The InteleTravel Island Guide: Antigua

The InteleTravel Island Guide: Antigua

If vacationing by the sun, sand and sea is appealing, there are few places in the world better than Antigua. Attracting more than 1 million tourists a year on average, this breathtaking Caribbean island is a popular vacation destination with so much more than its small size would suggest. 

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Here’s our definitive rundown of all you need to know about vacationing in Antigua. 

The Lay of the Land 

Antigua is a small Caribbean island renowned for its beautiful, white-sand beaches, unique and diverse nature and wildlife, and rich cultural history. Located in the Lesser Antilles, it is one of two major islands which make up the nation of Antigua and Barbuda. 

Antigua is home to more than 300 beaches despite measuring a mere 14 miles across and 108 square miles in total. Its coastline also features captivating capes, bays and harbors, and inland, the island bursts with captivating scenery across flat plains and low-lying mountain ranges. 

Natural wonders abound, and the island is fast becoming a leader in conservation and green energy—even going so far as to ban the use of plastic bags, and instead issue free, reusable bags to residents. 

Antigua is easily accessible from the United States and Europe, and an extremely popular travel destination. The island’s capital St. John’s is also a prominent port of call for cruise ships and passengers, offering a great selection of food, shopping, activities, and cultural experiences. 

When to Go

Determining the best time to book your Antigua trip will largely depend on what you’re looking to get out of your vacation? There are several considerations dependent upon the time of year, including weather conditions, crowd sizes, and transportation and lodging costs. 

High Season

Antigua boasts a hot, tropical climate throughout most of the year, and the period from December to April is the island’s high season. With average temperatures around 85 degrees Fahrenheit, this is the coolest and driest time—while also the most popular for tourism, as visitors flock to the temperate climate to escape the chill winter in other regions. This can also be reflected in higher accommodations and airfare prices. 

Low Season

The low season, extending from mid-June to November, is characterized by short spells of heavy rainfall and thunderstorms. While there is still plenty of sunshine, it can get unbearably humid, especially between August and September. There is also an increased risk of heavy rains and hurricanes between mid-August and October.

For those seeking a good off-season vacation with lower rates, less crowds, and pleasant weather, the golden window is between May and November.

Getting There

Antigua’s only airport, V. C. Bird International Airport, serves several major airlines from the United States and Europe, as well as operating flights between the islands. Cruising to St. John’s is also a popular way to arrive.  

Once there, you’ll find driving to be the most convenient mode of transportation. There are taxis available throughout the island offering fixed fares between the airport, harbor, and many hotels and destinations. There is also public bus service to many of the major attractions and hotels, as well as car rental services. 

Where to Stay

Antigua is home to many world-class hotels and resorts, with enough amenities and activities to satisfy any traveler’s dreams. Here are some of the best places to stay on the island, based on traveler type and intended vacation. 

Adult Friend Groups

Curtain Bluff is a secluded, all-inclusive resort located in a cove on the island’s southern coast. Far from the party scene, it’s an immersive experience with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the sea, a variety of spa treatments, watersports and activities, and a wonderful selection of fine dining. 

Jumby Bay Island is a small private islet off the northeast coast, and while it may be expensive, its amazing vistas, unbeatable service, and impressive living spaces make it a great choice for groups. Guest suites feature four-post beds, private courtyards, wraparound terraces, and outdoor showers. Private villas are also available for rent, which include a private pool and direct beach access. 

Families

St. James's Club can be found between Mamora Bay and St. James Bay in southeast Antigua, and offers an extraordinary, all-inclusive resort experience for families. Guests can book rooms, suites or villas with private balconies or terraces. There are five bars and four restaurants serving a wide variety of fine cuisine. Guests will have access to two white-sand beaches, a fitness center, four tennis courts, kids club, spa, and six pools. 

The Verandah Resort & Spa on the island’s eastern coast is an all-inclusive resort replete with suites and villas featuring private verandas to gaze at spectacular views of the ocean. Parents can enjoy relaxing massages at Tranquility Body & Soul Spa while leaving the children at The Kid’s Club for some fun.

Luxury Seekers

Hermitage Bay is an all-inclusive resort and boutique on Antigua’s western shore with private bungalow suites and phenomenal ocean views. Guests watch flat-screen TVs and enjoy free Wi-Fi access, outdoor showers, and organic cuisine options. The resort is a favorite for romantic couples—with fantastic wedding and honeymoon packages, as well as the Siddhartha Art of Love spa treatment. 

Every room at Carlisle Bay on Antigua’s southern coast exudes relaxation: floor-to-ceiling windows with ocean views, espresso machines, and private balconies and terraces.

What to Do

There are so many great reasons to love Antigua! These include miles of white-sand beaches, a great selection of local and international cuisine, and loads of fun and exciting activities to entertain any traveler’s tastes. 

Outdoor Adventure

St. Mary's Mud Buggy Experience is a three-hour, guided ATV riding tour around the island. It covers some hidden gems, including Greencastle Hill, Diamond Hole Reservoir, and secluded Sea Fort beach. 

Adventure Antigua The Xtreme Circumnavigation is a day-long boat tour taking guests on a full circuit around the island. It features a diving stop at Stingray City Marine Park, then Nelson's Dockyard, snorkeling session at the Pillars of Hercules, and finally, Rendezvous Bay, a secluded beach on the island’s south side.

Rest & Relaxation

Spa Indulge at Galley Bay Resort & Spa is designed to provide a serene experience, with natural air-treatment pods, two air-conditioned treatment rooms, an open sundeck, and  relaxation pool.

Red Lane Spa at Sandals Grande Antigua is a rejuvenation center with relaxing spa treatments including massages, facials, body and glamour treatments—by trained and experienced therapists. In addition to its state-of-the-art fitness centers, reflection pool and beach access, Red Lane is famous for its Lavender Massage, Caribbean Glow Treatment, and Hot Stone Therapy.

Urban Exploration & Nightlife

Adventure Antigua Eco Tour offers swimming and snorkeling, and when you’ve had enough, take part in the nightlife of historic site English Harbour. Enjoy Seafood Fridays at Nelson's Dockyard, a weekly culinary event!  

Indigo On The Beach at the Carlisle Bay Resort enables guests to dine or enjoy a drink while indulging in stunning ocean views. The open-sided room and terrace has wooden floors that merge with the sand and sea, and serves guests a delectable selection of cocktails.

Cloggy's Antigua is a favorite for nighttime fun in English Harbour. Located on the second floor of the Antigua Yacht Club Marina, this is locally considered one of the greatest sailor's bars in the world, with a bustling dinner scene that turns into a dance party after sunset.

What to Eat & Drink

Food is a very important aspect of Antigua’s history and culture—in fact, the island was originally settled as a haven for rum distilleries. Known for its fresh seafood and great rum selection, Antigua’s cuisine has a distinct fusion of flavors all its own among Caribbean islands. It’s inspired by Spanish, British, and West African cuisines—creating an unforgettable smorgasbord you’ll be thinking about long after returning home. 

The relaxed beachside ambiance of Beach Limerz is the perfect accompaniment to its incredible food and live music beside the historic Fort James, all for an affordable price. And if you’re a fan of live performances, South Point Restaurant & Lounge in English Harbour is the spot, with stunning sunset views along with dinner and dancing on the patio. 

Miracle’s South Coast Restaurant, a local favorite in the Jolly Harbour region, is known for its curry goat, lobster roti, jerk chicken, and coconut shrimp. Papa Zouk promises some great fish, great rum, and the largest selection of Zouk (dance music style popular in the Caribbean). 

For those looking for more upscale dining, The Cove at Blue Waters Resort and Spa is perfect for romantic dinners or special occasions, with oceanfront views, candlelit tables, and a wide collection of high-quality, French-Caribbean cuisine. 

Before you start planning your Antigua adventure, be sure to connect with an InteleTravel Advisor. Our experienced advisors will work with you to design a custom itinerary, no matter what kind of trip you’re after. Contact an InteleTravel Advisor today to get started! 

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