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  • Writer's pictureJude

How to explore Antigua on a budget

Updated: May 7

How to explore Antigua on a budget - visit a beach

Antigua - a tropical Caribbean island with 365 beaches, lush rolling hills, turquoise sea and temperatures nudging 30 degrees all year round. That comes at a high price though, right? Not necessarily. It won't be cheap but there are ways of reducing some of the costs to make holidaying here much more affordable. Let me help you ...

Ways to reduce flight prices to Antigua

British Airways London to Antigua

Flights are a a major part of the cost of long haul holidays. However there are a few tips to bear in mind that can save you money...

  • Airlines tend to have sales at certain times throughout the year so try to take advantage of that.

  • Antigua's low season is from June-November. Flights are generally cheaper during this time, especially if booking outside the school holiday periods. There are plenty of economy options for flights from London to Antigua with British Airways for under £600 return. Click on the link to have a look.

  • Try to have flexibility with your dates when booking as some days offer cheaper flights than others. I have often found that outbound flights to Antigua from London have been cheaper on a Monday, Thursday or Sunday.

  • Sign up to become a member of a reward program with your preferred airline. British Airways Executive Club, for example, is free to join and suggests multiple ways to accrue Avios, their reward points. These can be offset against flight prices at the time of booking, further reducing the total cost.

Hotel Accommodation in Antigua

Single room within Admiral's Inn

  • Consider choosing accommodation with less facilities. Very often if staying in an all inclusive resort some of the amenities available such as the gym, spa etc. are not used, but you pay for them being to hand anyway. Choosing accommodation without these can make a big difference to the price. for example list a range of hotels in Antigua that are located slightly more inland or without a pool, gym etc. offering more value for money. The beach may be within walking distance rather than on your doorstep or perhaps a short drive but it could be worth it for the money you will save.

  • Join a reward scheme.'s scheme for example, gives its members the opportunity to earn free nights accommodation and special discounts when booking. This can be another great way to save money. Have a look at some of the online booking companies, note the deals being offered and sign up to one that works for you.

  • Hotel prices are generally cheaper when booking during low season (June-November).

Short Term Holiday Rentals in Antigua

The recommended holiday rental properties featured at Worldwide Travel Ideas Limited are a selection of privately owned properties with fully equipped kitchens. I have viewed, met with the owners, taken the photographs and gained an understanding of the accommodation and local area in order to help and advise guests with their property choice. By choosing a rental property, holidaymakers benefit from a balance of home living combined with the buzz of staying somewhere new, with restaurants and beaches nearby. Cooking at home can be dramatically more cost effective than eating out in restaurants, especially by selecting local brands when you shop. Daily room costs can work out cheaper than hotel accommodation too.

Taxis and Car Hire in Antigua

Taxi fares can soon mount up so if you're planning on exploring a fair bit it may be worth considering hiring a car, even just for a few days. With Antigua being so compact it is possible to see a lot of points of interest in one day. Hiring a small car such as a Kia Picante for three days, will set you back around US$170 inclusive of licence fee and insurance. Diesel is also cheap averaging around US$5 per gallon, equating to around £1 per litre. Email me at for WhatsApp me on +44 7732 329863 for car hire and taxi recommendations.

17 Things to do in Antigua on a budget

Last remaining cannon at Fort Berkeley

There are a number of tempting tours and activities to book while on holiday in Antigua. Many are expensive but there are lots of things to do that don't send your bank balance into a spin. The following activities cost no more than US$25 per person and some are free or ask for a small donation. Here are 16 ideas of things to do in an Antigua on a budget.

1. Visit one of Antigua's 365 beaches - free

Sunset at Pigeon Point Beach

Antigua's beaches are public and with 365 of them there are plenty to choose from. Those on the eastern side are framed by the Atlantic ocean while those to the west, the Caribbean sea. My post about the best beaches in Antigua highlights some of the beaches that are best for snorkelling, water sports, watching a sunrise or sunset. To keep the costs to a minimum, pack a picnic and head to the beach that best suits your mood.

2. BBQ Boat ANU *

Embark on a unique sailing experience with 360 degree views of the turquoise hued Caribbean Sea. Your own private captain awaits, ready to sail around the stunning coastline of Dickenson Bay. All you have to do is kick back and relax to the soothing sounds of reggae. Packages start from US$25 for a 30 minute sail. Click on the link to read more about BBQ Boat ANU packages.

3. Rum Tasting Session at Quin Farara *

Discover a little about Antiguan rum from this family run liquor store in the heart of St Johns. The shop still serves refreshing lemonade and coffee as it did 100 years ago when it was opened by Quin Farara. Alternatively pre-book a tasting experience. Prices start from US$20 per person. Allow around 30 minutes for your visit and learn about the history of the store, taste two Antiguan made rums, one white and one gold before making your very own rum punch with the guidance of your host. Click on the link to read more about Quin Farara's tasting sessions and to book.

4. Water Sports

Crabbe Hill Beach

Crabbe Hill Beach is arguably one of the most beautiful beaches on the South West coast of Antigua. Crabbe Hill Beach Rentals hire out kayaks, paddle boards and snorkelling equipment for US$20 per hour. Spend a morning or afternoon relaxing on the sugar soft, white sand then take to the water for an hour.

5. Kon Tiki Floating Bar

Kon Tiki Bar

From popular Dickenson Bay, look out for the unique bar, Kon Tiki, with its thatched roof, quite literally floating in the Caribbean Sea. Simply stand at the shoreline beside Siboney Beach Club Hotel with it's iconic red phone box and wave at the bar. A free shuttle boat is moored up beside it. Its driver picks you up and returns you once you've finished. Alternatively, swim out to it! Drinks are reasonably priced, say US$2 for a club soda and US$8 for a pretty good rum punch. This is a great way to spend an hour or so in a party-style atmosphere with 360 degree views of the Caribbean Sea.

6. Snorkel around at Shipwreck - free

Visit Galleon Beach for snorkelling

If you own a snorkel, bring it from home or invest in a cheap one before you come. Just beyond the anchor at Galleon Beach, there is a shipwreck close to the shore with a plethora of marine life and frequent turtle sightings.

7. Explore a walking trail - free

View from the former Guard's House at Fort Berkeley

There are a number of walking trails throughout the island with a cluster of them around English Harbour. One of the hikes in this area is to Fort Berkeley, Antigua's oldest fort dating back to 1704. Setting off early morning is recommended being the coolest part of the day. En-route expect to see a variety of flora, pelicans hunting for fish, lizards, goats and listen to the haunting sounds of turtledoves. Once at the top, take a photo beside the last remaining cannon and wander around the Gunpowder Magazine and former Guard's House. The views through the window are phenomenal.

Although you can book guided walking trails, many are perfectly easy to find and explore at your own pace.

8. Betty's Hope

Betty's Hope

This is an emotive attraction explaining the history and life at Betty's Hope, Antigua's oldest sugar plantation. It is now an open air museum with ruins to explore at leisure. The visitor centre, once a cotton store, is filled with interesting signage, artefacts and a miniature village that replicates the estate while it was a working plantation. Entrance fee is US$2 cash by way of a donation box at the museum's entrance.

9. Eat local food

Take a break from dining at costly restaurants and enjoy some local street food. The roadside eateries are good quality and reasonably priced and it gives you a chance to indulge in some of Antigua's national dishes. For around US$10-15 you can pick up tasty local dishes such as goat water, ducana, fried fish and chop up with ice cold drinks such as tamarind juice. Three great places to try are in the English Harbour area.

  • Brenda's Place, Dockyard Drive

  • Katie's, Dockyard Drive

  • Mama's Delight, Piccadilly

10. Devil's Bridge National Park - free

Devil's Bridge

Devil's Bridge is a natural limestone rock formation resembling a bridge where the Caribbean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean. Expect to see wild waves and powerful sprays through natural blowholes. Stories have suggested that enslaved people once threw themselves off the bridge to commit suicide.   

11. Shirley Heights

Shirley Heights

Shirley Heights is one of the most renowned attractions in Antigua. The bi-weekly party costs US$10 to enter. The former military lookout is a spectacular viewing point for some of the most beautiful golden sunsets. Crowds begin to gather from 4pm to listen to the sounds of the steel band, watch the sun go down and then dance the night away to a local reggae band. The bbq is excellent but bear in mind food and drink is an additional cost.

12. Nelson's Dockyard National Park

Nelson's Dockyard

Nelson's Dockyard at English Harbour is the only remaining, working Georgian dockyard in the world. Entrance fee is US$15 and within the grounds are a number of points of interest. Browse the museum - once the home of Lord Admiral Nelson, to learn about the dockyard's history via a timeline of events. To the front of the museum is an imposing palm tree planted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1966. The old bakery still uses its original ovens to feed the dockyard workers. Pop in and sample a sweet treat or pastry for a few dollars. Throughout the well manicured gardens spot the 7000 lb anchor and carronades.

Admiral's Inn - plan of HMS Boreas

Stop by Admiral's Inn, one of the boutique hotels, for a drink. The main building's upper floors were once offices used by engineers working within the dockyard whilst downstairs, turpentine, pitch and lead were stored. Behind the bar is an eye-catching plan of Nelson's ship, HMS Boreas, the frame of which is made from a doorframe of one of the building's original entrances.

13. Tour of Clarence House

clarence house

Clarence House is an imposing Georgian building, built in 1804 for the Navy Commissioner.  Princess Margaret spent the first night of her honeymoon here before moving on to Barbuda having been pestered by paparazzi. Book a tour for US$25 to follow in the footsteps of Royals, Captains and Admirals.  Twice a week, an exceptional tour guide will lead you around the impeccable grounds telling stories with light humour about the history of Clarence House.  Internally, several rooms are laid out with impressive locally made replicas and antique furniture helping to create an insight as to what life would have been like here historically.  Today Clarence House is a museum and space for events and weddings.  Click on the link to check availability and to book a tour of Clarence House.

14. Rum in the Ruins

Dow's Hill Rum in the Ruins event

There's no other place to be on Fridays at 5pm than Dow's Interpretation Centre.  A ticket costs US$25 and includes around 75 minutes of captivating storytelling and laughter amongst the ruins of Dow's Fort dating back to 1789.  Learn some interesting facts perhaps about historic timekeeping methods, warning systems put in place to protect the harbour or the love Admiral Nelson had for the commissioner's wife, all while sipping on some delicious rum punch.  As the event draws to a close and the sun begins its descent, marvel at the most incredible views and sunset.  Book a ticket at Rum in the Ruins and see for yourself....

15. Antilles Stillhouse

Antilles Stillhouse Gin Distillery Antigua

Spend a pleasant hour high in the hills behind English Harbour at Antigua's only gin distillery. Meet with the owner and find out a little about the gin making process while tasting some samples of delicious gins. Afterwards, browse the gift shop with its range of tempting jams, mustards, vinegars, home made soaps and of course, gin! For US$10 purchase a 100ml bottle of your favourite flavour - perhaps fevergrass or sorrel? Read more about Antilles Stillhouse.

16. Donkey Sanctuary

Donkeys feeding at the Antigua Donkey Sanctuary

Take a break from the beach and drive through Antigua's lush green countryside to the Antigua Donkey Sanctuary Humane Society.  Visit, or better still, volunteer for a day to help care for injured or abused donkeys and abandoned cats and dogs.  There is no entrance fee but donations are welcomed.

Watch the donkeys' excitement and anticipation as their food arrives.  See how they enjoy playing with puzzle balls filled with carrots and perhaps groom their coats.  Dogs and cats can be cuddled and played with to help them with the socialisation process in preparation for adoption.  Read more about the Donkey Sanctuary.

17. Museum of Antigua & Barbuda

Take 30-60 minutes while in the capital of St Johns to learn about the history of Antigua & Barbuda.  Entrance fee costs US$3. The compact museum displays interesting artefacts such as spoons made by the Arawaks from shells, basketry, rocks and minerals. Afterwards, browse the gift shop. It sells locally made items including jewellery and artwork.

So although a holiday to Antigua can be an extremely expensive once in a lifetime trip, it can also be made much more affordable using the tips outlined above. The tours and activities recommended in this post give visitors the opportunity of getting a balance between spending time at the beach together with learning some of Antigua's history while supporting local businesses.

For further information email me at or WhatsApp me on +44 7732 329863

Note:  If you make any bookings based on my recommendations your contract will be directly with the airline/travel company/hotels/short term rental or activity providers you book through. I am acting as a referral point only based on information from my most recent visit which may be subject to change at any time.

I will receive commission for any activity booked via Worldwide Travel Ideas Limited marked with an * 


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