Reasons Why You Should Visit Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua will wow you with its natural beauty
Antigua will wow you with its natural beauty | © Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Sarah Holt
2 August 2021

There’s a beach for every day of the year in Antigua and Barbuda, so the to-do list here revolves around the sand and sea. During the day, these islands are filled with sunbathers, swimmers, boats and sometimes even stingrays. Meanwhile, evenings are all about beachside sundowners and long lazy dinners with sea views. Here’s why Antigua and Barbuda should be on your holiday radar.

It’s kitted out for couples

Villa
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Cocobay
Courtesy of Cocobay / Expedia
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Now from $1261 per night

The islands of Antigua and Barbuda are flecked with honeymoon-grade hotels. Resorts such as Cocobay in Saint Mary and Hammock Cove in Saint Philip are just for adults and come with features such as in-room jacuzzis, private plunge pools and double-ended bathtubs. Also, you’re never far away from a sunset or sea view when you holiday here – take it all in with a clifftop cocktail at Sheer Rocks.

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There’s nothing plain about the sailing here

Natural Feature
Map View
The pristine and hard to reach beach in the Rendezvous Bay in Antigua.
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With more than 153km (95mi) of crimped coastline, Antigua and Barbuda are best explored by boat. Multiple sailing tour companies operate across the islands; you just need to decide whether you’d prefer to travel by speedboat, catamaran or yacht. The best packages tend to include onboard barbecues, a few rum punches and a couple of snorkelling stops at spots such as the Pillars of Hercules and Rendezvous Bay – a beach that’s only accessible by boat or 4×4.

Become a conch connoisseur

Cafe, American
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Lambi: Caribbean dish of spiced conch
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Spain, England and France have all had a presence in Antigua and Barbuda over the years, and each place has left its mark on the country’s cuisine. Tuck into everything from escargot (edible snails) to curried shrimp. If you’re into seafood, don’t leave without trying the conch – a national dish best served with a mound of rice and peas and a side of fried plantains.

There are countless possibilities for pampering

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Curtain Bluff
Courtesy of Curtain Bluff Resort / Hotels.com
Price Drop
Now from $1723 per night

Antiguan holidays are all about the sun, sea and sand, but you could also include spas. Curtain Buff and Red Lane Spa are two top options. The former is more than 465sqm (5,000sqft) and offers highbrow therapies such as a caviar and champagne massage. At the latter, try the tropical-themed papaya and pineapple salt mousse polish. At both places, you can have your pamper session with a sea view.

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There are 365 beaches

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Dickenson Bay Beach in Antigua
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There’s a beach for every day of the year in Antigua and Barbuda. Some options, such as Dickenson Bay and Runaway Beach in St John, are more animated than others. The sands here are backed by restaurants and bars; water sports are readily available in the sea. If you’d prefer a more people-free beach, try Darkwood or Turners Beach in Saint Mary. Whichever one of the 365 you choose, you can count on sand that’s blonder than Barbie’s hair.

There are almost 200 types of birds

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Frigate bird colony in the Codrington lagoon, Barbuda, Antigua and Barbuda, West Indies, Caribbean, Central America
© Michael Runkel / robertharding / Alamy Stock Photo

The birds of Antigua and Barbuda are confetti colourful. There’s the green-throated carib that’s the colour of a mermaid’s tail and the native Barbuda warbler with its sunshine-yellow breast. Then there’s the frigate bird, with its Porsche-red neck that blows up like a balloon in mating season. To get a really good look at the frigates, book a sea-taxi tour to Codrington Lagoon with an experienced guide.

The cricket will bowl you over

Stadium
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Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, All Saints Road, St. Johns, Antigua, Leeward Islands, West Indies, Caribbean, Central America
© Frank Fell / robertharding / Alamy Stock Photo

Cricket is Antigua and Barbuda’s national sport. While you’ll see locals playing it on the beaches, the best place to catch a live game is at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, a 15-minute drive from St John’s. There’s a bar called Island B-Hive on-site and plenty of food vendors in the stadium, so you can drink cool Wadadli beers and munch on local snacks as you listen to the bats swack on the pitch.

The views are spectacular

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Shirley Heights, Antigua view.
© Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo

The former military lookout at Shirley Heights is 149m (490ft) above Falmouth Harbour and English Harbour. On clear days, you can see all the way to Montserrat. Most people take a taxi to the top, although you can follow a thigh-burning walking trail up from Nelson’s Dockyard if you’re feeling energetic. Visit at sunset to watch the sky turn the harbour water the colour of clementines, or visit from 4pm on Sundays to enjoy a steel band and barbecue.

These recommendations were updated on August 2, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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