23 Reasons to Visit Antigua and Barbuda in 2023

Ahhh, the pandemic has finally released us from its “stay at home shackles”. Travel has resumed full force since countries started lifting their travel bans and testing requirements *let’s hope this doesn’t come back for round 2*. With the return of travel comes lots of planning, especially for the new year; new countries to see and new places to explore. Hopefully, somewhere in the Caribbean makes it onto your list and I’m here to give 23 reasons why Antigua and Barbuda should be one of them. Over the years I’ve seen an interest in my Antigua and Barbuda Travel Guide (which deserves an update), but I also want to add some events which will be happening this year since the pandemic “ended” and some experiences only available to you in our twin island nation. Let’s get into it!

The Beach is just the Beginning

We’re starting the list off with the most common reason why Antigua and Barbuda should be on your destination list. This has been our marketing slogan for some time, advertised as the island with 365 beaches, one for every day of the year. Of course I have my faves, which will be mentioned in another blog post, but to name a few for you to visit on your trip:

  • Darkwood Beach
  • Long Bay
  • Turner’s Beach
  • Pinching Bay
  • Pearn’s Point
  • Deep Bay
  • Half Moon Bay
  • Valley Church Beach

Okay, so that was a bonus, but I’ve managed to split the list into 3 categories, Events, Experiences and Explorations. I’ve also done my best to include dates which have been released and links to where you can find more information if interested in booking.

EVENTS

1/ Kite Festival

Date: April 10th

An Easter favourite and tradition where residents flock to Devils Bridge National Park to see kites of all variations soar above the sky. There is also a competition and local food, drinks and items are on sale. A good activity for the entire family.

2/ 54th Annual Sailing Week

Dates: April 29th – May 5th

Race, Chase, Celebrate. Yachts from all over the world come to our shores for a regatta known as one of the best worldwide. Sailing week has returned with a packed week of events/activities. You can even enjoy the full experience by booking a spot on a chartered boat to race or join with your own skippered vessel. Check out sailingweek.com for more information.

Highlighted events: 

  • Reggae in the Park: a concert hosted in Nelson’s Dockyard featuring reggae artists.
  • Lay Day: a fun day on the beach, lots of activities, games, music and fun

3/ Run in Paradise

Date: May 28th

This is a marathon race event across the island which offers a Half Marathon, 10K and 5K race. More information: runinparadise.com

4/ Caribana

Dates: May 29th – June 2nd

Caribana is Barbuda’s own Carnival celebrations complete with five action-packed days of culture, music, and pageantry held over the Whit Weekend.

Carnival Tuesday with Myst Carnival

5/ The Greatest Summer Festival – Antigua’s Carnival

Dates: July 29th – August 8th

From traditional Carnival shows to two days of mas, some even classify it as three days (one event held a week prior), Antigua’s carnival is definitely an experience. Carnival Monday and Tuesday fall on the first Monday and Tuesday in August and are also public holidays. There is also a T-Shirt Mas parade to begin the festivities. Although these are the official dates, pre-Carnival fetes begin as early as July with different varieties and span every weekend leading up to and even after our event. More information coming on Carnival soon!

6/ Urlings Seafood Festival

Date: August 13th

A food fair experience for the seafood lover. This event is held in the Urlings Community which is known for their rich fishing culture.

7/ PiAngo Festival

Dates: August 19th – 20th

This is a festival highlighting the many uses of mango and our national fruit, the Antigua Black Pineapple. There are many different stalls focusing on food, crafts and delicacies. They also host various competitions which the public can partake in.

8/ Francis Nunes Jr. Memorial Fishing Tournament & Seafood Festival

Date: September 23rd

An event for seafood lovers and sport-fishing enthusiasts held within the historic Nelson’s Dockyard.

9/ 42nd Anniversary of Independence Celebrations

Dates: October 21st – November 1st

A week plus of events highlighting our culture which culminates with a Food Fair at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Grounds. Events range from concerts, national dress day, panorama and more.

10/ Gemonites Moods of Pan Festival

Dates: November 24th – 26th

A great experience for anyone who loves the sound of the steelpan. There are competitions such as 25 a-side whereby groups of 25 from steel orchestras across the island compete. This festival attracts top steel band music acts from across the globe.

11/ Charter Yacht Show

Dates: December 4th – 9th

An international exhibition for boats and yachts held in the Nelson’s Dockyard National Park. There are various events held throughout the week such as a networking events, and in 2022, a chefs and tablescaping competition.

View from Shirley Heights

EXPERIENCES

12/ Shirley Heights Sunset BBQ

Every Sunday afternoon (from 4 p.m.) at Shirley Heights lookout you can enjoy a scrumptious BBQ meal, rum punch and a gorgeous sunset. This lookout gives a great view of English Harbour and Falmouth Harbour. It is also a restored military lookout, so there’s lot of history to explore starting from the Blockhouse near the entrance.

Instagram: shirleyheightsofficial

13/ Copper & Lumber Seafood Fridays

The perfect start to your Friday night festivities. Copper and Lumber restaurant located within the Nelson’s Dockyard hosts a seafood dinner every Friday. Menu options include appetisers as well as main course, from conch fritters to seafood pasta and grilled lobster.

14/ Rum in the Ruins

Learn about the history and culture of Antigua, specifically the English Harbour area while sipping on some rum! This tour is led by heritage experts at the Dow’s Hill Interpretation Centre.

Instagram: nelsonsdockyardnationalpark

15/ Swim with Stingrays + Laviscount Island

An experience like no other, interact with stingrays at Stingray City located in the east of the island.

On Laviscount Island, you can have a variety of experiences such as meeting giant Aldabra tortoises, walking trails, mangrove snorkelling and more. This tour can be done on its own or paired with the Stingray tour.

Instagram: Stingraycity268
Website: www.stingraycityantigua.com

16/ Pigs in Paradise

An exclusive experience whereby you can pet/feed/cuddle piglets.

Instagram: PigsinParadise268

17/ Frigate Bird Sanctuary

An experience which brings you to Barbuda, enjoy a tour through the mangroves of the Frigate Bird Sanctuary. The Frigate Bird is also the national bird of Antigua & Barbuda.

EXPLORATIONS

18/ Sunset Cruises

Enjoy an island sunset from a different view. Tropical Adventures offer this service which includes drinks and finger foods.

Website: tropicalad.com

19/ Hiking Trails

If you’re adventurous, Antigua has many marked and unmarked trails for you to explore. Popular ones include Signal Hill, Carpenter’s Rock, Boggy Peak, and Rendezvous Bay via Wallings.

20/ Zipline Adventure

Enjoy a visit to Antigua’s Rainforest Canopy where you can explore 10+ ziplines and other activities such as aerial walkways and a rope challenges course.

Instagram: antiguazipline
Website: antiguarainforest.com

21/ Helicopter Ride

Get another view of Antigua and Barbuda by exploring the skies with Calvin Air Helicopters. Tours include a full island and half-island tour of Antigua.

Website: calvinair.com

Green Island

22/ Offshore Islands

Antigua and Barbuda is home to over 50 offshore islands. Although some of them are privately owned, you can visit these through various tour companies. Please be mindful however of items you’re taking with you as you don’t want to disrupt the island’s ecosystem. Popular ones such as Green Island can also be visited for free if you’re staying at The Escape by Nonsuch Bay.

Tours:

23/ Barbuda

Last, but not least, take a trip to Barbuda, our sister isle and have a full day of exploration. Visit the famous Princess Diana Beach, explore the caves, and check out the restaurants like Nobu Barbuda and Uncle Roddy’s. There are different ways you can get to Barbuda whether it’s s by ferry, plane or speedboat.

Hopefully one of these reasons entice you enough to visit my home!

Until next time,

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9 responses to “23 Reasons to Visit Antigua and Barbuda in 2023”

  1. Great piece!! #LoveAntiguaBarbuda

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Honestly, there are so many good things on the list. I am from Trinidad and cannot wait to one day visit Antigua and Barbuda. I love love the beaches which I heard from family who visited before, are truly spectacular. The Run in Paradise looks great too. How is the hiking on your islands?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh how I wish regional travel was better! The beaches are indeed spectacular and so much to choose from. I’m not an avid hiker but I do enjoy the trails with a rewarding view. There are individuals who also do hikes in parts of the island I’ve never seen. For now only the popular trails may be marked.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Okay niceness, I love a hike with a good view or waterfall or beach at the end. Ugh at regional travel, ridiculous prices. It is often cheaper to go NYC or Miami than another Caribbean island. Steups

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely! I’ve heard about several of these places & events before. Would love to experience them soon

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Manifesting it for you! 🤗

      Liked by 1 person

  4. All these great reasons! I’m about to plan my trip to Antigua 🤭🇦🇬

    Liked by 2 people

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