Start the day with a $8 bacon and egg sandwich from the Dockyard Bakery inside the Nelson's Dockyard National Park.
A public minivan will take you to the Antiguan capital St John's for $3. While there, browse the market then stroll up to the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda (www.antiguamuseums.net, $4) for a trawl through history, stretching from early Amerindian inhabitants to Viv Richards' cricket bat via sugar plantations and slavery.
After a filling pork roti at Roti King on St Mary's Street ($9), get the bus back to Nelson's Dockyard ($3) and take a self-guided tour around the 18th- and 19th-century Georgian buildings once used by the British Navy to repair ships.
Eat a Vesuvius pizza at Le Cap Horn on Dockyard Drive ($19) then stay at modest-but-comfortable Antigua Yacht Club Marina Resort (www.aycmarina.com, $169).
TAKE IT EASY
Line the stomach with a $16 jerk chicken baguette at Copper and Lumber (www.copperandlumberhotel.com) in Nelson's Dockyard, then take a cab over to Jolly Harbour ($77 return) for a day circumnavigating the island on a specially designed speedboat.
Adventure Antigua (www.adventureantigua.com) runs $218 day trip including lunch on an offshore islet, snorkelling near the Pillars of Hercules cliffs and rum punches on a deserted beach that's only accessible by boat. But the highlight is Stingray City, a shallow patch of sea where dozens of friendly stingrays hang out, happy to be touched and fed by humans. Expect some bumpy, spray-inducing stunt driving on the way.
Stay in a seaview room at the historic and sensitively restored Admiral's Inn (www.admiralsantigua.com, $251) in Nelson's Dockyard. Buzzy dinner option Trappa's is a short walk away and serves cajun-spiced grouper for $27.
Breakfast, as with all other meals, comes as part of the package at the lavish all-inclusive Sandals Antigua Grande (www.sandals.com, $706). On the impeccable Dickenson Bay beach, it's a well-established honeymooners' favourite, with a choice of Caribbean-style or Mediterranean-style rooms and a restaurant selection that spans from English gastropub to Japanese.
Via the tour desk, book a morning helicopter flight ($379) out over nearby island Montserrat, which has been partially ravaged by a volcano. The flight heads over the ash fields and the former capital city, where rooftops and church spires peek Pompeii-like above the debris.
Later, head out on a deep sea fishing excursion ($320) with a professional fisherman who knows all the good spots to reel in blue marlin, wahoo and tuna. The trip is suitable for absolute beginners – the skipper will teach you how to use the rods and baits if needed.
The writer was a guest of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority (www.visitantiguabarbuda.com).