As tempting as it may be, nobody should really spend all their days in an all-inclusive resort and Antigua has a lot to offer for those who make the effort. All of the resorts we have listed in Antigua will have guided tours on offer for all guests.
For those of you who would prefer to head out on your own, we’d recommend you hire a car, which again can be done from your resort. If that’s you then here’s a quick guide to some of our favorite things to see and do on the lovely island of Antigua.
Where is Antigua?
Antigua is located in the West Indies, in the eastern Caribbean, between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It is part of the Leeward Islands and is situated just 17 degrees north of the equator. The island is surrounded by neighboring vacation destinations such as St. Kitts, St. Barts, St. Martin, Montserrat, and Guadeloupe.
How to Get to Antigua
It’s been a popular destination now for decades so getting to Antigua from the US and Canada is easy. You have direct flights to Antigua’s V.C. Bird International Airport from most major cities.
When is the Best Time to Visit Antigua?
Antigua enjoys a warm and sunny climate year-round, making it an ideal destination for beach lovers. The best time to visit is during the dry season, which runs from mid-December to mid-April.
During this time, temperatures are pleasant and rainfall is minimal. It is also the peak tourist season, so expect higher prices and more crowds.
If you prefer to avoid the crowds, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons of May to November, when rates are lower, and the island is less crowded.
However, keep in mind that this period is also the hurricane season, so be sure to check weather forecasts and consider travel insurance.
Best Things to Do in Antigua
Hit the Beach
With 365 beaches to choose from, Antigua is a beach lover’s paradise. Each beach offers its own unique charm, from powdery white sand to calm turquoise waters. The most popular beaches include Jolly Beach, Dickenson Bay, Pigeon Point Beach, and Half Moon Bay.
Visit Nelson’s Dockyard
Nelson’s Dockyard is a must-visit attraction for history buffs and sailing enthusiasts. This UNESCO World Heritage site was once a naval base and is now home to a museum, luxury hotels, shops, and restaurants.
Explore the restored 18th and 19th-century buildings, learn about the island’s maritime history, and enjoy stunning views of English Harbour.
Explore Antigua’s Not-So-Sweet Past
Antigua has a dark past tied to the sugar industry and slavery. To understand the island’s history, visit Betty’s Hope, a former sugar plantation. Explore the restored windmills, learn about the harsh realities of slavery, and gain a deeper understanding of Antigua’s cultural heritage.
Get a Taste of the Real Antigua at the Market
Immerse yourself in the local culture by visiting the Heritage Market in St. John’s. Here, you’ll find an array of fresh produce, including exotic fruits, spices, and local delicacies. Sample Antigua’s famous tiny pineapples, indulge in mangoes and avocados, and experience the vibrant atmosphere of this bustling market.
Explore Antigua’s Colorful Capital
St. John’s, the capital of Antigua, is a colorful and vibrant city worth exploring. Take a stroll through the streets adorned with brightly painted buildings, visit historic landmarks such as St. John’s Cathedral and the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda, and soak up the lively atmosphere of this quintessentially Caribbean capital.
Views, Views, Views (and Party) at Shirley Heights
For breathtaking views of English Harbour and Falmouth Harbour, head to Shirley Heights. This lookout point offers panoramic vistas that are particularly stunning at sunset.
On Sundays, Shirley Heights comes alive with live music, barbecues, and a lively party atmosphere. Enjoy the reggae beats, indulge in delicious food and drink, and dance the night away.
Go Snorkeling and Diving in Antigua
Antigua’s crystal-clear waters provide excellent opportunities for snorkeling and diving. Explore vibrant coral reefs, encounter colorful fish, and discover underwater caves and shipwrecks.
Popular diving spots include Jettias Wreck, Pillars of Hercules, and Mary Kay Reef. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced diver, Antigua offers an unforgettable underwater adventure.
Go Ziplining in Antigua
For an adrenaline-filled experience, embark on a ziplining adventure in Antigua’s rainforest. Zip through the treetops, take in the stunning views, and experience a thrilling rush of excitement.
Antigua Rainforest Zipline Tours offers exhilarating zipline experiences suitable for all ages and skill levels.
Get Out on the Water
Sailing is a popular activity in Antigua, and there are plenty of opportunities to get out on the water. Rent a sailboat, join a day-long sailing excursion, or even take weeklong sailing classes to learn the art of sailing. Explore the coastline, visit hidden coves, and enjoy the freedom of the open sea.
Check Out Devil’s Bridge
Devil’s Bridge is a natural limestone arch located on the eastern coast of Antigua. It is a popular tourist attraction due to its unique geological formation and the dramatic waves crashing against the rocks.
Take a stroll along the coastal path, marvel at the natural beauty, and capture stunning photos of this natural wonder.
Experience Antigua’s Carnival
If you’re lucky enough to visit Antigua during its carnival season, you’re in for a treat. Antigua’s carnival is a vibrant and colorful celebration of music, dance, and Caribbean culture. Join in the festivities, witness dazzling costumes, and dance to the infectious rhythms of soca and calypso music.
Go Kayaking in Antigua
Discover the island’s mangroves and coastal ecosystems by kayaking through the serene waters. Paddle through mangrove-lined channels, observe marine life, and explore hidden lagoons. Kayaking tours are available, providing a unique and eco-friendly way to experience Antigua’s natural beauty.
Go Hiking in Antigua
For nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, Antigua offers plenty of hiking trails to explore. Trek through lush rainforests, discover hidden waterfalls, and spot exotic birds and wildlife. Popular hiking spots include Fig Tree Drive, Wallings Nature Reserve, and Signal Hill Trail.
Take a Trip to Barbuda
Barbuda, Antigua’s sister island, is just a short flight or boat ride away. Known for its pink and white sand beaches, Barbuda offers a more secluded and untouched experience.
Explore the Frigate Bird Sanctuary, visit the famous Pink Sand Beach, and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of this pristine island.
What To Eat and Drink in Antigua
No visit to Antigua is complete without indulging in the local cuisine. Antiguan cuisine is a fusion of African, Caribbean, and European flavors, resulting in a unique and delicious culinary experience.
Don’t miss the opportunity to try traditional dishes such as saltfish and chop-up (a hearty stew), pepperpot (a spicy meat stew), and conch fritters. Wash it all down with a refreshing rum punch or a locally brewed Wadadli beer.
Best Restaurants and Bars in Antigua
Antigua is home to a vibrant dining scene, offering a wide range of culinary options to suit every palate. From beachside shacks serving fresh seafood to upscale restaurants offering international cuisine, there’s something for everyone.
Some popular dining spots include Sheer Rocks, Catherine’s Café, and Hemingway’s Caribbean Café. But don’t forget to sample the street food and local delicacies at the above-mentioned Heritage Market.
And Don’t Forget!
- Antigua is known for its annual events, such as Antigua Sailing Week, Carnival, and the Antigua Charter Yacht Show. Check the calendar of events before your visit to see if there are any festivals or events happening during your stay.
- Don’t forget to pack sunscreen, a hat, and insect repellent when visiting Antigua. The sun can be strong, and mosquitoes can be prevalent, especially during the rainy season.
- It’s always a good idea to have travel insurance when visiting any destination, especially during hurricane season. Check with your insurance provider to ensure you have adequate coverage.