St. John’s, Antigua
Antigua is located in the Eastern Caribbean, St John is the capital.
Places of interest include the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda, the Cathedral of St John the Divine and the Antigua Recreation Ground – home to Antiguan cricket.
Nelson’s Dockyard at English Harbour is a favourite excursion. Located in the south east of the island, it features beautifully restored 18th Century buildings, bringing the docks to life. This was once a key command post for the British Army and where Admiral Horatio Nelson was based whilst he commanded HMS Boreas. The bay is overlooked by the impressive Fort Shirley.
Antigua has 365 beaches to choose from, locals all have their favourites which include Hawksbill Bay, Darkwood Beach and Dickenson Bay on the west coast.
The disabled cruiser visiting St. John’s
Where You’re Docked
Your ship might be docked at any of three spots: Heritage Quay, neighboring Redcliffe Quay or the more distant (10 to 15 minutes by taxi, depending on traffic) St. John’s Deep Water Harbour.
Heritage and Redcliffe Quays are in the heart of St. John’s, the capital city. You’ll find shopping, restaurants, bank machines and transportation when you step off the pier.
Deep Water Harbour is the town’s industrial port, with no services. However, plans are in place to develop the surrounding area to create an additional full-service cruise port.
At Heritage and Redcliffe Quays, you’ll find indoor/outdoor malls for duty-free shopping, as well as several stalls of crafts and souvenirs. Restaurants and bars (many with free Wi-Fi for customers) are mixed in among the shops — and you’ll also find King’s Casino just off the main pedestrian zone of Heritage Quay.
The area around Redcliffe Quay is more tasteful, scenic and pleasant for browsing, but it’s still touristy. Within easy walking distance of the dock, you’ll see several downtown landmarks, including the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, built in 1845.
Deep Water Harbor offers no services.
Good to Know
As a former British colony, Antigua maintains the practice of driving on the left. Be particularly careful when crossing streets. There can be traffic backups in downtown St. John’s, particularly if it rains or during evening rush hour. If you’re docked at Deep Water Harbour, allow extra time to get back to your ship.
Antigua uses the Eastern Caribbean dollar (E.C.), although most vendors in town will readily accept U.S. dollars. Visit http://www.xe.com or http://www.oanda.com for currency-conversion rates. A small Scotia Bank ATM kiosk is located right on the water, between Heritage and Redcliffe quays, and you’ll also find an ATM at King’s Casino, just off of the pedestrian area at Heritage Quay. Both distribute U.S. dollars only, and both levy a fee. A bit farther away (about a five-minute walk), you’ll find Scotia Bank, RBC Bank and CBC First Caribbean Bank — all with ATMs — at the intersection of High and Market streets.
English is the main language on Antigua, although in some of the smaller villages around the island you’ll find Spanish as well.
Visit the Sarah Fuller Pottery Shop on Redcliffe Quay to take home a handmade pottery lighting sconces. You’ll see them all over the island in homes, hotels and downtown areas. Lights shine through cut-out designs of lizards, fish, seahorses, flowers and other shapes. She also makes fun mobiles with ceramic bells, fish and driftwood. Just across from Sarah Fuller’s, pop into Gift Stop, where you can sample and buy Antiguan rum cakes made with Cavalier Rum. We think they’re even tastier than the more famous Tortuga version.
Antigua’s international yachting crowd supports a broad range of restaurants and cuisines, more than you might otherwise expect to find. So, if you’re craving Italian, French or even sushi, you’ll find options. Plenty of hangouts are located around Heritage and Redcliffe Quays and at more far-flung eateries at beach resorts around the island.
If you go for local cuisine, beware — it’s spicy, and there’s often a bottle of hot sauce on the table to kick it up even more. Look for dishes like fungee (pronounced foon-jee– and sometimes spelled fungi or fungie), a cornmeal dish similar to polenta; ducana, a side dish made from sweet potatoes, grated coconut, sugar and spices and steamed in a banana leaf; chop-up, a mixture of eggplant, spinach and okra, all chopped and mashed together; pepperpot, a stew of meat and vegetables, flavored with hot peppers and cinnamon; and dishes made with dried, salted fish, known as “salt fish.”
Wash it down with a Wadadli beer, spicy ginger beer or fruit juice.
Points of Interest
- St. John’s – a seven-
St. John’s Accessible Excursions
Whether your cruise ship stops in
St. John’s Accessible Guided Tour
This 4 hour accessible