Not surprisingly, water is involved in most of the things to do in Antigua and Barbuda where visitors can lie on a different beach literally every day of the year. All 365 shores boast their own unique charms, but all share soft white sands and calm, brightly colored waters. Tourists who have less than a year to explore all of the islands’ beaches can seek assistance from tour operators to determine which suit them best.
Antigua and Barbuda’s best snorkeling can be found around the mile-long Paradise Reef coral garden and the uninhabited Prickly Pear Island. Half Moon Bay’s slightly rougher Atlantic Ocean surf provides challenging windsurfing conditions, while Dickenson Bay offers parasailing facilities between Monday and Saturday. Cricket is undoubtedly Antigua and Barbuda’s most popular dry land sport, but Antigua also contains at least two good quality 18-hole golf courses.
Antigua Premier Tours specializes in privately guided trips around Antigua and Barbuda’s finest beaches, such as Long Beach on Antigua’s east coast and Turner’s Beach, from which sunbathers can see as far as Montserrat on a clear and sunny day. Sunbathers seeking total seclusion will most easily find it at Johnson’s Point, the Five Islands peninsula’s four Hawksbill Beaches, and any of Barbuda’s virtually deserted beaches.
Jolly Harbour’s Jolly Dive Center is one of Antigua’s most well-established scuba diving companies. It offers both one- and two-tank dive packages around many of the island’s outstanding coral reefs, the most famous of which is the mile-long coral garden of Paradise Reef. Stunning formations also surround the uninhabited Prickly Pear Island.
Those who prefer snorkeling may be interested in the twice-daily, two-hour Splish Splash snorkeling excursions to Paradise Reef. Beyond Half Moon Bay’s volatile Atlantic Ocean waves lie a secluded coral garden which has become another popular Antigua snorkeling spot, but Long Bay also contains many outstanding coral reefs beneath its shallow waters. Johnson Point’s calm and clear waters contain the largest amount of colorful tropical fish to swim beside.
Antigua has also become a popular deep sea fishing destination. Anglers of all experience levels are welcome aboard the vessels of Nightwing Charters, just one among many charter outfitters offering excursions into the island’s waters, which are loaded with marlin, tuna, sharks, barracudas, and even dolphins.
Another unique Antigua boating excursion is Pirates of Antigua, where visitors can board a motorized pirate ship replica complete with strong drinks containing plenty of rum. Tony’s Water Sports and Tropical Adventures both offer frequent day cruises from Antigua to neighboring Barbuda courtesy of Captain Jack.
Those wishing to see the spectacular coral reefs and tropical fish beneath Antigua and Barbuda’s seas, but stay dry at the same time should consider a glass-bottomed boat tour by Bo Tours Antigua. Visitors can enjoy authentic beachfront West Indian lunches, onboard music, and friendly local guides on these unique vessels.
Eco adventure tours zip lining have also skyrocketed in popularity and the Rainforest Canopy Tour may provide visitors with more thrills than any other tour operator on the islands. Visitors must conquer their fear of heights before climbing onto the nine cables ranging in height from 299 feet to 351 feet above Antigua’s rainforests.
Those who would rather stay on the ground can get up close and personal with Antigua’s rainforests during the safari tours offered by Tropical Adventures. These unforgettable, off-road Land Rover excursions take visitors past lush rainforests, local villages, and huts selling freshly-picked tropical fruits.