A Guide to Antigua

Time of the year traveled: July
Time Spent: 6 Days
Airline flown: American Airlines
Weather: Avg 88
Currency accepted: Antigua does accept U.S dollars & there are ATMS available. If you prefer having local currency (we usually do), you can exchange US dollars for Eastern Caribbean Dollars at a local exchange house on the island.
Note: Antigua and Barbuda were severely hit by the Hurricane last year and are still trying to rebuild. We had a beautiful stay but we did still see a lot of rebuilding taking place.

Where To Stay
When booking, we looked at many options including:

  • Sandals: an all inclusive on Dickenson Bay
  • Cocos: an all inclusive near Darkwood Beach.
  • Jolly Beach Resort: an all inclusive on Jolly Beach
  • Siboney Beach Resort: small boutique resort on Dickenson Bay with a private beach (we learned that all beaches in Antigua are actually open to all, but some hotels are strict on their on beach policies). We went with this option because we like to explore the places we travel to and we felt we would not be on the hotel grounds enough to make an all inclusive option worth it.

    The hotel has beautiful grounds, lush and full of greenery. The pool area is private and surrounded by a vibrant colorful garden. The staff at the reception area was super helpful in recommending places to eat and see, as well as helping us with any room needs. In the reception area, there is a small market that sells essentials from water and snacks to sun screen and aloe for treating sunburns. Overall, the rooms are a bit old if you go for “the standard”, but the newer rooms are spacious and are studio like, with a small kitchen and living room space. It also has a restaurant attached to it right before you reach the beach.

    We like to think of ourselves as “island explorers” so it only made sense for us to rent a car during this trip. We went with a small 4 door car from ACE rental cars, which was super inexpensive. I’d highly recommend this option vs taxis if you like exploring places, feel comfortable driving in other countries and like exploring at your own pace.

    One thing to keep in mind about driving in Antigua is that the steering wheel is on the other side and you drive on the opposite side of the road, so it can be a bit challenging at first. Everything is pretty far from each other so don’t be alarmed if you find yourself driving for over 30 minutes to get to one place from another. Of course this also depends on what beaches you want to see and where on the island you are located. Since we stayed in Dickenson Bay, getting to the other side of the island was a chore every morning.

    Ps. If you stay in the Jolly Beach or Darkwood Beach side vs Dickenson Bay, a car wont be as necessary for you.

    What to do

  • Darkwood beach
  • By far the prettiest of all the beaches we visited. Super calm, crystal clear blue waters for miles. Locals here rent out beach chairs and umbrellas. 2 chairs and an umbrella will run you $20USD. There is also a small hut that has local beer (Carib) and refreshments. I’d recommend bringing your own food and snacks, as the nearest restaurant is only open when cruise ships are in town.

  • Nelson’s Dockyard
  • Once the naval base for the Royal Navy. You will find shops, cafes and restaurants in this area.

  • Ffrye’s beach
  • Similar to Darkwood, pristine crystal clear blue waters as far as the eyes can see. The beach is usually empty, as there are no resorts near by (there is construction happening nearby of what looks like a beautiful resort to come). Both times we visited, the beach was empty for the most part. There is a restaurant on the Far East side of the beach (Dennis’) so you may not have to bring a lot with you.

  • Shirley Heights
  • Wear comfortable shoes and bring your camera for some beautiful views of the Harbor.

  • Jolly Beach
  • We came to this beach as part of our day pass. We opted to purchase a day pass for the last day of the trip, and it was so worth it! The cost is $75 per person and it includes continental breakfast (starts at 10:30 AM, but I’d recommend getting there earlier) and lunch and snacks by the bar (burgers, grilled chicken, fries, pizza, etc.). The day pass also includes unlimited water activities (non motorized) and access to chairs and umbrellas on the beach, as well as use of the 2 pools. Jolly Beach is located on the same coast as Darkwood and Ffrye so the water was crystal clear and beautiful. This was by far the busiest of the beaches and also had many locals selling souvenirs on the beach.

  • Mount Obama
  • Highest point of the Shekerley Mountains and of the island of Antigua.

  • St. John’s
  • The island capital is where we recommend you go to get all of your souvenir and duty free shopping done. This area was pretty dead when we went and locals stated that is how it is year round unless there are cruise ships in town. You will find many shops for liquor, perfumes and jewelry as well as some restaurants.

    There are also many tours and excursions available on the island you can do. If you are like us and you like having things plan ahead of time we suggest you book before arriving. If you wait until you get here and are staying at a hotel, you can also check with the hotel concierge to help you book some.

    Where to eat

  • The Larder: $~$$
  • This is the first restaurant we visited on the island, as we needed our iced coffee fix in the morning. One thing to note is that at every restaurant we visited, the staff seemed like they were not too keen on serving people. Everything felt like it was a chore to them, guess it’s this island’s vibe because it’s never been like this at any of the other islands we have visited. But that aside, the food here was pretty good (Breakfast and Dinner).

  • BeachLimerz
  • A great little restaurant on the beach with good food options and drinks.

  • Coconut Grove:$~$$
  • Located right behind our hotel, this was a spot we frequented when we came back to our room in time for happy hour (we were able to get 4 drinks for only $8!). Definitely would recommend the rum punch from here (2 cups and you’ll be nice and lit). We were able to try some of their bar food menu and drinks and were not disappointed. Also, can’t beat a meal with a good view.

  • Jacqui O’s Beach House
  • This restaurant has a beautiful setting right by the beach. The food is delicious!

  • Ana’s on the Beach:$$~$$$
  • This was the priciest of the restaurants we visited. Definitely would recommend for a nice dinner or lunch. The food was super delicious but the drinks were not strong. The decor is beautiful as this is also an art gallery, and it has stunning beach views all day long. Staff was super friendly here (shocker) and we even got to meet Ana herself.

  • Paris’:$$~$$$
  • Pretty pricey, but worth it. When we got there, we were the only ones at the restaurant (at 7PM). After an hour or so, people started making their way in. Service was nice here too, but still left some to be desired.


  • ​Dennis’ on the Beach: $~$$
  • Pretty cool restaurant with stunning views of Ffryes beach. The wait here for our food was almost an hour for quick bites, but hey it’s the island way. They make their own signature hot sauce so be sure to ask for it.

  • Vino Joe: $~$$
  • Our favorite Coffee Shop. Super inexpensive, great breakfast food and iced coffees. The owner was pretty cool which is always a plus. Would highly recommend this place.

    Our stay on this beautiful island was a memorable one. We would love to come back and stay in the other side of the island where we spent the majority of our time on this trip. We hope you are inspired to come visit Antigua and enjoy the beautiful beaches and amazing sun! Please make sure you continue to show love by sharing our guides and tagging us on your adventures.

    Article by: Nelson G
    Travel Contributor
    Edits & Additional information by: Susi G

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