Sunday,  August 9, 2020  3:26 pm

How to see the best of Antigua & Barbuda

How to see the best of Antigua & Barbuda
Blake Wolfe

Blake Wolfe is an award-winning journalist and editor, who joined PAX after nearly 10 years in Canada’s newspaper industry. In addition to PAX, his work has been featured in publications such as the Metroland Media group of newspapers and the Toronto Sun.

Famous for its 365 beaches – one for every day of the year! – sun-and-sand seeking travellers will be right at home in Antigua & Barbuda. 

READ MORE: PHOTOS: A five-star, adults-only all-inclusive is coming to Antigua

However, for the first-time visitor, where does one begin?

Beaches 101

On Antigua’s western shores, some of the more popular beaches include Fort James Beach, Dickenson Bay, Galley Bay, Ffryes Beach, Darkwood Beach, Turners Beach and Morris Bay. On the east side, travellers can check out hot spots such as Half Moon Bay and Long Bay.

Not to be outdone, Barbuda also offers many pink sand beaches, which are covered in an abundance of pink shells from October to May; this phenomenon is particularly noticeable on the beaches of Low Bay and Palmetto Point from November to April. 

As an added bonus, Barbuda’s beaches are often less crowded due to the island’s smaller population.

Ffryes Beach

Places to check out

Travellers looking for unique sites to explore on a daytrip won’t be disappointed in Antigua & Barbuda. Some of points of interest include:

  • English Harbour: Historically the site of a British Royal Navy station (established under the famed Captain Horatio Nelson), English Harbour is an iconic spot in Antigua, known for yachting and the incredible views from the nearby Shirley Heights lookout point.
  • Devil’s Bridge: This natural rock arch on the eastern edge of Antigua is punctuated by numerous holes, where seawater jets upward as its pushed by waves off the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Darby’s Cave: A large sinkhole in Barbuda, measuring approximately 350 feet in diameter and 70 feet deep, which contains a small but lush rainforest.
  • Indian Cave: Located at Two Foot Bay the caves have several chambers where bays can be found hanging and small Amerindian petroglyphs (rock carvings) can be seen.
  • Island hopping

Darby's Cave

In addition to the two main islands, there’s also several smaller islands which can be explored by travellers. These include such colourfully named landmasses as Great Bird Island, Prickly Pear Island, Rabbit Island, Hells Gate and Long Island, home to the exclusive Jumby Bay Resort and Vacation Homes.

Where to stay

Antigua & Barbuda offer a range of accommodations, from small villas to larger all-inclusive properties. 

Some resorts of note include the new Royalton Antigua, the Pineapple Beach Club, the Blue Waters Resort & Spa and Cocobay Resort.

Royalton Antigua

Getting there

Canadians looking to enjoy those 365 beaches can fly direct to Antigua from several gateways this winter: Air Canada and WestJet offer direct service from Toronto, while the island can also be accessed by Sunwing and Caribbean Airlines.

Many cruise lines also call in Antigua, including: Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, Hapag-Lloyd, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania, Princess Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, Royal Caribbean, Seabourn, SeaDream Yacht Club, Silversea, Star Clippers, Viking and Windstar Cruises.

To reach Barbuda, travellers can transfer with BMN Air or charter a private helicopter ride with Caribbean Helicopters for the 15-minute flight between islands.

Transportation is also available by sea aboard the Barbuda Express or the Lady Caroline Barbuda Ferry (the latter vessel operates Monday to Saturday). Ferry service from Antigua to Barbuda is an approximately 90-minute trip.

Passports are not needed in Barbuda as the point of entry for both islands is Antigua. However, it is recommended you take your passport to the airport if flying.

Antigua is a port of call for many cruise lines.

Did you know?

  • All beaches in Antigua are open to the public
  • Want to rent a car in Antigua & Barbuda? In addition to a valid driver’s licence, a special permit is required. The permit – which can be obtained from either the Antigua and Barbuda Transport Board or the Licence Office in Barbuda – is approximately $20 USD and is valid for three months.

 Unsure of how to pronounce ‘Antigua & Barbuda?’ The official pronunciation is ‘An-tee-ga and Bar-byew-da'.

Don't miss a single travel story: subscribe to PAX today!