Antigua is a beautiful Caribbean paradise that has 95 miles of clear and pristine coastline. Travelers often talk about Antigua and Barbados together because they make a sovereign country of the West Indies. If island travel is on your mind, let’s discuss some things to do in Antigua
Since its clean beaches and turquoise waters make it a romantic place, it’s a popular destination among honeymooners and couples in love. The place also sees several families and solo travels every year.
No matter what kind of traveler you are and what type of vacation you’re looking for, there are many exciting things to do in Antigua.
From beach hopping to exploring culinary delicacies and from taking private tours to visiting public historical places, the island offers many activities that will keep you here for at least a week. But if you really want to explore the place like a native, you’ll need at least a month-long vacation to do justice to the island.
Things to do in Antigua
Let’s find some of the most popular things to do in Antigua.
1. Stay at a comfortable resort
Antigua has so many luxury resorts that it gets difficult to settle on one. When finding a resort, make sure you try to get one that has beach access so you can have a lazy stroll on the beach in the morning. After all, beaches are the main attraction of the place.
If you’re a couple looking for a secluded place, you might prefer Sandals Grande Antigua, which is voted the world’s most romantic resort. It’s on Dickenson Bay and creates a rustic charm with a beachfront village.
The resort is home to 11 restaurants and 6 pools. They have day and night entertainment activities and live shows so there will never be a dull moment here.
2. Do beach hopping
When you visit an island, it’s imperative to go to the beaches. Whether you want to walk on the soft sands, take a dip in the ocean, lay around on a hammock, or do water sports, beaches offer something for everyone.
The most famous beach here is Dickenson Bay. Sandals resort is on Dickenson Bay so you don’t have to travel far to visit it. Just step outside your villa and this beach will be there. You’ll find options for wakeboarding, jet skiing, tubing, parasailing, and other water sports.
Some other popular beaches here are Valley Church beach, Darkwood beach, and Ffryes beach. You can just relax on these beaches or play in the waves. All of them have clear blue waters and soft sands.
The waters here are calm and there are many private boat tours on Antigua beaches. Beach hopping is one of the best things to do in Antigua.
3. Eat at a good restaurant
If you stay at an all-inclusive restaurant, you might not want to step out for a meal. However, there are so many amazing restaurants in Antigua that missing out on their culinary experience would be a big loss.
One of the most popular restaurants here is Cecilia’s High Point Café. It’s famous for its quick and friendly service, fresh and scrumptious dishes, and delicious drinks. The place has a friendly ambiance with amazing hospitality.
Another exciting restaurant on this island is Sheer Rocks. It sits on top of a rock and carries a fine dining spirit. Check out their Mediterranean-inspired menu that complements the space. Whether you like tapas lunches or a la carte dinners, you’ll find them all here.
4. Go shopping
There are many places in Antigua with big and small shops. You can buy souvenirs for yourself and gifts for your friends and family.
Redcliffe Quay in St. John’s is a prominent shopping place in the city. It is a former slave compound that’s a shopping district now. You’ll find the best restaurants and stores in this place.
Jolly Harbor is another area with several shops. There are souvenir stores and art galleries along with liquor stores and supermarkets.
If you’re looking for a unique shopping area, visit the Heritage Quay with a waterfront neighborhood. It has duty-free outlets specifically related to jewelry. You’ll also find cafes and restaurants here.
5. Visit historical sites
If you’re a history buff, make sure you visit the places with historical significance. Start your tour with Shirley Heights in English Harbor. These are hills over the Dockyard on the east side of the island. They offer amazing views of the harbor and visiting them is among the best things to do in Antigua.
Fort Barrington is another historic place you might want to visit. It’s a British fort that’s on the edge of the shoreline. Built in 1779, the fort was supposed to protect the British colonies from the French. It was a lookout place and the first line of defense against the French forces.
Also, visit Fort James that’s a British fort belonging to the 17th century. It guarded the entrance from St. John’s Harbor and provides a quiet place. It’s not generally overcrowded with tourists. This fort offers amazing views but it’s a little run down.
6. Check out the art scene
Antigua has a rich heritage when it comes to local art. You’ll find several art galleries here that showcase the works of local and international artists. They also have shops so if you’re an art lover, you can buy something from these stores.
Visit the Zemi art gallery in St. John’s. It blends traditional Antiguan and Barbudan art with modern touches and creates a unique mix that’s hard to miss. If you admire Caribbean art, you’ll love this fresh take on traditional crafts.
The unique pieces here are so enticing that even if you’re not an art lover, you’d want to buy some of them.
Another studio is Gilly Gobinet Art studio which features paintings by Gilly Gobinet. Her works are majorly done using acrylic paint. You’ll find specialized nudes and portraits of pet animals. You can purchase fine arts, prints, and greeting cards here.
If you want to see the works of local and creative Caribbean artists, make sure you visit the Fig Tree Studio art gallery which has a range of crafts and paintings on sale.
7. Go on a private sailing tour
There are so many ways to enjoy the clear blue waters of the Caribbean and sailing is one of them. You can sail around the Cades Reef and other beaches around the area on a private boat tour.
If you’re interested in snorkeling, you can make a request beforehand and the captain will arrange for the snorkeling gear and make a stop during the tour.
Most of these tours offer lunch and drinks including barbeque dishes. You can also get a catamaran and sail along the Antiguan west coast. Relax on the deck and enjoy the views of the vast landscapes. The tour will make a stop at a secluded beach where you can swim or walk on the soft white sands.
If you’re a group of friends or a couple in love, a private sailing tour is one of the most exciting things to do in Antigua.
8. Go hiking
Join a team of hikers on a guided tour that takes you through a unique terrain. If you’re a solo traveler looking for some action, this is one of the most exciting things to do in Antigua. Hit the trails of the island that lie along with coastline.
You can witness incredible views as you walk on the hiking trail. There are so many fine details that you miss when you travel by a car or bus. Enjoy the smaller and finer beauties of the local flora with a hiking tour around the island.
And you don’t have to be an athlete to take this tour. A moderately fit person can go on this 2-3 hour tour.
9. Take an e-bike tour
If hiking isn’t your cup of tea, an e-bike tour will let you view nature up close. An e-bike will give you the same feeling as hiking without having sore legs.
You’ll find a guided tour at the Five Islands village. From that village, you can pedal through St. John’s and visit Fort James to view the landscape. After that, visit the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and stop for 15 minutes.
Explore this beautiful 17th-century cathedral and then take the bike back to the village. If you’re a nature lover and want to explore the hidden parts of the island, this tour is for you. Ride through the town and see the details you’d normally miss on a car or a bus.
10. Snorkel with turtles
Start this snorkeling trip at Galleon Beach and witness colorful fishes and sea turtles swimming around you. You can also take sea scooters for this tour to behold the marine life, including lively corals.
View the unique rock formations known as the Pillars of Hercules. When you take the sea scooter, you can cover more sea than if you go snorkeling. However, if you’re a snorkeling fan, you can go for that option.
It’s one of the most adventurous things to do in Antigua. While the turtles are a bit hard to spot, there are several types of fishes and corals here. If you stay around for a while, you’ll spot turtles as well.
11. Take a jeep safari
If you like off-roading, this safari will help you explore the unexplored parts of the island. And the best part is that all the jeeps in these safaris are super comfortable. There are private, air-conditioned, luxury jeeps that take you on a tour around Antigua.
Many jeep tours give you the option of semi-roof off. Select your preferences and start the tour. You’ll have a personal chauffeur who will guide you through the tour. The tour stops for lunch and drinks and continues to a beach where you can go for a swim.
Enjoy the countryside of the island and spot wild animals on the safari. Your guide will show you rare plants that aren’t found anywhere else on the island. You’ll find many jeep tour providers here and you can select any of them.
12. Try kayaking and canoeing
You can go kayaking or canoeing in the ocean waters. There are many providers here and some of them even provide transparent kayaks. This means you can see the sea right under your feet as you take the kayak on the ocean.
Since most of the kayak is crystal clear, it feels like you’re floating on top of the water. And if paddleboarding is your thing, you can find amazing half-day tours for the entire family. You can go through tiny islands and mangrove inlets.
While kayaking and canoeing, you can behold starfish, gliding ballyhoo, and shy turtles. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, you can relax under a coconut tree and enjoy a hearty lunch.
13. Visit spas
If you’re a couple in love, make sure you don’t miss out on the spa experience. There are beautiful spas in Antigua. The Red Lane Spa is one of the most prestigious spas on the island. It sits among natural botanicals and features treatments and therapies to rejuvenate the mind and body.
Red Lane is the 2021 World’s Spa Awards winner and specializes in relaxing your body and mind. It re-energizes you and puts you back on your feet for another day of adventure.
You’ll find a specialist here who will find the right therapy for you, whether it’s an aromatherapy massage or tropically-infused skincare. When you visit the spa, you’ll have an outstanding experience that will always live in your memories.
The Best Things to do in Antigua
While there are so many things to do in Antigua, the best thing will depend on the kind of vacation you’re planning to have. For example, if you’re coming on your honeymoon, a spa treatment will give you the most fulfilling experience. And if you’re with your friends, you might want to go snorkeling or hiking.
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