Are you planning a vacation to the Caribbean island of Antigua? If so, doing a little research before choosing your dates will help ensure that you pick the best time of year to visit.
From the stunning blue waters of the Caribbean Sea to horseback riding on one of 365 beaches, Antigua is a tropical vacation paradise.
You can do it all by visiting at the best time of year. Below, discover some of the main reasons why we think everyone should see Antigua during their lifetime.
Then, we’ll reveal the best time to visit Antigua. We’ll also cover other factors, such as the cheapest, least busy, and even worst times to visit Antigua. That way, you can get started with planning your ultimate getaway.
Why You Should Visit Antigua
There are so many reasons to visit Antigua! First, this paradisical island is home to 365 beaches–one for every day of the year, if you choose.
While you probably won’t get to sunbathe or swim on all of them, you’ll have ample options, which also helps keep crowds down. Along with the beach, watersports and ocean activities are trendy in Antigua.
Besides swimming, there’s windsurfing and especially sailing, which is a big deal in Antigua. Horseback riding on the beach is an Antiguan tradition. Antigua also offers incredible snorkeling and scuba diving. See coral reefs, colorful fish, and even barracuda.
New to any of these activities? Don’t worry; many locally-owned businesses offer lessons and tours for beginners in scuba, sailing, and more. Many high-end resorts have instructors on staff.
The outdoors aren’t just about the coast, either. Much of the island’s interior is covered in a mysterious, beautiful rainforest. Tourists love ziplining and climbing through the tree canopies but try a guided hike with a local expert for a more authentic experience.
Antigua has a lot of history, too. Once colonized and ruled by Great Britain, you can still visit Nelson’s Dockyard National Park, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It’s located in English Harbour, which is also home to Fort George (17th century) and Fort Berkeley (18th century), as well as other sites. Travelers often don’t think of islands as food havens, but Antigua has a vibrant local culinary scene.
You’ll find fresh seafood on the menu everywhere, but don’t forget to sample the national dish, Pepperpot, and Fungee. Wadadli beer is brewed right on the island, and you can visit Antigua Rum Distillery for a tour and tasting.
Finally, Antigua has all the trappings of a tropical island, including high-end resorts with award-winning spas. It’s also a popular port of call for cruise ships, so expect accompanying tourist businesses near the dock.
Overall Best Time to Visit Antigua
The best time to visit Antigua is from December to April, in winter and early spring. Let’s take a closer look at why that’s the case.
Avoid Crazy Crowds and Peak Prices
One of the best reasons to visit Atingua in the winter is the lack of crowds. Especially after New Year’s, kids return to school, and families save money after holiday splurging.
Because fewer people visit, prices for everything from hotels to flights to rental cars drop. You may also be able to snag great deals on packages that include tours, meals, and more. Another perk of visiting in December-April is the atmosphere.
Because there are fewer tourists, the locals get to relax more. It’s their off-season when they recharge their batteries and focus on enjoyment.
There’s a slower, happier feeling that locals are glad to share with friendly visitors. We strongly recommend striking up a conversation with a bartender or taking a local recommendation for dinner.
Weather: You’ll Avoid Hurricane Season
One of the key reasons why most travelers prefer this time of year is the weather, which may need to be clarified at first. Antigua has a tropical climate, meaning that temperatures stay relatively consistent.
Average low temperatures hold steady in the 70s, and highs are in the 80s. The primary variable is rainfall and storms. Atlantic hurricane season typically lasts from June through November, though its onset has been creeping earlier.
Since all other weather conditions are the same during different times of the year, and hurricanes are rare in the winter and early spring, we prefer visiting outside hurricane season.
Everything Is Available
Antigua is a year-round vacation destination. In fact, tourism is the country’s largest economic driver and employer. Therefore, you won’t run into seasonal closures of any kind during the off-season.
Cheapest Time to Visit Antigua
Because of the beautiful climate, Antigua is a popular tourist destination throughout the entire year. Still, like most places on earth, it sees a drop in visitors at specific times of the year.
The cheapest time to visit Antigua is during the off-season. While you’ll see pockets of higher prices around holidays, January, February, September, October, and November tend to be the least expensive months to visit Antigua.
There’s nothing specific to Antigua that causes fewer people to visit during this time. Hurricane season is a factor, but summer remains busy despite the risk of tropical storms.
The main reason is that many children worldwide are in school, parliaments are in session, and few people take holidays. Unless you’re self-employed or work in the service industry yourself, this isn’t a good time to take a trip.
Hotels and other tourist-based businesses know that.
Since tourist dollars keep Antigua afloat, everyone — from the major hotel chains to local governments and enterprises — works to bring in more people. One of the ways they do this is by offering terrific specials. Take advantage of them for a cheap Antigua vacation.
Tips for Saving Money on an Antigua Vacation
Besides visiting during the off-season, you can do other things to make your trip more affordable. First, a lot of the best things to do in Antigua are free in the first place.
Two of the best are hitting one of the hundreds of beaches or hiking around breathtaking Half Moon Bay. You can also stroll the historic dockyards or visit Indian Town National Park for free.
For great savings on food and drink, head into St. John’s, the largest city on the island. This is where more locals go to do their shopping and dining, so prices tend to be more reasonable.
You can also try some fantastic local food away from the tourist traps. Home rentals have sprung up in Antigua, too. In many cases, you can get multiple bedrooms and a kitchen for less than the price of a hotel.
Least Busy Time to Visit Antigua
The least busy time of the year to visit Antigua is January, September, October, and November.
January tends to be slow everywhere, especially after New Year’s. The December holidays drain both wallets and energy, and all but the most ardent travelers stay home.
It’s a great time to travel virtually anywhere, but the Caribbean is especially pleasant if you live somewhere cold. Autumn also tends to bring a drop in tourism, which makes it another quiet time to visit Antigua.
Families travel more in the summer, and kids go back to school, keeping more people at home. However, fall is also the last few months of hurricane season, which is another factor that may keep visitors away.
Worst Time to Visit Antigua
While there isn’t a wrong time, the worst time to visit Antigua is during hurricane season. Atlantic hurricane season lasts from June-November.
As we’ve already discussed, Antigua has good weather and welcomes visitors year-round. You won’t face seasonal closures any time of the year. The risk of hurricanes is the primary reason we’re categorizing this as the worst time to go to Antigua.
Hurricanes and tropical storms can strike any time, although historically, there seems to be a higher risk later in the season. Antigua’s rainfall is also heaviest during the months of September, October, and November.
While fall is a rainier season than the others, this is also attributable to oceanic storms brewing over the seas. Still, hurricanes aren’t enough of a threat to keep visitors away. Here are some tips for visiting Antigua and the Caribbean during hurricane season.
Visiting the Caribbean During Hurricane Season
Data shows that while hurricanes have become more common in recent years. Still, statistically, the likelihood of a hurricane interrupting your trip is relatively low. When you consider the deals you can get, it starts to seem worth it.
If you decide to take the risk, make sure you buy travel insurance. That way, if something goes wrong, you won’t lose your investment. Lastly, remember that major storms anywhere in the
Caribbean Sea, mid or south Atlantic, or Gulf of Mexico may affect weather and ocean conditions in Antigua. Even if you get sunny skies, it may be too dangerous to enjoy the water. Consider that when making your arrangements.
Things to Consider
There are several things to consider when planning your dream vacation to Antigua.
Here are the most critical:
- How many other tourists do you want to encounter? Some people like lively crowds and enjoy visiting during peak season. Others are more cautious and want to avoid hurricane season.
- Can you afford travel insurance? You should buy travel insurance, but some people have to cut it. If so, don’t travel during hurricane season.
- When can you afford to visit Antigua? Remember, the cheapest time to visit is during the travel off-season.
- If you want to surf, summer is the best time to visit.
Finally, you should also consider whether you want to be on the island during one of its major holidays, festivals, and events. There’s often a lot more to do, but crowds may be higher.
Antiguan Holidays and Festivals
Here are some of the biggest celebrations for Antiguans and Barbudans that happen annually:
- February: Wadadli Day (exact date varies)
- Easter weekend: Antigua and Barbuda International Kite Festival
- April: Annual Seafood Festival
- Late July and early August: Carnavale, which commemorates the end of slavery
- November 1: Independence Day
- November: Cricket festival
In addition, Antigua is a predominantly Christian country. Therefore, the leading Christian holidays are cause for major celebration in Antigua, especially Christmas and Easter. Both are government holidays.
You’ll find holiday markets, parades, and other celebrations throughout the island. If you’ve never visited the Caribbean for the December holidays, it’s a lot of fun and an entirely different experience if you live somewhere chilly in the wintertime.
Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s look at common questions travelers have about visiting Antigua.
How do you get to Antigua?
The only way to get to Antigua is by boat or plane, and the vast majority of visitors fly to Antigua. V.C. Bird International Airport is the country’s largest, and luckily, it’s in Antigua. Direct flights arrive from Atlanta, London, Miami, New York, Toronto, and several other locations, especially other Caribbean islands.
What currency does Antigua use?
The currency of Antigua is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar. If you’re from America, you’re in luck. Its value is fixed to the American dollar, so you don’t have to do any math in your head. You will need to exchange your currency. Antiguan money looks nothing like American, even if the value is the same.
Most places in Antigua accept major credit cards, including Mastercard and Visa. Call your credit card company before you travel to alert them to your plants. Make sure they won’t charge international transaction fees.
Is Antigua expensive?
Antigua and Barbuda have high living costs compared to the rest of the Caribbean. That means consumer goods – including those tourists want – cost more money. Still, the cost of living is less than in the United States or the UK.
More importantly, the cost of your trip depends more on how you travel. There are affordable hotels and rentals on the island, as well as very high-end resorts. Choose whichever best fits your budget.
What language do Antiguans speak?
The official language of Antigua is English. The British colonized the island of Antigua in 1667, and since then, English has been the most common language.
Is Barbuda the same as Antigua?
No, Barbuda is a separate island, but Antigua and Barbuda are a single country composed of three islands. Antigua is the largest, followed by Barbuda, located directly north, separated by 27 miles of ocean.
Redonda is the third, but it’s rocky and uninhabited. Barbuda is sparsely populated compared to Antigua, and most of the large towns and cities are in Antigua. The Codrington family privately owned Barbuda until 1860.
Enjoy a Piece of Paradise in Antigua
The Caribbean is one of the most beautiful places on earth, and Antigua is one of its most breathtaking islands.
- The overall best time of year to visit Antigua is winter and early spring, December-April.
- The least busy months to visit Antigua tend to be January, September, October, and November.
- It’s cheapest to see Antigua in January, February, September, October, and November.
- There isn’t a bad time of year to go to Antigua, but be wary of Atlantic hurricane season.
The right time to visit Antigua depends more on your personal preferences than anything else. Start with this guide to choose the ideal time for your vacation. Happy travels!