from Antigua!
Antigua was added to the UK’s green list on 30 June 2021.
The island, meanwhile, has had its borders open for over a year, with V.C Bird International Airport accepting visitors since 1 June 2020.
What are the entry requirements for visiting Antigua?
To visit Antigua, everyone over 12 years of age needs to take a PCR test within seven days of your flight to the island.
You’ll also be required to complete a Health Declaration Form and be given a health screening on arrival – this will include a temperature check. If you do show any COVID-19 symptoms, you’ll be asked to isolate.
Remember, you’ll also have to follow the UK’s entry requirements on your return. For a green list destination like Antigua, this means you don’t have to isolate and will only take a PCR test on your second day home.
Related: Our guide to the traffic light system for travel.
What’s it like to arrive into Antigua’s airport?
Flying into the airport may feel a little different, but it’s running very efficiently. International flights are starting to increase, so things are getting busier.
There’s a VIP meet and greet service being run by the Antigua and Barbuda Airport Authority. We highly reccommend this to avoid any long queues at the airport.
On arrival, you’ll be met by a representative at the exit of the jet bridge, who’ll be holding a sign with your name on.
You’ll then be given a white fast track card to clear immigration and will be met again in the baggage reclaim area. You’ll then proceed through customs.
A representative for Inspiring Travel Company will then meet you and will assist you with your onward transfer to your hotel.
What’s life like in Antigua at the moment?
Antiguan life has changed a lot during COVID-19, but now we’re well on the way to seeing some normalcy.
Restaurants and bars have re-opened until 11pm daily. You’ll need to sanitise your hands and wear a face mask to enter, though you can remove it once you’re seated. Friends and family can also enjoy a drink or two in public when keeping a safe social distance.
Nelson’s Dockyard historic site, which is in English Harbour, still has a few daily arrivals so you can head down to explore if you wish.
The beloved Shirley Heights Lookout Sunday party is beginning to re-open too, so you can reserve a seat at the barbecues on Thursdays and Sundays. While live music and dancing are yet to return, the atmopshere is still lovely, as are the views over neighbouring islands.
You can still book excursions, with boat tours available for those who visit, though a smaller number of guests can be taken at one time. Changes to the island are coming day by day, so we expect more to be on offer soon.
Can we still visit the famous 365 beaches on the island?
Yes! All beaches are open, except for bank holidays. The beach bars are also open again, with some COVID protocols in place to keep visitors safe.
Face masks are still required in all public spaces, which includes beaches. However, once you’re seated at your sun lounger, keeping a safe social distance, you can remove it. You can also take it off to swim in the water.
Where do you recommend visiting in Antigua right now?
There’s still plenty to see and do on the beautiful island of Antigua!
Nobu in Barbuda, the hottest new restaurant in the Caribbean, is now open. If the name wasn’t enough to excite you, the fact that it is actually owned by Robert De Niro might! You can reach it by boat or by helicopter from Antigua, and savour Persian food with a Caribbean twist.
The fantastic Sheer Rocks is also open. Perched atop a rocky cliff at Cocobay Resort, in the centre of Antigua’s gorgeous west coast, this restaurant is surrounded by stunning scenery. Many people are already visiting to lounge in the sun and enjoy the tapas or a cocktail at sunset.
Then there is Catherine’s Café. Nestled in lush greenery and orchids, it’s still an idyllic spot for lunch or fine dining on the beach.
Most restaurants have been busy, as locals head out to experience a sense of normalcy again. With international flights on the rise, we expect to see more tables filling up.
Don’t forget, the beaches are as stunning as ever, too! Pigeon Point, Darkwood Beach and Half Moon Bay are some of my favourites and are still perfect for a relaxing holiday.
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