Updated: Apr 10, 2021
We have been lucky enough to visit Antigua three times on various cruise ships! Below is what we did each time on Antigua. It has 365 beaches so you could never get bored!
(Our first time to Antigua, we arrived on the Carnival Splendor)
First time to Antigua:
The first time we went to Antigua, we decided to take an Eco tour with Adventure Antigua. We chose their Eco Tour that explored the mangroves and allowed us to explore Hell's Gate Island. We also snorkeled and stopped at Great Bird Island where we walked to the top of the island and had an amazing view of the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. The water was a little rough for snorkeling and swimming to Hell's Gate Island, but was crystal clear! You can stay on the boat and enjoy sun tanning if you don't want to snorkel.
( Antigua Adventure's boat, Hell's Gate, A view from the top of Bird Island looking at the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean)
The second/third time to Antigua:
The second and third time to Antigua we took the local bus to the beach! The second-year we went to Darkwood Beach and the third year we went to Turners Beach. Both were amazing and had milky water.
To get to the bus from the cruise ship, you will walk straight out of the port and into town. You will take a right at Market Street and will see a bus station up ahead with various minivans waiting. If you can't find the bus station, the people in Antigua are amazingly nice and will point you in the right direction. The bus to the beaches is #22. It takes about 30 minutes to get to the beach. The bus costs $1.50 US per person each way. You can pay the bus driver when you get on the bus or when you hop off.
Darkwood Beach is one of the first beaches you'll get to. There's a big sign that says Darkwood and you can tell the bus driver ahead of time you're going there so he knows to stop. Chars were 2 for $20 with a large wooden umbrella for shade.
Turners Beach is the next beach after Darkwood. There isn't a sign, but if you tell the bus driver you're going there, he will drop you off. Chairs at Turners are $5 each and if you get there early, the wooden umbrella's are free! There is a beach bar with food and drinks and free wifi.
To catch the bus at the end of the day, you will wait on the opposite side of the street you got dropped off on and wave when the bus arrives. We loved both Darkwood and Turners Beach and would go back to either if we're on Antigua again.