This is the final post in my 2020 March Madness series. If you haven’t checked out the other posts, go check them out! Click here for Antigua part 1, part 2, and part 2.5. This blog post is about things to do in St. John, Antigua.
tEA: Eating and Activity
St. John’s Cathedral, the Antigua and Barbuda Museum, Heritage Quay, and Big Banana Antigua
St. John’s is the capital of Antigua and Barbuda. It’s home to many important cultural sites like the Antigua and Barbuda Museum and St. John’s Cathedral. It’s also the port where numerous cruise ships dock daily. If you’re cruising into Antigua, you will dock right in front of Heritage Quay, a large tourist shopping and dining area. From there, it’s a short walk to the Museum and Cathedral. If you are staying at a hotel/campsite in Antigua, you can take a bus or taxi to any of the three sites and walk to the others. I chose this option over a formal tour. I gave myself from 10am-2pm (4 hours) to explore the area, and honestly, that was too long. I’d say 3 hours, maybe 2 and a half, is plenty of time.
I spent about 30-40 minutes at the Antigua and Barbuda Museum. Bring small bills for the entrance fee and the museum shop. The museum is relatively small, but I like museums, and I’m a historian, so I found myself taking a lot of pictures and make notes about things I wanted to research further when I got back to the States. This museum is more archaeological, as oppose to arty. The exhibits were about the islands’ formation, agriculture, and – as you moved from BCE to modern times – slavery, colonialism, and independence. The museum basically tries to capture all of Antigua and Barbuda’s history ever.
St. John’s Cathedral was under extensive repairs when I visited. I was still able to go inside and see how big and beautiful the Anglican church was/will be. But I didn’t spend a lot of time here. I’m still mentioning it because there’s no telling when you will visit the Catherdal and if it will be fully restored by then. Regardless of when you visit, leave a donation to help with the repairs.
After I was done with the Museum and the Cathedral, I walked over to Heritage Quay. I spent about 30-40 minutes here as well. This is where you get all your souvenirs. Mugs, shirts, magnets, wooden turtles, packs of local coffee, bottles of rum punch, etc. (Also, for anyone looking to buy white Hennessey, it is cheaper to buy it here in the Quay than at the airport.) Even though all of the vendors were pretty much selling the same things, there’s color and size variety from vendor to vendor, so it’s still worth it to look around. Many of the vendors accept credit/debit cards, but some charge you in USD while others charge you in ECD (Eastern Caribbean dollar). Pay attention to this and keep track of your expenses in case you need to dispute anything later.
When you’re done exploring, you’ll need something to eat. I went to Big Banana Antigua for lunch and had their seafood pasta, I opted for linguine and parmesan sauce. This was really delicious! The parmesan sauce was really creamy and coated the pasta and the seafood well. Plus, they were generous with the actual seafood in the pasta. There were big pieces of shrimp, mussels, and conch. It was so much food! This worked out to two meals for me because I was traveling solo. But if you are traveling with someone, you can easily split the meal with them.
That’s it for March Madness and my blog posts about my solo trip to Antigua. In the comments, let me know what you would be most excited to try on your own visit to the island. Or, leave suggestions for things to do the next time I visit.