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St. Johns, Antigua

Antigua Information
Tom Ogg

Language and Currency
What is Antigua Like?
What is the Weather Like?
Where Does the Ship Dock?
Where is the Shopping?
What is There to Buy?
What is There To Do?
Is There Anything of a “Don’t Miss Quality?
Are There Any Great Restaurants or Bars?

Antigua Port Reviews

Language and Currency

The official language of Antigua is English and the currency is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar, however U.S. dollars are accepted in all major tourist areas.

What is Antigua like?

Welcome to Antigua

While Antigua is reflects its British heritage, it feels more like a tropical paradise. St. Johns (the main city in Antigua) is a wonderland of shopping and restaurants. The main attraction on Antigua, however is its fabulous beaches.

One of The Facilities at Runaway Bay

With over 365 distinct beaches, you can virtually explore a new beach every day of the year.

What is the weather like?

Antigua is tropical and you can expect warm weather with a normal high in the 80s during the winter.

Where does the ship dock?

The MSC Lirica Docked at Antigua

The ship docks right in St. John's and is within easy walking distance to everything.

Nevis Pier in Antigua

Where is the shopping?

Shopping Close to the Pier

There are two shopping areas quite close to the pier well worth exploring.

Shopping Inside Heritage Quay

Heritage Quay is the shopping area directly next to the cruise port and Redcliffe Quay (also next to the pier) was once a slave compound, which has been restored and most now function as stores and restaurants.

One of St. John's Shopping Streets

There is also more traditional shopping along the streets of St. John (the main city in Antigua within easy walking distance of the pier).

Just One of St. John's Charming Shops

What is there to buy?

Street venders are selling everything under the sun from tee shirts, wood carvings, shells and shell jewelry and so on. The boutiques, shops and stores in the Quays sell mostly items of interest to tourists such as beachwear, jewelry, cigars, soaps, tee shirts, collectibles, wood carvings and other local handicrafts, pottery and so on. You can find more traditional shopping downtown St. John for pharmacies, book stores and such..

What is there to do?

Runaway Bay, Antigua

I think everyone thinks of going to the beach in Antigua followed by a shopping spree in the shops surrounding the cruise pier area.

The Beach in Front of the "Lobster Shack" Restaurant.

Here is the scoop on the beach scene. There are two main beach areas that are close to the pier. The first is Runaway Bay

Looking the Other Way From the "Lobster Shack" Restaurant
Runaway Bay, Antigua

. It is lined with private restaurants offering beach lounge chairs and other amenities. Runaway Bay is an excellent choice if you want a quiet and peaceful day at the beach to simply relax with few people around. You can relax, have lunch and enjoy a libation while you soak up the sun.

Dickinson Beach, Antigua

On the other hand, if you want a little more action with access to beach toys including jet skis, parasailing and such, then Dickinson Beach would be the place to go.

The WaterSports Shack at Dickinson Beach

Dickinson Beach offers a restaurant and bar right on the sand and plenty of beach chairs to rent.

Dickinson Beach Restaurant and Bar

Getting to Dickinson Beach and Runaway Bar is quite easy and inexpensive from the cruise ship pier in downtown St. Johns. Taxis charge about $10 per taxi each way regardless of how many people are in the cab.

St. Johns Cathedral, Antigua

Certainly, St. John's Cathedral is worth exploring. This fabulous church dates back to the mid 1600s, but has been rebuilt a couple of times due to fires and earthquakes.

The Main Entrance to St. Johns Cathedral, Antigua

I found the Museum of Marine Art fascinating. It really doesn't display art, but rather stuff that a beach nut would appreciate. Sand from all over the world, flotsam that has been collected on Antigua, shells and so on. The public market is also well worth a visit and is a great place to purchase some flowers for your cabin.

If you are a gambler, be sure to visit the King's Casino for some action.

English Harbor From a Distance

Also, a visit to English Harbor (about seven miles across the island from St. John) is worth a visit if you are interested in yachting and th3e maritime museum located there..

English Harbor

Dating back to the middle of the 18th century, many of the buildings have either been rebuilt or remain in their original condition.

Nelson's Dockyard, English Harbor, Antigua

Of special note are Nelson's Dockyard Village and Clarence House.

A Local Vendor Outside of Dockyard Village

Nelson's Dockyard Village offers a unique dining and shopping opportunity in a quaint 18th century environment.

Antigua's Mobile Bank

I found this "Bank on Wheels" interesting. It was parked along the street that leads to Dockyard Village and I got the impression that the locals used it frequently, as the ATM macvhine had lines most of the time. Also, be sure to stop at Shirley Heights Lookout for a fantastic look and photo opportunity of English Harbor and beyond.

In addition to the above sights, shore excursions usually include a tour to English Harbor, SCUBA diving opportunities, booze cruises, snorkeling trips and exploring via jeeps. Note that there are local tour companies offering a variety of tours right at the cruise ship tour.

Is there anything of “Don’t Miss” quality?

If you want to lounge in pure Caribbean style, then I would say a trip to Runaway Bay would meet this criteria. It is secluded, quiet and offers some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

Are there any great restaurants or bars?

Bikini's Restaurant

Yes, I would say that a trip to Bikini's Restaurant at Runaway Beach is something that rates this quality. I had a lobster salad here and there was more than 1/2 of a lobster in it. The food is excellent and priced quite reasonably. It is about a $10 taxi ride from St. Johns.

 Port Reviews

  • Caroline Gentry,

    Antigua was much better, we all had nothing planned so we got a van to take us to half moon beach, which is supposed to be the best one, on the other side of more

    452 users found this review helpful.
  • efschlenk,

    There are two bus stations here within easy walking distance of the dock, which is downtown (there also is a secondary dock a bit farther out). Ask in town for directions more

    180 users found this review helpful.
  • Courtney,

    This island is nice, but it was our least favorite of the 5 we visited. We wanted to go snorkeling, but weren’t sure where to go. When you walk off the ship, more

    350 users found this review helpful.
  • Norman Reeder,

    Maureen had a Princess snorkel trip here which she liked very much. I had originally booked a dive through Princess for here as I couldn’t find out much more

    36 users found this review helpful.
  • Larry Wanger,

    My wife and I sailed on the Sun Princes and visited Antigua's capital city on a Sunday in mid-February 2004. All and all I would say the visit was good and that more

    123 users found this review helpful.
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     Antigua Shore Excursions


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