Antigua, the Rockstar’s retreat
What is it that attracts the rockstar element to the island of Antigua? Whether you’re a guitar god, an ex-Beatle, or even the founder of the Virgin Group, the chances are you’ve spent a considerable amount on Antigua and its neighbouring islands.
Certainly, the 365 pristine beaches and consistent sunshine will have something to do with this, but white sands and azure oceans are two-a-penny to the mega rich. In all likelihood, it probably has more to do with the exclusivity of the area.
Until recently getting to the islands of Antigua and Barbuda was prohibitively expensive, the likes of Keith Richards and Elton John had been guaranteed a modicum of privacy and an assured escape from the prying lenses of the paparazzo.
This was until the recent arrival of low-cost airlines – Mr Branson, your cover has been well and truly blown. Anyone fancying a hint of the luxury life can now get there from the UK for a few hundred pounds, meaning your chances of running into a Rolling Stone on the beach just increased considerably.
Rent the rockstar mansion
Rather than squandering the money you’ve saved on a new wardrobe, why not pitch in with a few (100) friends and rent yourself a real rockstar mansion? Eric Clapton currently lets out his little chalet on the island’s south coast for a modest $50,000 per week.
In truth, Antigua’s biggest attraction is usually said to be the laidback and welcoming disposition of her people. With English considered the official language you should have no problem exploring or getting to grips with the local culture, should you choose to peel yourself from that beach towel.
Do a ‘Nicki Minaj‘
During July and August every year, the local carnival is a must-see - 10 straight days of music, dancing and body paint during which the island moves to a Calypso beat. The festival’s colourful history dates back to 1834, the year that saw the abolishment of slavery on Antigua, steel pan notes echo in the air and the spirit of emancipation is palpable.
Usually running along the north-west of the Island, the parade route ends at ‘Carnival City’. A recreation ground the rest of the year, the venue becomes a miniature festival during the annual carnival, as the carnival kings and queens collect, together with the crowds and fireworks mark the occasion.
Walk the plank
A rich maritime history literally litters the waters around the island, with shipwrecks and not to mention pirate’s treasure waiting to be discovered. This intriguing past, combined with a headache-inducing variety of sea life, makes Antigua a scuba must – even for first timers. The gentle waves in many of the islands coves and bays are the perfect spot for taking your first steps in flippers.
Rockstars have been returning year-after-year, not just for the beaches, but as Clapton put it when he opened the Crossroads Centre for drug rehabilitation in 1998, the “spiritual serenity…unique to Antigua”.
From December 2013, nab the chance to soak up Antigua’s calm, and live the life of an aging rock star. Now, where did I bury that $50,000…?
Flights from Manchester to Antigua in December 2013 start from £233.49, with Fly Thomas Cook.