Antigua – Galleon Beach / Pillars of Hercules

The beach to go for more than just laying down

Galleon Beach was definitely the beach to visit during our stay in Antigua. It offered many options including snorkeling and see the Pillars of Hercules.  While I will have a post shortly on beaches in Antigua, this one deserved its own.

As per other public beaches sometimes the access is questionable.  Signs with “Guess only” makes us wonder if we are allowed or not.  I really want to teach my kids the importance of respect at all-time but what to do in this case!

So while this was supposed to be first stop was supposed to be this beach we opted out because of the sign. So we ended up at Shirley’s Height.

Luckily, at Shirley’s Height, we decided to do the Lookout trail which brought us to Galleon Beach. We were all happy but without our swimming gear.  Confirmation of access with locals helped us get our car to the correct place.

If you decide to do the Lookout trail, it is a steep walk for me about 15min down and 20min up. Faster if you are in shape. It was nice but not much to see in terms of plants and wildlife. Still we appreciate it and found the way to go down the beach.

Like many other places on the island you must know where you are going.

Unless you are in a tour, you will need to bring your own snorkeling gear since nowhere to rent or buy on site when we were there. It was low season so some resorts including on this beach were closed and no restroom were available. Which is often the case on the beach on this island.

This is the beach were you can see the Pillars of Hercules.

So, I did some snorkeling but I’m not a strong swimmer so I could not reach far enough out.

At the end of Galleon Beach, you have to find a path over large slippery or pointy boulders. You would need better shoes than flip flops.

It is a very nice beach. Quiet. Snorkeling was nice. We had access to a large part of the beach.

Pillars of Hercules

Ok, so the Pillars were on my “must to do list” in Antigua.

I knew that we could snorkel there, walk or take a boat.

My first recommendation is, if you wish to do it on your own (drive and snorkel) bring your own snorkeling equipment since if you want to rent on site it might not be an option and if you plan to buy them (like we had in mind usually cheaper that taking an extra luggage) at the store it is very expensive for very base item and not many choices.

So, we bought what was available and I did some snorkeling but I’m not a strong swimmer so I could not reach far enough to see the Pillars. However, the boys went and confirmed it was demanding with good current from Galleon beach.

I tried to walk from the end of Galleon Beach but you have to find a path over large slippery or pointy boulders. I tried but you would need better shoes than flip flops. So again, could not reach.

Since I absolutely wanted to see the Pillars, we took a boat tour. We had to go from Dickenson Bay since none were available in August from the shore of Galleon Beach which would have been great. Yes, I can say I saw the Pillars of Hercules and happy I did. Anyone not paying attention, will pass by quickly. You need to pay attention and not be asking for a drink at the time.

There are organized groups that offers the snorkeling to the Pillars. From the pictures the boys took, it seems to be the best way to appreciate them. With the water scooter, palms and life belt, I probably would have made it but once at the beach it was not an option.

Just as a reminder, the natural pillars are carved by wind and sea and forms impressive entrance to the area.

Located in the English Harbor, you can combine this visit with Shirley’s Height (you can reach Shirley’s Height by the Look-out trail about 20min walk up the mountain)

If you are driving, beach access and name are not indicated on the main road, use a GPS.