16 Best Tourist Attractions in Antigua and Barbuda . A former British colony in the East Caribbean, Antigua and Barbuda has some of the most charming beaches in the world. Antigua proudly says that it has “beautiful and unique beaches all year round,” and Barbuda, Antigua’s sleepy sister island, is also blessed with pristine stretches of pink sand dotted with gorgeous resorts. Not surprisingly, many movie stars and moguls jet to the islands to swim, surf, sunbathe and pass out on these enchanting beaches.
Antigua attracts most of the visitors. Many arrive at the cruise ship port in the capital St. Colorful John’s, shopping, museums and historical buildings are its main attraction. The island preserves its history as a strategic naval port, and animal lovers can swim with the friendly stingrays.
Peaceful Barbuda has less than two percent of the islands’ combined population. Seclusion-seekers and nature lovers alike appreciate serenity, while birders love fairytale frigate sanctuaries.
Water sports abound on both islands http://220.127.116.11/; diving, swimming, fishing, sailing and windsurfing are all popular things to do, and golfers will find some of the beautiful courses in Antigua.
Plan your perfect Caribbean vacation with our list of the best attractions and places to visit in Antigua and Barbuda.
- Half Moon Bay, Antigua
At the southeastern tip of Antigua, Half Moon Bay is bordered by one of the best beaches in the Caribbean. Protected by coral reefs, fine white sand and beautiful blue sea this crescent moon, supported by natural foliage, offers excellent snorkeling on calm days. When the wind is blowing hard, the waves can get rough.
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A small restaurant serves snacks near the beach, and you can also rent chairs and umbrellas here.
Note that beaches are hard to find, so a GPS will come in handy.
- Stingray City, Antigua
If you have a lifelong fear of stingrays, this fun face-to-face adventure will erase that fear forever. A five-minute speedboat ride off the island’s east coast, Stingray City is a shallow pool with a sandy bottom in the middle of a tropical reef, where hundreds of friendly southern stingrays glide through crystal-clear waters waiting to be fed by visitors.
Depending on your level of comfort, you can stand, swim or snorkel with them, and after your encounter you can explore the surrounding coral reefs. Feeling their smooth and silky body touch your skin is the culmination of this exhilarating adventure.
A trip to Stingray City is one of the most popular things to do in Antigua.
- 17 Mile Beach, Barbuda
Those who see 17 Mile Barbuda Beach, will probably never see a more ravishing stretch of coast. Composed by a pale aqua sea, this stunning stretch of pink sand separates the Barbuda lagoon from the Caribbean Sea and impresses even the most weary of beachgoers.
A walk along this beautiful coast is one of the most popular things to do in Barbuda. The sand here is soft as flour, and its remote location means you can walk for miles and see no other soul.
You can access the beach by boat, or if you prefer a view from above, fly over it by helicopter. Tours often include a delicious lunch on the beach.
You can also combine a visit here with a stop at a nearby frigate colony. Both of these attractions are popular Antigua day trips.
Insider Tip: The beach has no facilities – and no shade – so if you’re not on an organized tour you’ll need to bring your own food and water, as well as plenty of sun protection.
- Dickenson Bay, Antigua
On the northwest tip of Antigua, Dickenson Bay is one of Antigua’s most popular and beautiful beaches. You’ll find everything you need right here for a relaxing – or refreshing – day by the sea.
Resorts and restaurants line this mile-long stretch of fine white sand, and you can try a variety of water sports. Protected by offshore reef, this bay is great for swimming, and you’ll find activity booths along the sand that rent out everything you need for other water activities, including jet skiing, snorkeling, and kayaking. The bay is also the windsurfing hub of Antigua.
If you just want to sunbathe on the sand and gaze at the dazzling blue sea, you can rent sun loungers and umbrellas. Dickenson Bay is also home to the iconic red telephone booth, which is featured in many tourist Instagram photos.
After a day in the sun, you can enjoy fresh seafood at one of the restaurants overlooking the beach or order a relaxing massage along the beach.
Dickenson Bay is also home to some of the island’s most popular resorts, including Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa and Siboney Beach Club.
- Nelson Shipyard National Park, Antigua
Nelson’s Dockyard National Park, on English Harbor, is a popular tourist spot, filled with many attractions. Its main claim to fame is that it remains the world’s only continuously operating Georgian shipyard – it is home to the former 18th century Antigua Naval Shipyard, which was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in July 2016.
During your visit, you can learn more about the shipyard’s rich history at The Dockyard Museum in the former Admiral’s House. But you can also enjoy the atmosphere by strolling around all of the beautifully restored stone sheds, a stark contrast to the luxurious superyachts on the marina. Most of these old buildings are now home to hotels, restaurants, shops and galleries.
If you wish to explore further, the area is also home to some of the best nature trails on the island, leading to historic fortifications with panoramic views. Perched on a hilltop in Shirley Heights, Fort Shirley offers the best views (bring your camera), and you can also hike up to Fort Berkeley, at the western entrance to the harbor.
The park is also home to an 18th-century Clarence House, originally built for the future King William IV, and you can watch an engaging multimedia presentation on the history of the island at the Dow’s Hill Interpretation Center, along the Lookout Trail near Shirley Heights.
- St. John’s, Antigua
St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda’s capital and cruise ship port, is a kaleidoscope of candy-colored colonial cottages and market stalls piled high with tropical fruit and flowers.
Towering above the horizon is the white neo-Baroque tower of St. John, one of the city’s most distinctive buildings. Currently undergoing a complete recovery.
For an overview of the island’s history, head to the tiny Antigua and Barbuda Museum in the former 18th-century Courthouse, and to soak up more of Antigua’s past, take a walk around Betty’s Hope, the 17th-century ruins of the largest sugar plantation. on the island. A small museum here highlights the life of the slaves who built it.
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Since the capital is a popular cruise ship stop, it’s no surprise that shopping is one of the most popular things to do on St. Petersburg. John’s, Antigua. Duty-free shops abound at Heritage Quay, attractive souvenir stalls from the touristy Redcliffe Quay, and the bustling harbor-side public market are must-visit spots on Fridays and Saturdays.
For panoramic views of the town and harbor, hike the steep trail to Fort Barrington, which was built to protect St. Petersburg. John’s from France.
- Devil’s Bridge: Indian Municipal National Park, Antigua
Along the rugged northeast coast, the dramatic views of India’s Municipal National Park feature natural Limestone Bridges, sculpted over the centuries by crashing waves. During high tide, the waves force the water geysers through blowholes in nearby rocks.
The park also offers some rewarding hikes and excellent bird watching. More than 36 species of birds perch in the park among acacia trees, and the eastern part of the park is believed to be Arawak’s campsite.
- Antigua and Barbuda Museum
The Antigua and Barbuda Museum is the perfect place to visit to get a feel for the history of these beautiful islands. You don’t need a lot of time here. All exhibits are in one room, and cover topics such as the geological origins of the island, colonial history, slavery, archeology, sports and political independence in 1981.
Highlights include full-scale replicas of Arawak’s residence, as well as pottery, weaving, tooling and exhibits on the various ecosystems of the island. The museum is located in the former 18th century Courthouse on St. Petersburg. John’s.
- Fig Tree Drive, Antigua
Along the southern coast of Antigua, Fig Tree Drive traverses rainforest, farmland and fishing villages. This scenic ride offers a glimpse into local life. Banana trees (called “figs” by the locals), mango trees and coconut palms dot the landscape, as well as the ruins of a sugar factory. Look for roadside stalls selling fresh fruit – especially super juicy pineapples.
Along the route, the Fig Tree Studio Art Gallery sells vibrant local art, and if you’re looking for something a little more active, drop by Antigua Rainforest Zipline Tours for an exhilarating canopy tour.
- Frigate Sanctuary, Barbuda
The Frigate Barbuda Bird Sanctuary is a birders’ paradise. Accessible only by boat, the bird sanctuary is located in Barbuda’s northwest lagoon and is home to one of the largest nesting colonies of frigates in the Caribbean.
This large seabird is known for its bright red throat and wingspan of one and a half meters. The reserve also attracts about 150 other bird species such as herons, cormorants and pelicans.
- Darby’s Caves, Barbuda
Darby’s Cave, caused by burning limestone, is one of Barbuda’s most interesting natural features. Although often described as a cave, the site is actually a sinkhole over 100 meters in diameter.
In contrast to the surrounding dry shrubs, the lush vegetation that thrives in it resembles a rainforest, with ferns, tall palm trees, and thick lianas tied around tree trunks. Many birds can be seen amidst the leaves. The dripping water also creates stalagmites under the overhang.
- Martello Tower, Barbuda
The 17 meter high Martello Tower is the tallest building in Barbuda and is important southeastern on the island. The British built these defensive buildings throughout the British Empire, and this particular structure is considered the oldest of its kind in the Caribbean.
The tower is located on the coast on the River, a few miles south of the village, and was built by the British in the early 19th century on the site of an earlier fort that was probably built by the Spanish.
In 2017, the tower’s strength was put to the test, when Hurricane Irma hit the island, destroying 90 percent of Barbuda’s buildings. Martello Tower is one of the few still standing.
At present, the thick stone walls and weapon platforms of this small defensive fortress were mostly intact, and the ruins were attached to the remains of the previous fortress. You can’t climb the tower, but you can scale the back and enjoy the views along the coast.
- Pillars of Hercules
While in Antigua be sure to visit the majestic Pillars of Hercules for a first-hand view of these extraordinary limestone formations. The pillar serves as a guard at the entrance to the British Harbor and is only well visible by boats, so grab your camera and be prepared! It is also very popular for diving where you will get to see stingrays, trumpet fish and blue tangs.
- Shirley Heights
Just above Nelson’s Dockyard is where you can find Shirley Heights. Tourists and locals usually gather there on Friday nights for the time of their life. Dance to the sound of soca and reggae or enjoy the beat of a live steel pot while admiring the stunning views of the English Harbor. The former rumah jaga also has a restaurant serving delicious smoked grilled ribs, mouthwatering jerk chicken, and delicious juicy burgers for everyone to enjoy. Make sure to visit while in Antigua!
- Valley Church Beach
The fine white sand and soothing warm waters of Church Valley Beach are just two reasons why you should visit when in Antigua. Relax and enjoy the serene atmosphere or explore the beautiful marine life on a snorkeling excursion. There is also a Nest restaurant there, serving food and drinks to keep you happy all day long.
- Cade’s Reef
Cade’s Reef is a two mile long barrier reef and is the prime area for scuba diving and snorkeling in Antigua. You can find snorkeling boat tours, glass bottom boat tours, motorboats or sailboats to visit coral reefs. The reef segment has been selected as an underwater park where visitors can find dozens of dive sites in both in and out of reach areas. Coral reefs such as Cade’s Reef attract a number of marine creatures such as eels, reef sharks, nurse sharks, barracudas, parrots, snails, lobsters and others with some sheltering under ridges.