Part of the eastern Caribbean’s Leeward Islands, Antigua was discovered and named by Christopher Columbus in 1493. The sun-soaked isle is small at just 108 square miles, but it boasts 365 beaches and crystal-clear water. History buffs will want to tour Nelson’s Dockyard National Park, where one of the great admirals of the 18th century kept his fleet. The UNESCO World Heritage Site has been continuously in operation since 1745 and displays a telescope once used by Nelson himself. Other visitors might opt to lounge on one of the white-sand beaches, partake in water sports or go for a horseback ride along the shore. Hike up to Shirley Heights, a restored military outlook and gun battery, for a bird’s-eye view of the harbors, or take a culinary tour to sample Caribbean classics like rum punch, jerk chicken and West Indian curry. The island draws a huge yachting crowd and is perfect for windsurfing, water skiing, sailing, snorkeling and diving.
Currency: East Caribbean dollar (XCD), US dollar (US$)