Antigua and Barbuda / Island Hopping
Antigua is well positioned for island hopping. It is a regional air hub to begin with, so there are endless flights heading north and south along the island chain, and this gives you good flexibility. But the island is also well positioned geographically in that it is close to islands that are completely different in nature, some physically different, being mountainous and much lusher, others with a different culture, French and Dutch. Finally, there is Antigua’s sister-island Barbuda, which makes an interesting foil to the larger island.
Visible on a clear day to the south of Antigua is Guadeloupe, a French island with a radically different Creole culture and general way of life. As an overseas department and also a region of France, it is much more developed and considerably more prosperous than Antigua. If you know French culture, it is fun to see it through the foil of the Caribbean. In fact Guadeloupe is a whole string of islands which make a fun visit in themselves. These include some extremely charming and dreamy outcrops.
Also close by there are many tall, volcanic islands (Antigua is mostly coral-based now and relatively flat). These islands are much more verdant, with sizeable rivers and rainforest, and so again they have a completely different feel to them. The simplest island to get to is probably Nevis, which is one of the most charming in the whole Caribbean and has some fantastic small plantation hotels and pretty private villas for rent. Or you can try St Kitts (sister island) next door to it, which is just as interesting. To the south, beyond Guadeloupe, is Dominica, one of the least developed islands in the Caribbean area and the one with the most spectacular natural life. The island is well worth a visit for this. The closest island, Montserrat, which is also utterly charming, though the southern zone was adversely affected by volcanic eruptions, it is now possible to do day trips by ferry and by helicopter.
Regional airlines that serve Antigua include:
LIAT, the Caribbean airline LIAT links the islands in the Eastern Caribbean chain and is based in Antigua.
Caribbean Airlines (former BWIA and Air Jamaica) has direct services to Jamaica and Barbados with an onward flight from Barbados to its home base in Trinidad.
St Barth Commuter, has a scheduled service between Antigua and St Barths on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
ABM Air, which is operated by SVG Air in St Vincent, has daily services from Antigua to Barbuda and Montserrat.
A couple of local charter airlines work out of Antigua, mainly serving passengers who have arrived there on a long-haul flight and who need to reach one of the smaller islands in the region.
If you are chartering an onward flight, it is worth remembering that you can charter a plane from your eventual destination as well as from the hub.
Charter airlines include:
sland Birds, St Barth Commuter and SVG Air.
You can take day trips to two nearby islands, Barbuda and Montserrat. The high-speed ferry Opale Express operates every Tuesday and Thursday, offering day trips to Montserrat which include an island tour and a drive through the rainforest. Lunch is also included.
Antigua’s sister island, Barbuda, which is not actually small, but is far more laid-back than Antigua and has a much quieter, simpler lifestyle, can also be reached from Antigua on a day trip with high-speed catamaran Excellence. It travels most days of the week. The Barbuda Express catamaran ferry service, which operates five days a week, also offers day trips to the island. Barbuda has some of the very finest beaches in the whole area and it is almost completely undeveloped.
Caribbean Regional Airlines
Reparto Kohly Playa, Havana, Cuba, CU
Aeroport Pole Caraibes, Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe, GP
John A Osborne Airport, Geralds, Montserrat, MS
V.C. Bird International Airport, Antigua and Barbuda, AG
Caribbean Private Charter Airlines
A small and reliable charter airline based in the BVI. It has a small fleet of 5 and 7-seater Piper aircraft that are used for transfers, island hopping, day trips and sightseeing from the air. It is licensed for most airstrips between San Juan and Grenada.
Resort Area: Beef Island, Virgin Islands (British), VG
A local airline based in St Barts, which offers scheduled flights to St Martin/St Maarten and Antigua, plus private charters to islands all over the Eastern Caribbean. It has a fleet of four aircraft and five specially trained (STOL) pilots with permission to land in St Barth.
Aeroport Gustaf III, St Jean, Saint Barthelemy, BL
St Mary, Antigua and Barbuda, WI
St Mary, Antigua and Barbuda, WI
Antigua and Barbuda, WI
Browse Island Hopping on other islands
Anguilla | Antigua and Barbuda | Barbados | British Virgin Islands | Cayman Islands | Dominica | Dominican Republic | Grenada & Carriacou | Jamaica | Montserrat | Nevis | Saba | St Barthélemy | St Eustatius | St Kitts | St Lucia | St Martin/St Maarten | St Vincent and the Grenadines | Tobago | Trinidad | Turks and Caicos Islands
Or read our other island guides
Anguilla | Antigua | Aruba | Bahamas | Barbados | Bermuda | Bonaire | British Virgin Islands | Cayman Islands | Cuba | Curacao | Dominica | Dominican Republic | Grenada and Carriacou | Guadeloupe | Haiti | Jamaica | Martinique | Montserrat | Nevis | Puerto Rico | Saba | St Barthélemy | St Eustatius | St Kitts | St Lucia | St Martin/St Maarten | St Vincent and the Grenadines | Tobago | Trinidad | Turks & Caicos Islands | US Virgin Islands
Antigua and Barbuda weather
Looking for inspiration?
- Visit Nelson's Dockyard, the oldest functioning naval facility in the world
- Party at Shirley Heights Lookout on Sunday at sunset followed by barbecue and live music
- Stay at the spectacular Jumby Bay
- Hop over to Barbuda for stunning beaches and excellent birdwatching
- Race a yacht to nearby Montserrat for the day