It's a fact. Most tourists visit the twin island state of Antigua and Barbuda in search of the white sandy beaches that have been listed as some of the best within the Caribbean by magazines and sites such as Frommers. Although united as one, the beaches of Antigua and those of Barbuda are famous for different reasons. Antigua is said to have 365 pure white sandy beaches, while Barbuda is known for its 11 mile beach of pink sand. Add the fragrant tropical breeze from the Caribbean Sea along with the warm sunshine all year round, and it's a complete package.
All the beaches in Antigua are public, so your only worry is how to possibly find time in your visit to explore even half of them! Each local household has their own personal favourite, and on public holidays such as Easter and Labour day, hundreds on families flock most of the popular beaches on the island. On such days, there are many djs and speaker systems on the beaches, picnics galore and instead of the the usual tranquility, there is a definite party atmosphere.
I have always loved the beach and the activites which come with it. Snorkeling, swimming, floating on a waterbed and riding a jet ski are some of the privileges I enjoy when I visit a beach in Antigua. There are four beaches which are close to my heart. They are located quite far from one another, and each possesses a distinct charm which lures me to their shores. I will now list and describe each sandy paradise.
Long Bay beach:
My favourite by far, due to the gentle clear blue waters which are fringed by powdery sand. This particular beach is situated on the eastern coast, a short walk from the village of Wilikies, Antigua. It is an extremely popular beach and the construction of many hotels in the vicinity serve to back my point. Some of these hotels include the luxurious Verandah Resort & Spa and the Dian Bay Resort and Spa. Long Bay has two bars which are situated mere steps away from the shoreline, providing beach goers with ice cold beverages and finger snacks, when hunger and fatigue inevitably arise. Small booths also stock unique trinkets and beach wraps for visitors to purchase as a reminder of their trip to Antigua.
Another turquoise gem of a beach is in the form of Turners beach. Located on the south western coast of Antigua, this beach is preferred for two reasons. The long stretch of white sand on which to soak up the sun's rays, and the wonderful cuisine available at Turners Beach Bar. After the sun goes down, the flames in the kitchen at this bar ignite. The lobster dish here is particularly divine and costs approximately EC$90/US$33. The beach feautres numerous minature cabanas under which you may relax on a beach chair. The beach chairs are rented from the Turners Beach Bar for a nominal fee of US$5. The shore line is dominated by coconut trees, which provide lots of shade and reminds you that you are indeed basking in paradise.
Dickenson Bay beach:
Located on the north western coast of Antigua is a beach with a personality so to speak. This beach is a major hot spot for cruise ship visitors due to its close proximity to the St. Johns Harbour where most of the ships dock. Taxi fares from the capital of St. John's are in the price range of US$4 to $5 per person for the 15 minute journey. There are so many activities available here (provided by Tony's Water Sports), that it's pretty tough to choose what to do first. Visitors have the option of renting a jet ski (price is upwards of US$50), sailing on a hobby cat, parasailing etc. There are also bars on the beach where drinks (alcholic and non alcoholic) can be purchased. This is a perfect option for the active beach bum.
Bird Island beach:
Bird Island is an offshore island located a short boat ride away from Antigua. It is the home of the Antiguan Racer Snake, which is endangered and found only on the island. It is very much small and harmless and feeds mostly on small animals, therefore it is very safe to visit the island. The beach h is very beautiful and secluded, and for this reason many boat tours take visitors ashore to enjoy the privacy. The beach also proves to be one of the best snorkeling spots that Antigua has to offer, with lots of colourful fishes and numerous sea anemones.
To sum it up, the beaches are the main feature of what Antigua has to offer. They are well taken care of and much is done to keep them worthy of being tourtist attractions. All of the island tours which are available always include a stop to one of the beaches with a stay from 1-2 hours. So have loads of fun but don't forget the sunblock!