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all about Antigua & Barbuda

Reasons to visit Antigua & Barbuda

Boasting 365 beaches – That’s right, a beach for every day of the year!... and sun all year round, Antigua offers a range of water sports, from world-class sailing to kite-surfing. Antigua has a well developed tourist infrastructure and direct flights from the UK.

Barbuda is approximately 68 square miles and about 30 miles north of Antigua and can be reached by boat in about one and a half hours from St Johns. It has the largest colony of frigate birds which are a spectacular sight. There is just one village on the island called Codrington on the edge of a lagoon and the land used to belong to the Codrington family who made money from the sugar plantations on Antigua.

We love Antigua and Barbuda for

  • Birdwatching
  • Deep sea fishing
  • Golf
  • Diving
  • Hiking
  • Sailing
  • Sandy Beaches
  • Surfing
  • Watersports
  • Windsurfing

When to go to Antigua

The high season runs from mid December to mid April when hotel prices will rise and you will need to book up to a year in advance to get the best deals.

We recommend that you try travelling to Antigua at other times if you are not bound by school holidays, where you will find some great hotel and airfare deals. Check out our latest deals to Antigua with Virgin Atlantic and British Airways. Several hotels close during the quiet season in September and October.

Weather in Antigua

The rainy season runs from July to November although you can still find rain at other times.

The mountains have about four times the amount of rain as the coast.

Planning your holiday

Family reunions and holidays to Antigua

When considering a trip to Antigua, many travellers choose the island for its safe beaches and for diving, sailing and snorkelling.

We recommend that you find the time to hire a car in advance as it takes a lot of time to negotiate the local transport which is somewhat sporadic. Watch out for the unmarked speed bumps.

Places to stay in Antigua

Many of the hotels in Antigua are small friendly guesthouses, affordable apartments and hotels, plus it offers 5 star luxury. The island also offers friendly homestays. We have a range of specially selected hotels in Antigua for our customers so do let us know how we can help.

Antigua for family holidays

Antigua has a lot to offer kids with over 45 beaches and some of the best are in the south east around Grande Anse with good snorkelling at Morne Rouge. Other good spots for snorkelling are Moliniere Point, Flamingo Bay and Dragon Bay. You can go tubing down the Balthazar River which is suitable for children over the age of 6. 

Beach Holidays in Antigua

There is plenty of choice when it comes to sandy beaches and good places for snorkelling or water sports in Antigua.

Cultural and Adventure Holidays in Antigua

There is a wealth of English history on the island and a few old plantation houses to visit.

Antigua for weddings, anniversaries and special occasions

If you are looking for help organising a trip to Antigua for a group, whether that’s for a special family occasion such as an anniversary or wedding just get in touch. We have organised many types of trips, including music tours for some of the most well known bands in the Caribbean. 

Antigua for couples

The island is often seen as a romantic getaway for couples that enjoy nature, who are celebrating their honeymoon or an anniversary.

Getting to Antigua & Barbuda

There are direct flights to Antigua from Gatwick and connecting flights from Manchester with Virgin Atlantic and British Airways. You need to book at least a year in advance to travel during the Christmas period.

Getting around

We recommend hiring a car in Antigua but allow plenty of time to get around the island, as the roads are narrow, twisting and slow. Car rental makes it easier to see the main sights and we offer some great rates here.

Things to do and see in Antigua & Barbuda

Barbudan Beaches

The white beaches are stunning on Barbuda and one is 17 miles long and Palmetto Point boasts a pink sand beach.

Diving

There are plenty of popular dive sites such as Shirley Heights, Sunken Rock or Cades Reef and Sandy Island Reef which is quite shallow. You can also explore a wreck called The Andes in shallow water in Deep Bay.

Gunchup Caves

You can visit the Gunchup caves near Two Foot Bay and the Martello Tower and Fort.

Palaster Reef

Palaster Reef offers excellent diving and there are many shipwrecks in the area.

Boggy Peak

Climb up to Boggy Peak which is the highest point on the island for the views of St Kitts, Nevis and as Guadeloupe. It should take you about an hour.

Museum of Antigua & Barbuda

Stop in at the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda for an overview of the islands’ history.

Shopping in St John's

Picturesque Redcliff Quay and Heritage Quay are popular areas in St John’s for strolling and window shopping.

Betty's Hope

Visit Betty’s Hope which shares the story of life on a sugar plantation and even has a working windmill.

Pasture Bay

Visit Pasture Bay on Long Island where you can see the leatherback turtles lay their eggs between late May and December.

Antiguan Beaches

Enjoy the scenic beaches at Deep Bay, Galley Bay and Half Moon Bay. You can also reach the scenic Galleon beach by water taxi from English Harbour. 

English Harbour

Visit the English Harbour for some lively nightlife but don’t miss Nelson’s Dockyard Museum which is one of the most historical landmarks in the West Indies tracing the three years that Nelson lived in Antigua.

Events & Holidays

1 January - New Year holiday
Easter - Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Monday.
1 May - Labour Day
April/May - Antigua Sailing Week
May/June - Whit Monday
Second Saturday in June - Queen’s birthday
Beginning of July - Caricom Day
End July - first Tuesday in August - Carnival - steel bands and dancing
First Monday and Tuesday in August - August Bank Holiday, Carnival
21 October - Heritage Day
31 October - National Dress Day and Food Fair and Exhibition
1 November - Independence Day celebrations
1 November - Independence Day
25-26 Dec - Christmas HolidaysApril - Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta

Useful Antigua travel information

The island is approximately 12 miles long and 14 miles wide.

Language - English is the official language.

Currency - The Eastern Caribbean dollar is the official currency.

Emergencies - Dial 4620125 for Police and 46620251 for the hospital.

Local Customs - It is customary to dress smart casual when dining out at restaurants and to only wear swimwear and beachwear on the beach.

Tipping - Restaurant and hotels often include 10% service charge and staff often appreciate a small additional tip for good service.

Voltage - This is 220/240 volts.

Time Difference - GMT -4 hours (Atlantic Standard Time)

Country dialing code is +473 for Antigua and +268 for Barbuda.

Departure tax - See our flight pages for details of the departure tax payable.

Security in Antigua - Many visitors travel to the island each year and do not have any incidents however we recommend that you take care at night although the island is mostly hassle free.  Take advice from the locals as to any city areas you should avoid at all times and do not leave your belongings unattended on the beach. Use your hotel safe or security boxes to store your valuables. Avoid driving at night outside the main town centres and avoid very isolated beaches.

When taking a boat trip check that the boat operator has sails or oars in the event of an engine breakdown, a radio and lifejackets and equipment in the event of a fire. Accidents do happen and boats can break down.

Useful Links

Antigua & Barbuda High Commission in the UK
2nd floor, 45 Crawford Place, London W1H 4LP, UK
Tel: (020) 7258 0070.
www.antigua-barbuda.com

Opening hours: Mon-Fri 0900-1600

Antigua & Barbuda Tourist Office in the UK
2nd floor, 45 Crawford Place, London W1H 4LP, UK
Tel: (020) 7258 0070.
www.visitantiguabarbuda.co.uk

Handpicked hotels

 

Hawksbill by Rex Resorts
Hawksbill Peninsula, Antigua & Barbuda

 

Jolly Beach Resort & Spa
Bolans Village, Antigua & Barbuda

 

Halcyon Cove Antigua by Rex Resorts
Dickenson Bay, Antigua & Barbuda

 

The Verandah Resort & Spa
Saint Philip, Antigua & Barbuda

 

Pineapple Beach Club
Long Bay, St. Phillips North, Antigua & Barbuda

 

Galley Bay Resort & Spa
St. Johns, Antigua & Barbuda

 

St James's Club & Villas
Mamora Bay, St. Paul's, Antigua & Barbuda

Insider tips

Betty's Hope

Antigua

For more than  300 years, this prominent sugar plantation, located on the eastern side of the island, has played a leading role in, and influenced the lives of many generations of Antiguans.

A visit to Betty's Hope is the most powerful way to let Antigua's rich history pour over you.

“‘Being a busy working mum means I never have enough time to organise holidays and flights.  The team at Club Caribbee/The Travel Shop are wonderful – thoughtful, considerate, remember every details about our requirements and are always happy to help.’   Gina. Member since Dec 07. ”

Gina Miller - Read more