If you’re seeking the sunniest spot in the Caribbean, look no further than Antigua and Barbuda. This is a year-round paradise, with 70-degree temperatures through the winter and mid-80s in the summer. Unlike some island vacation spots, this twin-island destination offers more than just fun-in-the-sun. Whether your style is a plush resort with tons of amenities, an exploratory trek through a rainforest, or in-depth research of the local culinary delights, you’ll find it all here. Choose from a long list of activities, from exciting hiking tours to snorkeling, a catamaran cruise, or a swimming-with-stingrays experience.
Travel to the east coast of Antigua to encounter an amazing geological anomaly, Devil’s Bridge, an impressive natural limestone rock arch. For millions of years, the waves of the Atlantic Ocean crashed into the rocks, creating the formation. Its many geysers and blowholes add to its breathtaking visual appeal. Locals warn that the rocks are slippery and they advise against visitors walking across the bridge--especially on windy days--but the site makes for spectacular photos.
Yes, it’s a thing, and it adds a fun twist to the traditional snorkeling adventure. Slide into your snorkeling gear, choose your starting spot, grab hold of the underwater scooter, and let it propel you through the warm, turquoise blue waters of the Caribbean. Experienced snorkelers and beginners alike will enjoy longer underwater excursions and deeper dives using the scooter. Explore a fun-filled day alongside stingrays, or relax in an underwater swim through the quiet depths of the coral-lined shores.
Charter a sailboat and explore the coastline, but don’t forget your camera. Experience some of the most beautiful sunsets in the Caribbean, especially on the southern and western sides of Antigua. Visitors marvel at the way the sunset changes colors every few minutes. The golden-orange colors in the sunset reflect off of the ocean, creating a myriad of dancing light across the surface of the water.
From a distance, this picturesque capital city of Antigua and Barbuda looks like a fantasy village filled with magical wonders. Its red rooftops, candy-colored buildings, and the baroque-style St. John’s Cathedral strike a beautiful contrast against the blue waters of the city’s bustling port. Strolling through the Redcliffe Quay district, visitors will find a wide selection of galleries, souvenir stalls, and restaurants. On the weekend, don’t miss out on the harborside public markets, filled with exotic local produce, snacks, and fresh fish.
Secluded areas with little else than sand, blue sky, and lush, green surroundings are rare in tropical locations. But Rendezvous Bay on the southern coast of Antigua isn’t easy to get to and not many beachgoers make the effort, even though it's one of the most beautiful spots on the island. Plan a 30-minute hike from the city of Falmouth Harbour to reach this unique and unspoiled beach. Don’t expect to find amenities such as public restrooms here, but there are a few businesses nearby, including an art gallery just a few miles away.
There are several reasons why this UNESCO World Heritage site is one of Antigua’s most popular tourist attractions. At the top, travelers will find an amazing panoramic view of the area’s rolling hills, sandy beaches, and tropical vegetation. The British Navy built the Dockyard in the 17th century but generations of enslaved Africans performed much of the physical labor. The restorations, including the marina and other historic buildings, highlight the site’s importance in Antiguan history.
Hurricane Irma damaged much of Antigua’s twin island, Barbuda, in 2017. Locals were forced to demolish and rebuild nearly half of its structures, but the island is coming back. Travel experts say the longest beach in the Caribbean, 17 Mile Beach, is one of the most beautiful in the world because of its silky, champagne-colored, glistening sand. From Antigua, visitors can catch a catamaran to Barbuda and enjoy a quiet day lounging under the sun on a gorgeous stretch of beach that is free of crowds.
Local islanders started brewing rum in the early 1700s. Before long, every sugar plantation had its own distillery, but as the plantations disappeared, so did the rum makers. The Antigua Rum Distillery, the only distillery on the island, has been around for 75 years and produces about 180,000 bottles each year. Spirit aficionados will enjoy this tour of the rum-making process, which ends with the opportunity to sample the distillery’s nine different rums.
For more than 32 years, sailing and yachting enthusiasts from around the world have gathered in Antigua for the Classic Yacht Regatta during the Antigua Sailing Week. The annual April event hosts around 100 yachts who compete over four days of racing. Those who don’t sail party with an international crowd and also enjoy a parade featuring traditional classic yachts, an open mic night, and other entertaining events.
Giant banana and mango trees line this steep, five-mile route that winds through the rainforest starting at the village of Old Road. The Antiguan word for banana is “fig.” Along the way, travelers will see tiny villages with roadside stands selling fresh juices, jams, and black pineapples, a super-sweet and delicately flavored fruit found only in Antigua. Pass by Mount Obama, renamed after the former U.S. President, and stop off at Darkwood Beach, a family-friendly beach with gentle surf and soft sand.
Caribbean seafood is second-to-none and Antigua’s cuisine does not disappoint. Local eateries serve Conch, the meat found inside the spiral seashells, in curries, chowders, and fritters. The national dish is the popular saltfish and fungi, which is similar to polenta or grits. No matter where visitors go in Antigua or Barbuda, they’ll find a bottle of Susie’s Hot Sauce on the table which beautifully complements the local cuisine.
Enjoy one of the best views of the island on English and Falmouth Harbors at Shirley Heights, a historical and restored military complex at the southernmost tip of Antigua. Locals and travelers alike say the best time to go is at sunset or early evening. Watch closely as the sun sets behind the ocean, and you may catch a rare glimpse of the Green Flash, a green jet of light that covers the horizon. The Lookout is a popular site for weddings, private parties, and international concerts.