Many travelers flock to the beaches of Antigua during the high season, but vacationers will find something to do on the island regardless of the time of year. Travelers come to the island to enjoy Sailing Week in late April, to revel in Carnival in July and August, and to relax on a beach in December.
Antigua's visitors could spend a full year on the island and never go to the same beach more than once. Although Antigua's 365 beaches are reason enough to visit the island, travelers should research the island's seasonal conditions in order to make informed decisions about the time and duration of their stay.
The high season in Antigua coincides largely with the high season in the rest of the Caribbean. Most travelers flock to the island from the middle of December to the middle of April, when the island experiences less rain, heat, and humidity. The colder winter weather in the United States, Canada, and Europe also drives vacationers in large numbers to Antigua.
Despite the heavy crowds during these months, the tourist season remains a highly popular and appealing time to visit the island. Although the island is relatively dry throughout the year, there is less rainfall during the Caribbean winter. The decrease in rainfall is coupled with the end of the Atlantic hurricane season in late November. At the same time, cool trade winds blow in from the west to keep island temperatures mild and enjoyable.
Restaurants, hotels, tours, and other services all run at their fullest capacity during these busy months. Travelers who want to take advantage of these extra amenities should consider traveling during the high season. Hotels often schedule more events and options for their guests during this time, and the large crowds invigorate island nightlife. Many restaurants extend their hours in the high season to accommodate a greater number of diners. With the increased business, hotels, restaurants, and recreation services are often booked well in advance. Travelers looking to travel during the high season should consider making hotel reservations several months in advance. Dinner reservations are recommended at even moderately priced restaurants during this busy season.
...Antigua remains relatively dry...
Travelers who wish to avoid large crowds and significantly increased prices should consider traveling in the off season of mid-April to late November. While rainfall increases and temperatures rise at this time, Antigua remains relatively dry throughout the year, and the hotter temperatures are made tolerable by air conditioning and the trade winds. Airline fares and hotel rates drop significantly during the off season - sometimes up to 50 percent - making the increased heat a little easier to bear. The restaurants and golf courses that remain open in the off season have fewer crowds, making reservations less necessary. Shops also occasionally slash their prices, and travelers may appreciate not being shoulder to shoulder in crowds while they browse.
If you are making a reservation at a hotel during these months, ask for information regarding any construction or limited service that will occur during your stay. Hotels often use the slower summer months to perform needed renovations, and staff and other services may be reduced or limited to save money. Restaurants, tours, and recreational vendors sometimes shorten their hours or close for weeks at a time during this period. Hurricane season coincides with the off season, and travelers should be sure to monitor weather conditions in the Atlantic prior to and during their stay. Insects and the sun can be issues during the warmer, rainier months, so travelers should pack sunscreen, hats, and bug repellent.
A final factor to consider when choosing your travel dates are seasonal festivities that you would like to experience during your visit. Antigua, like the rest of the Caribbean, has unique and festive cultural events that can be a wonderful part of your vacation. Sailing Week is the most popular event in Antigua, and takes place at the end of April and the beginning of May. The regatta lasts for five days, and more than 5000 spectators come to watch some of the best sailors in the world. April also brings the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta, making April in Antigua the place to be for any yacht enthusiast.
Carnival takes place in late July and early August, and has the traditional assortment of great food, drink, dance, and costume. November 1st marks the island's independence, and October 29th is Heritage Day.
As you research Antigua, decide what kind of travel experience you would like to have. Some travelers will prefer the crowds and attractions of the high season, while others will like the relaxation and reduced prices of the slower season. Either way, it is hard to go wrong. Antigua offers much to those who visit its shores, regardless of the season.
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