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Antigua Cruise Port at a Glance

Welcome to our Antigua Cruise Port Guide - we hope it provides you with lots of information on this pretty Caribbean Island as there are lots of things to do in Antigua. If you have any questions then please send us a message or add a comment below.

A Beach for every day of the Year.

Antigua is a beach lovers paradise. In fact, there are so many to choose from that picking which one to relax on will be the most difficult thing you have to do on your cruise visit to Antigua

Contrasts

It is also an island of contrasts. A rich emerald interior, scattered with colourful villages, gives way to wrinkled coves, pristine sandy beaches and dazzling blue seas. Away from the beaches and sun loungers, you can explore historical sites, such as Nelson’s Dockyard or Betty’s Hope, a picturesque restored sugar mill. 

For the shopaholic, there is plenty of choice right next to the cruise dock at Heritage Quay. Here you’ll find shops selling jewellery, perfumes, leather goods and branded clothes such as Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and Guess.

Antigua Cruise Port - Where do the cruise ships dock?

Antigua Cruise Dock

Heritage Quay - Antigua

The majority of ships will dock at Heritage Quay which is in the heart of St Johns. Some ships do dock at the smaller Redcliffe Quay but that is dependent on how many cruise ships are in port at any given time. However, Redcliffe Quay is adjacent to Heritage Quay so it makes little difference. From either Quay, it’s a short walk into St Johns

Antigua Cruise Port - Things to do in Antigua with a day in port.

Nelson's Dockyard

The largest of Antigua’s National Parks, Nelson’s Dockyard is the only continuously working Georgian Dockyard in the world today. Fully restored to its 18th-century splendour it now houses modern amenities such as shops, hotels and marina businesses. Outside the dockyard, historic forts dot the landscape of the park accessible by hiking trails which allow visitors to enjoy the park’s scenic and natural beauty.

There is endless opportunity to capture the beauty of the parks. With many glorious boats in the dockyard, the beautiful harbour, the historic sites and the unforgettable views from places such as Shirley Heights.

Betty's Hope

This is a sugar plantation site where one of the two sugar mill towers has been fully restored complete with sails.  Explore Antigua's colonial past, as well as remnants of the Great House, the distillery and other buildings of the island's first sugar plantation. An interpretive centre explains the sugar-making process and provides glimpses into the hardship of daily life on the plantation, which had around 400 slaves at its peak.

Fort James

Image Source: David Stanley

Fort James, a small stronghold at the north side of St John’s Harbour, dates back to 1706. The fort was built to guard St. John's harbour and is one of the many forts built by the British in the 18th century and is named after King James II of England. You can still see of a few of its 36 cannons, a powder magazine and walls. The site drips with atmosphere: it’s moodily run-down and almost always deserted.

Island Safari

A great way to see the island is to take one of the many Jeep Safaris offered by tour companies. Rumble through Antigua's rugged landscape visiting a variety of historical sites that might include; the Blockhouse ruins, the National Park, Nelson's Dockyard, and Shirley's Heights for some stunning views of Antigua. Learn about Antiguan culture and folklore as you journey through local villages and into the heart of Antigua's rainforest. 

Devil’s Bridge

Located outside the village of Willikies Devils Bridge offers a stunning glimpse into Antigua’s natural formation. Composed of limestone rock, the rocky terrain of Devil’s Bridge is the result of millions of years of ancient reef formation. For hundreds of thousands of years, the Atlantic’s waves have crashed into the east coast of Antigua creating a natural arch. You can witness this spectacle as you watch the Atlantic pound the rocks creating blowholes as waves continually break against the coastal rocks.

Antigua Cruise Port - Beach Day

Dickenson Bay

Clear blue waters and perfect white sand, backed by a lush green hillside; this beach has it all. Simply relax and unwind or if you like to be active then this beach can cater for all your needs. 

Valley Church Beach

A great swimming and snorkelling spot. This pretty beach has calm, shallow aquamarine waters and powdery white sand. It's popular with cruise-ship guests, for whom water sports are laid on and loungers serviced by fleets of bar staff. Most cruisers gather around popular beach restaurant the Nest, so if you're looking for a quieter spot, head to the other end of the beach.

Hawksbill Bay

Is actually made up for 4 gorgeous little crescent-shaped beaches; Hawksbill Bay, Landing Bay, Pinching Bay and the aptly named Eden Beach (which is actually a nudist beach). Landing Bay is the most easily accessible as you have to walk through private resort grounds to reach the others (you just need to let security know of your plans and they will let you through without issue).

Long Bay

On the far-eastern coast, you'll find coral reefs in water so shallow that you can actually walk out to them. Long Bay Beach offers fine white sand and crystal blue waters, making it a great place for snorkelling or just relaxing in the sun. You could combine this with a walk over to Devils Bridge (see above) which is about a 30min walk away.

Ffyres Beach

The golden sands of Ffyres Beach - Antigua

There are not that many facilities at Ffyres beach but what you will find is a quiet stretch of the most glorious sand and water you could possibly find anywhere. It’s popular with friendly locals and you will find the odd hawker but in our experience, they are not pushy and will move on if they find you uninterested

Need to know what to take with you to the beach? Read our Beach Packing List for some ideas.

Antigua Cruise Port - Local Flavours

Ducana

Ducana is not something many visitors to Antigua will have heard of. This dish is made by making a dough of grated sweet potato, coconut and pumpkin, which is then seasoned with cinnamon. Ducanas are then cooked in the same style as a Mexican tamale. The dough is wrapped in a banana leaf and then boiled in water to solidify the dough into a nice dumpling texture.

Antigua Black Pineapple

The official fruit of Antigua and Barbuda! It's so important it is even on the island’s coat of arms. The Arawak first brought it to the island and today it’s considered one of the sweetest in the world. Unlike other pineapples, the skin will remain greenish even when ripe, so you need to have experience to know when it’s ready to eat.  It also is less acidic than other pineapples, and the core is tender enough to eat.  I have no idea why its called a black pineapple. If you do... please let me know.

Roti

As there is an established history of immigrants from all over the world to Antigua its no surprise that there is an Indian influence on the island.  In Antigua roti is a flatbread that has been stuffed with a range of different ingredients. There are several different varieties from beef and pork through to seafood and vegetarian.

Essentially the fillings are cooked in a curried sauce and then used to stuff the flatbread. In some places, the bread is more like a pastry casing rather than a flatbread. This is usually eaten as a snack or a light lunch. It is a great option to try for vegetarians but is usually served with saltfish. It has a completely unique flavour and texture and while it’s sweet it’s a really nice compliment to the briny saltfish.

Getting Around

Buses

BUS ROUTES
Route Start Stops Along the Route End
Route 12 West End Bus Station Town House Store Bus Stop, Sea View Farm Bus Stop Freemans Village Bus Stop
Route 13 West End Bus Station Town House Store Bus Stop, Buckley and Fig Tree Bus Station, Buckley's Bus Stop John Hughes Bus Stop
Route 17 West End Bus Station Town House Store Bus Stop, All Saints Bus Stop, Sweets Bus Stop, Cobbs Cross Bus Stop Dockyard Bus Stop
Route 20 West End Bus Station Golden Grove Bus Stop, Kentish Road Bus Stop Jolly Harbour Bus Stop
Route 22 West End Bus Station Jolly Harbour Bus Stop, Golden Grove Bus Stop, Kentish Road Bus Stop, Darkwood Beach Bus Stop, Turner's Beach Bus Stop Mt. Obama and Old Road Bus Stop
Route 30 East End Bus Station Factory Road West Bus Stop, Chase Supermarket Bus Stop Potters Road Bus Stop
Route 31 East End Bus Station Old Sugar Factory Bus Stop, Antigua and Barbuda Transport Board Bus Stop, Factory Road West Bus Stop, Potters Road Bus Stop Parham Bus Stop
Route 32 East End Bus Station Old Sugar Factory Bus Stop, Antigua and Barbuda Transport Board Bus Stop, Factory Road West Bus Stop, Potters Road Bus Stop Sea View Farm Bus Stop
Route 32b East End Bus Station Old Sugar Factory Bus Stop, Antigua and Barbuda Transport Board Bus Stop, Factory Road West Bus Stop, Potters Road Bus Stop Mac Pond Bus Stop
Route 33 East End Bus Station Old Sugar Factory Bus Stop, Antigua and Barbuda Transport Board Bus Stop, Factory Road West Bus Stop, Potters Road Bus Stop, Sir Walling, Jonas, And Pares Intersection Bus Stop Willikies Bus Stop
Route 41B East End Bus Station Parham and Utility Bus Stop, Cassada Bus Stop Cedar Grove Bus Stop
Route 42 West End Bus Station Parham and Utility Bus Stop, Sir Walter and Old Parham Bus Stop, ANU Airport Bus Stop American University Bus Stop
Route 61 West End Bus Station Gray's Farm Bus Station Five Islands Bus Stop

Taxis

When you leave the Antigua Cruise Port you will be greeted by a sea of taxi drivers and tour vendors touting for business. They are generally friendly and not pushy. Taxis are safe and government regulated. Taxis will provide a fixed fare for journeys, rather than operating a meter and all taxis should include a rate card. Taxi drivers will also often provide a tour guide service.

Good to Know

  • It is an offence for anyone, including children, to dress in camouflage clothing.
  • Take care when swimming as currents can be strong, and always refrain from swimming when red flags are flying.
  • Swimwear - Don't wear beach attire when walking around town. Topless tanning is generally frowned upon on public beaches, although some resorts may permit it.
  • Greet people when entering a shop or business – if not expect slow service or to be ignored.
  • Rushing into a request is considered rude. Better start out with a little chitchat.

Quick Facts

Currency: Eastern Caribbean Dollar. US Dollar accepted.

Language: English, Spanish

Money: ATMs available at the cruise port

Visas: Not required for citizens of the US, EU or Australia

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