Antigua is the first cruise port that I’ve been to where we had an issue with our tour, but everything worked out just fine in the end. We booked a private excursion for the afternoon and spent the morning wandering the shops around the port area. There are tons of shops all within a few blocks of port. There are also a lot of taxi drivers. You will get asked at least 20 times if you want to take a taxi somewhere.
After eating lunch onboard the ship, we got our bathing suits on and headed to the dock to meet our tour guide. Unfortunately our tour guide never showed up. We ended up walking up to the nearest taxi driver and asking him what it would cost and how far it was to the “closest nice beach”. We were shocked when he said for $3 per person he’d take us to Dickenson Bay. He even held up a picture and it looked beautiful (to be fair, every beach on his sign was beautiful!). And so our day was saved! We spent 2 hours at Dickenson Bay, even rented a jet-ski for $40 for a 30 minute ride and we had a blast. And when we were done, our taxi driver was there to pick us up at our specified time. I can’t recommend a better deal than that!
Unique to Antigua:
- Snorkel the Andes Shipwreck
- Visit it’s sister island, Barbuda, for the pink sand beaches
- St. John’s Cathedral (walking distance from port)
Shore Excursions in Antigua:
SeaEscape Glass-Bottom HydroFoil to Snorkel the Andes Wreck
Our original tour was booked through SeaEscape. The tour was offered by Royal Caribbean as well and interestingly, they (the cruise line) upcharged a ton for the tour ($189 vs. $125), so we booked it ourselves directly through the Sea Escape website. We were set for the exact same time as the Royal Caribbean excursion and were to meet the Sea Escape team on the pier. Unfortunately they didn’t show up to meet us, so that was a bit disappointing. Of course if we had Wi-fi on the cruise, we would have known that they cancelled it due to high winds. When we got back to the U.S. after the cruise, we had a very nice email from Sea Escape and they told us they had already processed our refund. Hopefully maybe we’ll get another chance to do this tour some day.
DIY Day and Ride Jet Skis at Dickenson Bay –
Dickenson Bay is a very short 10 minute drive from the cruise port and the cost to get there by taxi was only $3 per person! The water is not exactly clear, but it’s still a beautiful shade of blue. We ended up renting a jet ski for $40 for 30 minute and had a blast riding it around. I highly recommend Dickenson Bay for a couple of hours and we had an excellent taxi driver who was ready to pick us up at a pre-arranged time.
Next time I visit Antigua:
- Try the SeaEscape Glass-Bottom Boat Tour
- Try another beach – they were all beautiful in the pictures!
Transportation in Antigua:
Taxi! It is so easy to find a taxi in Antigua! And they are super cheap!
Lodging in Antigua:
None seen. Recommend visiting by cruise ship.
Restaurants/ Meals & Drinks in Antigua:
Didn’t try any. We saved money in Antigua and ate lunch on the ship!
Tips/ Things to Know about Antigua:
- It is illegal to wear camouflage in Antigua, just like it is in lots of Caribbean islands. This is to distinguish between military and civilians.
My Time Spent on the Island of Antigua:
- 1 day cruise port in January 2017, on the Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas
Hope you find our travel guide helpful!