Antigua is renowned for its coastline. This Caribbean island – one ‘half’ of the country of Antigua and Barbuda – offers a beach for every day of the year.
And while you may need weeks to explore all of these, you’d want far longer to fully explore Antigua. The island contains a range of activities that belies its modest size, from exploring colonial towns to kayaking around Caribbean islets.
English Harbour, Nelson’s Dockyard and the capital provide daytime entetainment, nightlife and opportunities to learn about this captivating country. A day trip to Barbuda is always an option – as is lying on a picture-perfect beach – but be sure to see inland too, from the island’s thick rainforest to the sweeping views available from Shirley Heights.
A little research will go a long way on this island, so here’s a selection of the best things to do when you visit.
Tour the capital
St John’s has long been a popular destination for Caribbean cruises, but nowadays this colourful capital is more than just a brief stop-off point. Tropical vegetation covers the hills that climb up from the harbour, with a number of charming Caribbean buildings scattered throughout.
The capital is home to many of Antigua’s main heritage sites, including the ruins of 18th-century British forts (Fort Barrington and Fort James), the city’s cathedral and the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda. Two of the city’s two most popular neighbourhoods, Heritage Quay and Redcliffe Quay, are known for their colourful architecture, local vendors and some of the island’s best shops and restaurants. They remain two of the most characterful places in the city despite occasionally being filled with cruise passengers.
There are a handful of beaches near the capital that offer both relaxation and water sports (more on them below), and those looking for a little more activity can visit the Cedar Valley golf club, home to the island’s only 18-hole championship course.
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Catch a sunset at Shirley Heights
Hike up to Shirley Heights for one of the best views in the country. This old military viewpoint…