Galleon Beach on Antigua and Barbuda

5 Reasons These Lesser-Known Caribbean Islands Are Experiencing A Record-Breaking Tourism Surge

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If you love the Caribbean but hate crowds, then you may be wondering if there’s anywhere left to visit that won’t be drowning in tourists.  

One island chain that used to fly below the radar but is now gaining a well-deserved reputation with Caribbean explorers is Antigua and Barbuda.  

Galleon Beach on Antigua and BarbudaGalleon Beach on Antigua and Barbuda

But despite their growing popularity, these beautiful islands are still relatively quiet and definitely still worth exploring. Here’s why: 

A Record-Breaking Year For Antigua And Barbuda  

According to a new report by Writeups24, the twin-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda are experiencing a record-breaking surge of visitors, breaking their previous record tourism year of 2019 and several other records at the same time.  

Antigua and Barbuda have seen a 12% increase in air arrivals compared to 2019. And cruise arrivals have increased by a whopping 35%.  

Caribbean state of Antigua and Barbuda. Surrounded by coral reefs, the island is known for its many sandy beaches.Caribbean state of Antigua and Barbuda. Surrounded by coral reefs, the island is known for its many sandy beaches.

This won’t come as a surprise to cricket fans like my husband because many of them only heard of Antigua and Barbuda for the first time when they hosted the Cricket World Cup this year.  

This event also attracted thousands of extra visitors and has been attributed as one of the many factors in the island’s growth, according to their tourism minister. 

However, despite the growing number of visitors, tourists are still welcomed warmly in Antigua and Barbuda. 

Saint John Antigua with cruise ships in the backgroundSaint John Antigua with cruise ships in the background

In fact, the friendliness of the local people is one of the things that the islands are most well-known for, and that will keep you coming back again and again.  

But what will make you want to visit in the first place? 

Breathtaking Beaches  

I can’t wax lyrical enough about how beautiful the beaches in Antigua and Barbuda are.

Think vast stretches of white and pink sand fringed with the most beautiful blue sea. Just like you’d expect in the Caribbean!  

If you’re looking for traditional sand beaches then head to Antigua which boasts a 95km stretch of Caribbean coastline.  

Antigua and Barbuda beachAntigua and Barbuda beach

There are 365 beaches to choose from in Antigua (one for every day of the year), but the best beaches on the island depend on what you’re looking for.  

Dickenson Bay is a fully serviced, traditional tourist because it is perfect for travelers looking for resorts, amenities, and a bustling atmosphere.  

Try Ffryes Beach on the island’s West Coast if you’re looking for a more serene experience. Although it’s well known, this beach never becomes crowded and has a laid-back atmosphere and incredible views.  

People snorkelingPeople snorkeling

For snorkeling in protected reefs, Barbuda will be your best choice.  

Barbuda is also home to the beautiful Frigate Bird Sanctuary. As of 2024 the Barbuda Council collects $5 USD from each visitor at the Fisheries complex by the docks to enter this sanctuary (which is worth every penny!) and you can’t book tickets in advance.  

Lush Green Rainforest  

You don’t need to head very far inland from the island’s beautiful beaches to find incredible green rainforest, particularly on the island of Antigua.  

If you have a head for heights, then the best way to see this fascinating rainforest landscape from a whole new perspective is via a zipline. 

Woman going on a jungle zipline adventure in Antigua and BarbudaWoman going on a jungle zipline adventure in Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua Rainforest Canopy Tours offers incredible zipline tours of the island’s rainforest that are eco-friendly and designed for adrenaline junkies. You can take a tour that combines rainforest ziplining and river kayaking for $155.00 per person (Reduced to $115.00 for children).  

You won’t find as much rainforest on Barbuda, but you will find something just as special and unique instead.  

Barbuda stands out from other Caribbean islands because its landscape is mostly made of limestone, which is highly prone to erosion. This means you’ll find a surprising number of large and beautiful caverns under its surface, which are perfect for caving and other adventurous pursuits.  

Why Visit Right Now? 

If you haven’t already booked your summer vacation, then there’s one more great reason to choose Antigua and Barbuda for a last-minute trip: Carnival time!  

Most other Caribbean Islands host their annual carnivals in early Spring, but the carnival is a summer event in Antigua.  

This year the vibrant and colorful event will take place from July 25 – August 6 2024.  

People dressed for Carnival in Antigua, CarribeanPeople dressed for Carnival in Antigua, Carribean

You can expect calypso and steel band music, bands, parades, and a riot of dancers in colorful costumes. The beat is infectious, and the local people will actively encourage you to join the celebration.  

It’s a great time to be on the island, joining the street parties and experiencing one of the best cultural events in the Caribbean.  

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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