Solo Adventures in Antigua & Barbuda

The Caribbean may be known as a place for couples but Antigua is a great choice for solo female travellers. It’s fun and sociable and has plenty of beaches to relax on. I spent a week here and had many solo adventures in Antigua. In this article I share my tips on where to stay, how to get around and what to do to help you plan your adventures in Antigua and Barbuda.

* N.b. By booking through this page you are helping to improve the lives of vulnerable girls about the globe. Thanks for helping.

Tip – If you prefer not to book independently and are looking for a flight and hotel package to Antigua, I recommend these Antigua holiday deals with Expedia.

Adventures in Antigua & Barbuda

Is Antigua Worth Visiting?

Types of GatG (Girl about the Globe) – Beach, Carnival, Sailing GatG

Yes! Antigua is a great Caribbean destination to travel to. It’s ideal for the nature solo, sailing solo and it even has its own carnival. That's why I've given it 4 out of 5 stars. 

Antigua has a large yachting community and holds one of the top sailing events in the Caribbean. Held in April or May, Antigua Sailing week attracts many sailors which makes it a sociable island. 

Both Falmouth Harbour Marina and Jolly Harbour Marina are popular choices among the yachting community. If you’ve ever wanted to try sailing, it’s a great place to try as there are sailing schools here for beginners and advanced sailors. The sea is quite calm making the conditions easy to explore. 

If you’re not into sailing, it’s still easy to meet others here. Part of Antigua’s culture is a ‘jump up.’ Held at Shirley Heights, it’s a traditional mingling opportunity where you can meet the locals and other travellers whilst overlooking English Harbour. * Get a ticket for Shirley Heights party

Is Antigua safe for solo female travellers?

Yes, the locals are friendly towards visitors but just be careful of beaches or secluded areas at night. If you are visiting Antigua to snorkel, even though they have jellyfish at certain times of the year, it is still safe to swim in the water.

Most hotels have a 24 hour duty doctor. And if you need any medical help, this is the number for the emergency helpline = 911

Adventures in Antigua & Barbuda

Things To Do in Antigua at Night

There is so much happening at night. Many hotels offer live entrainment after dinner or head to Dickenson Bay on Friday nights. In the English Harbour area, Abracadabra is an Italian restaurant which turns into a disco at night.

Visit between December to April and the restaurants, bars, nightclubs and casinos stay open until the small hours. There’s also a sociable bar in St Johns called Big Banana where I stayed and watched the football solo!

adventures in Antigua

Where To Visit in Antigua

Antigua and Barbuba are located in the Leeward Islands. They are the largest of this group of islands and are more than 100 square miles of pink and white sand beaches.

Antigua has a rich history and is known for its world class sailing events such as Antigua Sailing Week, and the Classic Yacht Regatta, it’s also an island that loves to carnival. Visit in July/August and you’ll see the locals shaking their touche at their annual carnival. They have plenty of other events too. I've included all my favourite places to visit below. 

adventures in Antigua

The colourful capital of St Johns

St John's Antigua

St Johns is the capital of the island, and one of the Caribbean’s oldest cities. The city has an elegance and charm to it with monuments, churches and diverse architecture from Victorian to Georgian-style buildings. This is where you’ll find the markets and Museum of Antigua and Barbuda.

Take a walking tour of St. John’s City to learn more about the history and landmarks and the fires and earthquakes that destroyed some of this Caribbean city. It is also ideal for shopping, especially if you’re looking for local artwork alongside the regular duty-free products. Redcliffe Quay and Heritage Quay is the place to shop. 

In the heart of St Johns, you’ll find the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda. It's where you can explore the history and culture of the nation. The museum is located in the Colonial Court House, which was built way back in 1747 and is the oldest building still being used in the city. It’s free to enter along with St John’s Anglican Cathedral, that was built in Neo-baroque style and founded in 1848. 

adventures in Antigua

Nelson's Dockyard

Nelson's Dockyard

If you’re a history GatG, you can explore Nelson’s Dockyard in English Harbour to see the world’s only working Georgian dockyard, commissioned by the British in 1755. This UNESCO World Heritage Site also houses the last remaining Georgian fort.

Adjacent to the dockyard lies Betty’s Hope, a 17th-century sugar plantation where you can marvel at a meticulously restored mill. Today, Nelson’s Dockyard is a bustling hub for yachting enthusiasts, offering marinas, shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions amidst its rich maritime history and picturesque surroundings. See Nelson's Dockyard and other historical places on the island on an Antigua Historical Sites tour

Adventures in Antigua & Barbuda

Dickenson Bay

Antigua Beaches

If you’re a beach GatG, they have a beach for every day of the year (365 in total!) Half Moon Bay is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Snorkel amongst pristine coral reefs, swim with stingrays at Stingray City (it's in the water), or try your hand at windsurfing or kitesurfing at Jabberwock Beach, where you’ll see locals enjoying a morning and evening stroll. Or for a serene escape, head to Ffryes Beach, where you'll find swaying palm trees and tranquil shores.

Dickenson Bay is the most developed beach on the island and is known for its water sports too. I loved Dickenson Bay. It’s one of the closest beaches to St Johns. It has a gorgeous beach, restaurants, resorts and bars and there’s even a British red phone box on the beach!

adventures in Antigua

Adventures in Antigua

One of the best snorkelling and diving spots here is Cades Reef due to its clear visibility. If you don’t want to get wet, take a boat trip, a catamaran or speedboat ride or sail around for a few hours in a yacht. Or if being on the ground isn’t enough of an adventure for you, you may prefer the Antigua rainforest canopy where you can zip line to your heart’s delight.

If you’re a sports GatG and into cricket, you can sample some cuisine at the Antigua Recreation Grounds and may even meet one of the local cricketers whilst tucking into your lunch. This is also a City Lime Food Tour where you can taste the culture of the island with others. 

adventures in Antigua

Hiking in Antigua

Although Antigua is only 11 miles wide and 14 miles long, there is plenty of nature for the hiking and nature lovers. Take a trip along Fig Tree Drive to see the island’s flora and fauna, and head inland to scenery that is something out of a tropical rainforest. You can take a group hiking tour if you don't feel comfortable hiking here alone. 

If you want to get active, hike to Antigua’s highest point, the Pillars of Hercules. Iconic and majestic, the pillars are a breathtaking sight to behold. Mount Obama is also a picturesque region to walk, or just stroll along one of the many beaches such as Hawksbill beach. Instead of walking along the beach, you could horseback ride it instead.

adventures in Antigua

Shirley Heights

Or head to the eastern tip of the island for one of Antigua’s famous attractions, Devil’s Bridge, a natural limestone arch located in Indian Town National Park, where you can also find a breathtaking coastal trail.

Make sure to go to Shirley Heights. Perched atop Antigua's scenic coastline, Shirley Heights offers breathtaking vistas of English Harbour and the lush island surroundings. This historic lookout, once a military outpost, now hosts lively Sunday gatherings with live music, barbecue feasts, making it easy to meet both locals and visitors here whilst watching a Caribbean sunset. 

And being the Caribbean means plenty of rum! You can learn more about the rum-making process on an Antigua Distillery Tour where you get to see how age-old methods create the flavours of the sweet scents of oak barrels. And you get to taste the results. 

Idyllic tropical beach on Barbuda island in Caribbean with pink sand, turquoise ocean water and blue sky

Barbuda

And whilst you’re here, why not pop across to Barbuda. Barbuda is 27 miles north of Antigua and reachable via the Barbuda Express ferry from Long Street in St Johns. The Barbuda Express ferry from Long Street, St Johns. It departs at 08.30 returns 5pm taking 90 minutes for the journey. Or take a short flight and reach the island in 20 minutes. 

Barbuda is the more rustic of the two and is known for its tranquility and its vast 17 mile pink sand beach. The island has surrounding coral where you can spot marine life. And because it has the largest Frigate Bird sanctuary in the world, it is a mecca for birdwatchers.

Codrington is the main town on Barbuda. This charming fishing village is where you can experience the island’s laid-back atmosphere and local culture. Visit the market to sample fresh seafood, interact with friendly locals, and learn about the island’s history at the Codrington Lighthouse.

For history lovers, don't miss landmarks like the Highland House, the former home of the Codrington family, which now serves as a museum showcasing Barbuda’s history and culture. The Darby Cave, an archaeological site featuring ancient Amerindian petroglyphs, offers a fascinating glimpse into the island’s past.

Overlooking Deep Bay near Old Fort Barrington

Other Things To See in Barbuda

For more history, explore Barbuda's limestone caves, which offer a glimpse into the island’s geological history. Some caves feature intriguing rock formations and underground pools. Caves Beach, located nearby, is a secluded stretch of shoreline bordered by towering cliffs, which is perfect for a quiet day of sunbathing and snorkeling.

There’s plenty of adventure too. You can get active at Gravenor Bay, a popular spot for water sports. Kayak or paddle board along this picturesque bay or snorkel or dive in the clear waters to see vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life.

Codrington Lagoon National Park is a haven for biodiversity enthusiasts. Spanning over 1,500 acres, this protected area encompasses mangrove forests, wetlands, and coral reefs. It serves as a crucial habitat for various bird species, including herons and frigatebirds, and supports marine life like turtles and rays.

But you can’t miss the beaches. Barbuda is said to have some of the most stunning beaches in the Caribbean including Pink Sand Beach. And yes it is pink! Visit here during the month of May and you’ll be able to witness Barbuda’s Caribana cultural festival.

If you decide to stay on Barbuda, the accommodation is simple guest houses and cottages. * Check rates & availability for Barbuda accommodation 

adventures in Antigua

Where To Stay in Antigua

Antigua has a range of accommodation depending on which area you want to stay in. You’ll find all inclusive hotels, boutique hotels, cottages, villas and 3, 4 and 5 star hotels including spa hotels. There is a tourist tax that you have to pay on top of the accommodation charges. 

Rates are cheaper in Antigua outside the season of Dec to April. The island also has Airbnb so if you are visiting here on a budget, compare the cost of hotels against Airbnb. You can stay in a private room in a local's house or rent their whole apartment.  This budget 3-star hotel in Falmouth Harbour is both welcoming and friendly. The rooms are comfortable and spacious and there’s a beach too. Breakfast is included too.

I stayed in English Harbour which was nice. I also stayed in St Johns for a few nights but there are nicer areas of the island to stay especially if you want to be near the beach. 

All of the accommodation below have been recommended by solo female travellers from our Girls about the Globe community and come with a Solo Female Friendly endorsement. * Check rates and availability for all Antigua & Barbuda accommodation 

Admiral’s Inn and Gunpowder Suites – $$

Located in English Harbour, this 4-star boutique hotel has gorgeous gardens and an infinity pool! You can enjoy a cocktail at the bar, dine at the restaurant that overlooks the harbour or take the free shuttle to Galleon Beach. * Check rates & availability: Admiral's Inn & Gunpowder Suites 

Dickenson Bay Oasis at Antigua Village – $$

If you’re looking for accommodation with its own private beach area, this 4-star hotel in Dickenson Bay is on one of the best beaches on the island. The apartments have their own kitchen so you can make your own meals or head to one of the nearby bars and restaurants. Reception is open 24 hours too! * Check rates & availability: Dickenson Bay Oasis 

Blue Waters Resort and Spa – $$$

Treat yourself at this 5-star hotel at Soldier's Bay where you can get pampered and massaged in the on-site spa. Dine alfresco, poolside or on a stunning cliff top. And when you’re ready for some activities you can go parasailing, horse riding or fishing. They also provide snorkelling and windsurfing lessons too! * Check rates & availability: Blue Waters Resort 

Carlisle Bay – $$$

This 5-star hotel in Old Road has everything that you need. As well as an outdoor swimming pool and a tropical garden, there are 3 restaurants and bars, a library, tennis court, cinema and its own private beach! Plus you’re only 1 15 minute boat ride from Bird Island. You may be at the property with families as well as solos. * Check rates & availability: Carlisle Bay 

Adventures in Antigua & Barbuda

Tours in Antigua & Barbuda

Viator are a popular American company and a tour platform with more than 345,000 tours and activities in worldwide destinations. Choose from a mud buggy experience, a 2 hour guided jet ski tour and reef snorkelling or a full powerboat tour around the island and its 365 beaches. Although some of the experiences are for a minimum of 2 people, there are several tours that you can book onto solo. Read my Viator review or click the link for all their tours. * Check rates & availability for all Antigua tours 

Salty Dogs are a local company that offer a half-island tour on a UTV. On the buggy you ride through several of the islands villages and explore ancient rock formations on a unique ride. * Check rates & availability for Salty Dog tour

Adventures in Antigua & Barbuda

Getting Around Antigua

Getting around the island doesn’t take that long as nowhere is far. There are buses on the island that you jump aboard from the East or West bus station that goes to the historical sites and some beaches. Bear in mind that the timetables aren't regular. There are also taxis that take you around the island and to and from the airport. These fares are fixed prices.

Or you can take a tuk tuk adventure around it instead. A half-day tuk tuk tour takes you beach hopping and on a rainforest adventure. 

You can either base yourself in one area and take day tours to visit the island’s attractions but if you’re not taking day tours then you could consider renting a car. You do need a driving licence and have to pay EC$50 for a driving permit for Antigua. It’s easier to get around but be prepared that some of the roads to the beaches are more like dirt tracks so if you’re not a confident driver, just take day tours instead.

To Antigua Airport

From Antigua Airport to St Johns, the bus takes 20 minutes and costs $1 USD! Taxis are more expensive and will set you back up to $50 to the capital. I recommend using Rome2Rio to plan your journey. 

Or you can feel more confident with someone waiting for you at the airport when you pre-book a transfer with Hoppa, a reliable and safe service for solo females. They can be a bit pricier than a taxi but they give you peace of mind.

adventures in Antigua

Best Time To Go To Antigua 

The climate is warm and sunny year round making any time a good time to visit Antigua to sightsee. They do have a wet season from July to November so you may want to avoid this time if you are looking to sunbathe on one of its 365 beaches. May or June are good months to visit or if you are travelling there to experience a regatta, the regattas are usually from December to April.

If you do visit between July and November, the island is much quieter and many of the restaurants and bars will be closed. Below are the monthly temperatures from January to December to help you to plan your trip. 

Adventures in Antigua & Barbuda

Travel Insurance For Antigua & Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda are amazing islands to visit but it is always recommended to take out travel insurance for your trip, especially if you're considering doing outdoor activities. 

True Traveller and World Nomads are two insurance companies which can cover travel to Antigua. True Traveller is available to UK and European residents, and World Nomads is available to over 100 countries worldwide, including the USA and UK. For digital nomads, Safety Wing is a nomad insurance that covers people from all over the world.

All companies allow you to buy insurance when you are already on the road and offer different plans depending on your needs including additional adventure cover. * Check insurance prices and cover for True Traveller

N.b. World Nomads provides travel insurance for travellers in over 100 countries. As an affiliate, I receive a fee when you get a quote from World Nomads using this link. I do not represent World Nomads. This is information only and not a recommendation to buy travel insurance.

Things To Know About Antigua

  • Can I drink the water? Avoid drinking tap water, instead take a water filter flask with you or buy bottled water.
  • Is tipping expected? Tipping isn’t expected as a service charge of 10% is already included in restaurants and hotels as well as a 12.5% ABS Tax.
  • Fixed price or barter? Fixed price
  • Any ATMs? Yes, mainly in St Johns and Jolly Harbour so get any cash out when you’re in the capital.
  • Which side of the road do they drive? On the left-hand side.
  • Good for vegetarians? You can find vegetarian and vegan options at some of the island’s restaurants. Happy Cow is a good resource.
  • Any Seven Wonders of the World? No.

Plan a Trip to Antigua

Budget – £120 a day

 

 

 


 

Current Time in St John’s

Capital  Saint John’s

Population – 96,286

Language spoken – English is the official language but they also speak Creole and some of locals speak Spanish.

Local Currency – The Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC$) is the island’s currency but you can also use US dollars (at a lesser rate).

Do I need a visa? British citizens can obtain a visa on entry for 90 days.

Vaccinations Required 

Useful Info

Airlines to Antigua and Barbuda 

The Best Time to Go to Antigua and Barbuda – January and February 

Which Plug Do I Need? 

UNESCO Sites in Antigua

Events and Festivals in Antigua and Barbuda 

Local Cost Guide

Local Customs & Etiquette 

Map of Antigua

 

adventures in Antigua