Written by: Sara Young
Hi, I’m Sara, and I live in Antigua in the Caribbean every winter with my boyfriend and our two boys! Before having my family, I traveled solo to countries like China, India, and Taiwan, and I can confidently tell you there are amazing things to do in Antiqua and Barbuda for solo travelers, too.
I used to love the freedom of solo travel and being able to go wherever I wanted and at my own pace. So, as an experienced solo traveler, I know you will find the islands of Antigua and Barbuda to be fun, extremely friendly, and safe to travel alone.
In this post, I’ve listed the top things you will love as a solo traveler in Antigua and Barbuda, so buckle up!
In a hurry? Here Are The 3 Best Tours In Antigua!
Top three tours in Antigua:
📍Circumnavigate Antigua by boat – you’ll get to see the whole island from the sea, which is an awesome way to explore it and includes off-the-beaten-track Rendezvous Beach (one of my favorites)
📍Off-road dune buggy tour of Antigua is great fun as you get to go through the tropical rainforest off-road!
📍Boat tour to Barbuda – this is the best way to visit Barbuda from Antigua, where you go to all of the top sites in one day.
22 Best Things To Do In Antigua And Barbuda Solo!
Antigua and Barbuda consist of two main islands called Antigua and (yes, you got it) Barbuda. But did you know that the country also consists of lots of other smaller islands, including Great Bird, Green, Guiana, Long, Maiden, Prickly Pear, York, and Redonda?
You have several options to explore the two main islands. There is a huge variety of things to do and fun tours, and you can also rent a car to explore if you like.
(Taxis are also an option to get around, but you’ll find that the costs soon mount up, so I’d suggest tours or rentals, which are better value).
1. Lounge At Incredible Beaches
It’s a no-brainer, of course, but with over 365 beaches to choose from, the hardest part will be which one to try first!
These are my top 4 beach recommendations for solo travelers:
Pigeon Beach – is a beautiful, safe beach where you can swim on your own without getting into trouble. It’s also very popular at sunset, so you can strike up a conversation with new people if you want to. Plus, there are some really good local snorkel spots at neighbor Windward Beach around the corner.
Galleon Beach is not too far from Pigeon Beach. It is beautiful and very safe, and on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, you can enjoy the Ibiza-style beach vibes here. There are some incredible snorkeling spots at the far end of Galleon Beach that are naturally protected, where you can safely snorkel on your own.
Coco Beach – we love this one, as it has soft white sand and a very chilled-out vibe. It’s not busy, and there aren’t lots of facilities if quiet is what you are looking for. It’s got really calm waters for swimming, so you’ll be safe to swim there, too, as a solo traveler.
Dickenson Bay – this is a truly buzzing Caribbean Sea beach that has everything close by. The cool thing is that if you want to mix beach lounging up with water sports, good food, and beach bar vibes, this is a great beach.
There are some really good hiking tours that you can join, where you also learn the history of the trails from the guides. Even though the trails tend to be well marked, joining a tour will ensure you don’t get lost and possibly make new friends in the group!
We love hiking here, as there are some awesome trails to explore. In my opinion, the best two hikes are:
Middle Ground Trail – this hike connects Nelson’s Dockyard with Pigeon Beach. You’ll usually see lots of other people on this trail in the morning before it gets too hot. Some people even run it!
Shirley Heights Lookout Trail – If you’re looking for some of the best views on the island, they are from the top of Shirley Heights. You’ll go past the mermaid pools and through lush cactus woodlands on the way up.
📍 Pro Tip: Bring plenty of water and snacks – the trails can be hard work, especially in the heat! I’d also advise making sure you’re going to time it to be finished before 9:30 am as it can get really hot later.
This is one of my favorite activities whether you’re a solo traveler, couple, or family. Antigua and Barbuda are among the only places in the world where you can take a tour of the sea to swim and interact with stingrays.
Whenever friends come to visit, this is one of my top activities to share with them (it’s why we’ve done it five times already, haha!).
The boat tour takes you out to the area of the sea, where you’ll swim with the stingrays. There’s a marked-off swim area, so as a solo traveler, you know where you can snorkel and swim in safety.
Also, they have a professional photographer, so you know you’ll get a great photo of you with a stingray!
Do you enjoy heights and adrenaline? Then Antigua Zipline Tours is an activity for you!
You can choose from various packages depending on the number of zip lines you want to try. When we’ve been, we always go for the full package as it’s such fun flying from tree to tree.
The packages are small group tours, so you’ll be with others as you zip through the rainforest. It’s perfect for solo travelers as there’s real camaraderie between everyone flying through the canopy.
Remember to smile at the pro photographers along the course (so you can grab a photo at the end). Towards the end is also a high-wire assault course, which I found much more daunting than the zip lines!
If you want to see sea turtles, rays, and more, then Antigua and Barbuda are great places to go. There are several very safe snorkel spots located off of some of the beaches.
The top locations for snorkeling are Galleon Beach, Long Beach, and Deepwater Bay. Galleon Beach is a perfect place to see turtles if you get there first thing in the morning before the bay “wakes up” and people start to arrive by boat.
There are also some fantastic tours for snorkeling and scuba diving that will take you to remote locations to see more underwater action.
The best of these take place in the Cades Cay, which is the coral reefs. The good thing about taking a tour as a solo traveler is knowing that there are others in the water with you, and you’ll be counted off and onto the boat at each stop.
6. Explore Nelson’s Dockyard
Nelsons Dockyard is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is well worth a visit as it’s one of the main historical destinations in Antigua and Barbuda!
You can either take a tour or just pay for your entry and wander around at your own pace. It’s signposted inside and has a well-put-together museum with lots to interest you.
It’s brilliant for solo travelers visiting Antigua and Barbuda. Watch other visitors, listen out for scuttlebut (that’s a yachtie word for gossip) from the yacht crews, and enjoy the comings and goings of the yachts parking up!
I love to take local cooking classes wherever I travel – and Antigua and Barbuda is no different.
I’ve found this great one called Nicole’s Table, where you can learn to cook local jerk style!
The fun thing is that as a solo traveler, you can join a group of other visitors to cook and then eat your meal. Perfect if you fancy meeting and eating with some new people.
8. Visit Shirley Heights Lookout To Enjoy A Party
This is a MUST on anyone’s list of things to do when in Antigua and Barbuda. The lookout at Shirley Heights gives an incredible view over Nelson’s Dockyard and beyond to Montserrat.
Every Thursday and Sunday at Shirley Heights Lookout, they host an incredible evening combining music, food, rum punch, and the sunset. If you head up early, you can wander the lookout itself beforehand.
As a solo traveler, you’ll meet many other visitors who all come for exactly this amazing experience.
There’s a wonderful atmosphere when everyone watches the sunset while listening to the local steel band. Afterward, the band plays hit covers, and once the rum has kicked in, the dancefloor gets very busy!
9. Visit Devil’s Bridge Limestone Arch
If you’re looking for a break from the beaches, Devil’s Bridge is a good place to sit and watch the Atlantic Ocean crashing in on the natural limestone Arch.
Easter Monday is the best day to visit as the annual Antigua and Barbuda Kite Festival is happening there, with hundreds of kites from small to extra large flying in the air.
If you have a rental car and want to drive part of Antigua, this makes a great stop for taking in some “relaxation” time, especially if you’re solo traveling and want to escape the hustle and bustle of the beaches and resorts.
10. Learn To Kitesurf (Or Wing Foil)
Antigua and Barbuda have a couple of great kite surfing spots with great winds and warm blue waters; there really is no better place to learn.
As a solo traveler, it can be lots of fun to try a new sport that you can enjoy on later travels. It’s also great for when you’ve had enough relaxing on the beach and want an adrenaline rush!
I’m currently learning to wingfoil at Jabberwock on the north of the island, where the wind is clean and consistent, and it’s never too busy.
It’s easy to reach by car and at the school they even have a bar so you can enjoy a cold drink on the water at the end of the day.
The second cool place to learn is out at Green Island. We’ve sailed to Green Island before to watch the kite surfers and to see turtles.
The surfing school will pick you up and take you to their center on a private island. It’s so popular that even a new restaurant on the island opened this winter.
11. Experience The Pillars Of Hercules
These are surreal geological pillar formations rising out of the sea at the end of Galleon Beach. The relentless wind, rain, and crashing waves have carved them out, and they’re impressive to see.
It is well worth taking a boat tour of Antigua in general, and if you do, I’d highly recommend taking one that includes the stunning Pillars of Hercules. Personally, I think that they are best viewed from the sea, where you can take in their impressive shape.
We’ve taken a snorkeling and scuba diving tour with Soul Immersions here, and they’ve headed out to the Pillars of Hercules and to the coral farm located nearby.
If you do decide to hike, then I’d suggest heading there early in the morning before it gets too hot. It can be reached by walking along Galleon Beach to the far end and then hugging the coastline and beach.
You’ll suddenly turn a corner and realize you’re there!
The capital of Antigua and Barbuda is the city of St John’s.
It’s got the energy and vibes of a Caribbean island town and is the island’s main cruise ship port. Over the winter it sees 600,000 passengers visit it!
It’s worth spending a couple of hours walking around and taking in the atmosphere.
If you like shopping, then they have some great shops at both Heritage and Redcliffe Quays. For food and drinks, there are several cool bars such as Hemingways and Papa Zouk’s.
If you’re keen on history, visit the Cathedral and museum. For cricket fans, you can also wander up to Old Recreation, the former cricket ground, before the new one was built.
As a solo traveler, you can safely walk around St John’s during the day. I’d try to avoid St John’s at night on your own as a solo traveler, as there isn’t much street lighting.
Save These Tips For Itinerary Planning!
If you’re keen on history, visiting Betty’s Hope Sugar Plantation will be a unique experience. It dates back to 1651, making it one of the oldest in Antigua and Barbuda. Between 1674 and 1944, it was a sugarcane workhorse owned and run by the Codrington family.
In the small on-site museum, you can learn more about what work and slave life would have been like at the plantation. Once you’ve seen the windmill at Betty’s Hope, you’ll start to spot ruins of other windmills located all over the island!
There’s lots to see when you go as it’s set up as an open-air museum. They are still restoring and preserving many of the exposed ruins, such as the stone windmill, the still house, and a cistern complex.
14. Sample Local Cuisine
I love Caribbean flavors – you’ll find jerk chicken and fresh fish on most menus. So, I want to share a couple of great places to eat on the island where you’ll find a nice chilled atmosphere and warm welcome as a solo traveler.
📍Beach Bum Cafe at Half Moon Bay – this is a great spot and a local favorite to eat. The food is simple dishes served with loads of flavor! My recommendation would be to try the fish burger. I usually head to Half Moon Bay beach in the morning and book for lunch at the cafe after.
📍Casa Roots at Runway Beach – this restaurant serves a wonderful combination of French and West Indian cuisine. The restaurant itself is in a beautiful garden just off of the beach and is well worth visiting.
📍Trappas in English Harbor – this great place in the center of English Harbour that often has solo travelers sitting at the bar tables in the front outside area. It offers a selection of local cuisines to choose from and has a yummy catch-of-the-day option (my favorite!). Make sure to keep a little space for dessert, as theirs is some of the best in Antigua and Barbuda.
15. Panoramic Views From A Helicopter
Did you know that you can sail, drive, or even fly around Antigua? For my 40th birthday, my boyfriend took me on a helicopter ride over Antigua, and it was amazing!
As a solo traveler, you can either hire the helicopter for yourself or take a seat on a group booking.
Your pilot will tell you everything about what you see as you fly by, and there’s something incredible about skirting the seat and seeing turtles and stingrays from the helicopter.
My ultimate recommendation for a beautiful way to finish your day is watching the sunset from a sailyacht. There are several sunset cruises that leave from Jolly Harbour.
Taking a boat around part of Antigua is such a brilliant way to see the island from a different perspective and try the more remote snorkeling sites.
This is great for solo travelers as it means you can safely do some great snorkeling offshore. Some of the best snorkeling can be found at Great Bird Island and can only be reached on a tour such as Eli’s Original Eco Tour.
17. Watch A Cricket Match Live
In my third year of living in Antigua, I finally made it to a cricket match, and wow, I wish I’d done it sooner! I’m really not a cricket fan, and I still don’t really understand the game, but the atmosphere and fun in the stadium are incredible.
It’s like a mini carnival with people in costumes, steel drums, and other music. Plus, there’s often another mini-game of cricket happening on the mounds.
I spent more time looking around than I did watching the match!
As a solo traveler, I’d recommend buying a ticket in the mounds as it’s a melting pot of people and really in the middle of the party atmosphere. There are also excellent meal services within the stadium, plus good value beers.
18. Drive The Fig Tree Drive
The Fig Tree Drive road in Antigua is beautiful – it cuts through the tropical rainforest. If you have a rental car, this is the most fun road to drive.
Pick some good turns and enjoy the curves of the road, but don’t forget to keep an eye out for large Antiguan potholes!
A fab half-day trip out is to combine the drive with a stop at the ziplines, as they’re in the middle of Fig Tree Drive.
Do You Want To Head Over To Barbuda, Too?
As Antigua and Barbuda are two separate islands (although very close together), I’ve split the list in two, and you find a few of the best Barbuda activities listed below, respectively!
If you decide that you want to stay over (I’ve heard it’s well worth it), you need to know that accommodation is quite limited, which means it can get pretty pricey and can cost around US$500 per night for a beach cottage.
An alternative is to charter a yacht and stay off of one of the beaches on the island and take a return ride each day. That way you’d combine the cost of getting there with accommodation costs.
The easiest and most cost-effective way to visit is to take a day tour as you’ll get to see the four main sites in Barbuda, plus enjoy a lovely lunch. It’s the way that I’ve visited, and it’s a great “taster” of Barbuda.
Visiting Barbuda is totally worth it – it’s one of the last untouched Caribbean islands!
19. Visit The Pink Sand Beach In Barbuda
Some of the beaches in Barbuda have sand that has a pretty pink shade to them; these are some of the best pink beaches in the world!
The pink color is due to crushed coral that is mixed into the sand. So, the tides, the seasons, and the amount of corral in the sand all affect just how pink the beaches are.
The pink sand on Barbuda stretches from the aptly named Pink Sand Beach all the way to Cedar Point Beach.
20. Explore The Frigatebird Sanctuary
The frigatebird sanctuary is located in the Codrington Lagoon National Park. There are more than 170 species of birds living there; however, the most famous is the frigate bird.
The impressive frigate bird has the largest wingspan in proportion to the body of any water bird at over 7 feet! It’s also locally called the Man O War bird due to its superior size and flying capabilities.
The reason that this sanctuary is so important is that it has over 5,000 frigate birds, which is the largest colony in the Caribbean. These birds spend their lives flying between Barbuda and the Galapagos Islands.
The best time of year to visit is between October and December in the mating season, when the males puff out their incredibly bright red gullets to attract a girlfriend.
21. Kayak In Codrington Lagoon National Park
Codrington Lagoon National Park is a saltwater lagoon hive of marine life, including lobsters and turtles. In fact, the main dish to eat in Barbuda is lobster, which has lived in this lagoon.
As well as being the home of the Frigate Bird Sanctuary, it is also an important nesting site for turtles.
Since Hurricane Irma, much of the mangrove is still in recovery, however, you can hire a paddle board or kayak to paddle through this amazing area.
22. Caving At Two Foot Bay National Park
This untamed park on the northeastern coast of Barbuda is home to some amazing caves in Two Foot Bay.
You can hike to the main chamber and cave on your own, but if you’re interested in really exploring them, you will need to hire a guide, as many of the caves are hidden.
If you do decide to go it alone, you will find the entrance to the cave is opposite a stone ruin at the top of a small bluff.
You’ll be amazed to find a three-chambered cave carved into the cliff. Inside are Arawak petroglyphs and a bat chamber filled with thousands of bats! The Arawaks were living in the Caribbean between 4000 BC and 1500, meaning the cave carvings could be thousands of years old – which I think is pretty amazing!
As you climb up through the cave to its roof, you’ll also have stunning views of the ocean.
Why Visit Antigua In The Caribbean Solo?
There are so many great reasons to visit Antigua and Barbuda as a solo traveler.
For starters, it’s got 365 beaches to choose from, so you’re never short of new ones to explore. Also, it has the perfect combination of a dry, hot climate in the winter. The food is tasty, the nightlife is fun, and the rum punch is, well…..punchy!
As a solo traveler, you’ll feel welcome to join other people.
I’ve certainly noticed that on some of the more popular beaches, you’ll end up making new friends for your trip. In fact, that’s how I got to know so many of the people that I know in Antigua.
Where we live, in English Harbour, is particularly good for meeting people if you want to make some friends to hang out with.
This is because it is where the yacht crews all stay, and they are usually very open to chatting with and meeting new people.
My Top Tips On Where To Meet New People In Antigua And Barbuda
📍Pigeon Beach around sunset time every day – there’s usually a good crowd of people of all ages there on the beach. Most will happily chat away to new people. We’ve met most of our friends on this beach.
📍Loose Cannon Bar and Restaurant on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon is party time. The good thing about this party is that it starts around 3 pm with a DJ playing upbeat Ibiza-style tunes, so it doesn’t need to be a late night. We’ve often ended up chatting with some really interesting people; everyone from kids to much, much older tends to head here.
📍Lucky Eddi’s and then on to Abracadabras on a Friday night. This is where the yacht crew goes to party on Fridays, too. Lucky Eddies has a fantastic live music band that starts around 9 pm, and then after midnight, the party moves to Abra’s until the early hours.
Best Places To Stay In Antigua
FAQs Antigua & Barbuda
Is Antigua Safe For Solo Female Travelers?
Yes, Antigua is very safe for solo female travelers. Like any country, you should follow common sense guidelines such as not having valuables on show, and not walking around at night alone.
If you want to go out in the evenings and soak up some local Caribbean vibes, then English Harbour is very safe and a melting pot of visitors, locals, and yacht crews.
What Is The Best Time To Visit?
The best time to visit Antigua is in the winter, between December to April.
It’s a good temperature, and it’s much drier than the summer. Another reason is that it’s outside hurricane season, so it’s much safer to visit.
Are There Hostels In Antigua And Barbuda?
This is often where yacht crew come to stay while finding boats to work on.
Antigua And Barbuda Currency
The local currency in Antigua and Barbuda is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar (XCD), locally called “EC.”
Most things will be priced in EC, although some tours and accommodations will also be advertised in US dollars.
You can use US dollars in Antigua & Barbuda. If you do, your change will be given to you in EC.
How To Get From Antigua To Barbuda?
There are several ways to get from the island of Antigua to Barbuda; these are ferry boats, yachts, and helicopters.
Is There A Ferry From Antigua To Barbuda?
Yes, there is a ferry between Antigua and Barbuda. It is called the Barbuda Express and takes roughly 90 minutes.
There is a ferry every day from either Jolly Harbour or St John’s at around 6:30 am; it’s best to check the schedule as it does change.
Antigua Cruise Port
The cruise port in Antigua is located in the bay at St John’s Harbour on the northwest coast.
The terminals themselves can be found at the end of the Heritage Quay. There are three piers that have space for up to five cruise ships in total.
Do I Need An Antigua And Barbuda SIM Card?
This really depends on how much you plan to use your phone. There are generally two options to choose from: e-sim and physical sim.
If you’re only staying for a few days then it can be cheaper and easier to use an e-sim, when I need an e-sim I use Airalo.
As I live for months at a time in Antigua and Barbuda, so I have a local e-sim card. These are easy to pick up as there are lots of places to find them – you’ll see signs advertising the different brands.
Wrap-Up Antigua And Barbuda
If you were not sure before, I hope this article has convinced you that Antigua and Barbuda are great Caribbean holiday destinations for solo travelers!
There are so many things to do in Antigua and Barbuda, a short ferry trip away, both in or on the water, on dry land, and even in the air!
Traveling solo, you can explore on your own, rent a car, or book yourself on a tour and spend time with others if you prefer to share these amazing experiences with someone.
Either way, I am confident you will have an amazing holiday in this little island nation!