Located in the idyllic waters of the Eastern Caribbean, Antigua will quickly capture your heart with its lush beauty and warm, friendly people. As a cruise stop, it’s hard to compete with Antigua – it’s one of the most popular destinations for many travelers exploring this part of the Caribbean.
Apart from relaxing on one of the many beaches (365 to be exact), Antigua also has a lot to offer in terms of culture, food and landscape.
Once your cruise ship is docked at Heritage Pier and Redcliffe Quay, the capital of St. John’s, you can enjoy the best of both worlds. St. John’s is just a five-minute walk away, and there are plenty of shore excursions to choose from …..
1. Explore St. John’s, the capital of Antigua, and the port.
Once docked in St. John’s harbor, the If you’re looking for a place to stay in St. John’s, put on a pair of good walking shoes and head out to explore the island’s capital.
All the city’s attractions are within walking distance of the cruise terminal. If you don’t feel like walking far, head to Radcliffe Quay, which is connected to the Docking Terminal by a footbridge.
St. John’s, AntiguaSt. John’s, AntiguaSt. John’s, Antigua St. John’s downtown, Antigua (Photo: byvalet / Shutterstock.com)
You can also visit the Antigua and Barbuda Museum or opt for an eclectic mix of restaurants for lunch.
Don’t miss this classic photo opportunity in the harbor of a cruise ship with its many colorful walls – perfect for your Insta feed!
2. Mount Obama summit hike
It is the highest and most scenic point on the entire island, originally known as Boggy Peak. This is a difficult climb, but beginners and experienced hikers can easily cover the route.
Mount Obama (Photo: Dance / Creative Commons)
The reward at the top of Mount Obama is a breathtaking panoramic view of Antigua. Keep in mind that the hike to the top takes an average of three hours and takes you over lush jungle trails.
3. Discover Antigua’s native wildlife
While in Antigua, it’s a good idea to explore the incredible underwater world by scuba diving or snorkeling.
Specifically, an underwater tour of Cade Reef. Whether you are an experienced diver or prefer snorkeling, this is a family destination known for its impeccable visibility and wide variety of marine life.
On a calm day the visibility is about 30 meters and you can expect to see lots of fish, turtles, the legendary wreck and much more on the coral reef.
4. Mingle with the locals of Shirley Heights
Another place to enjoy the beauty of Antigua is Shirley Heights.
Shirley Heights (Photo: David Stanley / Creative Commons)
With panoramic views of the entire island, it’s also one of the best places to mingle with the locals and enjoy steel drum music, Caribbean barbecue and cinnamon-spiced rum. It doesn’t get more authentic than that!
If you prefer more discreet pieces, go for weekday evenings.
5. Jump to Barbuda
Despite the damage caused by Hurricane Irma, this island is still worth a day trip. Just step aboard the Barbuda Express, a high-speed catamaran that will take you to this pristine Caribbean habitat for the day.
This is a popular day trip, so plan your time well and book in advance.
6. Discovery of local Antiguan cuisine
Antiguans love anything hot and spicy, so get ready to warm up your taste buds.
If you want to immerse yourself a little more in the local Caribbean cuisine, why not take a local cooking class? One of the most popular options is Nicole’s Table, located in the capital city of St. John’s. St. John’s.
If you want to try the local specialties, put mussels or goat water (a type of soup) on your list.
There’s also West Indian barbecue and dumplings, usually made with cod or salted fish, Johnny’s favorite pies and pastries, and the deliciously sweet West Indian mango!
7. Discover paradise on the groomed trails of Half Moon Bay.
Some of Antigua’s beaches are crowded, but others are not, like Half Moon Bay.
Half Moon Bay, Antigua (Photo: Roger Hiscox / Creative Commons)
Located in a national park, this stretch of beach is pristine and protected, perfect for walks off the beaten path. The big waves also make it an ideal place for windsurfing. Snorkelers are also in their element here, as the calm waters at the edge of the bay invite exploration.
Top type : Be sure to visit Half Moon Bay during the day – do not plan this hike before sunset. The winding road to it (plus the sand flies coming at you at dusk) may not be a pleasant experience.
8. The natural wonder of Devil’s Bridge
It is a must-see when visiting this island nation, and almost a ritual detour when exploring Antigua.
Devil’s Bridge is a natural limestone arch in the east of Antigua – it is located near Indian Town. The force of the ocean has shaped this natural arch over hundreds of years, giving Devil’s Bridge its fascinating shape. It is also the place where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Caribbean Sea.
9. Go back in time to Betty’s hope.
If you want to learn a little more about Antigua’s heritage, this experience is well worth it. Hope Betty is essentially a 17th century sugar plantation. It is named after the daughter of a former plantation owner and is one of the largest plantation sites in Antigua.
It is no longer a working sugar factory but a kind of museum. A visit to Hope Betty gives a good idea of the role Antigua played in the escape from the slave system. If you are a history buff, this is the place for you.
10. Escape the crowds at Valley Church Beach
If you want to escape to an idyllic beach like a postcard from the Caribbean, Valley Church Beach is the place for you. You’ll find this place south of Merry Harbor, on the west coast of Antigua.
With its palm-fringed coastline, white sand beaches and dolphin watching, it’s a Caribbean paradise without the crowds.
11. Get to know Antigua from the perspective of its people
One of the best ways to explore a new area is with a local. If you want to stand out from the crowd and discover the best local gems, who better to show you than someone who lives in Antigua?
St. Johns, Antigua St. Johns, Antigua (Photo: Adam Reeder / Creative Commons).
There are many tours on the island with local guides, but it is important that you do your research in advance and make sure that the guide you choose is reputable and reliable. This is one of the best (and cheapest) ways to explore Antigua for a true Caribbean experience.
12. Try to sail.
If the Caribbean is known for anything, it’s the pristine sailing conditions that make it one of the best places in the world to learn to sail. If it has always been on your wish list, there is no better time to spend a day in Antigua and learn how.
Visit the National Sailing Academy in Falmouth Harbour, which offers short sailing courses. You can also rent an inflatable boat for the day and use it to sail to the beach at Pigeon Point, if you know what you’re doing!
13. Jungle flight through the Antigua rain forest
It may be one of the most touristy attractions in Antigua, but it’s perfect if you’re a thrill seeker and want to explore the island’s lush rainforests.
Zipline on the island (Photo: Trevor Cleringbold / Creative Commons).
The zip lines at Antigua Rainforest allow you to zip through the dense rainforest. You can choose between a short tour of 45 minutes and a tour of 2.5 hours.
The full tour also includes a jungle obstacle course with rope swings, bridges and a 328-foot zip line for maximum acceleration.
14. A taste of Antiguan heritage at Fort Berkeley
This is another great visit if you want to learn more about Antigua’s maritime history. Fort Berkeley was an integral part of the defenses of Antigua during the British Empire.
With 25 guns scattered throughout the site, you can walk the path that starts at the superyacht dock at the Nelson Shipyard. This is a relatively quiet and scenic path that runs along English Harbour.
Fort Berkeley (Photo: David Stanley / Creative Commons)
Don’t miss the 200-year-old bombproof warehouse, which can hold 300 barrels of gunpowder!
15. View of the beach bar on the island
For an exceptional dining experience, visit the Island Beach Bar. Also known as Turner’s Beach Bar, located on Turner’s Beach, it is the perfect place to enjoy delicious island dishes. You will have an incredible view of the island of Montserrat.
Turner’s Beach Bar and Grill (Photo: Crazy/Creative Communities).
If your cruise schedule only allows you during the day, enjoy a locally caught lobster, split and grilled on the beach.
However, if you come at night, you can see the glow of the active lava from the Soufriere Hills volcano on the island of Montserrat.
16. Pre-fall shopping at Heritage Quay.
You may think that on islands like Antigua there are not many luxury shops and duty free shops, but the opposite is true. If luxury shopping is your thing, put a visit to the Heritage Promenade on your list. It is also one of the best places to find the best prices on luxury items.
Heritage Waterfront, downtown St. Johns Johns (Photo: Reinhard Link / Creative Commons).
You’ll find a variety of shops selling everything from diamond jewelry to Rolex watches, cigars, spirits, designer clothing, cosmetics and more.
17. Treat yourself to a lobster dinner cruise
If you feel like treating yourself after some luxury shopping, why not take a yacht cruise around the island of Antigua? Several independent cruise lines operate from the island, but the family-owned Creole Antigua Tours is worth mentioning.
Expect a delicious lobster dinner, a place to jump off the island, snorkeling and plenty of sun, sea and relaxation.
18. Transition to Hercules columns
This is an excellent day trip if you want to explore Antigua’s natural landscape away from the beach. The Pillars of Hercules are a breathtaking natural wonder, sculpted over thousands of years by the power of the sea. From the piers you can explore the private beaches, there are many snorkeling opportunities where you can see rare species of fish.
Pillars of Hercules (Photo: Vanessa Hall / Creative Commons)
The only way to get there is to follow a footpath from Galleon Beach, which is beautiful in its own right and dotted with cacti and agaves.
19. Mangrove system study in Antigua
If you love nature and want to recharge your batteries, you can rent a kayak for a few hours and explore the mangroves of the island. On a kayaking excursion through the mangroves, you may even discover a species of jellyfish (Cassiopeia) only found in Antigua.
20. Spend a day on Opuntia Island
Island hopping is another great way to explore Antigua and its beautiful surroundings, as there is plenty to see by boat on the uninhabited island of Prickly Pear.
Prickly Pear Island (Photo: Pirate_J / Creative Commons)
Located in the northeast corner of Antigua, it is the perfect destination for a day trip to enjoy idyllic and peaceful beaches, shallow reefs, tropical fish and plenty of freshly made rum cocktails!
Bonus: Antigua cruise port
Since it is a very popular place for cruises. Most major cruise lines, such as Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises and Princess Cruises, offer regular cruises to the island.
The cruise port is located in St. John’s. St. John, the capital of Antigua. The quay there is large enough for four ships, and will soon be even larger when construction of the new pier begins.
Antigua Cruise Port (Photo: Günter Hentschel / Creative Commons)
Your ship will probably dock at Legacy or Radcliffe Docks. The first thing that greets you when you disembark are the beautiful metallic island melodies played incessantly by the island band as you leave the docks.
As you enter the beautiful waterfront, you are greeted by colorful buildings and bustling shops. In shopping malls, bars, gift shops and duty-free cafes. This well-organized waterfront, with clean streets and plenty of amenities, is a good introduction to Antigua.
Also read : Business in St. Petersburg St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.
If you want to get an authentic taste of Caribbean culture, plan your cruise in late July, right in the middle of carnival season!
Antigua Frequently Asked Questions
We hope this list of the best things to do in Antigua has piqued your interest. In order to plan your excursions properly, it is best to know a little about Antigua itself:
How far is the harbor from the city of St. John’s? St. John’s?
Your cruise ship will dock at Heritage Quay, one of two waterfronts perpendicular to St. John’s. St. John’s.
The gateway to the city is less than 500 feet from the ship. In fact, you only have to walk a few minutes to get to the city center.
What is the best time of year to visit Antigua?
The high season in Antigua is from mid-December to mid-April. However, if you prefer to visit during the quieter off-season, consider a cruise in May or June.
These two seasons are the best times to visit the Eastern Caribbean islands.
What can I expect from the weather?
The Caribbean is characterized by a humid tropical climate. So you can expect the climate in Antigua to be relatively warm all year round. Temperatures usually hover around 80 degrees. The rainy season lasts from July to November.
Discover these activities in Antigua with Cruise Hive
These are just a few of the many activities you can do in Antigua that will capture your heart and mind and make you fall in love with the Caribbean. The most important part of your cruise is to prepare and book your trip well in advance.
frequently asked questions
What is Antigua famous for?
Ultimately, the reasons to love Antigua have to do with what the island is best known for: its beautiful white sand beaches, sailing, Nelson’s 18th century shipyard, and the fact that it’s a beautiful island. Their culinary delights, the largest frigate bird breeding colony in the Caribbean and much more!
How much money do I need in Antigua?
For a holiday in Antigua and Barbuda, you should expect to pay around EC$762 ($282) per day. This is the average daily price, based on what other visitors have spent. Past travelers spent an average of 179 EC$ ($66) on meals in one day and 51 EC$ ($19) on local transportation.
Is it safe to walk in Antigua?
Although the island of Antigua and Barbuda is generally safe, petty crime can be a challenge for even the most experienced traveler. … You may have read about violent robberies and murders on the main island of Antigua, but attacks on tourists are extremely rare.
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