Antigua is a small island with a large number of beaches--365, to be exact--making it one of the favorite Caribbean destinations for people who enjoy the sun, sand a surf. Those who enjoy an active vacation will find many fun things to do on the beach and in the water. But the entertainments are not limited to daytime hours, as Antigua is host to a wide variety nightlife and hard-partying festivals year-round.
Sand and Surf
It may seem a bit overwhelming, trying to find the perfect spot in Antigua, since everywhere you look there are pristine whitesand beaches. Many of the absolutely fabulous resorts are located at the island's northwestern end, around Runway Bay and Dickenson Bay. Many of these are all-inclusive, which makes your island stay even more relaxing.
If you're looking for a less-crowded, more romantic site, head to Half Moon Bay or Rendezvous Bay. For a really secluded spot, Darkwood pretty much detaches you from the world. The place is not easily accessible, which is why fewer visitors make their way here.
A beach where almost nothing is private is Hawksbill, where part of the strand is reserved for nudists. There is also a resort here, Hawksbill Beach Resort, which is known for its quiet ambience (no discos). It's not a nudist resort but the nude beach is just a short walk away.
While there are no large shopping centers in the island, there is a wonderful duty-free bargain area in downtown St. John. At Heritage Quay and Redcliffe Quay you can find stores and galleries with unique local art pieces, crystals, jewelry, pottery, gift items, souvenirs and other cool stuff. On weekend mornings the place is packed with visitors looking to get a bargain at the farmers market, buy fresh fruits and examine local crafts.
Antigua hosts two distinctive entertainment events in the summer season. In July and August is the Antigua Carnival, in which locals and tourists alike participate in weekly activities that include street dancing, masquerade parties, parades and street jump-ups. The DeJam DJ Festival starts in late September and brings DJs from all over the world to the island for concerts and dance parties day and night.
For a quiet and laid-back daytrip, there are tours around Antigua that will take you to places like Shirley Heights, an observation point formerly occupied by the British military. The site has a gorgeous view of the island's Nelson Dockyard and English Harbour. On Sunday evenings there are popular barbecue parties here and guests enjoy listening to live reggae or steel band music.
To cap off your visit to Antigua in dramatic fashion, take a helicopter trip to the semi-deserted island of Montserrat. The flight takes you close to an active volcano that forced many residents to flee and still spews ash and steam on a regular basis.
P.O. Box 243
English Harbour, Antigua and Barbuda
Falmouth, Antigua and Barbuda