The countryside of Antigua is very enchanting. There are many villages outside of the main capital of St. John's, and each community is unique and special in it's own way. Together, they combine to create dynamic landscapes and spectacular views which can only be appreciated during a leisurely drive. Even the locals love to absorb the beauty of their country, and many take Sunday afternoon drives with their family at least twice a month.
Old Road village is a very picturesque community, set amongst a lovely beach backdrop. There are countless tropical palms and towering coconut trees along the roadside, and many gravel footpaths from the main road will take you to small but pretty beaches along the indentured coast. The village itself has many old homes, which provide great photographic opportunities. These old structures are surrounded by more recent dwellings which gives visual proof to how time changes everything.
Another lovely beach village is Wilikies. Perched upon a hill, the village has breathtaking views on the Caribbean Sea. The road network is comprised of tiny winding streets, and many of the homes are constructed right next to the road. Needless to say, front lawns are not common in this village. The homes are very colourful, with brightly painted walls and red roofs. Wilikies is a prime example of what an old Caribbean village should look like.
Although Antigua is only 108 square miles, the landscape is anything but monotonous. During a drive through the countryside you will see fields of grass with farm animals grazing, ponds with wild ducks swimming, then suddenly, you're plunged into an area of green vegetation known as Fig Tree Drive. This part of Antigua, is what is known as the local rainforest. There are a wide spectrum of flora and fauna, and it's a real pleasure to behold.
Fig Tree drive received it's name due to the number of fig trees and banana trees which are grown along the roadside. Antigua has the perfect climate for the production of these fragile tropical trees which bears the favourite fruit of many. Although there is a large market for the product, planting fig trees is a very risky endeavour, as the trees are susceptible to wind damage. Antigua is usually in the paths of many hurricanes and tropical storms, and thousands of dollars are lost in agriculture with each passing force of nature.
Just as there are many older villages on the island, there are as many modern communities. English Harbour is so modernized, that locals tend to call it Antigua's second capital. The reason for this, is the numbers of yacht marinas located in the area. To accommodate the large numbers of visitors every month, there are many hotels, restaurants, bars, clubs and services such as banking in the village. There are lots of condos and villas dotting the hillsides of this community, and the lucky persons who stay there are definitely living in the lap of luxury.
Hodges Bay is another example of a modern community, but the main thing you notice as you drive through the village is the abundance of $$$. This is where many of the wealthy residents in Antigua reside, and it is glaringly obvious. From large outdoor swimming pools to the large iron gates of several gated communities, you are definitely not in 'Kansas' anymore. Expensive hotels, modern supermarkets, entertainment facilities and clubs have been constructed in the area over the past 3-4 years. Some of the best restaurants on the island are situated in Hodges Bay. Evidence of the countryside is still obvious however, as there are many grassy pastures and gorgeous hillside views in the environs.
The last thing you will expect after leaving Hodges Bay greets you a few minutes later, driving in a westerly direction. Mangrove swamps are the main attraction in the village of McKinnons, and the area is a great place for bird watching. The countryside of Antigua changes every 15 minutes while you're on a drive, and is definitely something to see for yourself during your visit.