A holiday in Antigua

 

365 BEACHES - ONE FOR EACH DAY OF THE YEAR

Photos of the beautiful beaches of Antigua (Jolly Bay, Jolly Harbour, Darkwood Bay, Ffryes Beach, Turner's Beach, Valley Church Bay, English Harbour, Shirley Heights, St John, Deep Bay, Fort Barrington National Park, Devils Bridge, Green Island, Dickenson Bay, Sting Ray City, Paradise Reef, Coco hotel, Sugar Ridge hotel and Carmichael's bar

 A holiday in Antigua

 

It is said that Antigua has 365 beaches - one for each day of the year. I am not sure that is entirely true, but one thing is certain: Antigua has dozens - probably more than 100 - beautiful sandy beaches, coves and bays. Some are made of sand, some are made of tiny coral and shell fragments and yet on some others the sand is so soft and lush, your feet actually sink in it. What also impressed us in Antigua is that it's beaches are literally litter-free and cigarette butt-free - in contrast to some European beaches where there are more cigarette butts than sand....

We visited Antigua in November / December 2015 and we explored most major beaches and places of interest: Jolly Bay, Jolly Harbour, Darkwood Bay, Ffryes Beach, Turner's Beach, Valley Church Bay, English Harbour, Shirley Heights, St John, Deep Bay, Fort Barrington National Park, Devils Bridge, Green Island, Dickenson Bay, Sting Ray City, Paradise Reef, Coco hotel, Sugar Ridge hotel and Carmichael's bar.

We also did a circumnavigation of the entire island which allowed as a view, sometimes closer and sometimes more distant, of almost all beaches of the island. However, we did not have all the time in the world and unfortunately we missed among other highlights, Cades Reef, Galley Bay, the forest zip-lining adventure, the Sheer Rocks restaurant and the island of Barbuda. Next time, a visit to those places, plus a helicopter tour are on schedule.

 

Antigua and barbuda: the "Land of sea and sun"

 Antigua - land of sea and sun

The weather in November/December is what the locals call "the good season", as it is the cooler time of the year with temperatures ranging from 23-28º Celsius! During our stay (9 days) we had a couple of days when it rained for a few hours, a couple of days with solid sunshine, and plenty of days with intermittent sunshine / cloud cover, which can actually produce either very dramatic or very flat photographs, as you can see below.

Being in Antigua on the intermediate season means that you can enjoy all Antigua has to offer without droves of other tourists, and the associated queues, early pre-booking for activities etc. The high season (the "bad season" for the locals) starts from mid-December and the very hot / very sunny weather can be experienced from March to June. From July to November (the "hurricane season") the weather is still warm / hot and not very rainy, but a hurricane storm may occasionally occur. However this does not happen very often (once every about ten years).

 

Antiguan hospitality

 A fun Antiguan welcome with steel drums at the modern, brand new and squeaky clean Antigua airport

The hospitable people of Antigua make a visit to this island all the more rewarding. Our holiday started in the best note, with a fun Antiguan welcome with steel drums at the modern, brand new and squeaky clean airport.

 

Antigua's night soundtrack

Antigua's nights are magical, courtesy of the hypnotic music played by crickets in concert with the Antigua tree frogs

 

OUR ANTIGUAN ADVENTURE

During our stay we visited a few beaches by car and several others by taking part in boat tours - one circumnavigating the entire island by a very powerful large speedboat (the 8-hour Eli's "Extreme Circumnav" boat tour) and one visiting several Antiguan highlights on the Caribbean side of the island by a beautiful and powerful hydrofoil (the 4-hour "Sea Escape" boat tour). We preferred those two companies, as they are known not to cram too many people on their tours, and for their very good overall reputation - and we did not regret it.

During the Extreme Circumanavigation tour we visited Jolly Harbour, St John, English Harbour, Sting Ray City, Dickenson Bay, Green Island, Devils Bridge, Hercules Pillars and got a glimpse of many small islands and countless coves and bays, including the famous Jumby Bay island. During the Sea Escape tour we visited Deep Bay, Fort Barrington National Park, Paradise Reef, Dickenson Bay and also got a glimpse of numerous beaches and bays.

 

The photos

All photos were taken with a Sony A65 and a Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar 16-80 f3.5-4.5 lens, at 6000x4000px resolution, reduced here to 750x500px for easy loading.

 


 

Darkwood Beach

Darkwood beach is one of our most favourite Antiguan beaches: it's long, wide, quiet, clean, with crystal clear waters and served by a small bar which serves anything from ice cold beers to lobster. What else can one ask? As an extra bonus, during our stay we were fortunate to experience on Darkwood Bay and Ffryes Beach millions of butterflies flying from the south side of the beach to the north, throughout the day and throughout the entire week :)

Panoramic view of Darkwood beach, Antigua. Click to display enlarged version.

 View from Darkwood beach, Antigua

View from Darkwood beach, Antigua

 Darkwood beach, Antigua

Darkwood beach, Antigua

 View of Darkwood beach, Antigua

View of Darkwood beach, Antigua

 Darkwood beach, Antigua

Darkwood beach, Antigua

 Darkwood beach, Antigua

Darkwood beach, Antigua

 Butterfly storm at Darkwood beach, Antigua

Butterfly storm at Darkwood beach, Antigua

Butterfly storm at Darkwood Bay, Antigua

 View from Darkwood beach, Antigua

View from Darkwood beach, Antigua

 The dreamy Darkwood beach, Antigua

The dreamy Darkwood beach, Antigua

 Emerald, azure and blue, all in one scene, near Darkwood beach, Antigua

Emerald, azure and blue, all in one scene, near Darkwood beach, Antigua

 Coconut trees at Darkwood beach, Antigua

Coconut trees at Darkwood beach, Antigua

 The crystal clear waters of Darkwood beach, Antigua

The crystal clear waters of Darkwood beach, Antigua

 Fluffy clouds over Darkwood beach, Antigua

Fluffy clouds over Darkwood beach, Antigua

 Wadadli beer and Antiguan sky - Darkwood beach

Wadadli beer and Antiguan sky - Darkwood beach

 The five brothers, at Darkwood beach bar, Antigua :)

The five brothers, at Darkwood beach bar, Antigua :)

 Jet ski at Darkwood beach bar, Antigua

Jet ski at Darkwood beach bar, Antigua

 Marlon, the friendly waiter at Darkwood beach bar, Antigua

Marlon, the friendly waiter at Darkwood beach bar, Antigua

 

SEA ESCAPE TOURS

A few pics of the marvellous Sea Escape vessel with the glass bottom

 Sea Escape at Jolly Harbour, Antigua

Sea Escape at Jolly Harbour, Antigua

 Sea Escape at Jolly Harbour, Antigua

Sea Escape at Jolly Harbour, Antigua

 The Sea Escape glass bottom, Antigua

The Sea Escape glass bottom, Antigua

 View from the Sea Escape glass bottom, Antigua

View from the Sea Escape glass bottom, Antigua

 View from the Sea Escape glass bottom, antigua

View from the Sea Escape glass bottom, antigua

 Sea view from the Sea Escape hydrofoil, Antigua

Sea view from the Sea Escape hydrofoil, Antigua

 The Andes wreck, off Deep Bay, Antigua, as seen from the glass bottom of Sea Escape hydrofoil boat

The Andes wreck, off Deep Bay, Antigua, as seen from the glass bottom of Sea Escape hydrofoil boat

 Snorkelling in the open sea off the Sea Escape vessel, Antigua

Snorkelling in the open sea off the Sea Escape vessel, Antigua

 Lunch at Deep bay with the Sea Escape Tours, Antigua

Lunch at Deep bay with the Sea Escape Tours, Antigua

 On the boat with Sea Escape, Antigua

On the boat with Sea Escape, Antigua

 Even the oil tanker dock in Antigua makes for pretty scenery

Even the oil tanker dock in Antigua makes for pretty scenery

 

Deep Bay

Beautiful, quite beach, off to the small but awesome Barrington Fort National Park, visited via Sea Escape Tours). We visited Antigua on a national holiday, and the locals took advantage to enjoy Deep bay, as seen in some of these photos.

 Deep bay, Antigua (visited via Sea Escape tours)

Deep bay, Antigua (visited via Sea Escape tours)

 View of Deep bay, Antigua (visited via Sea Escape Tours)

View of Deep bay, Antigua (visited via Sea Escape Tours)

 Deep bay and Fort Barrington, Antigua

Deep bay and Fort Barrington, Antigua

 View from Fort Barrington National Park, Antigua

View from Fort Barrington National Park, Antigua

 Fort Barrington National Park, Antigua

Fort Barrington National Park, Antigua

 Fort Barrington National Park, Antigua

Fort Barrington National Park, Antigua

 View of azzure sea from Fort Barrington National Park, Antigua

View of azzure sea from Fort Barrington National Park, Antigua

 Fort Barrington National Park, Antigua

Fort Barrington National Park, Antigua

 Fort Barrington, Antigua

Fort Barrington, Antigua

 View of the bay of St John from Barrington Fort, Antigua

View of the bay of St John from Barrington Fort, Antigua

 View from Fort Barrington National Park, Antigua

View from Fort Barrington National Park, Antigua

 View from Fort Barrington National Park, Antigua

View from Fort Barrington National Park, Antigua

 Antiguans enjoying Deep bay on national holiday

Antiguans enjoying Deep bay on national holiday

 Antiguans enjoying Deep bay on national holiday

Antiguans enjoying Deep bay on national holiday

 Antiguans enjoying Deep bay on national holiday

Antiguans enjoying Deep bay on national holiday

 Catamaran at Deep bay, Antigua

Catamaran at Deep bay, Antigua

 Deep bay, Antigua

Deep bay, Antigua

 Deep bay, Antigua

Deep bay, Antigua

 The outer edge of Deep bay, Antigua

The outer edge of Deep bay, Antigua

 

Jolly Bay

On of the best Antiguan beaches, Jolly Bay is wide, long and has white sand and azzure waters. Cocos hotel is on the south part of the beach. Jolly Harbour Beach and Castaway Bar are on the north side of the beach.

 Jolly beach, Antigua

Jolly beach, Antigua

 Jolly Bay, Antigua 

Jolly Bay, Antigua 

 Jolly Bay, Antigua 

Jolly Bay, Antigua 

 Jet skiing at Jolly Bay, Antigua 

Jet skiing at Jolly Bay, Antigua 

 Jolly Bay, Antigua 

Jolly Bay, Antigua 

 

Cocos hotel

Some of the best views in Antigua can be had from the all inclusive Cocos hotel, between Jolly bay and Valley Church Bay. A feast for the eyes!

 Cocos hotel, Jolly Bay, Antigua

Cocos hotel, Jolly Bay, Antigua

 Cocos hotel, Jolly Bay, Antigua

Cocos hotel, Jolly Bay, Antigua

 Cocos hotel, Jolly Bay, Antigua

Cocos hotel, Jolly Bay, Antigua

 Cocos hotel, Jolly Bay, Antigua

Cocos hotel, Jolly Bay, Antigua

 Unbelievable view from Cocos hotel, Antigua

Unbelievable view from Cocos hotel, Antigua

 View of Jolly beach from Cocos hotel, Antigua

View of Jolly beach from Cocos hotel, Antigua

 Amazing view of Jolly Bay from Cocos hotel, Antigua

Amazing view of Jolly Bay from Cocos hotel, Antigua

 The Cocos hotel beach, Antigua

The Cocos hotel beach, Antigua

 The Cocos hotel pool, Antigua

The Cocos hotel pool, Antigua

 

Devil's bridge

Devil's bridge is an impressive rock formation on the Atlantic coast of Antigua (visited via Eli's Extreme Circumnav Tours)

 Devil's bridge, Antigua

Devil's bridge, Antigua

 Coral rock near Devil's brige, Antigua

Coral rock near Devil's brige, Antigua

 Devil's brige, Antigua

Devil's brige, Antigua

 Coral rock near Devil's brige, Antigua

Coral rock near Devil's brige, Antigua

 

Sugar ridge hotel

Beautiful hotel on the hill near Jolly Harbour and free shuttles to Jolly beach, Turner's beach, Ffryes beach, Valley church bay and Darkwood beach :)

 Pool and grounds of Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

Pool and grounds of Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

 The gardens of Sugar ridge hotel, Antigua

The gardens of Sugar ridge hotel, Antigua

 The gardens of Sugar ridge hotel, Antigua

The gardens of Sugar ridge hotel, Antigua

 Acacia flower at the grounds of Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

Acacia flower at the grounds of Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

 Around the grounds of Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

Around the grounds of Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

 Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

 Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

 Pina colada at the pool of Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

Pina colada at the pool of Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

 The pool of Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

The pool of Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

 View from a room at Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

View from a room at Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

 View from a room at Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

View from a room at Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

 Room balcony at Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

Room balcony at Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

 View from a room at Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

View from a room at Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

 

Carmichael's bar, restaurant and pool, at Sugar Ridge hotel

In addition to two pools at the bottom of the hill, Sugar Ridge has Carmichael's, a fabulous pool bar on top of the hill, with views to Jolly harbour, the most amazing sunsets and great Pina Coladas. Couldn't ask for more :)

 Ascend to Carmichael's, Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

Ascend to Carmichael's, Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

 View of Jolly Bay from Carmichael's, Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

View of Jolly Bay from Carmichael's, Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

 The bar at Carmichael's, Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

The bar at Carmichael's, Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

 The pool at Carmichael's bar, Sugar Ridge Hotel, Antigua

The pool at Carmichael's bar, Sugar Ridge Hotel, Antigua

 View from the pool at Carmichael's, Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

View from the pool at Carmichael's, Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

 View from the pool at Carmichael's, Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

View from the pool at Carmichael's, Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

 The pool at Carmichael's, Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

The pool at Carmichael's, Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

 The pool at Carmichael's, Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

The pool at Carmichael's, Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

 Caterpillar in the garden near Carmichael's, Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

Caterpillar in the garden near Carmichael's, Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

 The view from Carmichael's on a rainy day (Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua)

The view from Carmichael's on a rainy day (Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua)

 Ominous clouds durng rain, Carmichael's, Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

Ominous clouds durng rain, Carmichael's, Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

 Ominous clouds durng rain, Carmichael's, Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

Ominous clouds durng rain, Carmichael's, Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

 Late afternoon sun as seen from Carmichael's Bar, Sugar Ridge, Antigua

Late afternoon sun as seen from Carmichael's Bar, Sugar Ridge, Antigua

 The sunset as seen from Carmichael's, Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

The sunset as seen from Carmichael's, Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

 Sunset as seen from Carmichael's Bar, Sugar Ridge, Antigua

Sunset as seen from Carmichael's Bar, Sugar Ridge, Antigua

 Fluffy clouds around sunset as seen from Carmichael's, Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

Fluffy clouds around sunset as seen from Carmichael's, Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

 Fluffy clouds around sunset as seen from Carmichael's, Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

Fluffy clouds around sunset as seen from Carmichael's, Sugar Ridge hotel, Antigua

 

Valley church bay

Beautiful long beach with white sand made of tiny fragments corals and sea shells. Served by The Nest bar. Cocos hotel is on the north side of the beach.

 Valley church bay, Antigua

Valley church bay, Antigua

 Valley church bay, Antigua

Valley church bay, Antigua

 Man's best friends - Valley church beach, Antigua

Man's best friends - Valley church beach, Antigua

 Cocos hotel as seen from Valley church bay, Antigua

Cocos hotel as seen from Valley church bay, Antigua

 Valley church bay, Antigua

Valley church bay, Antigua

 Valley church bay, Antigua

Valley church bay, Antigua

 Sunset at Valley church bay, Antigua

Sunset at Valley church bay, Antigua

 Sunset at Valley church bay, Antigua

Sunset at Valley church bay, Antigua

 Sunset at Valley church bay, Antigua

Sunset at Valley church bay, Antigua

 Sunset at Valley church bay, Antigua

Sunset at Valley church bay, Antigua

 

SHIRLEY HEIGHTS

Every Sunday, and during the busy season, every Thursday, there is a party taking place at Shirley heights, with grilled food, cold beers, rum punch, a steel band and live reggae and pop music until late at night. Happy times!

Panoramic photo from Shirley Heights, Antigua. Click on the image for enlarged version.

Panoramic photo from Shirley Heights, Antigua. Click on the image for enlarged version.

 Antiguan mamma serving grilled food at Shirley Heights. Yum!

Antiguan mamma serving grilled food at Shirley Heights. Yum!

 Sunset over Monserrat, as seen from Shirley heights, Antigua

Sunset over Monserrat, as seen from Shirley heights, Antigua

 The internationally acclaimed steel band, in action at Shirley Heights, Antigua

The internationally acclaimed steel band, in action at Shirley Heights, Antigua

 "One love" - live pop and reggae music at Shirley Heights, Antigua

"One love" - live pop and reggae music at Shirley Heights, Antigua

 "Sweet dreams are made of this" - live pop music at Shirley Heights, Antigua

"Sweet dreams are made of this" - live pop music at Shirley Heights, Antigua



Green island (visited via Eli's Extreme Circumnav Tours)

Green island is one of the several small off shore islands of Antigua - beautiful and unspoilt

 Green island, Antigua

Green island, Antigua

 Green island, Antigua

Green island, Antigua

 Feeding lizards jerk chicken ;) At Green island, Antigua

Feeding lizards jerk chicken ;) At Green island, Antigua


Ffryes beach

Yet another beautiful long beach on the Caribbean side of the island, with Dennis' bar to serve you cocktails and bar food. The week we visited Antigua we enjoyed a beautiful butterfly storm at Ffryes & Darkwood beaches

 Ffryes beach, Antigua

Ffryes beach, Antigua

 Dennis bar at Ffryes beach, Antigua

Dennis bar at Ffryes beach, Antigua

 Butterfly storm at Ffryes beach, Antigua

Butterfly storm at Ffryes beach, Antigua

 Butterfly storm at Ffryes beach, Antigua

Butterfly storm at Ffryes beach, Antigua

 Ffryes beach, Antigua

Ffryes beach, Antigua

 Ffryes beach, Antigua

Ffryes beach, Antigua

 Gatecrashing a swimwear shoot at Ffryes beach, Antigua

Gatecrashing a swimwear shoot at Ffryes beach, Antigua

 Swimwear fashion shoot at Ffryes beach, Antigua

Swimwear fashion shoot at Ffryes beach, Antigua

 A handful of sand, Ffryes beach, Antigua

A handful of sand, Ffryes beach, Antigua

 Fluffy skies above Ffryes beach, Antigua

Fluffy skies above Ffryes beach, Antigua

 A helicopter tour of Antigua is the only way to see the whole island, and in less than an hour!

A helicopter tour of Antigua is the only way to see the whole island, and in less than an hour!

 

Jolly harbour

Jolly harbour is a small cute “village” in the east (Caribbean) side of Antigua, with a port, a large supermarket, restaurants, bars, shops, villas, rooms to rent and the homonymous beautiful beach.

 Jolly Harbour, Antigua

Jolly Harbour, Antigua

 Villas on the waterfront at Jolly Harbour, Antigua

Villas on the waterfront at Jolly Harbour, Antigua

 Villas on the waterfront at sunset, Jolly harbour, Antigua

Villas on the waterfront at sunset, Jolly harbour, Antigua

 Greek restaurant Acropolis at Jolly Harbour, Antigua

Greek restaurant Acropolis at Jolly Harbour, Antigua

 Kigelia africana, or sausage tree, traditionally known to firm skin and enhance the breast - Jolly Harbour, Antigua

Kigelia africana, or sausage tree, traditionally known to firm skin and enhance the breast - Jolly Harbour, Antigua

 Colourfully painted house, "Caribbean style", off Jolly Harbour, Antigua

Colourfully painted house, "Caribbean style", off Jolly Harbour, Antigua

 Colourfully painted house, "Caribbean style", at Jolly Harbour, Antigua

Colourfully painted house, "Caribbean style", at Jolly Harbour, Antigua

 Colourfully painted house, "Caribbean style", at Jolly Harbour, Antigua

Colourfully painted house, "Caribbean style", at Jolly Harbour, Antigua

 Colourfully painted house, "Caribbean style", at Jolly Harbour, Antigua

Colourfully painted house, "Caribbean style", at Jolly Harbour, Antigua

 Colourfully painted house, "Caribbean style", at Jolly Harbour, Antigua

Colourfully painted house, "Caribbean style", at Jolly Harbour, Antigua

 Colourfully painted house, "Caribbean style", at Jolly Harbour, Antigua

Colourfully painted house, "Caribbean style", at Jolly Harbour, Antigua



Sting ray city (visited via Eli's Extreme Circumnav Tours) 

At Sting Ray City you have the opportunity to swim with sting rays, pet sting rays or simply enjoy the deeply coloured emerald waters. Pure bliss!

 Sting ray city, Antigua

Sting ray city, Antigua

 Sting ray city, Antigua

Sting ray city, Antigua

 Sting ray city, Antigua

Sting ray city, Antigua

 The crystal clear waters of Sting ray city, Antigua

The crystal clear waters of Sting ray city, Antigua

 Swimming with stingrays at Stingray City, Antigua

Swimming with stingrays at Stingray City, Antigua

 Petting stingrays at Stingray City, Antigua

Petting stingrays at Stingray City, Antigua

 

Jolly harbour beach

Long, quite stretch of beach, just off Jolly harbour. Served by Castaway bar on it's southern (busier) end.

 Jolly harbour beach, Antigua

Jolly harbour beach, Antigua

 Jolly harbour beach, Antigua

Jolly harbour beach, Antigua

 Afternoon sun at Jolly harbour beach, Antigua

Afternoon sun at Jolly harbour beach, Antigua

 Jolly harbour beach, Antigua

Jolly harbour beach, Antigua

 Jolly harbour beach, Antigua

Jolly harbour beach, Antigua

 White sand at Jolly harbour beach, Antigua

White sand at Jolly harbour beach, Antigua

 

Rendez-vous beach (visited via Eli's Extreme Circumnav tours)

On Rendez-vous beach your feet will sink deep in the most luxuriously soft sand you've ever stepped on

 Rendez vous beach, Antigua

Rendez vous beach, Antigua

 Rendez-vous bay, Antigua

Rendez-vous bay, Antigua

 

English Harbour and Nelson's Dockyard (VISITED VIA ELI'S EXTREME CIRCUMNAV TOURS)

English harbour, and the nearby Falmouth harbour) are home to some impressive yachts. English harbour itself is also home to Nelson’s Dockyard, used without interruption for more than two centuries!

 English harbour, Antigua ("dry brushed" on Photoshop)

English harbour, Antigua ("dry brushed" on Photoshop)

 Nelson's dockyard, Antigua

Nelson's dockyard, Antigua

 

Saint John

Saint John is the capital of Antigua and where all cruise ships dock

 Cruise ship docked at Saint John, Antigua

Cruise ship docked at Saint John, Antigua

 At the dock, Saint John, Antigua

At the dock, Saint John, Antigua

 Reflections, at the dock, Saint John, Antigua

Reflections, at the dock, Saint John, Antigua