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Antigua encapsulates everything that comes to mind when you think of island life. Laid-back vibes, sandy shores and dancing at every opportunity.
There will be no mistaking where you are – Antigua is quintessential Caribbean – but there’s more to this dainty island than you might think.
Here are 15 of the best things to do in Antigua – many of which you won’t find elsewhere in the Caribbean.
#1 Check into a luxury resort
Okay, so this is probably the first thing you planned to do. It’s also not unique to Antigua – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy your all inclusive resort before anything else. It’s what I did and it’s what I recommend you do, too.
Take some time to enjoy and explore your resort before rushing off to do anything else. Given how massive some of Antigua’s all inclusive resorts are, you may just need a day to take it in!
The Galley Bay Resort and Spa, owned by Elite Island Resorts, has a super relaxing vibe. Adults only, you can enjoy a peaceful stay with all the little extras taken care of – including having drinks delivered to your sun lounger. Check out current availability or find another resort below:
#2 Tuck into some tropical ice
In the warm Caribbean sun, nothing is better that tucking in to a cool ice cream. And nowhere in Antigua (or perhaps the entire West Indies) does ice cream better than Tropical Time Out Ice Cream Parlour & Deli. The ice cream is made fresh to serve, and flavours include pistachio, passion fruit sherbet and caramel crunch.
If you’re staying at the Verandah Resort & Spa or Pineapple Beach Club, you’re in luck. Tropical Ice is just a 4-minute drive or 29-minute walk from both resorts. But even if you’re staying in St John’s or English Harbour, the ice cream is well worth making the journey for.
#3 Adopt a donkey
Sure, you can adopt a donkey all over the world. But adopting an Antiguan donkey is special.
Antigua has a pretty impressive population of feral donkeys. If you take any excursions in Antigua or drive around at all, it’s almost certain that you’ll see at least one.
Sadly, not all of Antigua’s donkeys are able to roam freely anymore due to injuries or illness. Antigua Donkey Sanctuary takes in donkeys that are hit by cars (something that happens too often!) or who need a safe place to call home.
The centre also re-homes abused and abandoned dogs and cats, and relies entirely on donations. Visitors can adopt a donkey for $25 per year, or just stop by and say hi to the donkeys – they absolutely love having their coats brushed!
#4 Take a beach day
Again, Antigua isn’t the only destination you might travel to for a beach holiday. But even if you’re not usually the beach bum kind, make some time to visit at least one or two Antigua beaches.
Despite its modest size, Antigua is famously home to 365 beaches. With a beach for every day of the year, it won’t be hard to find a sandy spot to spend the day in Antigua.
#5 Learn to sail
I’d never tried sailing before visiting Antigua but, given that it’s known for its Sailing Week, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to learn.
It’s not something I’d considered before, but it was by far my favourite thing I did in Antigua. If you have a free morning or afternoon, book in for a sailing lesson at the National Sailing Academy (located at The Lodge).
#6 Take a sunset cruise
Antigua has some seriously impressive sunsets. The best way to enjoy them? Out on the open ocean, of course!
Whether you’re usually a fan of sailing or not, there’s nothing like watching the Caribbean sun set from the middle of the ocean.
We enjoyed a sunset cruise with Mystic Cruises on our final night and it was the perfect way to end a week in Antigua.
#7 Hire a car and explore
Antigua is a fairly small island, but there’s still plenty to explore. Renting a car is the best way to do so and, given that it’s virtually impossible to get lost, you can take to the road without a plan.
Usually associated with beaches, resorts and chilled out break, you might not have considered renting a car in Antigua. Hiring a car – even for just a day or two – will help you discover the real Antigua and get off the typical tourist path.
#8 Spice it up
Whatever you eat in Antigua, you can be sure it’ll be tasty. You can also be pretty sure that you can cover it in as much Susie’s Hot Sauce as you like.
Susie’s Hot Sauce has turned into an empire since it was founded in 1960. And with flavours from “Pineapple Pleasure” to “Raspberry Rhapsody”, there’s a hot sauce for everyone – even the spice dodgers.
#9 Eat a black pineapple
You’ve probably had pineapple, but have you tried black pineapple? If this is your first time in Antigua … then probably not.
On the sweeter end of Antigua’s culinary spectrum, the black pineapple is endemic to the island. Many resorts will offer it in their breakfast buffet, but you can also head to one of Antigua’s pineapple farms or markets if you want to see the full fruit for yourself.
#10 Enjoy a little luxury
Even though there’s plenty to explore outside your resort, don’t forget to see what’s going on inside your resort, too. Most of the all inclusive resorts in Antigua have their own spas and activities so there’s always something to do.
I enjoyed one of the best massages I’ve ever had at the Verandah Resort & Spa. A one hour treatment left me feeling fully relaxed and ready to settle into island life.
#11 Sip on local rum
No trip to the Caribbean would be complete without rum. English Harbour rum is the local tipple of choice. Enjoy it in your favourite cocktail or sip or solo.
If you want to try something new, you can even take a rum cooking class and enjoy learning, creating and eating local recipes.
#12 Cross the Devil’s Bridge
If you thought Antigua was all still beaches and calm Caribbean waters, think again.
The Devil’s Bridge, on the eastern side of the island, is somewhere you wouldn’t think was in Antigua. But it is!
#13 Dine on the beach
You might have chosen to visit Antigua dreaming on long days spent on picture-perfect beaches, but did you know you can dine on them, too?
Many of Antigua’s resorts have a restaurant on their private beach or at least one beach buffet night. It’s a pretty dreamy way to enjoy your dinner, so make sure you stick around the resort for that one!
#14 Visit Shirley Heights
If you ask the locals for the best things to do in Antigua, they’ll likely tell you one thing: Shirley Heights.
You can visit Shirley Heights, the island’s famous lookout point, at any time of the week, but Sunday night is where it’s at. Every Sunday evening, locals and visitors gather at the Shirley Heights lookout for the weekly Shirley Heights party. Expect steel drum bands, barrels of rum punch and LOTS of dancing!
#15 Eat some fresh fish at Seafood Fridays
Another weekly event not to be missed is Seafood Fridays. Every week, the Copper and Lumber Store Historic Inn hosts a seafood feast where locals and travellers mingle. I went for the grilled mahi mahi and it was easily one of the best meals I had all week in Antigua!
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