Whether it’s experiencing the colour and vibrancy of the Antigua Carnival, discovering the rich colonial history at Nelson’s Dockyard, swimming alongside majestic stingrays or simply relaxing on one of the 365 soft white sandy beaches, a holiday to Antigua is a kaleidoscope of unforgettable experiences.
Antigua and Barbuda are tropical islands in the heart of the Caribbean. It was originally one island, before sea levels rose and separated them into two, making sense of the local expression ‘two islands, but one paradise’. Barbuda is only a 90-minute catamaran ride from Antigua and makes the perfect day trip.
Known as the sailing capital of the Caribbean, Antigua’s marine history is still very much at its core. Luxurious yachts line the marinas and Sailing Week is still a key calendar event. Head to Antigua’s capital, St John’s, and take a stroll along Redcliffe Quay. It’s a wonderful mix of candy-coloured buildings and Georgian architecture. After stopping in at the cafés, restaurants and small boutiques, The Museum of Antigua & Barbuda is also well worth a visit.
Discover paradise on holiday in Antigua
Antigua is the sunniest eastern Caribbean island with breath-taking scenery at every corner. You can explore the rich heritage and beauty of Antigua on an Island Safari. You’ll trek through lush rainforest while discovering the thriving wildlife. Cross Devil’s Bridge, a natural rock arch with blowholes that spray you with ocean water, then take in some history at the sugar plantation of Betty’s Hope. It’s an ideal way to explore the island with the family. For the best romantic vista, honeymooners and couples should head to Shirley Heights Lookout just before sunset. This panoramic view over English and Falmouth Harbour cannot fail to delight.
If you fancy discovering another Caribbean island, why not take advantage of one of our many Antigua multi-centre holidays. For an island-hopping adventure, pair your holiday in Antigua with a visit to the British Virgin Islands. Spa lovers can team their week of exploring Antigua with an indulgent pampering break in St Lucia. If the great outdoors is your go-to feel-good elixir, add a visit to Barbados to your trip, complete with golf, water sports and long walks.
Great sample itineraries
We’ve created an inspiring selection of itineraries that can be included in your Antigua holiday package. Tailored for couples, families or solo travellers, almost anything is possible, so please give us a call to discuss all your options.
Antigua, St Lucia and Barbados Multi Centre Holiday
Antigua And St Lucia Holidays
Our favorite hotels
Famed for its emphasis on luxury, Antigua hotels do not disappoint. If you can’t see something you like, then we’d be more than happy to help.
Blue Waters And Cove Suites
Carlisle Bay Antigua
A holiday to Antigua might feature 95 miles of coastline, but has plenty more than just white sandy beaches. Discover the spicy Creole-inspired cuisine, the fruity local rum, its rich wildlife, extensive coral reefs, its fascinating naval history and much more...
Antiguans are passionate about their food and they take pride in their cooking from start to finish. On this fantastic excursion, you will visit Nicole in her favourite place - her kitchen. She will teach you the local way from selecting your ingredients, preparing and then cooking your dishes for you to taste at the end. Please contact our destination specialists to add this onto your booking.
With an Island Safari on board a jeep, you can explore the natural wonders of Antigua in one day. The trip includes a stop at the historical sugar plantation, Betty Hope’s, where you can enjoy a delicious lunch and to absorb some of the island’s history. The tour takes you to Indian Town National Park, on the east coast, with its windswept craggy shores. After hiking through the dense hiking trail, you will reach Indian Town Point where you can cross Devil’s Bridge, a naturally formed limestone Bridgeway.
Antigua’s shores have sheltered many fine sailors and explorers, including Admiral Nelson. Learn more about the island‘s deep nautical history with a visit to Nelson’s Dockyard in English Harbour. From there, follow the picturesque nature trails to Fort Berkeley, a defence built by the British between 1704 and 1745 to protect the island from French invasion. Cool off in the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda, where you can leisurely explore the history of the island indoors.
Family members both young and old will take great delight in discovering the many inhabitants of Antigua. The Antigua Donkey Sanctuary is home to more than 150 rescued donkeys. Visit the Wadadli Animal Nature Park, where you can watch the playing monkeys, lizards and exotic birds. Alternatively, don a snorkel to get up close with the local marine life, including rare turtles.
Best time to visit Antigua
Antigua is hot and sunny all year round, with average temperatures of 25-28°C. For sun-drenched days and the best weather, the best time to visit Antigua is between mid-December and mid-April (the high season). The hurricane season runs from August to October, peaking around September.
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“Be sure to attend the sunset party every Sunday at Shirley Heights. With stunning views over English Harbour, watch the sunset as a live steel band play, serving great BBQ food and a great atmosphere.”
“Barbuda is Antigua’s lesser known sister. However, a visit is a must with its stunning pink sand beaches. Home to an abundance of wildlife, it’s perfect for a honeymoon or a couple looking for something special. You can’t leave the island without sampling a drop of rum. We highly recommend the self-guided rum trails to get a taste of local life. For the perfect day trip, visit Antigua’s sister island, Barbuda, with its eight-mile pink sand beach. The 90-minute crossing by catamaran adds to the experience.”
“Antiguans are passionate about their food. Join our Nicole’s table excursion to pick your ingredients, prepare and cook them, and create a real local dish for you then to enjoy.”
Events & Festivals
Discover the rich calendar of must-do events and festivals in Antigua, which you can add to your holiday plans.
The Antiguan Carnival
You can’t go to the Caribbean without experiencing a carnival. The Antiguan Carnival is particularly special, as it’s held in celebration of the emancipation of slavery. The 10-day annual festival starts at the end of July and finishes on the first Tuesday in August. Colourful costumes, beauty pageants, talent shows, food fairs, parades, it’s really an exciting time to be in Antigua. The most important day to look out for is the J’ouvert, in which brass and steel bands lead a huge street party.
Antigua Sailing Week
Consider booking your holiday to Antigua during Sailing Week, which runs from the last week in April to the first week in May. This 50-year-old boat race tradition was started by friends and hoteliers to extend the winter season and it’s now one of the world's most prestigious regattas. Sailors from all over the world travel to take part. After watching the grande finale race, Antigua comes alive with festivities, balls, beach and veranda parties.
The tropical colourful ingredients and fresh seafood make Antigua a real culinary delight. For a truly authentic experience, head to Antigua’s sister island Barbuda, where you can dine in the locals’ homes and the village shops. Here are our top three local food must-tries.
This is very similar in taste to clams and is served up in curries, chowders, fritters or eaten raw as ceviche. A great place to discover its taste is at Copper and Lumber Hotel’s Friday Night Seafood Buffet. The ‘Seafood Fridays’ here have been named as one of the best in the Caribbean.
Saltfish & Fungi
Saltfish and fungi is the Antiguan national dish. Made from cornmeal, fungi is similar to polenta in its texture and taste and it’s often used in stews or served with meat or fish. Saltfish is a salt-cured and flaked white fish and one of the favourite pairings for fungi.
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The Hayes & Jarvis Way
We've been tailor making holidays for 65 years. With over 60 destinations to choose from, talk to us and we'll listen to your travel ideas to create unforgettable holiday experiences.