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
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.
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.
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.
Half 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.
Frigate 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 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.
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.
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
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.