Antigua is the archetypal Caribbean holiday destination, with a pristine coastline, friendly locals and a vibrant culture. Naturally, for a luxury holiday destination with over 365 beaches, it’s the perfect place for those who want to tan, eat great food, and sample Caribbean nightlife. But holidays to Antigua have lots more to offer besides a glorious beach for each day of the year. Adventurous types will love discovering Antigua’s natural riches - whether it’s swimming with rays or zip-wiring through the rainforest.
Things to do
Beaches and the Life Aquatic
Take your pick from the lively water sports and beach bars on offer at Dickenson Bay, or opt for calmer, more family-friendly waters around the east of the island. If you’re not really a sun-worshipping type, you can explore one of the many shipwrecks around the coastline on a diving trip, where you can get up close and personal with the dazzling array of marine life. Or perhaps take a stroll along the waterfront and admire the Super Yachts moored at English Harbour. Antiguans love their sailing - the whole island plays host to the Caribbean’s most famous regatta every spring.
Nightlife and Entertainment
The locals really love to party and by night it feels like the whole island is dancing to the beat of steel pan drums. Music is hugely important to the friendly islanders, and no holiday to Antigua would be complete without a visit to one of the local live music and dance nights. A great one to experience is the weekly ‘jump up’ at Shirley Heights, an old garrison fort overlooking the English Harbour on the east of the island. BBQ food and Rum Punch aplenty are on offer, and there’s a chance to dance to the resident steel band as you watch the stunning sunset over the bay.
As well as the kayaking, kite surfing and other water-based activities on offer, you’ll also find a wealth of other activities for adventurous folk. You can zip-wire through the trees in the island’s lush rainforest, or take in panoramic views with a helicopter tour. Perhaps trek up to the summit of Mount Obama - re-named by the President as a symbol of hope to the world back in 2009 - or explore the island’s southwest corner by car. This scenic drive will take you through banana, mango and coconut groves, and you’ll see some lovely old colonial sugar mills and pretty little churches along the way.
Where to stay
Beach lovers should opt for the Dickenson’s Bay area, with its pristine beaches and lively vibe. Conveniently located close to the airport, as well as the boutiques and craft shops of the island’s capital, the area is bustling with restaurants, bars and cafes. If you’re seeking peace and quiet, Dian Bay in the island’s remote north east coast is the place for intimate luxury holidays. Situated between two sandy beaches, its peaceful atmosphere and amazing lagoon are just the place to unwind and recharge. The Falmouth area in the south of the island, with its picturesque historic harbour, is close to a number of elegant historic sites and landmarks which date back to colonial times and offers some of the best views in Antigua.
Flight time from the UK (London): Approximately nine hours.
Arrival Airport: VC Bird International airport
Entry details (for British passport holders): A visa is not required for holidays to Antigua of up to one month. Passports need at least six months validity from your date of entry. Before you depart, please check the latest travel advice at www.fco.gov.uk
Time difference GMT: GMT - 4 hours
Currency: Eastern Caribbean Dollar.
Here to help
For all Antigua Holidays, a local Thomas Cook Signature representative will meet you at your arrival airport and direct you to your pre-booked transfer vehicle. You’ll receive a welcome pack containing information about the local area and all contact details. A welcome meeting will be arranged at your hotel and should you need advice during your stay local representatives will make regular visits to your resort.
If you are staying at Sandals or Grand Pineapple resort you will be met and transferred to your hotel by one of their representatives. All welcome information and details about your stay will be provided by your hotel.
Best time to go
Antigua offers year round sun and low humidity, making it an ideal 5 star holiday destination. Temperatures are in the mid-20s in winter, reaching over 30°C in summer and there’s always a pleasant breeze.
Sailing enthusiasts will get the most out of a visit during the Yachting and sailing carnival in the spring, whereas party animals might enjoy the Carnival in August, where the whole island comes alive with the colourful costumes and sounds of steel pan drums.