Experience Antigua and Barbuda
What brings visitors to Antigua and Barbuda?
Antigua and Barbuda offer some of the most stunning beaches in the world. Antigua proudly proclaims it has "a beach for everyday of the year," and Barbuda, Antigua's sleepy sister island, is also blessed with some beautiful soft sandy beaches speckled with elegant resorts.
Antigua is the bigger island of the two, which draws a majority of the visitors, and still you can do a round trip in about 2.5 hours by car. And although many people come to relax on the beaches, there is so much more here to occupy your time. The colorful capital of St. John’s is where you’ll find shopping, museums, and historical buildings. The island preserves its history as a strategic naval port, and animals lovers can swim with friendly stingrays. The Caribbean is really famous for their good rum, there is no way around a rum tasting. And the local markets are also a favorite activity by many visitors.
Peaceful Barbuda has less than two percent of the islands’ combined population. For the peaceful, nature seeking traveler, you’ll love the tranquility of this island. Both of these sun-soaked Caribbean islands offer an abundance of water sports; diving, swimming, fishing, sailing, and windsurfing are all popular, and golfers will find a couple of scenic courses on Antigua to enjoy.
Sightseeing: What is there to see in Antigua and Barbuda?
Antigua owes its name to Christopher Columbus, as he discovered the island in the late 15th century, and in 1662 it became a British colony. The rich history of the island is embodied in its priceless historical monuments, which are must see for arriving travelers.
Along with numerous interesting attractions to explore, Antigua offers a well-developed tourist infrastructure. You’ll find everything you need for a fantastic visit including chic hotels and restaurants to stylish nightclubs and casinos.
Make sure to visit the capital city St John’s, one of the smallest capitals of the state in the world. It is dotted with weathered wooden houses with corrugated iron roofs and louvered verandas. Tourists migrate to the Redcliffe Quay area and the Heritage Quay complex. Most of the buildings have been restored, but there are also some picturesque abandoned mansions. The historic district in St. John’s is where the St. John’s Cathedral is located - a must visit. In the same area of the church there is the old cemetery, which is also of great historical value. Guests of the capital should pay a visit to the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda housed in a beautiful colonial building. Other monuments of the colonial era are found along Long Street. The capital city also offers numerous shops and restaurants.
The Saturday Morning Market in St. John's brings islanders together to sell colorful fruits, fragrant flowers, and handicrafts. One of the eastern Caribbean's biggest attractions, Nelson Dockyard's National Park, near English Harbour, is perfect for history and cinema buffs alike: Think 18th-century Pirates of the Caribbean. Follow Lookout Trail from English Harbour to Shirley Heights; its summit offers panoramic views of nearby Montserrat.
Barbuda Island is a giant coral reef. Only about 2% of the country’s population lives here, but one of the top beaches in the world is located here, Long Beach. The island consists mostly of limestone. It is especially famous for its caves. The most famous of these caves are located on Castle Hill and at Two Foot Bay. Scientists have found drawings dating back to pre-Columbian times in one of the ancient caves.
What can I do with kids in Antigua Island?
If you are visiting Antigua Island with your children, you’ll find plenty to do to keep them entertained. Stingray Island is a great place to get up close and personal with these amazing creatures. Experienced instructors will guide you into the world of stingrays, teach you how to behave with them, and to feed them. You can rent a boat and snorkel here as well.
A trip to Wadadli National Park is a must for all children who love animals and plants. Here you can discover the local flora and fauna, as well as hold and feed some of the animals. There is a 40-minute walking route in the park, along with a park restaurant.
Shirley Heights, also known as English Harbour, is a great place to bring children to enjoy the great views, experience an outdoor fish barbeque, and discover the War Museum. At Half Moon Bay there is jet ski riding or fishing, where you can catch a tuna, a barracuda, or a dorado. You can also take an excursion to Barbuda - a great change of scenery that offers cave exploration and breathtaking beaches.
Additionally, check out Fort James, Fort Barrington, Nelson's Dockyard, and Admiral's House Museum. Nelson’s Dockyard and Admiral’s House are directly related to Admiral Nelson – one of the most famous naval commanders of all times. D-Boat is also a fun excursion, it is a small boat where you can eat at a restaurant, enjoy the views of the island from the open sea, and go down the slides outside the boat.
What are the beaches like in Antigua?
There's a beach for every day of the year on the Caribbean island of Antigua, many of them stunning sugar-white strands protected by coral reefs.
Dickenson Bay, in the northwest, is a favorite for its wide strip of powder-soft sand and stunning turquoise waters, perfect for families with small children. There is a huge selection of different entertainment facilities nearby. Popular resorts are situated there too.
Not far from the capital there is the popular Fort James beach, which is where locals and tourists alike enjoy relaxing on the soft sand and the well-developed infrastructure here. It is perfect for families with children. Nearby is Deep Bay, offering a more relaxed atmosphere surrounded by natural sites.
Galley Bay is a popular beach for surfers. The winter months bring strong waves, optimal for surf training. Lovely Hawksbill Bay has four attractive sandy beaches, one of these is a nude beach. All four beaches are very calm, which brings many travelers with children to these beaches.
The south-west coast of Antigua offers more natural, wild beaches. One of the most popular beaches in this area is Fryes Bay. You won’t find any noisy entertainment places in this area, but for tranquility, solitude and relaxation, this is the part of the island to be. Nearby there is another stunning natural area, Darwood Beach.
Johnson’s Point, near Jolly Harbour, is where you’ll find more beautiful wild beaches. One of the most isolated of these beaches is Rendezvous Bay. The path to the bay is very long and a bit difficult to maneuver, it does not deter travelers from going. The most popular among the beaches is Doigs Beach, you can meet nature lovers there any time of the year.
Lastly, Pigeon Point is an amazing place that offers a romantic atmosphere. The eastern coast of the island is famous for its unique beaches; this is where Half Moon Bay can be found. It’s located in the national park, where guided tours are arranged. One of the best places for families with children is Long bay. This is one of the quietest beaches on the island where the gulf is protected by coral reefs, which makes it attractive for diving and snorkeling.
What is the cuisine like on Antigua Island?
The cuisine of Antigua, as any other island cuisine, has a variety of fish and seafood offerings. You’ll see some traditional seafood dishes, but you’ll also want to try the untraditional seafood such as sunfish, a kingfish or a red snapper.
There is a nice variety of tropical fruits that grow on the island. The national dish is called fungi (pronounced foun-gee) and pepperpot. Besides the local dishes, almost every major type of cuisine can be found on the island, e.g. Italian, Mexican, American, British, Jamaican.
Antigua is also famous for its rum. There are many brands, but the most popular one is Cavalier. You can also try punches and cocktails with this drink. Local beer Wadadli is quite popular as well. Banks is delivered from Barbados and Red Stripes – from Jamaica. However, you can find popular European and American kinds of beer in the local shops. They also have wine and whisky, so a tourist can always have a nice drink in the evening.
What is the nightlife like in Antigua Island?
There is always something happening at sun down in Antigua. Steel bands, limbo dancers, calypso singers, folkloric groups all bring an energetic vibe to the nightlife scene. The best and most elaborate gambling establishment is Grand Princess Casino, Jolly Harbour, spread across three floors, where you find gambling, entertainment and a whole lot more. You can visit the first-class Bellagio Restaurant, get down in a dance club, or enjoy flashy entertainment in a lounge. A small but energetic alternative is the St. James's Club at Mamora Bay. Other action is found at King's Casino on Heritage Quay, the only casino in St. John's proper.