Things to know and ideas for your own excursion in Antigua
- Regular berth: Heritage Pier (Quay)
- Regular berth: Nevis Street Pier (Redcliffe Quay)
- Regular berth: Cargo port
- Harbour shuttle: not available
- Taxis: usually available at the quay
- Buses: Small network of routes with minibuses
- Car rental*: Hertz, Heritage Quay und am Flughafen
- Car rental*: Avis, at the airport
- Post office: on Long Street
- Tourist Info: directly at the pier
- Banks and ATMs: at the berth and in the city centre
Antigua has 2 piers for cruise ships at the capital Saint John's. The Heritage Pier (Quay) and the Nevis Street Pier (Redcliffe Quay) are close together and can be occupied by two ships each. There are a variety of shops, cafés, bars and restaurants at the berths. It may also be possible to moor in the cargo port a little further away.
Taxis are plentiful on the island. The taxi drivers waiting at the moorings, in addition to transfers to various destinations, also offer tours to explore the island. The vehicles are marked with an "H" on the number plate and operate without a taximeter. Minibuses are also available for round trips. You should negotiate the prices before you start your journey, make a note of whether you will be charged per person or per taxi and, importantly, pay after the journey. This is the usual practice there. The average price per vehicle is 80-120 US dollars per "day trip" of at least 3 hours. The minibuses are usually a bit more expensive, but pay off when more than 4 people use them. On average, you pay 20-30 US dollars per person. Taxis are often cheaper away from the pier. The price and duration of the tours are often negotiable. However, there are also fixed prices for a number of destinations, which are also OK in most cases. For round trips, you should discuss the destinations you want to visit with the driver. If you want to stay longer in one place, you can simply have your "own" taxi pick you up at a certain time. Normally, taxi drivers in Antigua are very reliable.
Regular bus services are also operated by minibuses, but there are no regular bus timetables for the mostly fixed routes. As a rule, the bus only leaves Saint John's when it is full. If you want to get off, just tell the driver. The driver will then stop at the nearest bus stop or sometimes immediately. Depending on what you want. They are quite flexible. About 500 metres south of the berths is the West Bus Station, which is a 5-10 minute walk away. The second bus station, East Bus Station, is to the east and about 900 metres away. You can walk there for 10-15 minutes one way. The fare is paid in cash to the bus driver at the destination. You can also take the opportunity to find out at what approximate times you will return by bus.
- Rental Car
To use a rental car*, you must be at least 25 years old. A local driver's licence is also required, although this can be issued by the rental companies or at police stations. This requires the presentation of a valid driving licence and the payment of 50 Eastern Caribbean dollars or 20 US dollars. Antigua has left-hand traffic. The roads and paths are mostly in poor condition.
In the two shopping centres Heritage Quay and Redcliffe Quay, you will find all kinds of shops of well-known and less well-known brands. They are located in the immediate vicinity of the berths and can therefore be reached quickly. For cruisers, the Heritage Quay Centre also offers duty-free shopping. Most of the city's shops are located in the adjacent streets Long Street, High Street and St. Mary's Street. Banks and ATMs are also located in these areas. US dollars are generally accepted.
The two towering spires of St. John's Cathedral are already clearly visible from the ship. Originally built of wood in 1648, the church was replaced by a massive stone building in 1725, which in turn fell victim to a powerful earthquake in 1843. The present building was opened after completion in 1847 and is located on the street of the same name.
- Antigua and Barbuda Museum
You can get a glimpse of the islands' past at the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda, which opened in 1985. The small museum of local history is located not far from the moorings on Long Street. The historic building was built as early as 1750 and is one of St. John's oldest structures. Before the museum moved in, it was used by the former British Colonial Court. It is open Monday to Friday from 08:30-16:00. Saturday from 08:30-14:00. Admission costs 3 US dollars from the age of 12.
Every Friday and Saturday morning, a market is held in the south of Saint John's. Fresh goods such as fish, vegetables, fruit and items of all kinds from local production are offered to visitors there. The market place is located south of the moorings, close to the West Bus Station and south of the Vere Cornwall Bird Monument.
- Northern Beaches
Antigua has a large number of beautiful beaches. There are said to be 365 in total, and the most beautiful are on the west coast. Many are easily accessible by taxi, rental car* or minibus. The stretches of beach north of Saint John's, Runaway Bay and Dickenson Bay, for example, can be reached by bus number 50 from the West Bus Station. The cost for one direction is about 1.50 US dollars, per person. For this route and per direction, a taxi costs 12 US dollars and takes 5-10 minutes. The popular and fine sandy Dickenson Beach can get quite crowded at times, but the southern part is usually not so busy. Showers, toilets, beach bars and restaurants can be found there, as well as jet skiing and parasailing. Sunbeds can also be rented for a fee. Free Wi-Fi is available near the neighbouring hotels. A walk there, from the berth, takes 60-65 minutes in each direction. You will cover a distance of about 5 kilometres. On the way, you can almost always see some of the cruise ships in the harbour. This makes orientation quite easy, at least on the way back. If you are good on foot, you can easily take a short walk.
- Fort James
Fort James, located directly at the harbour entrance, and the adjacent Fort James Beach are also accessible by bus No. 50. The fortifications were built to defend against pirate attacks in the early 18th century, and offer beautiful views of land and water. The view to the harbour is slightly limited. Unfortunately, the ruins of the complex are unkempt and dilapidated, but still interesting to look at. The large installed cannons are worth seeing in their own right. There is a small restaurant in the immediate vicinity.
- Deep Bay Beach
The quiet Deep Bay Beach is 10-15 minutes by car from the moorings. The almost 7 kilometres can be covered inexpensively by bus no. 61 or by taxi for about USD 12. Due to its sheltered location, the place is very suitable for swimming and snorkelling. There is also an old shipwreck at the bottom of the bay. Unfortunately, there are no public toilets, but there is a restaurant on a terrace. To the north of the beach are the ruins of the former Fort Barrington. This fort was built around 1780, and served to protect the harbour from enemy attacks.
- Jolly Beach
The beautiful Jolly Beach further south, can be reached by taxi in 20-25 minutes. One way costs 6 to 8 USD per person. Bus No. 22 from West Bus Station does not take much longer for this route, but is cheaper. However, waiting times before departure are not uncommon. Sunbeds can be rented for USD 5 and umbrellas for USD 10. There may be cheaper prices if you don't take the first best offer. There are beach bars on site. The sand at Jolly Beach is fine and white, the water usually clear and turquoise. Natural shaded areas are almost non-existent. One of the most beautiful beaches in Antigua.
- Valley Church Beach
The adjacent Valley Church Beach to the south, can also be reached by bus line 22 from the West Bus Station. The fare is USD 1.50 per direction and per person. By taxi, the one-way fare is USD 18. Sunbeds can be rented for 5 USD and umbrellas for 10 USD. By bus and/or taxi, the journey takes 20-25 minutes. A beach bar offers various drinks, hot food and free wifi. Toilets are also available. A jet ski rental shop is usually also on site.
- Coco and Ffryes Beach
A few metres further west is the smaller Coco Beach, with beach bars/restaurants at each end. The bar/restaurant to the south also serves the adjacent Ffryes Beach. In addition to numerous drinks, various snacks are also offered there. Free Wi-Fi is also available. A taxi takes 20-25 minutes for the 11-kilometre route and costs USD 20 each way. Alternatively, bus No. 22 also serves these beaches. Sunbeds and parasols can be rented on site.
- Darkwood and Turner's Beach
Darkwood Beach follows just below. It is located directly on Valley Road at Half Hyde Bay. There is also a beach bar and toilets here. A taxi takes you the direct way for 26 US dollars. The journey takes 25 to 30 minutes each way. Turners Beach begins not far from here. There are several bars and restaurants to choose from on this stretch of beach. WCs are also available, of course. Bus line 22 takes you to both beaches.
- Half Moon Bay
The beach of Half Moon Bay is located in a quiet and sheltered bay. This is in the south-east of the island and thus on the Atlantic side. Cooler and sometimes stronger winds are quite possible. A taxi transfer to this beach costs USD 28 and takes 40 to 45 minutes.
- English Harbour, Nelson’s Dockyard and Shirley Heights
In the south of the island, in English Harbour, is the well-preserved and largely restored colonial Nelson's Dockyard. This is part of Nelson's Dockyard National Park. It is open daily from 08:00-18:00. Named after Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson, it was one of the most important British naval bases in the Caribbean in the 18th and 19th centuries. The natural harbour of English Harbour is considered tropical storm-proof, and is now mainly used as a marina. The old dockyard buildings have been beautifully restored and are now used as souvenir shops, bars, restaurants and hotels. A small naval museum has been opened in the Naval Officer's House. Free Wi-Fi is available in some areas. By taxi or bus No. 17 (West Bus Station), you can plan 40-45 minutes one way. The taxi fare for the direct route is 24 US dollars. Entrance to the Dockyard costs US$8 per person. Guided tours are offered separately. To defend the site, effective defences were built on the hills of Shirley Heights, which today serve as excellent vantage points. From there you can overlook the entire bay. The entrance ticket from Dockyard is also valid for Shirley Heights. The best and quickest way to get to the hills is by taxi. Unfortunately, buses do not go to the viewpoint.
- Betty's Hope
In the past, sugar was Antigua's most important trading product. You can get an impression of the production process at the former sugar cane plantation Betty's Hope. It was established in the 17th century and is located in the north-east of the island. The small visitor centre shows the history and life on the former plantation in its exhibition. The restored sugar mill, which can be visited, is unique in the Caribbean. Open Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00-16:00.
- Devil's Bridge
Devil's Bridge is a natural bridge made of limestone and formed by the sea water in the Indian Town nature reserve. Care should be taken when walking on it, as the surface of the rock can be very slippery at times.
- Stingray in Stingray City
On a sandbank in the middle of the sea you can meet numerous stingrays. The animals there are very trusting and most of them can be touched. The sandbank makes it easy to stand in the water. Stingray City is very popular with tourists. A private operator offers tours to the rays. If you don't want to go into the water yourself, you can simply watch the action from a platform in the sea. Ideally, you should behave calmly and carefully around the rays. Smaller young animals usually swim just above the seabed. To avoid being stepped on, you should move slowly and shuffle along. Touching the tail is rarely well received. The rays can feel threatened by this. Often, the animals are fed by the guides. Those who do this themselves should refrain from wiping their hands on their swimwear. The animals are attracted to this and also to glittering jewellery. It is better to leave the latter in the safe in the cabin. It is also advisable to pack a towel.
- Excursion Portals and Excursion Providers
Through the tour and excursion providers GetYourGuide*, Meine Landausflüge* and Viator*, you can book various excursions, activities, tours, tickets and entrance fees on Antigua, which are often offered at much lower prices than comparable excursions by the shipping companies. Thus, if you book in time, you can realise a variety of excursions on your own.
We have put together a small selection of independent excursion offers for, in and around Saint John's for you here.
- Cruises and Special Offers
If you haven't booked a Caribbean cruise yet, but would like to get to know Antigua personally and go on excursions on your own, you will find great offers with the major cruise operators in the German-speaking world. Aida*, Costa* and Tui Cruises - Mein Schiff* offer charming itineraries with their modern cruise ships, along with other interesting destinations. Book your next dream holiday directly with your favourite cruise line at fair conditions.
All ocean and river cruises can also be booked conveniently and inexpensively online with the cruise specialist Kreuzfahrten-Zentrale Astoria*. You can choose from a wide range of daily offers from various shipping companies. These include AIDA Cruises, Carnival, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean and TUI Cruises. The popular special offers are also attractive, with which you can travel particularly cheaply and possibly also get a great bargain.
- Opening hours of the post office: Monday to Friday from 08:30-15:30. Saturday from 08:30-12:00.
- Opening hours of the banks: Monday to Thursday from 08:00-14:00. Friday from 08:00-17:00
- Opening hours of the Tourist Info: Monday to Friday from 08:00-16:00
- Opening hours of the shops: Monday to Saturday from 09:00-17:00
- Police: Tel. 462-0125
- Police: Tel. 911 -/- 999
- Emergency doctor: Tel. 462-0251
- Emergency doctor: Tel. 911 -/- 999
- Vaccination recommendation: Antigua and Barbuda Tropical Institute
- Buses: Bus connections
- City map: Saint John's Map
- City map: Saint John's Map
- City map: Saint John's Map
- Climate table: Saint John`s climate
- Port occupancy: Cruise ships in Saint John's
- Local currency: East Caribbean Dollar, 1 EC-Dollar = 100 cents. Normally, US dollars are also accepted.
More port information of popular cruise destinations in the Caribbean