things to do in antigua

The Top Things to Do in Antigua [+ Attractions in Antigua]

There’s plenty to see and do in Antigua that will keep you occupied for as long as you wish.  Whether you’re visiting Antigua on a cruise ship, staying in a resort of visiting independently, your challenge will be what you want to do first!  We explored Antigua independently basing ourselves north of St John’s for half of our stay, and then English Harbour for the second half of our stay.  We used taxis and local buses in Antigua.  We walked and to maximize the places we could get to we rented a car – which we seriously recommend on Antigua.  Here’s our guide of what to do in Antigua.


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The Best Places to See and Things to Do in Antigua

Whether you’re interested in beaches, food, cricket, hiking or watersports, there are lots to see and do in Antigua.  We took a broad view of the island and tried to get to the natural beauty spots, the forts of Antigua and of course the beaches.  We aimed to try the local food, indulge in a beer or two and of course find the best Antiguan rum punch on the island.  Here’s some of the top places to see and our favourites of what to do on Antigua.

Visit St John’s Antigua

If you’re visiting Antigua on a cruise, then St John’s is where you will arrive into.

Antigua’s capital, St Johns is a city of around 22,000 people and is usually only visited by tourists on their way to and from the Antigua cruise terminal.  We think it’s worth a little extra time, but if your time in Antigua is short and you want a quick visit to St. John’s, then, you could stop off at the fruit market and buy yourself a famous Antigua Black Pineapple, stop off at the Old Rec cricket ground and visit the Antigua and Barbuda Museum – why not combine your visit with a guided tour of St John’s?  Check this option to tour Antigua and to learn all about the local area – AND visit these spots.  

You’ll likely want to finish your day out at one of St John’s Antigua’s bars – and you’ll find several around the cruise port.

If you’re looking for somewhere to stay in St John’s then the Heritage Hotel in St John’s Antigua is your best pick of the hotels in St John’s. It’s close to the Cruise port and Heritage Quay and gets the best reviews for this area of the island. This St John’s Hotel is in a great location, and comes with free breakfast, coffee, and tea, and also free parking (at a premium in this area of the island. Check rates here and book early.

Explore the Old Rec in St John’s Antigua

Antigua’s beloved “Old Rec” – the Old Recreation Ground is still standing in the center of the capital of St John’s, but it is not been used for cricket since 2009.  If you’re a cricket fan, it is well worth making the pilgrimage here to stand on the square, climb the scoreboard and see where Antiguan legend Sir Viv Richards scored the fastest test match century off 56 balls in 1986 and where Sir Brian Lara twice set the record for this highest individual Test innings, with 375 in 1994 and 400 not out in 2004 – both times against England.

Visiting the old Cricket ground is one of the more unusual things to do on Antigua, but we loved exploring.

The Old Rec

You can read more about how to access the Old Rec in our post on what to do in St John’s Antigua.

Explore English Harbour in Antigua

Antigua’s English Harbour is the center of yachting and sailing in Antigua.  You’ll find all the marine stores, bars for visiting sailors, and provisions stores here. There are some gloriously fancy restaurants too – with leading European chefs running them.   The main attraction here in English Harbour is Nelsons Dockyard, and the other areas of the Nelson’s Dockyard National Park, Dow Hill, and Shirley Heights.  Visit English Harbour as part of an Antigua Island Tour – reserve your spot here.

Visit Nelsons Dockyard in Antigua

Antigua’s Nelson’s Dockyard is the oldest continuously operating dockyard in the world.  This Georgian-era working dock has been operating since 1745.  It’s a measure of the superyachts and the immense wealth in the sailing community here to see how meticulously the yard has been restored.

Tickets to enter, which also cover you for the blockhouse ruins and the Dow Hill interpretive center cost US$8.  Just tell the ticket office how long you’re staying and your ticket will remain valid for that length of time.

Nelsons Dockyard Antigua

Inscribed to the list of UNESCO World heritage sites in 2016, Nelson’s Dockyard is named after Admiral Horatio Nelson, who was stationed here in 1784.   Start your exploration at the (free) Dockyard Museum, in which you’ll find details on Antigua’s history, Antigua’s forts, the blockhouse ruins Antigua, and the dockyard itself as well as some random British Royal Family memorabilia.

This VIP tour option from St John’s -that meets all cruise ships as well – will take you around all the high points of Nelsons Dockyard and the area.

The marina at Nelson Dockyard contains restaurants, bars, warehouses, and hotels as well as some pretty fancy yachts, most of which will be bigger than your house!  It’s a great spot to go to see how the other half lives!

Visit the Dow Hill interpretative Centre, Antigua

Also included in the ticket to the Nelson’s Dockyard National Park ticket is a visit to the ruins of the blockhouse on the peninsular en route to Shirley Heights and the Dow Hill Interpretive Centre.  There’s a short introduction – 15 minutes – to Antiguan history – sit in the middle and spin around on your stool to watch the introduction.  You can also take a guided tour of the Dow hill site (for free) with one of the guides.  There are lovely views and some shaded seating areas to relax in.

Take in the Panoramic View from Shirley Heights in Antigua

Visiting Shirley Heights is probably the top thing to do in Antigua and certainly the most famous of things to do in English Harbour, Antigua.

Renowned as the best view of sunset in Antigua – although we had some pretty stunning sunsets on Dickenson Beach – you’ll want to head to Shirley Heights just before sunset.   On a clear day, you can see the sunset behind the island of Montserrat, depending on the time of year.

Sunset over Montserrat from Shirley Heights

Shirley Heights is named for Sir Thomas Shirley, who became the first Governor of the Leeward islands in 1781.

While the bar at Shirley Heights is open each day of the week, there are now 2 nights that are party nights at Shirley Heights.  The most famous night of the week is Sunday when you’ll find a Barbecue and reggae band to party to until late.  There’s a US$10 entry fee on Sunday nights.  Barbecue costs range from US$8 to US$36.

Looking down on English Harbour from Shirley Heights

Thursday nights are now Reggae nights, – depending on what time of year you visit – there is no entry fee, and the reggae and barbecue run from 1600 until 1800, or 1900.  And the music may not start until close to 1700.  Hey, you’re on vacation…

A shuttle from English Harbour costs US$3 per person for a minimum of 4 people – contact Shirley Heights to book on WhatsApp on +1 (268) 776 2853. Can you drive to Shirley Heights Antigua? Yes – we drove up and visited, but it’s best to take a shuttle if you plan on partaking of the rum punches!

Visit Betty’s Hope in Antigua

As you travel around Antigua you’ll easily spot the ruins of windmills and chimneys marking the locations of sugar mills.   It’s well worth the time investment to come to Betty’s Hope and see two restored windmills but also to learn about Antigua’s colonial history and the dark days of slavery here that formed so much of the island today.

The importation of slaves from Africa’s Gold Coast began in 1505 and lasted for 300 years.  The enslaved Africans were used as forced labor on the sugar plantations of the Caribbean.  More than 10 million Africans had been moved to the New World by the 19th century.

Bettys Hope Antigua

Betty’s Hope was Antigua’s first sugar plantation, named for the daughter of Christopher Codrington, who established the plantation in 1674.  At its peak, there were 400 slaves working the plantation here.  Following the abolition of slavery, some slaves remained on the plantation, working for desperately little money, those who left settled nearby and founded villages that you’ll still see here – Liberta, Freetown, and Freemansville.

There’s a small museum here, with absorbing and informative boards.  There’s an honesty box for the EC$5 entrance fee.

Explore a few of Antigua’s Churches

The easiest church to get to in Antigua is the Cathedral in St John’s, while it shows up as one of the top things to do in Antigua, St John’s Cathedral is undergoing renovation right now, so you’ll just have to content yourself with a wander around the outside.

Right in the middle of the Island, you’ll find Tyrell’s church of our Lady of Perpetual Help.  This Catholic church is famous because it’s pink.  Not for any particular geological reason.  It’s painted pink.

If you head down to English Harbour you’ll pass the village of Liberta – and it’s here you’ll find the gorgeous Anglican Church of St Barnabas.  It’s specifically pretty because of the green limestone used in its construction.  There’s a parking space to the side.

st Barnabas Anglican Church Antigua

See the Devil’s Bridge, Indian Town National Park Antigua

You’ll need to take a tour of the island or to rent a car to visit Antigua’s Devil’s Bridge.  It’s located in the Indian Town National Park, not far from the village of Willikies and just before Long Bay in the northeast of the island. The Devil’s Bridge is a naturally formed limestone bridge.    It’s best seen towards sunset or just after sunrise and is reached by a mile-long (1.6 kilometer) rough road – which is ok to drive, just go slow.  You’ll hear (and feel!) the wind whistling as the waves force through the holes in the rocks.    If you’re here at higher tides, then you’ll see the blowhole at the end of the limestone formation.

Devils Bridge Antigua

The Devil’s bridge was so named as it was a common place for suicides of slaves during the centuries of slavery here.

The more daring might walk across the bridge, but take care it’s VERY VERY slippery.

The Devil’s Bridge is just one element of the Indian Town National Park, which also houses a lot of birdlife and the remnants of an Arawak campsite.

There’s no fee to enter Antigua’s Indian Town National Park.  More information on the National Parks of Antigua is here.

Visit or Volunteer at The Antigua Donkey Sanctuary

There’s a large wild donkey population on Antigua and you’ll likely spot them a few as you drive around the island.  In order to care for ill, injured, and elderly donkeys there is a registered animal charity here, the Donkey Sanctuary, Antigua.

Wild Donkeys on Antigua

It’s here that you’ll find up to 150 donkeys being cared for – it’s also possible to volunteer here in return for your housing (check out details on WorkAway).

If you’d just like to visit, there is no entrance fee, but your donation will keep the donkeys fed and housed.  You’ll find the Antigua Donkey Sanctuary near Bethesda and it’s open Monday through Saturday from 1000 until 1600.

Take an Antiguan Cooking Class in Antigua

We love to learn about the food of a country when we visit and there’s no better way than to take a cooking class.  The best-rated cooking classes in Antigua are with Nicole at Nicole’s Table.  You’ll not only learn a lot about Antiguan food here, but you’ll get to cook and enjoy a 3-course lunch – starter, main, and sides as well as dessert.  Your host, Nicole, will also answer all your questions about life in the West Indies.

You can elect to learn to cook West Indian Curry, Jerk, or a rum-infused special.  You’ll start your cooking class with a typical local cocktail, the Rum Punch, and then get going on the food.  This is an awesome way to experience a local event on Antigua.

Check availability with Nicole and book here – this really is the best Antigua Food and Drink Experience

Drink a Rum Punch in Antigua

You’ll find two rums distilled on the island of Antigua (but no distillery that you can go and visit).  The Antiguan Rums are Cavalier and English Harbour.  You can buy them in most of the supermarkets and stores around the island quite easily.  Mix with the equally easily available fruit punch mix and enjoy responsibly! Rum Punch in Antigua is a great way to experience a bit of local fun.

Homemade Antigua Rum Punch

Drink Wadadli Beer in Antigua

Wadadli is the traditional name for the island of Antigua.  And Wadadli is the name of Antiguan beer. You’ll find these dark green bottles of beer everywhere.   Wadadli Beer is 4.8% and comes in 250ml (8.5 fluid ounces) bottles.  You’ll pay a variety of prices for the beer.    You’ll pay EC$4.25 for a cold beer in Billy’s supermarket, and EC$3.75 for a warm one.  Epicurean charges EC$3.75 regardless of whether it’s cold or not.  Ana’s on Dickenson’s beach charges EC$10 or EC$12 (we were charged both!). Wadadli Beer is the BEST of refreshing Antigua drinks.

Wadadli Beer Antigua

Visit Antigua’s Forts

The Caribbean is littered with the remains of colonial-era forts.  Some, like the magnificent Brimstone Hill Fortress on St Lucia, are magnificent and have received restoration and funding.  Antigua’s forts are a little more rundown but still worth visiting. The best two forts in Antigua to visit are Fort James and Fort Barrington

If you’d like to visit some of Antigua’s forts and get a little exercise along the way, why not take this Bike, Kayak, Hike Tour – an awesome way to see the country and get some fresh air too!

Fort James, Antigua

Antigua’s Fort James on the north side of St John’s Harbour dates back to 1706.  You’ll find a few cannons and remnants of walls.  It’s pretty in a very deserted sort of a way.  You’ll drive past a glorious beach to get there.

Fort James cannon pointing to Fort Barrington

Fort Barrington, Antigua

Standing guard over St John’s Harbour – directly across from Fort James is Antigua’s Fort Barrington.  It’s a steep climb up (be wary if you’re wearing flipflops and even more wary if it is been raining), and a bit of a scramble, although at the top, instead of hauling yourself up the seemingly impregnable rock head to the left, and round the side and up through the stone-built building.

You’ll get gorgeous views over Deep Bay here and a fabulous breeze.

Fort Barrington from the bottom

Go for a Hike in Antigua

The south of the island of Antigua has some great hiking.  There are several Antigua hiking groups who hike at various times of the day – but mostly VERY EARLY – like meeting at 0500!  If organized hiking is your thing, then here are several groups that you can informally join and hike the island with.

  1. Wadali Trail Blazers – hike most Sunday mornings, connect via their Facebook Page.
  2. The 5 am club – hike at 0500 mostly on Saturdays – connect here

If you want to take a guided hike on Antigua – then this option is a fabulous one – check it out now!

Watch a game of Cricket in Antigua

Most of the Antiguan Cricket is played in the Sir Viv Richards Stadium. The main Sir Vivian Richards Stadium was built for the 2007 World Cup (although it was delayed for 2 years in its usage).   You’ll find it close to the airport, but other than that pretty much in the middle of nowhere – compared to the fabulous location of the Old Recreation Ground.

Most international games are held here – and you can find a schedule of play here.

There’s also a smaller cricket ground actually at the V. C. Bird International Airport, where if you’re early arriving or delayed waiting for a flight, you can watch a few overs.

Hear Sir Curtly Ambrose’s Band “The Spirited”

What do cricketers do when they retire from the sport?  Here in Antigua they form a band and play twice a week at least!  And this is one of the best things to do in Antigua at night! Antiguan and West Indies Cricket legend Sir Curtly Ambrose and teammate Sir Ritchie Richardson formed a band in their retirement. You’ll find Curtly on bass guitar on a Friday night at the casino by the cruise terminal in St John’s from 2230 until 0100.  The band, “the Spirited” also plays various other locations – and their schedule is here.

Explore the Beaches of Antigua

Antiguan beaches are a dream. There are 365 beaches in Antigua, one for each day of the year and all beaches in Antigua are free to access there’s no such thing as a private beach. It’s true if an all-inclusive resort has built shades and put sunloungers you can’t use those unless you’re a guest, but you can use the beach.

To take a trip to some of the less populated beaches and get some quiet time, we recommend this tour, which starts from St John’s and will meet you off a cruise ship.  Check it out now!  

Depending on the time of year that you visit will impact your visit to the beach.  On most days we visited (In December, which to be honest is the beginning of the high season), the seas were rough, it was windy and if I’d sat on a beach I’d have got a lot of sand in my rum punch! Here are the beaches we visited.

Dickenson Beach, Antigua

We found Dickenson Beach on our first night in Antigua – glorious sunset, the swim-out bar, and the massive Sandals resort.   There are a few bars and restaurants in between the resorts here.  Ana’s will charge you between EC$10 and EC$12 for a beer depending on how the barman is feeling.

Dickenson Beach Antigua

Darkwood Beach, Antigua

We found Antigua’s Darkwood Beach while driving from St John’s to English Harbour.  The best thing about the beach is the ease of parking.  You can park right alongside it, and jump straight in the water.  The beige-coloured sand isn’t the bright white of Caribbean beaches that you’re hoping for, but this slightly out-of-the-way beach makes for more locals than tourists.

If you do spend the day on the beach be sure to secure your valuables. We use and recommend portable travel safes – here’s our guide to the best travel safes.

Deep Bay, Antigua

The best views of Antigua’s Deep Bay are from the Fort Barrington ruins high on the hill above. It looks gorgeous and is well protected by the large bay.   You’ll know your peace is about to be spoiled when one of the massive day sailing catamarans brings cruise ship visitors.    But that’s an awesome way to visit this bay – getting a day trip from St John’s and exploring – check out this option to visit.

Deep Bay from Fort Barrington

Half Moon Bay, Antigua.

Antigua’s Half Moon Bay isn’t easy to get to and it should be the object of picture postcards.  The turquoise blue water should lap the white crescent of sand.  When we visited, it was somewhat windy, and while it’s a pretty beach, it wasn’t the weather for snorkeling or doing more than enjoying the view.  There are two beach bars here where you can get lunch and a drink.

There are just four of Antigua’s beaches – the best one for you will depend on what you want to do – and of course where you’re staying.

Take a trip to Runaway Beach – and spend up to 4 hours relaxing on this glorious beach – see your options now!

Swim Out to Antigua’s Floating Bar in Dickenson Bay

The floating bar, Atngiua is located in Dickenson Bay, and, of course, you don’t have to swim, you can pick up the red flag that you’ll find on the beach and wave it until someone comes in a boat and gets you, but swimming’s more fun eh?

Go to Barbuda for the Day from Antigua

While we don’t think that you’ll run out of Antigua things to see and do, you can easily take a day trip to Barbuda, Antigua’s sister island. Trips, with Barbuda Express, leave at either 0600 or 0700 and include tours of Barbuda and lunch.  They do not go at the same time every day, so check schedules carefully

Day tours from Antigua to Barbuda leave at 0700 from the Cruise Port area in St John’s on Tuesday and Thursday, you can also arrange a pick up at Jolly Harbour at 0800.  There are also tours on Wednesday and Friday, these start at 0600 from St John’s only.  The trip to Barbuda takes around 90 minutes.   Your tour includes collection by a local guide, a visit to Codrington Village, a tour of the largest Frigate Bird Colony in the western hemisphere and then you’ll go onto the open caves at Two Foot Bay.  You’ll get lunch on the Pink Sand Beach and then take a swim on Princess Diana beach before returning to the ferry.   This tour costs US$159 per adult and US$100 for children from 2 to 12 years.  Book directly with Barbuda Express.

How to Get Around Antigua

Antigua isn’t a large island.  It is just a total of 281 square kilometers and no driving time is further than 45-50 minutes.  That doesn’t mean that it is particularly easy to get around o a budget though.  While there are local buses available, they primarily service the local population and won’t get you to all the spots you want to visit in the timeframe that you want.  For a budget trip to Antigua, we would advise renting a car, you’ll be able to visit the places on your list of things to do in Antigua quicker and so spend less on accommodation!

Take local buses around Antigua

Local buses run during the day, and you’re unlikely to see them on a night when you’ll need to arrange a taxi.  There is a local bus stop just outside the airport, that returns to St John’s, but we didn’t see a bus anywhere near the airport during our stay on the island.

All Antiguan buses start and end in the capital city of St John’s at either the St John’s West Bus Station or St John’s East Bus Station.    Buses here are minivans, seating 12-15 people.  They have set routes, cost from EC$2.5 to EC$4 EC Dollars, and don’t run to a set timetable, they tend to set off when full and if one comes past and is full then you’ll be waiting for the next one to arrive.

Local buses in Antigua

There are full details of the Antigua local buses here

Get Taxis in Antigua

Taxis in Antigua operate on a set rate system.  You’ll find a taxi desk at the V C Bird International Airport, simply approach if tell them your location and they’ll tell you how much. They’ll quote you in both EC Dollars and US dollars and you can pay in either.   You will usually get change in the currency in which you paid.    Always confirm the price before getting in – that’s not because we think the taxi drivers will rip you off, it’s just or general rule!

Rent a Car while in Antigua

It feels wrong to recommend renting a car to anyone traveling on a budget, but seriously that’s what you should do in Antigua.   We made out a list of what to do in Antigua, planned a route, and rented a car for 3 days to see it all.  We couldn’t have got to all the places we wanted to see via the local bus system – even by spending considerably longer on the island.  The buses are there primarily for the local population and if they’re going to Shirley Height’s then they’re driving or taking a taxi too!

Get a quote for a rental car now!

You’ll find all the major car rental companies in Antigua.  They all have representation at the airport, although the car rental offices are NOT in the main terminal, they’re based in the OLD terminal building (exit arrivals, turn left and follow the road until you find the next building!).  You’ll also find car rental companies at the cruise terminal in St Johns.  They do NOT, however, have specific offices there.  You’ll meet them either at your accommodation (they’ll come and collect you) or at a local café. You will need to contact them and confirm pick-up and drop-off points.  Arranging for a car at the cruise terminal doesn’t mean that someone will meet you with a board with your name on!

Hertz Car Rental in St John’s meets at the Java to Go Café in the Nevis Pier part of the cruise ship terminal).

Antigua is like most of the Caribbean islands and requires a local driving license.  You simply need to provide your driver’s license from home and hand over US$20 / EC$60 (you can pay on a credit card).  Antiguan roads are in an interesting condition, there are lots of potholes and lots of roadworks ongoing, which the British Government is apparently paying towards fixing.  We’d recommend either taking the full CDW and SLI coverage or having your own insurance policy and excess coverage with your rental car.

Take care walking in Antigua

There are a few sidewalks in St John’s and several in English Harbour, but generally, there are no sidewalks or pavements in Antigua.   While you may see a few people walking along the roads, there won’t be many.  Roads are also unlit at night in the main, so if you plan on walking, you’d be advised to take a torch if you plan on being out after dark.  We walked back to our apartments most evenings and found that the traffic was relatively light, but were glad we had torches – more to warn drivers of our position than anything else!

Charter a Yacht or Take a Skippered Charter Around Antigua

The water around Antigua and the pretty constant windows provide great sailing opportunities.  There is no better way to see an island than from the water.  You can relax and chill out and charter a skippered trip around Antigua and explore some of the beaches and locations only accessible from the water – check out options here

Getting from the Airport to your Accommodation on Antigua

The easiest way to get from the Antigua VC Bird International Airport to your accommodation is to either take a taxi or rent a car.  All of the major car rental companies are represented at the airport and ts by far the most convenient way to travel around the island.

If you prefer to prebook and prepay your transfer – then book it now with Viator here

Taxi’s at Antigua’s airport are represented by a taxi dispatch desk in the arrivals area (there is also free WiFi for 15 minutes here and 2 ATMs.  Taxis can be paid for in either EC dollars or US dollars.  Taxi’s in Antigua run at set rates.

There is a bus stop just outside the airport, which runs on a route back into St John’s – although we never saw a bus running this route during our time on the island.

Read about the things you should do BEFORE you set off on your vacation to Antigua – do you need proof of onward travel?  What’s the currency?  And a whole lot more here.

What to Eat in Antigua

Antiguans tend to eat the main meal of the day at lunchtime.  So if you’re looking for local food on a budget, you’ll want to head out at lunchtime.   You’ll find Caribbean staples such as callaloo soup, roti, pepper pot, rice and peas, and baked chicken.  You should also try the local sorrel drink – you’ll likely also find it made into icecreams and other things, but as the juice is rather pleasant.  Here in Antigua, there are two specific things that you should look out for when it comes to food and Antigua – the Antiguan Black Pineapple and Susie’s Hot Sauce.

Try an Antigua Black Pineapple

Antigua lays claim to having the sweetest pineapple in the world and you’ll have to come here in order to try it because very few if any ever make it out of the country.

Antigua Pineapples

The Antiguan Black Pineapples are cultivated primarily in the south part of the island, in the Old Road Area – spot a sign for Cades Bay Agricultural Station and you’ll know that you’re in the right place.

If you want to take a tour of Antigua that includes visiting a pineapple farm, then this is the tour for you. 

Try some of Susie’s Hot Sauce

You’ll see Susie’s hot sauce on most tables in most restaurants.  Founded by Susannah Tonge in 1960, the range of hot sauces has expanded exponentially.  The business has been run by Susie’s daughter, Rosie McMaster since Susie’s death in 1990, but the recipes remain the same using red habanero and scotch bonnet chillis.  Be sure to try some of the different flavors, they really are different, then pick your favorite and take some home!

Susies Hot Sauce Antigua

Where to Stay in Antigua

Many people visit Antigua on a cruise ship spending just a day on the island, others fly here to an all-inclusive resort, yet more either sail here or fly in for a sailing vacation.  Antigua, however, is starting to see an increase in independent travelers.  This is not a budget location, but you will find basic hotel rooms and some great apartments to rent.  As this is how we travel we’ve outlined our shortlist of the best places to stay in Antigua – by the most popular areas.

The island is not large, however, and you won’t be further than around 45 minutes’ drive from any point on the island.  That said, we really don’t recommend driving at night.  If you plan on heading to the Shirley Heights Sunday night Barbecue or the Thursday Night Reggae Night, then you’ll want to book a taxi transfer – not only will you be able to enjoy the rum punches, but you won’t have to dodge the serious potholes – and other driver dodging serious potholes on your way home!

Where to Stay in St John’s Antigua

We opted to stay for half of our time in Antigua about 45 minutes walk from the city of St John’s.  We wanted to explore the city, be able to walk to a beach, but have the flexibility of being able to cater for ourselves too.  The closest area to us was Dickenson Beach.

The Heritage Hotel in St John’s Antigua is your best pick of the hotels in St John’s itself. It’s close to the Cruise port and Heritage Quay and gets the best reviews for this area of the island. This St John’s Hotel is in a great location, and comes with free breakfast, coffee, and tea, and also free parking (at a premium in this area of the island. Check rates here and book early.

The Eko Cosy guesthouse is a great budget hotel in St John’s Antigua. It’s in a great location downtown and comes with an included breakfast, and parking and you can also use the shared kitchen here. Check rates and book now.

Where to Stay in Antigua – the Dickenson Beach Area

Home to the high-end all-inclusive Sandals Resort, Dickenson Beach is glorious.  But fear not, all beaches are free and public access in Antigua, so while you may not be able to use the Sandals loungers, shade, and free drinks service, you can still use the beach.  There are a few places to stay close to Dickenson Beach, where you can still manage to watch the stunning sunsets, and swim out to the swim-out bar without breaking the bank.

The Siboney Beach Club in Dickenson Bay is a fabulous beachfront location that won’t break the bank. There’s a freshwater pool here and amazing rooms. The staff here are brilliant and all rooms come with a full kitchenette and a terrace. It’s a superb place to stay in Antigua. Check rates and availability for this beachfront accommodation in Antigua here.

For sea views, just set a little way back from the beachfront and head to the Trade Winds Hotel. Go on, take a look at the views that you’ll get here. The grounds of the hotel are stunning, and the staff excellent. Rooms are spacious and comfortable. Check availability here.

We walked to Dickenson Beach on our first day in Antigua from St John’s.  There are no sidewalks on roads in Antigua, there’s no lighting after dark, you’ll need to carry a torch and try not to wear black.  Locals, it appears, know the location of all the potholes, and swerving cars at speed in the dark won’t phase you after the first few.

Where to Stay in Antigua, the English Harbor Area

This area is the closest to the Shirley Heights, so you’ll find it booked more over weekends, for the famous Sunday night shindig.   Shuttles from the English Harbour area to Shirley Heights cost US$3 per person minimum of 4 people).

The Copper and Lumber Store at English Harbor is an amazing place to stay on Antigua. At this gorgeous hotel studios and suites offer air conditioning, ceiling fan, a seating area, cable TV, and a kitchenette. The bathrooms are private and come with a shower. This place gets booked out quickly, so you’ll want to book early.

The Admiral’s Inn and Gunpowder Suite at English Harbor is a stunning place to stay with heaps of history. Suites and rooms are amazing here, and there are free kayaks to use as well as free shuttles. This is a stunning historic hotel on Antigua and the staff here are incredible too. Check your dates and availability here.

Finally, What We Liked about Antigua and what we did in Antigua

It is great to travel again to a country where you’re walking along and people say hello and it’s really rather pleasant.  We found the Antiguan people to be very friendly and open.   People were seriously willing to help and direct you – like the taxi driver offering us his phone when we couldn’t find the rental car office (because there wasn’t one!) and the local bus drivers, stopping to ask if you want the bus because it’s the middle of the day and its darned hot and you’re walking.   This is an easy country to travel to, so long as you plan where you’re going and how you’re going to get there.

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