Antigua Beach Holidays Beach

Antigua Beach Holidays

Antigua’s zig-zagging shape gives this small Caribbean island a surprisingly long coastline. The result? Hundreds of sandy beaches, brushed by azure-blue water, plus little bays and historic harbours. Antigua is the picture of paradise with its candy-coloured villages and pristine shoreline, making it the ideal choice for a relaxing beach holiday. Tailor-make your trip with Travelbag. 

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Beach Holidays to Antigua

Like most Caribbean islands, Antigua is a haven of talcum-soft sand and clear seas. But not every beach is the same. In the northwest, Dickenson Bay is the archetypical Caribbean beach, complete with golden sand, palm trees and warm water. It’s busy and popular – hotels line the waterfront, along with bars and water sports rental huts. Runaway Bay is equally pretty, but much quieter. On the southwest corner of the island, meanwhile, there are three gorgeous stretches of sand – Ffryes Bay, Darkwood Beach and Crab Hill Bay. These charming spots are all fairly underdeveloped, so you can expect fewer crowds, pearly sands and uninterrupted sunsets. On the south coast, Pigeon Point is a popular beach with families, thanks to its calm, shallow water. But, to find the prettiest and most isolated of all Antigua’s beaches, you’ll need to go to the east coast. The crescent-shaped Half Moon Bay is protected from the Atlantic by a reef, and comes with a sweep of pale pink-and-white coral sand, a nearby beach bar, and no organised water sports.

Why is Antigua the perfect beach destination?

To make the most of beautiful beaches, you need sunshine – and Antigua boasts great weather all year round. Temperatures range from an average of 25 degrees Celsius in December and January, up to an average high of 28 degrees Celsius during summer. March to June is the driest time of the year, while November, December and January are the wettest months. If you manage to tear yourself away from the sandy shores, you’ll find historic forts, inland villages and the bustling capital of St John – perfect for shopping and souvenir-hunting. If you’re feeling active, why not trek one of the island’s criss-crossing trails? And you have to try traditional Antiguan cuisine. The food here is very much based on the richness of the surrounding oceans. You’ll find seafood everywhere, from casual beach cafes to top-class restaurants. Look out for the national dish of saltfish and fungi. Fungi isn’t a type of mushroom here – it’s an Antiguan version of cereal, made from cornmeal and okra paste, shaped into balls. It’s usually served with flaked and salt-cured saltfish, stews and meats.

Things to do in Antigua

Rum Island

Antigua was literally built on rum. The rich soils supported the island’s sugar plantations and rum distilleries, which helped the capital city become prosperous. You’ll also find that Antiguan rum tastes quite different to its other Caribbean cousins – it’s less sweet, so is best served neat or on the rocks. Two of the most popular brands, Cavalier and English Harbour, are produced by the largest of the island’s factories, the Antigua Distillery. It’s worth doing a tour – which, of course, includes a tipple in the tasting room. Sweet-toothed travellers might prefer to have a glass of rum punch or a cocktail, which are both easy to come by – some bars stock up to 200 varieties of rum. You’ll find that Antigua’s favourite rum punch is made with top-quality amber liquid, lime juice and cane sugar. 

Antigua’s Colourful Carnival

Every year in high summer, Antigua gives itself over to one of the Caribbean’s most exuberant carnivals. It was made an official holiday in the Fifties, but the festival actually dates back to the 1830s. Since then, it’s developed into 10 days of music, dancing and partying, along with street parades, pop-up dance displays, and formal evening shows. Preparations begin well before the carnival starts, with locals making their dazzling costumes and rehearsing their dance performances. A temporary Carnival City is erected in the city’s cricket ground – you can buy tickets outside the grounds, or just go along for locally-made barbecued meat and fish direct from the grill. Don’t forget to cheer on the Carnival Queen pageants as they make their way through the streets of St. John’s and along the harbour front. Tourists are always welcome to join in. 

Antigua’s Sister – the Island of Barbuda

Antigua’s full title is actually Antigua and Barbuda – these twin islands form one country. Antigua’s little sister is easily reachable by a 90-minute ferry trip. Pop over for a day, and you’ll discover one of the Caribbean’s most pristine islands. Home to miles of untouched pink beaches – caused by coral erosion – Barbuda also has the largest colony of frigatebirds in the Western Hemisphere. It’s estimated that there are 100,000 birds at Codrington Lagoon, which you can access by boat. The colony is particularly impressive during mating season, when the male birds puff up their trademark pink, heart-shaped plumage, in a wonderful show. Another of Barbuda’s must-see attractions is the magnificent caves at Two Foot Bay. These caverns are so vast that it’s advisable to take a guided tour – and there’s a beautiful beach for relaxing afterwards.  

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