Antigua and Barbuda travel guide
Antigua has a crazy shape. The coastline is ever changing with bays, isthmus, peninsulas, coves, cliffs and, of course, plenty of beaches. It's said that Antigua has 365 beaches, a beach for every day of the year. To be honest, we didn't count. But one pretty beach is the long and narrow Darkwood Beach. Even though it lies right next to the road, it has a fairly secluded feel due to the bushes and shady trees. There is a cafe at either ends, but the rest is just powdery white sand and blue water.
Devil's bridge is natural stone arch. The story goes that slaves committed suicide by jumping off the bridge into the crashing waves below. It's a very dramatic legend, but there's probably not much truth to it, as the Devil's Bridge is only a few meters above the sea - but maybe they couldn't swim. Anyway, Devil's Bridge isn't particularly high, but when the waves are strong, they press through the gap and spray up like a geyser.
Luckily, many of Antigua beaches are not that developed. They are either totally natural or only have a few beach shacks. The beach at Dickenson Bay is a different story. Here, major resorts lie side by side, and the little space that is left is taken up by restaurants and rows of sun chairs. Eager beach boys will get to you before you even touch sand and offer their range of services including sun chairs, umbrellas, jet skis and "more".
Hidden behind a water reservoir and a water treatment plant you find these two fine beaches. Coco Beach is small with coconut palms, while Ffryes Beach is long and wide with powdery sand and hardly any shade. Both have of course azure blue water. An outcrop with a restaurant sits between the two beaches. Both beaches are very picturesque, so don't limit your visit to only one.
This large crescent shaped beach is rather narrow. It's natural beach with sea weed and scrubs growing all the way down to the sand. The beach was spared most development, though there are a few cafes. There is another crescent shaped beach next door, but it belongs to a resort. However, you can walk from one to another along the rocky shore.
Only 5 min drive away from the airport lies this long but narrow beach. It’s very deserted, but the strong breeze makes the beach a favourite for wind and kite surfers. However, the water is rarely too rough for a dip. No matter what, you will pretty much have most of the beach to yourself.
Jolly Harbour has a large and busy marina. There is everything sailors need of supermarkets, banks, and restaurants. However, for land travellers there isn’t that much to see in terms of interesting buildings and luxury yachts like over at Nelson’s Dockyard in English Harbour.
Long Bay Beach is a fine long beach on the east side. It’s backed by beach shacks and resorts. The beach seems to have more mature fan group than other beaches, but this is also the less popular east side. The beach is a short drive from Devil's Bridge, so it makes a nice stopover while exploring this part of the island.
The beach at Morris Bay is long with a small coconut grove as backdrop. One end is occupied by a resort, while the other end is a small hill with some demolished houses at the foot and an abandoned sugar mill at the top. Morris Bay could be nicer, if it wasn't for the trash and abandoned houses.
English Harbour is located at the bottom of a protected bay. It has always been a natural hurricane haven for ships, so it was an obvious choice for the British to built a naval dockyard in the 18th and 19th century. Many of the old buildings in Nelson's Dockyard were carefully restored and are still in use today as the marina is fully functional, though today it's just yachts that fill up the harbour. We guess, it must be one of the most historical marinas in the world. UNESCO finally enlisted it in 2016 as Antigua and Barbuda's only World Heritage Site.