Are you looking for things to see and do in Antigua and Barbuda? Check out this awesome list of 18 top notch suggestions.
If you’re thinking that Antigua and Barbuda’s 365 beaches are enough to keep you occupied, you may be pleasantly surprised to find that these beautiful sister islands have much more to offer. Reefs perfect for swimming; natural parks dedicated to hiking; historic museums and a UNESCO designation are just a few of the offerings available for lucky visitors to the islands.
These islands have so many activities, you will find it difficult to decide what you want to do. As you are building your itinerary, make room for these 18 things to see and do in Antigua and Barbuda.
1. Bird Watching at the Frigate Bird Sanctuary
The Frigate Bird Sanctuary is one of the most celebrated spots for bird watching in the Caribbean. Located on the island of Barbuda, the sanctuary is the world’s largest breeding and nesting location for the frigate bird. The best time to visit is during mating season which runs from September to April.
2. Horseback Riding Excursion
Horseback riding in Antigua and Barbuda is offered in the form of a guided scenic tour that takes you to the islands’ best beaches and historic landmarks. One of the more popular routes is the horseback riding tour that travels along the south west of Antigua. Before with book your horseback riding tour, follow up with the riding company to confirm that you meet their requirements.
3. Take a Free Walking Tour in St. John’s
St. John’s is the capital city of Antigua and Barbuda. It is the largest city and home to several historic sites that were very significant in the country’s history. One of the architectural features of the town is that it is laid out in a grid pattern. This makes it easy to create your own walking tour and explore the major streets and minor streets which connect at the intersections.
4. See the Museum of Antigua & Barbuda
The Museum of Antigua & Barbuda is in a historic building which was formerly the St. John’s Courthouse. The exhibits celebrate Antigua and Barbuda’s history and culture and geography. In addition to showcasing prized artifacts about the island’s people, the museum distributes newsletters and holds education and cultural evening programmes.
5. Taste Mangoes at the Antigua & Barbuda Mango Festival
A festival dedicated to mangoes will only be found in the Caribbean. Usually held in July, the Mango Festival is used to highlight the importance and versatility of the different varieties of mango. In addition to tasting the many varieties on display, attendees are treated to agricultural workshops, the sale of mangoes and mango plants and entertainment.
6. Explore Nelson’s Dockyard
Nelson’s Dockyard is an historic cultural heritage site that is often described as one of the most important places in Antigua and Barbuda. Named after English Admiral Horatio Nelson, the dockyard is a treasure trove of Georgian-style buildings. Located in the south of Antigua, the Dockyard was a welcome shelter from hurricanes and storms in the past.
7. Experience Snorkelling in Cades Reef
It’s all the things that west coast dreams in Antigua and Barbuda are made of. Cades Reef is one of Antigua’s best snorkelling sites and is only accessible by boat. It’s a beautiful world where colourful, tropical fish, turtles and stingrays glide effortlessly among the coral. Many tours to Cade’s Reef offer sail and snorkel packages which include lunch.
8. Pamper and Protect at Curtain Bluff Spa
One of the best things to do in Antigua and Barbuda is absolutely nothing. However, this only works at a spa where you will be pampered from head to toes. Curtain Bluff Spa is an intimate and tranquil health and wellness retreat at the elegant Curtain Bluff Resort. Treatments include massages, body polishes aromatherapy raps and a slew of beauty services.
9. Try Your Luck at a Casino
Maybe luck will be on your side when you visit a casino in Antigua. One suggestion is King’s Casino which is located in the capital city of John’s. King’s Casino is home to Colossus, the world’s largest slot machine and over 350 slot machines. Other casinos in Antigua and Barbuda are Paradise Casino, Grand Bay Casino, Royal Antiguan and Asot’s Arcade.
10. Look Far and Wide Shirley Heights Lookout
Shirley Heights Lookout should be at the top of list of things to see and do in Antigua and Barbuda. It’s one of the most famous photo spots in Antigua, with spectacular views of the English Harbour and Falmouth Harbour. Shirley Heights was a fitting military lookout that allowed personnel to spot any advancing ships. Some of the military structures are still intact and there is now a restaurant and bar which host a lively Sunday evening party.
11. Enjoy a Spiritual Moment at St. John’s Cathedral
The Caribbean’s Anglican churches have amazing histories of survival and destruction due to hurricanes and fires. St. John’s Anglican Church, which was originally built in 1681, was rebuilt in 1720. Today the church is being restored, but it is still a respected cathedral that boasts highly recognisable architectural features. On top of its two prominent pillars are lead sculptures of St. John the Divine and St. John the Baptist.
12. Pay a Visit to Devil’s Bridge
Devil’s Bridge is a natural bridge located on the north-east coast of Antigua. The bridge was formed through erosion from the constant pounding of the sea’s waves on the limestone rock. It is a geological wonder that received its strange name several years ago in the age of slavery. It is said that slaves in the surrounding estates would go to Devil’s Bridge and jump into the sea. This led the locals to nickname the spot Devil’s Bridge.
13. Swim and Snorkel at Stingray City
It’s an experience that requires a bit of toughness and an open mind. Stingray City is a once in a lifetime opportunity to get into the water and interact with stingrays. A tour boat takes you to calm, clear area in the beautiful Caribbean Sea, where you can stand up and feed the rays. It’s a beautiful spot to swim and snorkel and enjoy the best of Antigua.
14. Unwind at Red Lane Spa, Sandals Grande Antigua
When you feel that you need a relaxing body and mind experience, Red Lane Spa at Sandals Grande Antigua, will get you back on track. Indulge in spa treatments which include hot stone therapy, facials for men, drift away massages Himalayan salt stone massages and green coffee raps. You can also choose to get limber in one of the fitness centers and purchase signature products to continue your spa treatment at home.
15. Pay Homage to Antigua’s Ancestors at Betty’s Hope
Betty’s Hope is a historic sugar plantation which is believed to be one of the earliest sugar plantations on Antigua. Located in the parish of Saint Peter, Betty’s Hope property still has much of the old ruins which date back to the 1600s. One of the highlights on the compound is a small museum which provides information on the islands’ sugar cane history.
16. Get Up Close With Wildlife
There are several eco-tourism hot spots around Antigua and Barbuda that are natural habitats for wildlife. The list of wildlife in Antigua and Barbuda is very long and has a variety of species. There are frogs, turtles, snakes, lizards, iguanas, anoles, deer, boar, donkeys and birds. Some of the best places to see these animals are the rain forests and nature reserves.
17. Lose Your Breath with a Rain Forest Hike
Breath-taking views and unspoilt natural beauty are two of the reasons why a rain forest hike is of the 18 things to do in Antigua and Barbuda. There are many spots on the islands where people can hike and stretch their legs. Some of the best hiking trails in Antigua and Barbuda include Boggy Peak Trail, Carpenters Rock Trail, Button Pond, Christian Valley Waterfalls trail.
18. Explore the Best Beaches in Antigua and Barbuda
It may take several trips for your toes to touch all 365 beaches in Antigua and Barbuda. However, if you can, try to touch beaches on each of the coasts on your trip. In Antigua, on the north west try Dickenson Bay and Runaway Bay; on the south and south west coasts, Darkwood Beach and Pigeon Point; and on the east coast, Half Moon Bay and Long Bay. In Barbuda, feel the sand at the Barbuda Pink Sand Beach, Princess Diana Beach and 11 Mile Beach.
Things to See and Do in Antigua and Barbuda
There are so many other things to see and do in Antigua and Barbuda that did not make this list. Check out Visit Antigua and Barbuda for unforgettable experiences.