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Best Things to do in Antigua

The decoration of the capital is St. Johns Cathedral . It was erected by the British in 1745 from ballast bricks on a high hill. And a hundred years later, instead of the old one, a new temple was built with massive towers of reef limestone. Today, tourists see the third version of it, since the previous building was destroyed as a result of the earthquake.

This beautiful stone structure with stained-glass windows belongs to the Anglican Church and is the center of the Roman Catholic Diocese in the northeast of the Caribbean. An old cemetery is located on the territory of the cathedral a favorite place for the townspeople to walk.

Jolly Beach In Antigua

One of the best places where to soak up the beauty of the island is the Jolly beach. This picturesque beach located near Jolly Harbour is a haven for sunbathers and for a good reason. It has powdery white sands, turquoise waters and you can also enjoy water sports here. Also, Jolly beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Antigua. Many day tours leave from here.

Take A One Day Trip To Barbuda

Known for its pink sand and for being home of one the largest colonies of Frigate birds, Barbuda is Antiguas little sister island that deserves to be seen at least once. There are two ways to visit.

  • join a daily catamaran tour, where you will visit the bird sanctuary first and then land on a pristine pinkish beach to spend the rest of your day and have lunch
  • Take the ferry boat, Barbuda Express, and let Capitan Greg take you to Barbuda, where you will be free to move around and enjoy the island at your own pace.

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Swim With The Stingrays At Stingray City

Source: flickr

Stingray City does exactly what it says on the tin: offer a glimpse at pods of the great rays as they glide beneath the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean Sea.

Continually rated as one of the top things to do in Antigua, the spot can be found between the low-lying reefs just north out of Willikies town.

Travelers start the day with introductory classes on how to handle the islands breed of southern ray, before heading out to the shallows and joining them for a snorkelling session.

Its the perfect experience for anyone eager to get up-close-and-personal with the regions curious marine life.

Things To Do In Antigua And Barbuda

Best Places to Live in Antigua and Barbuda

The state is located on three Lesser Caribbean Islands: Antigua, Barbuda and Redonda, discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493. The only city on the island of Barbuda is Codrington.

First place in the list of attractions of the island state is occupied by beaches with clean white sand and azure seashore. The most popular water sports here are windsurfing, diving and spearfishing. Antigua and Barbuda is surrounded by mysterious reefs and underwater rocks that have caused many shipwrecks. The shallows of the shelves are a real paradise for diving enthusiasts.

Sloping shores, white sand of the magnificent beaches of Antigua have made the coast a favorite destination for vacationers. Tourists prefer to sunbathe and swim at Dickenson Bay, Hawksbill, Jolly Harbor and other beaches.

Curious travelers are happy to get acquainted with the historical and cultural sites of Antigua and Barbuda: architectural monuments, museums, military forts.

Tourists from all over the world tend to visit local national parks famous for their rare birds. The ecological type of Caribbean tourism is quite in demand here. Many travelers are interested in unique natural monuments: former craters of ancient volcanoes, underground pools, stalactite caves.

Once a year, a noisy colorful carnival is held on the islands of the British West Indies, dedicated to the abolition of slavery. Tourists from different parts of the world come to see the extraordinary show.

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Best Things To Do In Antigua And Barbuda

One of the more beach-heavy destinations the Caribbean has to offer, the irresistible duo of Antigua and Barbuda is said to have one stretch of sand for every day of the year! And while no ones quite sure if the count is accurate , theres no question that some of the little coves and inlets are among the most beautiful in the world.

They run from the shimmering powder of 17-mile Beach on far-flung Barbuda to the secluded reaches of Rendezvous Bay, with oodles of palm-backed sunbathing spots and snorkelling opportunities along the way.

But these islands are about more than just sea and sand theres history and adventure too.

Visitors can check out everything from stingray-packed coral beds to crumbling English fortresses, see where naval frigates would have docked in the 1700s and wonder at colossal cliff faces carved from the rocks.

Lets explore the best things to do in Antigua and Barbuda:

Enjoy One Of The Local Restaurant On The Beach

Antigua is brimming with local restaurants that serve authentic genuine food. Turner Beach is one of the best beaches in Antigua where they also serve fantastic food at the homonym restaurant. It was one of my Sunday appointments.

For dinner, for a simple and yet delicious local meal, I would go to Dennis or Hemingways.

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Devils Bridge Antigua And Barbuda

Just a short drive from Bettys Hope is Devils Bridge, located in a national park in the northeast. A natural limestone bridge developed by sea erosion has dramatic scenery and also dark history. This natural rock arch is a geological wonder where slaves committed mass suicide during the period of slavery. Due to rough waters near the bridge, the chance of survival was low. Today Devils Bridge is a popular attraction in Antigua and Barbuda. It offers beautiful views, rewarding hikes and excellent birding.

GOOD TO KNOW:

This natural rock arch can get very slippery from the powerful waves. Hence, walk across the bridge is at your own risk.

Try Some Water Adventures At Antigua Yacht Club

Best Activities Things to Do in ANTIGUA

Editor’s Note: There’s no photo available at the time of writing

Situated in the English Harbor Village, close to Nelsons Dockyard, Antigua Yacht Club is a yachting facility that provides great activities for everyone, especially the youth. If water sports are your game, this spot must be included on your list. Antigua Sailing Week, Annual Yacht Show, Yacht racing – these are just some examples of the activities in the yacht club. Panoramic views of vistas, a splendid restaurant, a clubhouse, and several marine structures all contribute to make the yacht club an exciting place to be.

Antigua Yacht Club

Opening hours: Tue – Sun: 6pm – 12am

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Take A Trip To Barbuda

Antigua is, of course, just half the story of the two-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda the other half lies a 90-minute boat ride away to the north. Barbuda is smaller and far less populated than Antigua, but it has plenty to impress you with. One of the highlights is Frigate Bird Sanctuary, home to approximately 5,000 of the giant, red-throated birds. There are 170 bird species in the Codrington Lagoon that makes up the sanctuary, and they can only be spotted on a licensed boat tour from the Barbudan capital Codrington.

Explore The Restored Nelsons Dockyard

One of Antigua’s most famous landmarks, Nelson’s Dockyard in English Harbour, dates from 1745 and was home to Admiral Horatio Nelson until 1787. It has been lovingly restored after years of decay and today these historic buildings house a museum, craft and souvenir shop, restaurant, hotels and marina.

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Visit The Donkey Sanctuary

If you are particularly fond of animals, you might want to check out the Human Society, an animal welfare organization committed to rescuing all the endangered animals of Antigua & Barbuda. They have quite a big population of donkeys which you normally see roaming around the island. However, those who get injured or fell sick end up here where they get good and loving care from the volunteers.

The entrance is free but they accept donations or you can even adopt a donkey.

Many tours of the island make a stop here but if you rent a car you can go on your own and you will be very well received by the kind staff. You will be able to brush them or pet them and help out.

Its not only a great educational and entertaining stop for kids, but also for us, who have always something to learn from our furry friends.

Nelson’s Dockyard National Park Antigua

Barbuda

Nelson’s Dockyard National Park, in English Harbour, is a hot spot for tourists, packed with multiple attractions. Its main claim to fame is that it remains the only continuously operating Georgian dockyard in the world – it’s home to Antigua’s former 18th-century British Naval Dockyard, which was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in July, 2016.

During a visit, you can learn more about the dockyard’s rich history at The Dockyard Museum in the former Admiral’s House. But you can also soak up the ambience by wandering around all the beautifully restored stone warehouses, which contrast strikingly with the glitzy superyachts in the marina. Most of these old buildings are now home to hotels, restaurants, shops, and galleries.

If you want to explore a little further afield, the area is also home to some of the island’s best nature trails, which lead to historic forts with panoramic views. Perched on the hilltop at Shirley Heights, Fort Shirley, offers the best vistas , and you can also hike to Fort Berkeley, at the west entrance to the harbor.

The park is also home to 18th-century Clarence House, originally built for the future King William IV, and you can watch a fascinating multimedia presentation on the island’s history at the Dow’s Hill Interpretation Centre, along the Lookout Trail near Shirley Heights.

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+ Incredible Things To Do In Antigua

For any of you currently in the process of planning and booking a once in a lifetime holiday to Antigua, we bet you are already creating a list of everything you want to experience on this paradise island in the Caribbean.

The only problem is choosing what to do! Depending on how long you are adventuring on Antigua, you may not have the luxury of time, so to help you out, we have done the leg work for you and compiled our top things to do in Antigua , famed for its picturesque landscapes, some of the worlds best beaches and a huge variety of wildlife for all you nature lovers out there.

Read on to discover some of the top things to do on Antigua for some unique experiences you will remember forever.

Disclaimer: Almost all posts on this site contain Affiliate links, and this one is no different. This means that if you click on any of the links in this travel guide I may receive a small commission at absolutely no cost to you. This post is carefully crafted to answer all your questions about Antigua & Barbuda and recommendations are made where we believe they will improve your trip and help with your planning. As such we thank you in advance should you decide to click & buy. Read my full Disclosure here.

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Check Out Nelson’s Dockyard’s Best Offers

Situated in Saint Paul Parish, Nelsons Dockyard is a beautiful marina in the Harbour of England, which is the biggest of Antiguas National Parks . Numerous establishments are built in this old-world beauty, from hotels to shops and marina businesses. Hiking opportunities are also possible outside the dockyards where you can admire historic forts with panoramic views.

Nelson’s Dockyard

Situated at St. Johns Harbor, Fort James is a 17th- to 18th-century fortress that was built to protect the city and island from the French invasion. It is one of the most-visited parts on the island as it is free and features amazing natural beauty. It presents numerous cannons and a picturesque setting which is perfect for some photo opportunities. If you want to venture more, Fort James Beach is just around the corner, which is also one of the most sought-after beach destinations on the island.

Fort James

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Things To Do In St Johns Antigua Visiting The Capital

It is almost impossible to avoid a visit to Antiguas capital of St. Johns and its well worth it! Discover the islands past at the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda, along with the citys unique Museum of Marine Art.

End your day with dinner in one of St. Johns eclectic mix of quirky restaurants and be sure to spend some time exploring the citys unique shops.

Stop by St. Johns Cathedral the Cathedral Church of the Diocese of North Eastern Caribbean and Aruba. This striking white building with two twin towers was built on a fossilized reef in 1845, although has been rebuilt twice following the earthquakes of 1683 and in 1745.

And for the Insta crowd, be sure to head to the Cruise ship port/street where there are colorful walls that make for the perfect photo backdrop!

Interact With Nature At Stingray City Antigua

All signs point to Antigua & Barbuda | WestJet Vacations

PC: Wikipedia.org

The Stingray City Antigua provides an interactive experience with the Stingrays. The guides offer you an educational experience while also assisting your dive in the water. You can also feed the fascinating sea creatures. The Stingray City Antigua is one of the most unique things to do in Antigua Barbuda.

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Bettys Hope: An Historic Plantation

Source: flickr

Founded way back in the 1650s, after the first English settlers discovered the fertile soils of Antigua were perfect for raising sugarcane crops, the historic plantation known as Bettys Hope now stands as a reminder of the long history of slave ownership on the islands.

Today, the site has been restored to show some of the original windmills that were used to crush the crop and extract the juice, while other excavations have unearthed the on-site rum distillery and slave quarters.

An on-site visitors center showcases a collection of original tools used in the production process too.

See The Wildlife Of The Frigate Bird Sanctuary

Source: flickr

To the north end of aforementioned 17-mile Beach is where travelers will find the Frigate Bird Sanctuary a vast enclave of lush mangrove and mud swamps, brackish bayous and waterways that hosts perhaps the largest gathering of frigate birds in the world.

Thats right, this small area of land on untrodden Barbuda is the prime spot for seeking out the curious red-throated fliers that bellow and bulge with their weird and wonderful mating displays during December and January.

There are also pelicans and oodles of sea birds there, while the landscapes are gorgeous, marking the far end of the protected Codrington Lagoon National Park.

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Take A Road Trip Around Antigua

If you aim to visit as much of the island as possible, renting a car is your best options. Most of the visitors spent most of their time by the pool, but that would be a mistake. Many of the hotels have car rental facilities, hence do yourself a favour and rent a car for a few days. Experience Antiguas landscape away from the crowds and visit the famous sites before or after day-trippers leave the popular sights. And do not forget to leave a bikini near the top of your bag. There are countless beaches to choose from where you can cool off before you move to another place.

Renting a car and taking a road trip around the island is one of the best things to do in Antigua and Barbuda.

Relax On One Of Antigua’s Many Beaches

25 Best Things to Do in Antigua and Barbuda

There are hundreds of beaches on Antigua but some of the best include Half Moon Bay, popular with windsurfers and snorkellers. For those seeking peace and quiet, the southwestern jut off Johnson’s Point is tranquil, while Turner’s Beach nearby look out to onto Montserrat. For even quieter beaches sneak to uninhabited inlets such as Prickly Pear Island.

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Dow’s Hill Interpretation Centre

Dows Hill Interpretation Centre is a part of the Nelsons Dockyard National Park in English Harbour. The surroundings are a stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is also home to some of Antiguas most exciting events such as Antigua Sailing Week and the Antigua Charter Yacht Meeting. The Dows Hill Interpretation Centre doubles as a museum, where visitors can learn about Antiguas history dating back to the Amerindian era. One of the most popular features of the Interpretation Centre is the multimedia presentation, which takes visitors on an informative journey through the lands history.

Shirley Heights Road, English Harbour, Antigua & Barbuda, Phone: 268-481-5021

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Frigate Bird Sanctuary Barbuda

Barbuda’s Frigate Bird Sanctuary is a haven for birders. Accessible only by boat, the bird sanctuary lies in Barbuda’s northwest lagoon and is home to one of the largest nesting colonies of frigate birds in the Caribbean.

These large sea birds are known for their bright red gullets and one-and-a-half-meter wingspan. The reserve also attracts about 150 other species of birds such as herons, cormorants, and pelicans.

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