Once you have docked, you can experience several adventures on the island of Antigua. Old windmills, sugar plantations, casinos and museums await. The beach, which has blinding white sand, offers everything you may need, from sunbathing and surfing to scuba diving.
The article gives you an overview of the following topics:
- The best spots that you shouldn’t miss
- What to do in Antigua: Sunbathing, surfing and the best beaches
- Aye Aye, Sailor!
- Things to do in Antigua
The best spots that you shouldn’t miss
The island is amongst the stops of every Caribbean cruise line due to the dozens of sights and the excellent infrastructure.
Great Bird Island and rare species on the beach
Great Bird Island has a base territory of only 8 square miles and is three kilometres from the shores of Antigua. It can be easily accessed by boat. This is the only place on Earth where you can admire the world’s rarest species of snake, the Alsophis, in its natural habitat. The island is home to other endangered species like lizards, pelicans and tropical birds. It is also the nest site of several birds; that is why the sailors who arrived at the island named it Great Bird Island. It is worth visiting the place on a boat with a glass bottom so that we can admire the world underneath the water. It is also a good idea to sail around the island; this way we can encounter even more rare animals.
Bird watching at Lighthouse Bay
Lighthouse Bay is the nesting site of more than five thousand frigate birds. They organise speedboat tours to the lagoon. The sky is covered with thousands of birds, and the boat passes close to the nests so that you can take some amazing photos of the birds.
Admiral Nelson’s Dockyard
The English Bay is one of the most beautiful natural bays in the Caribbean region where Admiral Nelson lived in safety during the Napoleonic Wars. The national park has a museum, many shops, restaurants and a wonderful marina which is a real yacht heaven. You can also find a yachtyard here that is still manufacturing vessels these days. The National Park offers several activities to the visitors. The house that once belonged to the admirals has a dockyard museum which presents the history of the dockyard and the ongoing archaeological research through different exhibitions. There are several wonderful boats in the dockyard, and visitors can also see a lot of beautiful marinas every day.
Deep in the rainforest
The journey into the rainforest goes through suspension bridges, bird hides and swinging stairs. The best part of our trip is the rope-slide between two cabins; we can touch the foliage of the trees underneath with our feet while sliding.
Let’s get in a car – Fig Tree Drive
The finest highway in Antigua called Fig Tree Drive is a 32 km long road that leads from the plains to the volcanic hills. The road is flanked by the rainforest, and plantations of banana, coconut and mango, and sugar mills as well.
Betty’s Hope – The sugar mills
This is an open-air museum that used to be a sugarcane field. You can see the remains of old buildings and sugar mills that have been restored to their original state here.
The Antigua and Barbuda museum in St.John’s
The museum was established in the oldest house in the city, which was built-in 1747. They exhibit items from the era of the Arawak Indians and the colonial past. You can also see models of sugarcane fields and a full-size Arawak house.
St. John Cathedral, St. John’s
The cathedral was originally built-in 1683, but has been restored several times since; its impressive twin towers were built-in 1845. The Baroque cathedral can be found on the highest point in the city, providing an astonishing view. Near the southern iron gate, we find the statues of John the Baptist and St. John of Patmos, each on a pillar; legend has it that they were brought here from Napoleon’s yacht.
The most amazing beaches for sunbathing and surfing
The fabulous white sandy beaches of Antigua are not only ideal for relaxation, but for doing sports as well. We could practically spend the whole year, all 365 days in Antigua, as that is exactly the number of beaches located here.
Pigeon Point Beach
Pigeon Point Beach is one of the most popular parts of the island. It may be suitable for those who like the whirl and active recreation. The beach is located on the southeast part of the island, and it has many bars and restaurants; they also offer recreational activities. There are showers, changing tables and playgrounds as well. Adventurers can even scuba dive on this shore segment.
The beautiful sandy beach and the peaceful sea attract a lot of tourists here. There are giant hotels along the beach with the highest booking rate per year. Swimmers can choose from restaurants, cocktail bars and watersports during the day. There are a lot of small uninhabited islands nearby, and a one-mile-long coral reef can also be found on the shores of the bay.
Half Moon Beach
Half Moon Beach might easily be Antigua’s most beautiful and popular beach. It has spectacular pink sand, and the cool breeze is also very pleasant; it is a spot suitable for surfing.
Aye Aye, Sailor!
Cruising enthusiasts may choose from several marinas with dozens of recreational activities.
A giant marina located on the southern side of Antigua, app. 10 miles from the city of St. John’s. We can find several shops and restaurants, as well as a large apartment complex here. If you require a service for your boat, this place is perfect. They have a yacht hoist with a lifting capacity of 70 tons, making repairs done on the land an easy job. We can also buy replacement parts for our boat in the stores if necessary. The harbour has 155 spacious marinas, each equipped with electric sockets. The inspector at the harbour will be of help upon our arrival and when we leave. The place is well lit during the night, so it’s easy to navigate. Also, there is a non-stop security service at the harbour, so we can go for a walk to the city centre anytime without a problem.
This is a horseshoe-shaped harbour on the southern part of the island. It can accept boats with a length of maximum 330 feet. It has 60 marinas. Every dock is equipped with electric sockets and a water reservoir. Those who choose this harbour have the opportunity to use low-sulphur fuel for their boats. There is also recycling waste management, non-stop security and a parking lot for cars.
St. John’s Harbour
Obviously, the largest city on the island has the largest harbour as well. This is the only harbour where ocean liners can be docked, so we can admire giant yachts while cruising these waters. This is the harbour with the greatest traffic on the island. Due to the continuous traffic, it is a very safe harbour. Even though it is built mostly for large yachts, smaller vessels can also be docked here. There are many groceries and a fish market on the beach. If we prefer eating out, we can choose from several restaurants on the waterside.
Things to do
The island offers great events to sailing enthusiasts – the so-called Sailing Week takes place from the end of April to the beginning of May every year. The event started in 1968; more than a hundred boats and yachts have been competing every year since then. It is a great opportunity for those who love sailing and would like to take part in the event either as a spectator or a competitor.
Sail, sail and sail!
The archipelago consists of 3 parts: Antigua, Barbuda and Redonda. One of the best things to do is sail around the three islands. During the trip around Antigua, we can observe the tourists and the daily routine of the locals; we won’t have a chance to meet people on the other two places though. Barbuda was heavily struck by storms in 2017, and all the locals had to be evacuated; we can also see the destruction caused by the hurricanes. Continuing our journey, we get to an uninhabited island, Redonda. This is a volcanic rock, the highest point of which is 320 meters.
Shirley Heights Lookout
The waterfall with the highest altitude can be found here, offering a great view of the archipelago. After taking a look around, we can go on a historic walk and visit the obelisks of the soldiers fallen between 1840 and 1851. The place is completely abandoned – we might only meet some fishermen taking a break from work.
The area can meet everyone’s expectations, regardless of whether they are looking for active or passive recreation. If you would like to spend your time with sunbathing and sipping cocktails, or you are a fan of sailing, this is the perfect place for you. Scuba diving, surfing, dancing events – different things to do each day. This is Antigua. Read more if you plan sailing in Antigua or yacht charter in Antigua.