What to do in Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda is a typical Caribbean paradise, where one travels mainly for sun and sea. Activities are therefore mainly water-related, and you won't have much fun in the interior of the islands.

365 beaches for every day of the year

Beaches are the main attraction of Antigua and Barbuda. With its rugged and varied coastline, numerous coves and photogenic wooded hills, the beaches here are among the most beautiful in the Caribbean.

Find the best beachfront accommodation

All the beaches are covered with fine white sand, mixed with small pebbles in places, but these do not prevent pleasant lounging or walking. The Caribbean off the coast of Antigua is crystal clear, and the water entry is gradual and very safe.

Are all the beaches public?

Many beaches are occupied by large hotel resorts with their own bars, sunbeds and gated access from the mainland.

However, by law, all beaches are free to all visitors for their entire length. So you can visit parts of the beaches at hotel resorts without any problems, even if you stay in a completely different hotel.

However, resorts may have facilities on parts of their beaches set aside for guests only that you will not be able to use (typically sunbeds or toilets). Also, driving on the beaches at hotel resorts is usually not possible. You must park in front of the concierge and walk through the resort to the beach.

How are the beaches in Antigua and Barbuda equipped?

The beaches at the hotel resorts are well equipped with comfortable sun loungers, umbrellas and fully stocked bars or restaurants.

Outside of the resorts, the beaches tend to be more natural. However, you'll usually find beaches with sunbed and umbrella rentals and more or less impromptu snack bars. However, it's not a good idea to rely on the beach shops, as you won't be able to buy something to eat everywhere. Therefore, always take a sufficient supply of drinks and food with you.

The cost of renting two sun loungers and one umbrella at most beaches is between 15 and 20 usd. You can always pay in cash only, in both US and East Caribbean dollars.

Antigua's beaches have the advantage of natural shade from mature trees, which can be found almost everywhere.

What are the best beaches in Antigua and Barbuda?

The country boasts 365 beaches, so to make it easier to find your way around, here's an overview of the best ones.

Vibrant beaches with full facilities

Look for the most visited beaches, lined with souvenir stalls, bars and expensive restaurants under these names:

  • Dickenson Bay
  • Long Bay
  • Jolly Harbour

Beaches with the most beautiful sunsets

Love the early evenings by the sea, when the setting sun gradually turns the sand from white to golden and deep red? Then head to these beaches:

  • Pigeon Point Beach
  • Galleon Beach
  • Ffryes Beach
  • Jolly Harbour

Orphaned Natural Beaches

If you prefer absolute privacy and beaches with only a few other people on them, then Barbuda is the ideal place to head:

  • Pink Sand Beach

But you'll find beaches like this on Antigua itself:

  • Runaway Bay
  • Half Moon Bay


Antigua and Barbuda has some of the best snorkeling in the Caribbean. The island of Antigua, in particular, is a great snorkelling destination thanks to its coral reefs and enclosed bays with calm waters.

The great advantage of Antigua is that you don't need to take a boat out to the remote coral reefs to snorkel, but just stick to the edges of the beaches.

The underwater life here is abundant with hundreds of species of colourful fish, stingrays are also abundant and you may even be lucky enough to see turtles. In the Caribbean, perhaps only Curacao, Aruba and Belize are better destinations for snorkelling.

Where is the best snorkeling in Antigua?

What beaches to head to for the best snorkeling conditions? In general, look for enclosed bays with rugged rocky edges, which create great conditions for coral reefs. These are then home to hundreds of species of fish.

1. Galleon Beach (with shipwreck)

Lesser known, but in our opinion the best snorkelling spot in the country. Galleon Beach is a 10-minute drive from English Harbour and the best snorkelling spot is at the eastern end along the rocks.

Galleon Beach is great mainly because of the easily accessible small shipwreck that lies less than 30 metres offshore in low water. You don't even need fins to swim to the wreck.

  • Information about Galleon Beach

2. Deep Bay

This long bay on the west coast offers several hundred metres of rocky bottom along the northern edge of the bay with plenty of coral reefs and minimal people on the beach.

Deep Bay is a little out of the way of the main currents, but it's also relatively easy to get to by car.

  • Information about Deep Bay

3. Stingray City

If you want a place to be sure of spotting stingrays to swim with or feed, head to the town of Willikies in northeast Antigua. Here, a private company runs short boat trips to a shallow bay that's a paradise for stingrays, as well as other fish species.

The snorkeling trip does cost 60 usd, but it's definitely worth it.

  • Information about Stingray City

Book a car at Antigua Airport

Where to rent/buy a snorkel?

There are many places to rent or buy snorkeling gear in Antigua, especially at the resorts of English Harbour, Jolly Harbour and Long Bay Beach. You'll also find several equipment shops in downtown St. John's.

Hiring a full set of equipment (goggles, snorkel and fins) costs around 15 usd per day. Purchase then at about 160 usd.

Rent a sea kayak

With a rugged coastline, calm waters and many lesser-known secluded snorkeling spots, renting a sea kayak is one of the most popular activities in Antigua.

Take a relaxing trip on the water to wherever you want to go. You'll find sea kayak rentals at every major beach, especially Jolly Harbour, English Harbour, Seatons and Long Bay.

Renting a single kayak for 2 works out at about 80 usd for 3 hours.


Antigua and Barbuda may not be a renowned destination for nightlife in world-famous clubs, but in English Harbour you'll enjoy open bars and restaurants until late into the night.

Just stroll along the main marina and take your pick from about a dozen different venues.

A trip to Barbuda

If you want to visit the quiet and secluded island of Barbuda, but find it virtually impossible to get around on your own unless you have arranged car hire from your accommodation, don't despair.

The Barbuda Express boat company offers convenient organized trips that include transportation on the regular Antigua - Barbuda - Antigua boat service and a full Barbuda program.

This includes a visit to a bird sanctuary Frigate Bird Sanctuary, a trip to the Foot Bay Caves in eastern Barbuda, a quick visit to the only town of Codrington and a swim at Pink Sand Beach at the end of the trip.

The trip, called the Whole Experience Tour, is organized on Tuesday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday and takes just under 9 hours in total. The cost is 174 usd and can be booked online at barbudaexpress.com/tours-charters or paid for at the dock (cash or credit card). To the price you need to add the fee 10 usd for visiting the bird sanctuary and 5 usd for visiting the caves. These fees are payable in cash only and only on site.

Organized trips

Don't want to plan activities on your own but prefer to leave the planning to the experts? Then use the services of one of the many local agencies that will handle everything for you and plan a day of adventure.

Where to look for excursions? Here are tips on the best local travel agencies.

For a full list of all tour operators, visit the official Antigua and Barbuda tourism website: visitantiguabarbuda.com/tours-activities.

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