Situated in the eastern Caribbean, the island of Antigua is a popular year-round travel destination. Many visitors arrive at the cruise ship port in the picturesque capital of St. John’s, where shops, restaurants, museums and historic buildings are the prime draws. Popular activities include a variety of water sports, such as swimming, surfing, diving, sunbathing, sailing, windsurfing and fishing. Below are five popular things to see and do on Antigua.
Looking for a fun and unique adventure? Located just a five-minute speedboat ride off Antigua’s eastern shore is Stingray City, a shallow pool with a sandy ocean bottom amid a tropical coral reef that’s home to hundreds of friendly stingrays. Watch these magnificent creatures glide through the crystal clear waters. If you want, you can stand, swim or snorkel with them. Feeling the stingrays’ smooth bodies brush against your skin is a highlight of this adventure.
Nelson’s Dockyard National Park
Located in English Harbour, Nelson’s Dockyard National Park is one of Antigua’s most popular tourist attractions. It is home to the island’s 18th century British Naval Dockyard, as well as restored historic buildings and scenic nature trails. The restored marina features beautiful old stone warehouses, and visitors also find shops, restaurants, galleries and museums to explore. After a tour of the dockyard, you can enjoy the panoramic views from the ruins of Fort Shirley, located on the hilltop at Shirley Heights.
St. John’s is the capital of Antigua and Barbuda. The city features an array of colonial cottages and market stalls to explore. One of the city’s most distinctive buildinds is St. John’s Cathedral, known for its beautiful white neo-Baroque towers. St. John’s also offers visitors plenty of great shopping opportunities. There are many duty free shops at Heritage Quay, or head to Redcliffe Quay to browse a variety of souvenir stalls.
Museum of Antigua and Barbuda
To learn about the island’s history, visit the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda located in the former 18th century courthouse in St. John’s. The museum traces the history of these islands from their geological origins all the way to their political independence in 1981. You’ll find many interesting exhibits, including a full-scale replica of an Arawak dwelling, exhibits of the islands’ different ecosystems, as well as pottery and weaving tools.
Fig Tree Drive
This scenic drive along Antigua’s south shore offers visitors a glimpse of local island life. Fig Tree Drive winds through a beautiful rainforest, farmlands and small fishing villages. Banana trees (called “figs” by local residents), coconut palms and mango trees dot the landscape. You’ll also get to see the ruins of sugar mills. Keep an eye out for roadside stands selling fresh fruit.