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As the larger portion of Antigua and Barbuda, the 11 miles by 14 miles island of Antigua is an intoxicating mixture of high-energy activities and tranquil coastlines. Boasting some of the best weather found anywhere in the world, Antigua offers pleasantly tropical temperatures, low humidity, and little chance of hurricanes, making it an ideal beach destination year-round. The nation’s 365 beaches offer something different for you to see and do every day of the year, and travel around the island is a breeze. Only independent from the United Kingdom since 1981, English is spoken everywhere on the island, including St. John’s, Antigua’s only city.
As with most Caribbean islands, visitors flock to the white, powdery beaches of Antigua. All of the nation’s beaches are public, and most are situated inside the protected waters of inlets and coves. Popular beaches along the northwest coast include Dickenson Bay, Runaway Bay, and Fort James. If you travel toward the southern Antiguan coast, you might want to explore Johnson’s Point and Pigeon Point, although this coastline is hilly and more difficult to travel. Half Moon Bay, a national park well suited for families, and Long Bay are excellent choices along the eastern coast of the island.
A wide variety of water sports dominate the activities of most visitors to Antigua. The beautiful waters surrounding the island beckon many tourists to try snorkeling and diving, and the unforgettable coral reefs and marine life visible underwater are sure to astound you. Try exploring Jettia’s Wreck, a sunken freight ship, as well as several other local underwater destinations.
Those more interested in boating and fishing will find more possibilities via local companies around the island. You can privately charter your own vessel to explore the waters, or you can book time on one of the local day cruises.
If staying on land is more your style, consider the Cedar Valley Golf Club or the Jolly Harbour Golf Course, both of which offer excellent experiences for experienced and amateur golfers alike.
Most shops in Antigua are owned by local proprietors, so you can be sure that you are buying unique souvenirs, clothing pieces, and jewelry. These locations are spread throughout the island, popping up more frequently near major tourist attractions. There is a large duty-free shopping area along Heritage Quay, near the cruise ship piers.
The nightlife in Antigua is busy, featuring an assortment of nightclubs, bars, and theatres. Loud, live music is a staple at many of these locations, and you will see many visitors getting up to dance.
Visitors to Antigua can take advantage of a number of seasonal festivities. The world-renowned Sailing Week runs from the end of April until the beginning of May, bringing more than 5,000 regatta spectators to the island. The local Carnival takes place at the end of July until early August, featuring an assortment of traditional foods, dances, and costumes.
Best Time To Visit:
Although most travelers flock to Antigua from December to April, considered the Caribbean high season, the heavy traffic and full capacity at local hotels, nightlife hotspots, and beaches may cause you to reconsider this time period. The cool trade winds and lack of rainfall make this time popular, but you will need early reservations for all lodging and dining options.
Travel during the island’s off-season, from mid-April to late November, can be significantly less expensive and less busy. Even though this is the non-peak travel time, Antigua is relatively dry, and you can combat the slightly higher tropical temperatures with air conditioning and frequent trips to the pristine beaches.