Antigua and Barbuda Travel Guide

The beauty of Antigua, and its sister island, Barbuda, is the 365 gorgeous beaches, “one for every day of the year,” as locals love to say.  Even the locals haven’t combed every patch of sand.  On Antigua, life is a beach. It’s coasts have hundreds of perfect sandy spots with beautiful emerald-blue water, with lots of sheltered bays. Yet Antigua is the typical Caribbean island, full of candy-colored villages, a rum-infused mellowness and  locals that greet you smiles and open arms.

If life on Antigua is a beach, Barbuda is a beach: one smooth, pink-tinged strand hemming the reef-filled waters. Birds, especially the huffing and puffing frigates, greatly outnumber residents on this Caribbean dream island.  

Most of the action takes place on Antigua, where you will see expensive yachts in the harbor, honeymooners, and scuba divers exploring the colorful reefs.  You can also find lush rainforests, historic sites, and a military lookout.  Also, there are wondrous national parks and blow holes such as Devil’s Bridge.

Barbuda is much quieter, but just as beautiful.  The island is a haven for wild deer, exotic birds, and is home to the Frigate Bird Sanctuary. There are also Amerindian rock carvings at Two Foot Bay, and sumptuous beaches proliferate the island.  To learn more about all the beautiful beaches on the island of Antigua and Barbuda, visit here.  Now view our Antigua and Barbuda Travel Guide to help plan your next Antigua and Barbuda vacation!

Antigua & Barbuda Weather – When to Visit

The typical temperatures on Antigua are in the region of 75°F in January and with an average rainfall of 1.5 inches, the islands are also quite dry. October is one of the hottest months and also has the least amount of rain, with a minimum temperature of 77°F. The excellent weather means that water sports are one of the main pastimes on the islands and most people indulge in diving or sailing.

The best time to visit Antigua is from May to November, the island’s off-season. Rates are cheapest at this time, and although there is a slight threat of hurricanes, the weather rarely escapes 80 degrees. You’ll encounter less rain between December and April, but rates are expensive and crowds are abundant.

Antigua & Barbuda Attractions

Nelson's Dockyard, Antigua, Leeward Islands, Lesser Antilles, things to do in Antigua, best beaches in the Caribbean, Antigua Beaches, Barbuda beaches, best hotels in Antigua & Barbuda, best restaurants in Antigua & BarbudaNelson’s Dockyard

Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Antigua’s most famous attraction is the world’s only Georgian-era dockyard still in use, a treasure trove for history buffs and nautical nuts alike. Today its restored buildings house restaurants, hotels and businesses.  The Dockyard Museum relates tidbits about Antigua history, the dockyard and life at the forts. The Dockyard Museum is in the Naval Officer’s House, and presents ship models, mock-ups of English Harbor, displays on the people who worked there and typical ships that docked, silver regatta trophies, maps, prints, antique navigational instruments, and Nelson’s very own telescope and tea caddy.

Pink Beach, Antigua, Leeward Islands, Lesser Antilles, things to do in Antigua, best beaches in the Caribbean, Antigua Beaches, Barbuda beaches, best hotels in Antigua & Barbuda, best restaurants in Antigua & BarbudaPink Beach

You can sometimes walk miles of this classic strand without encountering another footprint. It has a champagne hue, with sand soft as silk; crushed coral often imparts a rosy glint in the sun, hence its unofficial name (officially the part in front of the exclusive former K Club has been renamed Princess Diana Beach). The water can be rough with a strong undertow in spots, though it’s mainly protected by the reefs that make the island a diving mecca. Hire a taxi to take you here, since none of the roads are well marked.  This beach is great for snorkeling, beach walking, and solitude.

Devil's Bridge, Antigua, Leeward Islands, Lesser Antilles, things to do in Antigua, Barbuda beaches, best beaches in the Caribbean, Antigua Beaches, best Antigua hotels, best Barbuda hotels, best Antigua restaurants, best Barbuda restaurantsDevil’s Bridge

This limestone arch formation, sculpted by the crashing breakers of the Atlantic at Indian Town, is a national park. Blowholes have been carved by the hissing, spitting surf. The park also encompasses some archaeological excavations of Caribbean artifacts.

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Half Moon Bay, Antigua, Leeward Islands, Lesser Antilles, things to do in Antigua, Barbuda beaches, best beaches in the Caribbean, Antigua Beaches, best Antigua hotels, best Barbuda hotels, best Antigua restaurants, best Barbuda restaurantsHalf Moon Bay

Water the color of Blue Curacao laps this undeveloped white crescent in the remote southeast. Bodysurfers head to the north end, snorkelers to the calm waters south, and everyone meets at the two beach bars for grilled-fish lunches and rum cocktails. For shade, unfold your towel beneath the shrub and sea grapes.

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Frigate Bird Sanctuary, Antigua, Leeward Islands, Lesser Antilles, things to do in Antigua, Barbuda beaches, best beaches in the Caribbean, Antigua Beaches, best Antigua hotels, best Barbuda hotels, best Antigua restaurants, best Barbuda restaurantsFrigate Bird Sanctuary

Off Barbuda’s northwest coast, Codrington Lagoon National Park protects a vast estuary that supports one of the world’s largest colonies of frigate birds. More than 2500 of these black-feathered critters roost amid the scrubby mangroves. The birds’ nesting sites are all abuzz with squawking, and the sight of all those blood-red inflating throat pouches is mesmerizing. The lagoon can only be visited by licensed sea taxi from the Codrington jetty. Make arrangements at least a day in advance through your hotel or the tourist office.

Antigua & Barbados Tours & Activities

Antigua Reef Riders Self-Drive Boat and Snorkeling Tour

Hop in your own 2-seater motorized boat and follow a guide to secluded natural locations off the coast of Antigua. In addition to navigating, your guide brings you to the best that the island has to offer, from the coastline views of Darkwood Beach to a snorkeling session at Antigua National Marine Park. Round-trip hotel transport is included for your convenience.  Read more about Antigua Reef Riders Self-Drive Boat and Snorkeling Tour 

Southern Stingray Marine Animal Interaction and Snorkel

Observe stingrays in their natural habitat on a snorkeling tour off the coast of Antigua. In addition to navigating to the best locations for viewing wildlife, your guides provide a brief lesson on how to observe and interact with the gliding stingrays. Use of snorkeling equipment and a complimentary rum punch are included.  Read more about Southern Stingray Marine Animal Interaction and Snorkel

Jet Ski Antigua Guided Jet Ski Tour with Beach Break

Add an ocean adventure to your Antigua itinerary with a 2-hour jet ski tour that departs from Hawksbill Beach. Jet skiing with a guide ensures your comfort and safety throughout the day’s itinerary, which features swimming and snorkeling at popular beaches and hidden gem coves often missed by visitors. A small group size capped at 8 people ensures a personal experience tailored to your interests.  Read more about Jet Ski Antigua Guided Jet Ski Tour with Beach Break

Power 360 Catamaran Cruise

Glide along Antigua’s stunning coastlines on a power catamaran as you make your way to some of the island’s natural hot spots. You’ll navigate the beautiful island of Antigua exploring iconic sites and landmarks along the way. Then snorkel one of the island’s best reefs and enjoy a delicious lunch on-board the catamaran before cruising to the historic English Harbor. Complimentary hotel pickup and drop-off included.  Read more about Power 360 Catamaran Cruise

Mystic Sunset Cruise

Take a magical cruise around the island of Antigua during the golden hour. Hop aboard a comfortable catamaran and enjoy aperitifs and an open bar as you watch the sun dip below the horizon. Soak up the beautiful Caribbean atmosphere during this 4-hour cruise with soft music crooning in the background as you sail along Antigua’s coast.  Read more about Mystic Sunset Cruise

Best Antigua & Barbuda Restaurants

Le Bistro

Le Bistro is out of a foodie’s daydream with a kitchen that has consistently wowed diners with meticulously prepared classic French cuisine. No matter if you fancy escargots (snails), langoustes (lobster) or canard (duck), you’ll find the ingredients top flight, the presentation exquisite and the service immaculate. Reservations are essential. Telephone: 268-462-3881 Web: Le Bistro

Cecilia’s High Point Cafe

With chill-out music playing softly in the background and unimpeded views of the azure seas, this shabby-chic beachfront cottage is presided over by a former Swedish model and is a popular lunch spot en route to or from the airport. Perennial top menu picks include the lobster ravioli and the beef tenderloin, although the blackboard specials are also popular. Telephone:  268-562-7070   Web:  Cecilia’s High Point Cafe

Russell’s Bar & Seafood Restaurant

Russell’s delivers a delightful dining experience. Jazz and reggae on the sound system (live music Friday and Sunday, with open mike Monday), beamed ceilings, cool canvases of musical instruments in fevered Fauvist hues, and red or black hurricane lamps lend a romantic aura to the stone-and-wood terrace. The limited menu—local specialties emphasizing seafood—includes fabulous chunky conch fritters and whelks in garlic butter.  Telephone:  268-462-5479   Web:  Russell’s Bar & Seafood Restaurant.

Papa Zouk

Seafood is king, from butterfish to Barbudan snapper, served either deep-fried or steamed with a choice of such sauces as guava-pepper teriyaki or tomato-basil-coriander. Tangy Caribbean bouillabaisse with garlicky Parmesan mayonnaise and the tapas platter are specialties, as are the knockout rum ti’ punches.  Telephone:  268-464-0795  Web:  Papa Zouk.

Road House

A popular stop for a cold beer and local lunch (goat water, seafood chowder, grilled fish) on the way to Half Moon Bay.  This place kicks into high gear on Fridays when all dishes cost just EC$5 after 5 pm. On Sunday afternoons villagers arrive in droves to ring out the weekend with BBQ  and jamming Reggae music.  Telephone:  268-764-8090  Web:  Road House

Best Antigua & Barbuda Bars & Nightlife

 Ana’s On The Beach

A chic new restaurant and bar with Mediterranean cuisine situated on Dickenson Bay, with an open-air bar, beach cabanas and lounges, and al fresco as well as interior, open air dining, emphasizing luxury lifestyle and service.  Telephone:  268-562-8562   Web:  Ana’s On The Beach.

C&C Wine House

A casual, but sophisticated wine bar – perfect for lazy days and cooling out in the evening – a great place to take in the ambience of St John’s.   Telephone:  268-460-7025   Web:   C&C Wine House.

Castaways Beach Bar & Restaurant

The quintessential Caribbean beach bar — a rustic setting on a perfect white sand beach with a laid-back, Riviera-type vibe, and featuring unique Caribbean cuisine as well as barbecue, salad, steak and fresh fish.  Telephone:  268-562-4446   Web:  Castaways Beach Bar & Restaurant.

Darkwood Beach Bar

Located on Darkwood Beach, on the South West coast of Antigua. It offers a restaurant, bar, beach chair and umbrella rental, snorkeling equipment rental, free wifi and more.  This is a great spot to watch the sun set over the Caribbean sea, while sipping a delicious tropical cocktail.  Telephone:  268-462-8240  Web:  Darkwood Beach Bar.

Sottovento Beach Club

Sottovento Restaurant is an enchanting restaurant located on the beach, a few steps away from the sea on the north coast of Antigua.  The bar serves cocktails, fresh fruit juices, soft drinks and good selection of wines and beers to sip while listening to the waves of the sea. It is a romantic place.  Telephone:  268-562-8378   Web:  Sottovento Beach Club.

Best Antigua and Barbuda Hotels

Carlisle Bay


This property is 2 minutes walk from the beach. On Carlisle Bay, Carlisle Bay features a private beach, an outdoor swimming pool, a fitness center with personal training and a spa. The property features a tropical garden and free Wi-Fi.  Carlisle Bay features 3 restaurants and bars that serve a range from Italian and Asian dishes and seafood. Room service is available 24 hours and breakfast and afternoon tea are included in the room prices.  The property has laundry and dry cleaning service. On-site customers find a library, a tennis court, a children’s’ club, a private screening room and a gift shop. Activities in the vicinity include windsurfing, sailing, boat excursions and hiking.

Gunpowder House & Suites


The 23 rooms and suites are housed in 4 historic buildings on the waterfront and a headland 100 yards across the bay. The hotel offers a small non-swimming beach, spectacular infinity edged pool, a spa and two excellent open-air restaurants, Pillars and Boom. There is a complimentary boat shuttle to the swimming beach in Freeman’s Bay and kayaks to explore the harbour. The perfect hotel for relaxing in peace and quiet or for finding plenty of activities (sailing, scuba diving, hiking, snorkeling, yoga) and fun (several restaurants and nightlife) only 5 – 10 minutes away.

Hermitage Bay – All Inclusive


Showcasing an outdoor pool and sun terrace, South Point Antigua is located in English Harbor Town in the region of Antigua Island. Guests can enjoy the on-site restaurant. Free private parking is available on site.  This hotel has a private beach area and car rental is available. The nearest airport is V.C. Bird International Airport, 9 miles from South Point Antigua.

Copper & Lumber Store Historic Inn

The historic Copper and Lumber Store Historic Inn is a beautiful intimate Antiguan Hotel where the laid back charm and rich culture of the Caribbean blends with the colonial history of Antigua to create a luxurious romantic hotel in a unique setting.

Blue Waters Resort & Spa


Blue Waters Resort offers an island paradise. From your personal welcome, complete with cooled scented towel and rum punch, you will realize you are their valued guest. Featuring small secluded beach coves, seven freshwater pools and 17 acres of lush tropical gardens, Blue Waters provides the ideal setting for relaxing days by the pool or on the beach, cocktail in hand, or for reading a good book in the shade of the swaying palm trees.

Royalton Antigua Resort & Spa


Sitting on a stunning private beach next to breathtaking clear waters, you can relax in upscale ambiance and enjoy the relaxing effect of the soft trade winds. Royalton Antigua is perfectly situated on Deep Bay, beneath the watchful eye of historic Fort Barrington. This all-inclusive hotel offers discerning travelers a family-friendly vacation experience where guests of all ages are captivated from morning to night. With Royalton Antigua so close to the airport, you can be lounging by one of their pools within 30 minutes.


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28 Comments

  1. s

    Antigua and Barbuda look so beautiful! Thank you for the recommendations and travel guide. You mentioned hurricane season and being off season. After these recent hurricanes I think I wouldn’t risk going during that time! Perhaps due to the hurricanes, the rates may go down in general.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, the rates do go down in general during the hurricane season, as that is their off season. It is still a great time to go. This year was bad for hurricanes, but that is certainly not the norm. If saving some money, while being on a dreamy Caribbean beach is something that appeals to you, then just check the weather before planning. They seem to have it down to a science as to if and when a hurricane might show up 🙂 Thanks for reading the Antigua and Barbuda Travel Guide 🙂

      Reply
  2. Maria

    What a delightful travel guide of Antigua and Barbuda, you have covered everything!

    I can’t even Imagine how much stress relief I could get from walking on the pink beach, just amazing!

    Do you know if the restaurant La Bussola is owned by Italian? My husband is Italian and in the case of missing familiar foods that could be of great help ( you know how Italians are… They can even bring pasta with them in the luggage

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Chuckling about the pasta in the suitcase 😀  I am glad you enjoyed the Antigua and Barbuda Travel Guide.  Yes, there are actually a lot of Italian restaurants in Antigua.  Your husband will feel right at home 🙂  Thanks for visiting!

      Reply
  3. Dorothy

    The indepth knowledge of this place sounds amazing and also the Pink beach! Im in love haha…I have actually wanted to visit Antigua, as I have a good friend who has vacationed there. She made it sound like paradise, and after reading your article on Antigua, I do believe that it is paradise! Thanks for all the great information, I now have everything I need to plan a great vacation!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are very welcome Dorothy! I am sure that once Antigua starts receiving visitors again, that you will have a wonderful time visiting the island of Antigua! Thanks for reading!

      Reply
  4. jeremy

    I’ve never been to the Caribbean but this sounds lovely and I would hope that with 365 beaches you would be able to find somewhere that isn’t crowded. The site has a lot of good resources for anyone looking into traveling to these islands. Plenty of information on what to do and where to stay.  I am definitely ready to plan my vacation to one of the wonderful Caribbean Islands that you have given so much information on!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Hi Jeremy,

      Everybody needs to experience the Caribbean.  Whether you are a beach lover, or a history buff, or just like the Caribbean culture and atmosphere, there is something for everyone.  I hope that you can plan a trip to one of these beautiful islands soon!

      Reply
  5. Arie

    These areas look truly breathtaking, I wish I could be there now!

    Seeing as how you first mention that it has 365 beaches, one for each day of the year, leaves almost endless possibilities of gorgeous views to see right off the bat!

    The weather also has me wanting to go there considering I have lived in the same state of Wisconsin for my whole life and I get sick of the frequent cold weather that comes and goes.

    One of the outdoor activities that caught my attention is the Stingray City one and seeing as how I was never good with swimming and afraid to go underwater most of the time, I would not mind learning about going under with snorkel gear. I also would be interested in going on a sailing cruise.

    I looked at some of the restaurants you mentioned and I think the Coconut Grove looks and sounds amazing! The chicken Linguini Pasta sounds good to me and it looks to have a breathtaking view!

    In terms of the hotels, I say the Galley Bay Resorts and Spa definitely caught my eye when I visited their site. The rooms look great, the outside environment feels breathtaking, and overall seems like a great escape!

    My question is, which of these areas would you say is the most exciting out of the places you visited? Also, what would you be looking forward to checking out during your next visit?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Sounds like you are ready to go to Antigua and Barbuda!  Honestly, there are quite a few good restaurants, beaches, and things to see and do that I would want at least two weeks for a visit.  The place I am looking forward to travelling to?  I am actually planning a trip to Aruba.  My son graduates next year, and I want to take him on a Caribbean beach vacation, as he loves to surf, so I know he would have a blast.  Why Aruba?  I guess because, it is not a particularly heavy Caribbean hotspot, so a hair cheaper for hotels and such.  Also, I don’t like to be wall to wall on the beach with other people 🙂  Thanks for visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com.

      Reply
  6. jacob

    Thanks for posting this article. I have wanted to go to Antigua and Barbuda for a long time but didn’t know anything about the islands, the culture or anything really. I had just seen some pictures, and decided this was an amazing place I wanted to experience.  

    After reading your article on these beautiful islands,  I know loads more about the islands in terms of what to do, what its known for and when the best time of year to go is.

    I know that hurricane irma recently did a lot of damage to the islands but I was wondering how frequent is it for them to be affected by natural disasters such as Hurricanes?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Jacob, you would absolutely love Antigua and Barbuda.  Since the early 1950’s, Antigua along has been hit with 16 hurricanes, not all destructive.  This is about the biggest natural disaster that hits these two islands, plus tropical storms.  It will take some time to rebuild Barbuda who was right in Irma’s path. 

      I am glad you learned something about the islands, along with all the things you can see and do on the islands.  Thanks for reading the Antigua and Barbuda Travel Guide.

      Reply
  7. .* lizel *.

    wow! 365 beaches! That is amazing! The pink beach and Devil Bridge is now at the top of my MUST SEE PLACES. Thank you for the heads up on the Frigate bird sanctuary knowing that I need to book this trip in advance will save me some time. It is so helpful knowing what time of year is best to avoid the crowds!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes Lizel, I thing that Pink Beach and Devil Bridge are two must see places.  Not to mention the bird sanctuary.  I just love the birds 🙂  I am glad I could help fill in some of your planning 🙂

      Reply
  8. Steve

    I love the Caribbean and have visited many of the islands. But I have not made to these islands yet. Hopefully, I get there someday.

    This is a great resource for visiting these islands. So much in depth information about restaurants, hotels and things to see. I love getting a local taxi as a local tour guide. The tours are so much more personal than the organized tours. I had one taxi take me by his home and I met his mother and whole family.

    Hopefully, these islands are able to recover quickly from these recent hurricanes.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I do hope they recover quickly as well.  So much beauty to share with the islands visitors.  Thank you for reading and glad you enjoyed the Antigua and Barbuda Travel Guide.

      Reply
  9. Alex Chong

    Firstly I am so sad to hear about the damage from the recent hurricane. I hope people there are keeping strong & staying safe.

    As for your travel guide, oh my… it is such a complete one. To me, places like these are really like paradise & I hope I get there one day. I think I will definitely feel at home with its weather, as I am from the tropical country of Malaysia.

    There are so many interesting places that you have covered in your article & really, they sounded like paradise!

    Great guide and I think it will definitely be of a great help for anyone who is planning a trip to Antigua & Barbuda.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I am glsd you enjoyed my comprehensive Antigua and Barbuda Travel Guide 🙂 Thanks for visiting!

      Reply
  10. Safrina Chong

    Such a comprehensive post with beautiful photos and website ❤

    It makes me want to travel further when my kids are older. I’ll make sure to visit this website for references.

    Thanks for sharing, Leahrae ☺

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are most welcome Safrina 🙂 I am glad you enjoyed visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com!

      Reply
  11. Asen

    Hello there,

    Antigua is a heaven on earth based on your article and the picturesque photos.
    I want to jump into these shallow transparent waters and never get out.
    And I for sure will visit ‘Ana’s on the beach’.:)
    Thank you for basically planning my trip for me, LOL
    It’s too pity that nature was cruel to this paradise but I hope that everything will come to together again for them!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are very welcome Asen! I am glad you have found your destination to start planning a vacation to! Thanks for visiting the Antigua and Barbuda Travel Guide.

      Reply
  12. Gary

    I had no idea there were deer on any Caribbean islands. I like to visit places during their off season to save money and avoid the crowds. I really enjoyed the video. It looks absolutely amazing. It looks like there’s something for everyone, whether you are active or just want to relax. I also like that there are historical sites. I like to do at least one thing educational on each of my trips.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, Antigua has a nice mix of sun, beaches, history, and wildlife!  Perfect for anyone really.  Glad you enjoyed reading the Antigua and Barbuda Travel Guide.  Let me know if you need any other information.

      Reply
  13. Cath

    I have fallen in love with your website and look at it every chance I get. On my blog spot I have added a link to your website since I think this is probably the best I have come across 🙂 in my 15 years in the diving industry.
    What would be your favourite place to visit ?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you so much Cath!  Boy, that is a tough decision.  If I went with the states, it is hands down St Pete in Florida.  Then Cabo in Mexico and Aruba, Anguilles, an Saba 🙂  Those are all wonderful 🙂  Thanks for visiting my Antigua and Barbuda Travel Guide!

      Reply
  14. Rico Hanes

    Ya, how awful to read about the incredible damage the hurricane left behind. It will probably be at least 6 months to a year before they will be able to rebuild enough to entertain tourists again. I am looking up your site to ascertain whether great deals can be had, considering the economic plight of the islands ? We would love to visit Aruba, but it is usually way too expensive. What do you recommend ?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, Barbuda got hit really hard, yes Antigua was mostly untouched. I guess that is a blessing in disguise and Barbuda evacuated to Antigua. I would definitely go in off season when rates go way down. The weather is still wonderful. The only downside is that some islands do close down to make their annual repairs during off season. The other idea is to plan way ahead, and get everything booked in advance so you can take advantage of the lower rates. Aruba can be quite affordable actually if you go in their off season and they are not in the Hurricane Belt either. So, I really would check into the rates for off season if that is a time frame that is doable for you. If you let me know when you want to travel, I can give you my recommendations. Thanks Rico, for visiting my Antigua and Barbuda Travel Guide.

      Reply

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