Antigua travel guide: all you need to know — Times Travel (2023)

Antigua travel guide: all you need to know — Times Travel (1)

What to do, where to stay and why you’ll love it

  • What to do
  • Where to stay
  • Food and drink
  • Don’t miss

Antigua travel guide: all you need to know — Times Travel (2)

Amanda Canning


Wednesday February 22 2023, 09:00am

This article contains links from which we may earn revenue.These links are signposted with an asterisk. More informationhere.

(Video) Antigua Vacation Travel Guide | Expedia

Just when you think you’ve got a handle on Antigua, it’ll turn around and surprise you. You’ll happily spend your days on a perfect crescent of white sand, dipping in and out of the warm, turquoise waters of the Caribbean, and decide it’s the perfect beach destination — and then you’ll find out about the rainforest carpeting the interior, and make plans to go hiking or for a ride along the scenic Fig Tree Drive. You’ll order goat curry and a bottle of Wadadli beer for dinner each evening and believe the island’s cuisine is all about down-home cooking — and then you’ll visit a new fusion restaurant and be served yellow-fin tuna tartare and sticky pork with papaya, washed down with a Rum Old Fashioned. You’ll drift between the first-rate facilities of your inclusive resort and the tourist-friendly shops and cafés of Redcliffe Quay and think Antigua was made for holidaymakers — and then a local will invite you to the weekly fish fry and tell you about the island’s storied history, and you’ll soon be heading to one of its many heritage sites. Visit Antigua, and the only thing you can be sure of is that it’ll never stop changing your mind.

Main photo: St John’s (Getty Images)

What to do

Locals will tell you there’s a strip of sand for each day of the year and with 365 they’re bang-on. There really is an option for everyone, whether you prefer quiet coves all to yourself (try Half Moon Bay or Darkwood Beach), or lively stretches with beach bars delivering drinks to your sun lounger and every type of watersport on offer (try Curtain Bluff or Dickenson Bay). It’s not all sea-and-sand here though; Antigua has plenty of things to do and a rich and fascinating history, best explored in the Unesco site of Nelson’s Dockyard, a still-functioning marina with roots in the 17th century, and at one of the island’s sugar mills and plantations. The more active traveller is well catered for, too, with options for hiking and ziplining in the jungled interior, and diving and snorkelling in the gin-clear waters around the island. Incredible sunsets are a given wherever you are; for one of the best, head up to Shirley Heights, an old gun station turned lookout in southern Antigua, with stirring views over Falmouth and English Harbour. If you’re here on a Sunday night, don’t miss the end-of-week party.

Incredible sunsets are a given wherever you are; for one of the best, head up to Shirley Heights

The accommodation scene on Antigua is defined by resorts. They range from secluded hideaways in heritage properties and adults-only, architect-designed properties specialising in barefoot luxury, to all-singing, all-dancing family-oriented numbers offering every amenity possible. The one constant is that each has been designed to take advantage of their beachfront setting — many guest rooms have balconies or terraces offering striking sea views, and hotel bars and restaurants are set up as close to the sand as possible. You’ll generally need a healthy budget to book a stay, with many resorts edging towards the ‘high end’ of the accommodation spectrum; booking for multiple nights* or as part of a package can bring some reasonable savings.

Beautiful villas in Antigua

Best all-inclusive hotels in Antigua

If you want something a lot quieter you’ll find a clutch of small, family-run guesthouses on the island, tucked away from the coastal hotspots. All beaches on Antigua are public, so you’re able to visit any you like, even if it sits within a resort’s grounds; this can give you access to some of the facilities of some superb hotels, without actually booking a stay there.

All beaches on Antigua are public, even if they sit within a resort’s grounds

Food and drink

If you like seafood, you’re in the right place. You’re guaranteed some of the best meals of your life here, with mahi-mahi, tuna, lobster, conch and crab starring on most menus. The finest way to enjoy them is usually the simplest (grilled and served with rice), though you’ll also find them in more complex soups and curries. The national dish is ‘fungie’, a cornmeal creation similar to polenta, which is often served with either saltfish or pepperpot (a vegetable and meat stew). Don’t miss out on ‘goat water’, the Antiguan version of goat curry, made with tender, spicy chunks of meat. Hot sauce is offered in many restaurants, and makes a great souvenir, too — Susie’s Original Hot Sauce is known as one of the best. On the drinks front, you’ll likely end each day with a rum punch, made with lime juice, sugar syrup and bitters; there’s some debate over which is the best local rum but English Harbour generally wins. If you’d prefer something a little less strong, Wadadli is a locally brewed and decidedly refreshing lager.

You’re guaranteed some of the best meals of your life here

Wildlife watching sets Antigua apart from other the islands, it’s not is an activity often associated with the Caribbean. There are 51 islands offshore and each buzzes with bird and marine life, as well as endemic snakes and lizards. Plenty of tour operators will take you out to them for the day – boats leave from Jolly Harbour in the west of the island. Once you’re on board and on your way, look out for brown pelicans and magnificent frigate birds in the skies above, and turtles and stingrays in the water below. There’ll be stops built in so you can swim or wade to the islands for a closer look. If you’re not so interested in wildlife, a boat trip is still a lovely way to spend some time here — lounging on deck with a cocktail, jumping in the water for a snorkel, and enjoying a picnic on the beach. If you really discover your sea legs, you’ll want to book ahead for the annual Antigua Sailing Week, one of the biggest events in the sailing calendar with races (and partying) galore.

There are 51 islands offshore and each buzzes with bird and marine life

(Video) 9 Things to Do in Antigua and Barbuda (& Places to Visit) | Antigua and Barbuda Travel Guide

Know before you go

The main currency is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC$), though US dollars are also accepted, as are credit and debit cards in many places. There are ATMs all over the island, including at the airport and in the capital St John’s. Hurricane season is from July to November; though the risk is generally small, you’re more likely to see storms in this period and some hotels and venues close. Note that Antigua is officially one half of the nation of Antigua and Barbuda, part of the Leeward Islands chain; Antigua is the larger and more populated of the two.

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(Video) Antigua & Barbuda: Travel Guide and General Info


What is the best time of year to travel to Antigua? ›

The best time to visit Antigua is winter through spring. From mid-December through April, Antigua has pleasant temperatures and relatively little rainfall. May and June are also good months to visit Antigua, even though temperatures rise slightly and rainfall increases.

What is the best way to travel around Antigua? ›

The best way to get around Antigua is by car or taxi. Having a car can save you money, especially on longer visits, but the island can be difficult to navigate due to bumpy dirt roads and hilly areas that flood easily.

Do I need a Covid test to fly to Antigua? ›

No tests are needed to travel to Antigua and Barbuda.

What can I not bring to Antigua? ›

Antigua Prohibited and Restricted Items
  • Bio Products, Haz.
  • Dangerous Goods as defined by IATA (Intl. Air Transport Association)
  • Furs.
  • Ice, Wet.
  • Liquids, Haz and Non-Haz.
  • Liquor, Haz and Non-Haz.
  • Log and timber products from Liberia.
  • Perfume, Haz and Non-Haz.

Can I use American money in Antigua? ›

The official currency of Antigua is the Eastern Caribbean dollar which is fixed to the US dollar. * US currency, travelers checks, and major credit cards (excluding AMEX) are accepted.

How many days do you need in Antigua? ›

Three to five days is the ideal time to spend in Antigua; wandering the streets, climbing the volcanoes, soaking up the traditions and brushing up on your Spanish. Out of all the Latin American countries, I found Guatemala to have the most surprises and unknown places to discover.

Is Antigua better than Bahamas? ›

Antigua is more authentic than the Bahamas, and tends to be quieter. Antigua is in the Caribbean and has therefore a true Caribbean culture. If you prefer to go to a Caribbean destination, then you would love Antigua. If you just want convenience and beaches during your holiday, you might prefer Bahamas.

When not to visit Antigua? ›

Humidity is highest in August and September, and the risk of hurricanes is greatest from mid-August to mid-October. Here's our month-by-month guide to Antigua's weather and climate.

Which is the best area to stay in Antigua? ›

Best towns to stay in Antigua
  • Saint John's. In the north of the island, nestled on the west coast is the capital of Antigua, Saint Johns. ...
  • English Harbour Town. English Harbour town lies on the southern shores of Antigua around 35 minutes from the airport. ...
  • Jolly Harbour. ...
  • Dickenson Bay. ...
  • Falmouth.

Is Antigua or St Lucia better? ›

If you're more into kicking back on perfect white sand beaches then Antigua is perfect. However, if you have more of a thirst for adventure, then you should choose St Lucia. As with any holiday destination debate, this argument depends on what you want from your escape.

Is there Uber or Lyft in Antigua? ›

Local Transportation

Public transportation, apart from a usually reliable taxi system, is non-existent, which includes Uber/Lyft..

Can you drink the water in Antigua? ›


The tap water on the island is relatively safe and if often used for ice cubes.

Do you have to wear a mask on a plane to Antigua? ›

Please ensure you have a mask for boarding and disembarking and your destination airport. Masks remain available for anyone still wishing to wear one during the flight.

What vaccinations do you need to travel to Antigua? ›

Do I Need Vaccines for Antigua and Barbuda? Yes, some vaccines are recommended or required for Antigua and Barbuda. The National Travel Health Network and Centre and WHO recommend the following vaccinations for Antigua and Barbuda: COVID-19, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, yellow fever, rabies and tetanus.

Can you use your phone in Antigua? ›

Antigua & Barbuda is a small country and there are only two mobile internet operators: Digicel and Flow. Digicel is the oldest mobile network and is active all over the Caribbean, Flow is also present in some other Caribbean islands nowadays.

Do you flush toilet paper in Antigua? ›

Like in Peru, you are not allowed to flush toilet paper; it instead needs to go into the wastebasket. The hot water is only available during certain hours of the day but this never seemed to be a problem for us.

Should I bring cash to Antigua? ›

US dollars are widely accepted on the island, though you will usually be given change in EC dollars, and at a less favorable exchange rate. Credit cards are widely accepted, and if taking travelers' checks we recommend taking them in US dollars.

How much is $20 US in Antigua? ›

Are you overpaying your bank?
Conversion rates US Dollar / East Caribbean Dollar
1 USD2.71000 XCD
5 USD13.55000 XCD
10 USD27.10000 XCD
20 USD54.20000 XCD
8 more rows

How much cash can I bring into Antigua? ›

Currency restrictions

There are no limits on the import of local and foreign currency, provided it is declared upon arrival. Amounts exceeding the equivalent of US$10,000 need to be declared. The export of local and foreign currency is permitted up to the amount imported and declared.

What is Antigua best known for? ›

When it comes down to it, the reasons to love Antigua are all tied into the things the island is most known for: its beautiful white sand beaches, sailing, the 18th century Nelson's Dockyard, its culinary delicacies, the largest nesting colony of frigate birds in the Caribbean, and much more!

Can you walk around Antigua? ›

Hiking around Antigua is one of the best ways to experience more of the landscape, although finding the right route is not always easy. To help, here are the top 20 hikes and walks around Antigua — so you can just get out and go.

What is the cheapest month to go to Antigua? ›

The cheapest time to visit Antigua is during the off-season.

While you'll see pockets of higher prices around holidays, January, February, September, October, and November tend to be the least expensive months to visit Antigua.

What is the #1 Caribbean island? ›

1. Puerto Rico, one of the best Caribbean islands to visit. First, Puerto Rico is one of the best Caribbean islands for vacation, especially if you're in the U.S. It's easy to get to, has sunny weather year-round, and boasts beautiful beaches and landscapes.

Who visits Antigua the most? ›

The North East region of the United States of America (USA) accounted for most visitors, with New York and New Jersey being the states with the largest share of this total (See Table 4). Ontario and Quebec are the provinces with the largest share within the Canadian market.

What is the rich island in Antigua? ›

The Spirit of Jumby Bay

Today, the island and all its assets belong entirely to a passionately committed group of homeowners who ensure the island continues to remain an undisturbed, secluded hideaway. As a result, Jumby Bay Island is home to one of the richest island ecologies in the world.

Is it safe to walk in Antigua at night? ›

In the daytime, the charming cobblestone streets of Antigua are safe for tourists, even if you are traveling alone. At night, the streets are equally safe, just don't make yourself an easy target by being under the influence.

Is it safe to swim in the sea in Antigua? ›

Can I swim on the Antigua beaches? Of course, you can! What is this? You should know that the coast from St John's to the English Harbour on the side of Jolly beach it's the west coast of Antigua washed by the Caribbean sea where the sea is calmer and it's very easy to access to the water.

What language do they speak in Antigua? ›

English is the official language in Antiqua and Barbuda. Spanish is spoken by around 10,000 inhabitants. The Barbudan accent is slightly different from the Antiguan. In the years before Antigua and Barbuda's independence, Standard English was widely spoken in preference to Antiguan Creole.

Which side of Antigua has the best beaches? ›

Many of Antigua's best beaches are found on the protected Caribbean side, and all are open to the public. Just to the north of Galley Bay Resort, you'll find one of my favorite beaches on the island and maybe even the entire Caribbean: Deep Bay.

What is the most expensive part of Antigua? ›

Go all out for Antigua: Welcome to Jumby Bay, the island's most expensive resort.

Why is Antigua so expensive? ›

Antigua's cost of living is more expensive than other Caribbean countries due to a high demand of visitors coming to its shores. Because of its beauty and exclusive services, it is a highly sought after destination by tourists and expats alike.

Which is the prettiest Caribbean island? ›


Lucia is arguably the most beautiful of all Caribbean Islands with its two UNESCO World Heritage designated Pitons standing proud. The Gros and Petit Pitons are two mountainous volcanic plugs that definitely contribute to the island's beauty.

Which Caribbean Islands are not worth visiting? ›

Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, Puerto Rico are all considered least safe Caribbean Islands to visit.

Is Antigua cheaper than Turks and Caicos? ›

Turks and Caicos Islands is 73.8% more expensive than Antigua and Barbuda.

Can you get around Antigua without a car? ›

BC Taxi and Tours offers full taxi service around the island of Antigua. We also pickup and drop off from the airport and cruise ship terminal in St. Johns. Wherever you want to go around the island, BC Taxi & Tours can take you there.

Can you island hop in Antigua? ›

The two-island country of Antigua and Barbuda offers island hopping for obvious reasons—there are two islands after all—but the hopping isn't limited to just those two. Caribbean cruise visitors of course go island hopping on their cruises when they visit multiple cruise ports.

Do you tip taxi in Antigua? ›


Same as in the US; 10-15% depending on the service. Some restaurants & hotels will automatically add a 10% gratuity. If in doubt, just ask. Give porters and bellhops 50 cents per bag, taxi drivers 10-15% of the fare.

Do you have to go through customs in Antigua? ›

On landing in Antigua & Barbuda, your first processing point is Immigration. Collect your checked luggage and then it's off to Customs. That's the last step standing between you and your vacation!

How much cash can you bring into Antigua? ›

Currency restrictions

There are no limits on the import of local and foreign currency, provided it is declared upon arrival. Amounts exceeding the equivalent of US$10,000 need to be declared. The export of local and foreign currency is permitted up to the amount imported and declared.

What vaccines are accepted in Antigua? ›

Antigua and Barbuda
  • Pfizer/BioNTech. Comirnaty. Phase 1. Approved in 149 countries. ...
  • Gamaleya. Sputnik V. Phase 1. ...
  • Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) Jcovden. Phase 1. ...
  • Oxford/AstraZeneca. Vaxzevria. Phase 1. ...
  • Serum Institute of India. Covishield (Oxford/ AstraZeneca formulation) Phase 1. ...
  • Sinopharm (Beijing) Covilo. Phase 1.
May 3, 2023

Can you drink tap water in Antigua? ›


The tap water on the island is relatively safe and if often used for ice cubes.

Is it illegal to wear camouflage in Antigua? ›

Pack all luggage yourself and don't carry anything through customs for anyone else. It's an offence for anyone, including children, to dress in camouflage clothing. Local attitudes towards the LGBT community are mostly conservative throughout the Caribbean.

What is the etiquette in Antigua and Barbuda? ›

It is customary in Antigua to greet the people you meet by saying Good Morning, Good Afternoon, Good Night (Evening). Failure to greet people on entering an office, shop, hotel reception or bar may result in very slow service or initially being ignored.

Do I need water shoes in Antigua? ›

Being a tropical destination, you will be at the beach soaking the sun, so be sure to bring swimwear, sunglasses, sandals, and water shoes for activities. Carry a hat and apply sunscreen for sun protection.

What currency is preferred in Antigua? ›

The East Caribbean dollar is the main currency of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Anguilla and Montserrat. In a region that is entirely islands, there are various jurisdictions. Many use the East Caribbean dollar, but not all.

Is tipping expected in Antigua? ›

Tipping in Antigua is discretionary and should reflect the service you have received, though a service charge of 10% is typically added to your bill in hotels and restaurants.

What is the mosquito virus in Antigua? ›

In this country, dengue is a risk to travellers. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites. Dengue can cause flu-like symptoms.

Is there a Zika virus in Antigua? ›

This country has been categorised as having a risk of Zika (ZIKV) virus transmission. ZIKV is mainly spread through mosquito bites. The mosquito responsible most commonly bites during daylight hours and is common in towns and cities. There is a low risk of sexual transmission.

Can I bring food into Antigua? ›

Items such as canned and dry goods that are carried in for your own consumption are normally allowed. 1 quart of liquor or wine per person. No fresh fruits or vegetables. We recommend packing food in coolers or luggage; no cardboard boxes.


1. ANTIGUA | The Ultimate Travel Guide | North America
(The Travel Guide)
2. Antigua City Video Guide | Expedia
3. Top 10 BEST Attractions and Tours In Antigua and Barbuda
(Caribbean Travel Adventures by J-irie)
4. ANTIGUA Nr. 1 Travel Guide - ALL Top Sights in 4K + Drone
(Wout of the World)
5. ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA - All you need to know
(Geography Nuts)
6. Antigua Travel Guide 2023 ll 4K ll Best Of Antigua
( STCo)


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