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Legendary Antigua Travel Guide: Discover the Enchanting Beauty of Antigua

Antigua is a breathtaking place that has everything you need for a memorable trip, including lush rainforests, rich cultural history, and incredible beaches. This Caribbean island should be on your list of places you must visit at least once in your life, and we have fair reasons to make this claim.

A stunning paradise, home to stunning landscapes and charming towns, deserves its own blog post. If you’re thinking about visiting Antigua or if you’ve already booked your flight, this Antigua travel guide will come in handy. Keep on reading to discover the enchanting beauty of this Caribbean island!

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Beach in Antigua

What’s Antigua’s History?

Before we dive into this Antigua travel guide, let’s learn its history. Antigua, located roughly a thousand miles east of Jamaica, has a strategic location in the Caribbean and was initially inhabited by the Siboney and the Arawak tribes before the English set foot on its shores in 1632. 

Since the island cultivated sugar during the 18th and 19th centuries, it quickly became one of Britain’s most prosperous colonies. And, due to its strategic location, Antigua was known as a key point in transatlantic trade. 

Apart from its importance in commerce, we have to mention that Antigua has been part of other major events, such as the abolition of slavery, and the American War of Independence. 

Antigua, like other Eastern Caribbean islands like Barbuda, lies in a tectonic setting (the North American plate sinks beneath the Caribbean one), leading to earthquakes, volcanoes, and the possibility of tsunamis. Despite the natural calamities Antigua had to face, it continues to flourish, keeping its rich history alive for generations to come.

Where Is Antigua Located? 

The stunning isle of Antigua is nestled in the clear, turquoise waters of the Caribbean. Located roughly a thousand miles east of Jamaica, Antigua is an underrated gem in the heart of the sea. 

The island has an eye-pleasing lush green landscape and crystal-clear beaches, making it a wonderful spot for a Caribbean escape.

Antigua is known for its astonishing beauty. But, did you know it also has a rich cultural history and a vibrant local community? So if you’re looking for an escape for a beach getaway, we recommend flying to Antigua.

How Big Is Antigua? 

Antigua might appear small due to its size, roughly 108 square miles — the exact same size as Queens in New York— but surely has plenty to offer. Considered a UNESCO World Heritage, Antigua is a popular destination for tourists looking to escape from the city and enter the majestic world of the Caribbean. 

Besides incredible beaches and ancient history, here you can find fun water sports activities, such as snorkeling, kayaking, and sailing, as well as trekking paths that lead to the island’s highest peak, Mount Obama. 

If you come to visit, we promise you won’t run out of things to do!

Currency In Antigua 

When planning a trip abroad, one of the first things you should check (apart from special requirements for entering the country) is the type of currency used. 

The official currency in Antigua is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC$), and roughly the conversion equals EC$2,70 to US$1. Make sure to have plenty of cash with you, as credit cards are not typically accepted, neither PayPal nor Apple Pay. There are plenty of ATMs located throughout the island, so you can easily access your funds whenever you need them.

Frequent traveler tip: Make sure to check with your bank that you can withdraw funds abroad, and accept international transactions and similar before you leave your country. This is a minor detail you can easily forget, but it is vital. Better be safe than sorry!

How To Get To Antigua?

There are plenty of ways to get to Antigua, and since the island is serviced by various international airports, you can choose the closest one to you. 

The V.C Bird International Airport in St John’s and the Clayton J Lloyd International Airport in Barbuda can take you to Antigua directly, and if you’re traveling from Europe or North America, you can take a direct flight from British Airways, Air Canada, Delta, and American Airlines. There are also regional airlines that connect flights to Antigua, for those who are located in the Caribbean.

Cruise ships can also take you to Antigua (did anyone say cruise to the Caribbean?), and they dock at St. John’s Harbour. 

When Is The Best Month To Visit Antigua?

The best time of the year to visit Antigua is during its dry season, which occurs between December and April. During these months, you can enjoy plenty of sunshine and mild temperatures, excellent for outdoor activities.

If you’re looking for a tropical destination that combines comfort and tranquility, you might want to consider visiting during May and June, where temperatures are still bearable, and rainfall increases only slightly. 

July to November can be wetter, but this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad time to visit. Antigua is known for its spectacular sunsets during this season, so if you don’t mind the rain, then it could be the perfect time to visit.

Hotel overlooking the beach in Antigua

How To Get Around Antigua?

Antigua offers many options when it comes to commuting, including renting a car or scooter, local buses, bikes, and more. Choosing one will depend on how you want to explore the city, your budget, and ultimately, the weather.

As we mentioned before, make sure to have cash with you to pay for your fares, and if you’re going to rent (car, bike, scooter, etc), pay attention to the amount of time you’ll be able to use them, as well as any additional feed for getting back late, possible damage and similar.

Antigua Travel Guide: Epic Things To Do In Antigua

Take A Day Trip To Barbuda

Beach in Barbuda for a one day trip for an Antigua travel guide.
Tropical beach in Barbuda

Barbuda is a gorgeous island near Antigua that features crystal-clear waters and incredible beaches. After a busy day touring Antigua, you can quickly escape to Barbuda for a relaxing afternoon under the sun. 

We highly recommend you explore the Barbuda Wildlife Reserve to check out local wildlife, including the Barbados Green Monkey, deers,  parrots, macaws and love birds, among others.

Go Hiking In Antigua 

Antigua’s nature is like no other, and there are many different places you can go on a hike and explore, including Mount Obama, Walling’s Dam Nature Reserve, and Carpenter’s Rock Trail. These trails offer unique views of Antigua as well as plenty of spots to take great pictures. 

Make sure to bring a water bottle, sunscreen, and a hat to protect yourself from the sun. Enjoy your hike!

Explore Antigua’s Beautiful Beaches

Turners Beach in Antigua
Antigua’s Turners Beach

With plenty of white-sand beaches to choose from, you can never get enough of Antigua’s beaches. Some of our favorite ones include  Dickenson Bay, Half Moon Bay, Pigeon Point, and Turner’s Beach.

Whether you’re looking for a fun atmosphere or a more peaceful place to soak under the sun, this place has a great beach for everyone.

Shop At Antigua’s Market

The Antigua market is one of the island’s most iconic attractions, featuring fresh produce, spices, and handmade souvenirs. It is also a great place to chat with locals and taste the island’s unique cuisine.

When chatting with the vendors, you might even get a few tips and tricks to replicate the ancient recipes at home if you’re lucky.

Take A Tour Of Antigua’s Capital

Antigua’s Capital, St. John’s, offers a mix of modern and colonial architecture and charm. An Antigua travel guide wouldn’t be complete without mentioning exploring the capital!

We recommend you visit Nelson’s Dockyard, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, used as a naval dockyard by the British during the 18th century and now serves as a reminder of Antigua’s colonial past.

You should also visit the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda, and explore the colorful Cathedral of St. John the Divine. There are various tours of this you can book for a more rich experience.

 Admire The Views At Shirley Heights Lookout

View from Shirley Heights a must-see in Antigua.
View from Shirley Heights

Located at the highest point of Antigua, this lookout offers a stunning view of the city. If you happen to visit the lookout on a Sunday, you’ll find plenty of local musicians performing live calypso music while enjoying freshly barbecued.

Live music, great food, and a breathtaking view; what a time to be alive!

Go Zip-lining In Antigua

Ziplining is so much fun, and here in Antigua, you can add this activity to your itinerary, which blends outdoor fun with sightseeing. Feel the rush of adrenaline as you zip from one platform to another and enjoy the thrill of a lifetime.

Indulge In Some Water Sports

Ultimate Antigua travel guide to engage in water sports.
Engaging in water sports in Antigua

Antigua is a paradise for thrill seekers, which is why engaging in some water sports activities is more than encouraged. Snorkeling in colorful coral reefs, kayaking in the open sea, and more incredible options are available in Antigua.

Walk Devil’s Bridge

Devil’s Bridge is a natural limestone arch located on the southern shore of Antigua, home of some of the island’s most breathtaking views. Guided tours are available to explore this rugged coastline for those interested in learning more about its formation.

Or if you’re looking for a peaceful activity you can do on your own, feel free to take a stroll and admire the beauty of this natural wonder.

Learn To Cook The Cuisine

Indulge your taste buds and learn to cook the local cuisine in Antigua. Take a cooking class with a local chef and get an inside look into Antigua’s culinary culture. From spicy jerk chicken to flavorful rice and peas, you’ll be sure to leave your class with a few new recipes under your belt! Plus, you’ll get to sample the delicious dishes you make during the class.

Visit The Carnival

Carnival is one of the biggest events and fun things to do in Antigua and a must-see for any traveler. Every summer, locals and tourists alike flock to St. John’s to celebrate with parades, music, dancing, and art.

Explore Nelson’s Dockyard

Nelson’s Dockyard is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Antigua’s most important historical monument. This serene spot was used as a naval dockyard by the British during the 18th century.  Now it serves as a reminder of Antigua’s colonial past. 

We suggest taking a tour of this picturesque site and learn about its fascinating history. From its expansive gardens to its beautiful architecture, Nelson’s Dockyard is a must-see in this Antigua travel guide.

Take A Nature Tour

Rocky Beach in Antigua.
Rocky Beach in Antigua

To properly explore and understand Antigua’s unique natural beauty, take a guided tour. There are plenty of tours available around the island that will allow you to explore lush rainforests, tropical beaches, and glistering waterfalls. 

Plus, with a guided tour you’ll get to learn more about the wildlife and vegetation as you’re passing through them.

Go Shopping In Antigua

Shopping is highly encouraged in this post, and if you visit St. John’s you won’t be able to resist yourself. Wander through the lively streets to see colorful markets, shops, and boutiques, to later pick up the perfect souvenirs to take home with you.

Go For A Road Trip In Antigua

If you’re looking for a unique way to explore Antigua, why not take a road trip? The island is full of stunning scenery and hidden gems just waiting to be discovered. Follow the winding coastal roads and admire the crystal-clear waters as you go

Antigua’s Top Bars And Restaurants 

Next on this guide to Antigua is where you can please your palate. Here are some of the best places for where to eat in Antigua. 

Epicure Restaurant

Epicure Restaurant is a must-visit place you should add to your Antigua itinerary. It features exquisite meals that cater to different dietary needs, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. Further, Epicure offers a late-night menu and plenty of drink options to choose from.

Antigua Cerveza

If you’re looking for a great pub to attend, Antigua Cerveza is the perfect choice both for its fantastic ambiance and great selection of beers. It has super comfortable seats and attentive table service, excellent for relaxing and having a great night out. This place has great snacks as well.

El Refectorio by Casa Santo Domingo

El Refectorio by Casa Santo Domingo is a renowned spot that features delicious Guatemalan meals with a modern twist. Here you can also find other cuisines, including international sensations like sushi, as well as contemporary dining bars.

If you prefer vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free options, this place has a unique menu that will suit your special diet.

All of this, combined with the relaxed yet elegant atmosphere is a recipe for a memorable night out in Antigua.

Pillars Restaurant

Pillars Restaurant is another must-visit spot that should be on your Antigua itinerary. It has a stellar menu featuring Caribbean, seafood, and international cuisines that will blow your mind. Using fresh, locally sourced ingredients, the dishes are made to perfection.

This restaurant has vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options like others we’ve mentioned, so everyone can enjoy dining here.

Great food and cocktails accompanied by a stunning view of the Caribbean Sea sounds like a perfect plan to us!

Where To Stay In Antigua

Verandah Resort & Spa is a luxurious resort located on 30 acres of lush landscape with direct access to the beach. It offers various accommodation options such as one, two, and three-bedroom villas with private balconies overlooking the Caribbean Sea.

Apart from this, the resort has five restaurants, two swimming pools, a spa with relaxing yoga classes and massages, a fitness center, and more. 

It is located in the heart of Antigua, near the best beaches and attractions. Definitely, Verandah Resort & Spa is the best place to stay during your trip.

Things To Do In Antigua Recap

  • Take A Day Trip To Barbuda
  • Go Hiking In Antigua 
  • Explore The Beaches In Antigua
  • Shop At Antigua’s Market
  • Take A Tour Of Antigua’s Capital
  • Admire The Views At Shirley Heights Lookout
  • Go Ziplining In Antigua 
  • Do Some Water Sports
  • Walk Devil’s Bridge
  • Learn To Cook The Buisine
  • Visit The Carnival
  • Explore Nelson’s Dockyard
  • Take A Nature Tour
  • Go For A Road Trip In Antigua

Antigua Travel Guide Final Thoughts

In this post, we shared the ultimate Antigua travel guide to help you craft the perfect itinerary that combines touring, activities, relaxation, and fun night outs. Antigua is truly a paradise and has everything you need to enjoy a memorable trip.

With its enchanting beauty and plenty of things to do, this Caribbean gem should be added to your travel list!

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