Caribbean vacations
Cruise and Beach Destinations
in the Caribbean, Mexico & Beyond

Caribeez.com
Antigua

Antigua Attractions and Things to Do

St. John's Antigua
St. John's, Antigua
Antigua tourist attractions include Stingray Village, a major historical site at English Harbour and the Heritage Quay duty-free shopping district.

Standard cruise shore excursions include snorkeling, island tours and tours of the capital city of St. John’s.

Recent unique excursions include scooter snorkeling, where people can ride sea scooters under water. Other unique excursions are a four-hour yacht racing trip and the English Harbour historical district.

1) St. John's


The cruise port of St. John's, capital of the islands, is highlighted by the white towers of St. John's Cathedral, which was built in 1845. It is easy to spot for anyone visiting the island by cruise ship. St. John's also has one of the nicer shopping districts among top Caribbean destinations.

2) Heritage Quay and Public Markets


Cruise visitors will find easy access to shopping in St. John’s. Heritage Quay is a higher priced, duty-free shopping area overlooking St. John’s.

The nearby Redcliffe Quay also offers shopping in one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city.

An arts and crafts market is by the west end bus terminal. A fruit and vegetable market with additional shops is located by the arts and crafts market.

3) Stingray Village


Grand Cayman’s most famous attraction and one of the best in the Caribbean is called Stingray City, where visitors get out of boats and hang out with friendly stingray on a sandbar.

Antigua has its own Stingray Village where visitors take a short boat ride to a shallow pool on the coast and interact with the rays. It is available as a cruise line shore excursion.

4) Fort James


Forts from the Caribbean's European presence in previous centuries are common on Caribbean islands, and Antigua has its showpiece with Fort James.

Its location at the entrance of St. John's Harbour makes it a quick excursion for anyone visiting Antigua for the day by cruise ship. This one is a good option in combination with the Fort James Beach.

The fort and beach are two and a half miles from the cruise docks, so passengers will need a taxi, rental car or excursion bus to reach them. Some tour operators recently were offering a tour of them with Segways.

5) English Harbour


One of the better shore excursions in the Caribbean for history buffs is Antigua's English Harbour. The British navy built this important base in the 1700s and maintained it until its closure in 1889. It is now part of the 15 square miles of Nelson's Dockyard National Park.

Points of interest include Clarence House, a home built for the future King William IV (1765-1837) when he served under the legendary British admiral Horatio Nelson as captain of the H.M.S. Pegasus. Another major point of interest is Shirley Heights:

English Harbour Antigua
English Harbour

6) Shirley Heights


The numerous gun emplacements and military buildings at Shirley Heights overlook English Harbour. It is named after General Shirley, who was Governor of the Leeward Islands during the 18th century when the area was fortified. The nearby cemetery includes an obelisk honoring soldiers of the 54th regiment. Visitors on Sunday afternoon will find barbecue, rum punch, steel band and reggae music.

7) Dow's Hill Interpretation Centre


Visitors to this facility by English Harbour can view a multimedia presentation of Antigua's history. Observation decks at the center and at Fort Berkley give visitors a vantage point for seeing the harbor.

8) Jolly Harbour and Cedar Valley Golf Clubs


Both golf courses on Antigua are 18 holes and par 70. Jolly Harbour green fees are $40 and Cedar Valley are $35 at the time of this writing. Jolly Harbour is located about six miles southwest of the St. John’s cruise port and Cedar Valley is located in St. John’s.

9) Sea View Farm Village


The village showcases folk pottery that is made from clay of nearby pits and then fired in open fires under layers of green grass in the yards outside potters' homes. Folk pottery on Antigua dates back to the early 18th century. Visitors can buy the pottery at shops in the village and elsewhere on the island.


10) Museum of Antigua and Barbuda


Cruise visitors who are history and culture buffs with a little extra time can visit the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda on Long Street, just a quarter mile northeast of the docks.

It offers the history of Antigua and Barbuda starting with its birth and going through the present. Exhibits include a wide variety of objects, from a life-size replica of an Arawak dwelling to the bat of Viv Richards, one of the greatest cricket players of all time.

11) Half Moon Bay


Anyone with a rental car can see Half Moon Bay on the eastern side of the island. This bay located on the far western tip of the island is indeed shaped like a half moon. It's a popular destination for walking, riding or just enjoying the pink sand beach.

The beach is 16 miles or 40 minutes by car from the St.John’s docks. Car renters might want to visit it in combination with English Harbour.

12) Donkey Sanctuary


The donkey sanctuary is a charitable project of the Antigua Humane Society that shelters about 150 at-risk animals. It is on the southeast side of the island near Bethesda, about 12 miles or 30 minutes by car from the cruise docks. The sanctuary is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

13) Betty's Hope


One of the first full-scale sugar plantations on the island, built in 1674, is near Pares Village on the eastern side of Antigua. It represents more than 300 years of island history.

14) St. Georges Anglican Church


This colonial era church five miles east of the docks was built in 1687 and remodelled in 1735. A marble ledger has the name of the first English settler to be interred within a place of worship on the island, according to the Ministry of Tourism. The location overlooks Fitch's Creek and Parham Harbour.

15) Barbuda


Visitors can go to the relatively undeveloped island of Barbuda by air twice a day for a 20-minute flight or by a three-hour boat ride. Day visitors can go to Frigate Bird Sanctuary in the island's northwestern lagoon. It can be reached only by boat. The sanctuary contains more than 170 species of birds and 5,000 frigate birds.
Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas.

 > Category: Attractions   

September 21, 2018

More Tips