Cruise ships sail right into the heart of Saint John's, the largest town on the island of Antigua. Capable of welcoming four large ships at a time, the small town can get very busy at times. Most cruise ships dock at Heritage Quay. Most St. John’s attractions are an easy walk from Heritage Quay.
Some ships also moor up at the adjacent Redcliffe Quay, which is more atmospheric with its old Georgian buildings housing cafes and boutiques.
When several ships are in port, some dock at the Deep Water Harbour Terminal, 1.5km from St. John’s. From there, you can either walk or take a taxi. A few smaller vessels drop anchor at English Harbour, on the south coast.
As of July 2020 a new cruise pier has been completed, ready to accommodate Oasis-class ships.
Cruise ship passengers who are "in-transit" and stay less than 24 hours are not required to present a visa.
Printable map to take along.
Watch a destination video.
The skyline of St. John's, the capital and largest city of Antigua and Barbuda, is dominated by the magnificently evocative white baroque towers of St. John's Cathedral. Built in 1845, the church is now in its third incarnation, as earthquakes in 1683 and in 1745 destroyed the previous structures. The towers are the first sight of Antigua for about half of the island's visitors each year, many of whom arrive by boat. With its recently completed cruise ship dock and several hotels, St. John's is a lively hub for shopping and dining.
The Barbuda Express is an innovative wave-piercing design giving maximum passenger comfort at high speed and a journey time of 90 minutes in nearly all weather conditions. It runs 5 days a week between St Johns and Barbuda.
available throughout Antigua. Fares between the airport, harbor,
and many hotels and destinations are fixed and can be obtained upon
arrival. Sample fares from V.C. Bird International Airport to: Nelsons
Dockyard--US$21; Shirley Heights--US$21; St. John's--US$7. Taxi drivers
are also qualified as tour guides for sightseeing trips. Tour rates
can be obtained via above link.
Hourly rates for jobs of not less than 2 hours: US$24.00 or EC$64.00 per hour. Waiting time: US$5.00 or EC$12.00 per ½ hour.
Renting your own car can get expensive, because you must purchase a $20 temporary driving permit in addition to the car-rental fee.
It pays to compare your cruise line tours here.
There are 365 beaches on Antigua, one for each day of the year. The great majority rest inside the calm, protected waters of the island's Caribbean side. All are open to the public, and so the challenge posed to a visitor is not how to gain access to the best of them but simply how to locate the beach that suits one's taste. Exploring on your own is the best way to do this, although it is wise to bring a companion along to particularly isolated locations. Antiguans are understandably reluctant to divulge their own favorites, so here are a number of good starters. Be sure to acquire specific directions before you go. The easiest way to get to the beach is to take a taxi; many of them will offer to pick you up at a specific time to take you back to the port.
The Antigua Rain forest Canopy Tour is a unique eco-tour through Antigua's lush rain forest where you embark on an unforgettable journey through the verdant forest, high above the trees.
Nelson's Dockyard and the English Harbor is one of the premier tourist attractions in Antigua and no visit to the island would be complete without seeing the restored Georgian yard named after the famous English Admiral Horatio Nelson.
Immediately off the boat, you'll face two indoor/outdoor malls for duty-free shopping -- Heritage Quay and Redcliffe Quay, as well as several stalls of local crafts and souvenirs. Heritage Quay is a shopper's paradise, offering two floors of a wide array of duty and tax-free merchandise for travellers looking to cash in on amazing value and savings from retail prices of Europe and the USA. Electronics, local music, cigars, liquors, fine crystals & china, designer clothing & footwear, swimwear, sporting equipment, fragrances, skincare cosmetics, fine jewellery, high-end watches, and other souvenir items are just a sample of the goods available.
On Friday and Saturday mornings, be sure to visit the vibrant farmers market on the southern edge of the city. Folk crafts, colorful tropical fruits, and a buzzing crowd make for a lively morning.
Antigua uses the Eastern Caribbean Dollar (E.C.), although most of the vendors in town will readily accept U.S. dollars.
US$1 = EC$2.70
English is the main language on Antigua.
The main public holidays celebrated throughout the Caribbean, during which virtually all shops and offices close, are:
January 1 New Year's Day
May 1 Labour Day
Dec 25 Christmas Day
Dec 26 Boxing Day
Antigua also celebrates Caricom Day in early July, Carnival on the first Monday and Tuesday of August, Independence Day on November 1 and United Nations Day in October.
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