Antigua: Paradise on Earth

Philip Santos Moreira

Philip Santos Moreira

Philip Santos Moreira is the Contributing Editor at Global Storybook (Portugal/USA).
You can read more about Philip here.
Philip Santos Moreira

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At this point in my life I have already seen some very beautiful beaches – from Algarve (Portugal), Bocas del Toro (Panama) to Milos (Greece), and the Turkish Riviera.  However, Antigua in the Caribbean makes a running for one the absolute finest of the bunch.

Small Ffryes Beach, Antigua

Small Ffryes Beach, Antigua (February 2016)

Sadly, I was in Antigua for only a little over than 6 hours during my layover from Dominica, in the Caribbean, where I had been visiting a friend at the Ross University School of Medicine.  I wasn’t too happy about having to return to the cold winter of the northeastern United States.

But, my ticket was booked so I boarded the plane.  The plane was most certainly the smallest I had ever been in – it had no more than 30 seats.  When arriving at my assigned seat I found out that I was sitting next to a young woman.  We smiled at each other and a small conversation ensued.  A native from Dominica, she had been visiting friends and family for several months.

Fantastically enough, it was no problem for her to take that kind of leave from her job in London.  We began to taxi on the runway and I could see some nervousness building inside her.  The propellers on either side kicked on into full power and we jettisoned down the tiny strip towards the ocean.  She seemed to become more and more uneasy so I decided to take her hand and I’m glad that I did.  She buried her face in my arm and covered her ears as the plane lifted from the ground and took off.

Thankfully her fear of flying settled as the plane stabilized in-air.  The fear of flying is real for so many people and should never be taken lightly or made into a joke.

Anelia and I continued to chat throughout the flight and eventually she asked if I would like to join her and her friends from Antigua around the island while we both waited for our next flight.  I had just been planning on walking the short distance from the airport to the beach anyway so I said: “Absolutely.”

Outskirts of St. Jonhs - Interior of Antigua

Outskirts of St. Jonhs – Interior of Antigua (February 2016)

The decision was the right one.  Her friends picked us up and drove us across the island to the capital city, St. Johns. The city, by most Western standards, is a little shaggy.  But by my standards it had a feeling – a real Caribbean vibe and the great Caribbean food.

The city felt in no way unsafe to walk through and people seemed friendly.  Indeed, Anelia’s friend, Karem, was super generous by offering to buy me lunch as I had no East Caribbean Dollars (XCD) on me anymore.  And so we grabbed some lunch and took it to the Small Ffryes Beach which was not so far away.

Small Ffryes Beach, Antigua

Small Ffryes Beach, Antigua (February 2016)

The water is simply gorgeous.  I mean it looked incredible.  On par with the crystal clear Caribbean water I saw in the San Blas Islands off the coast of Panama a year before.  I have already promised myself I will venture again to Antigua just to relax on those beaches.  The weather was prefect and sizzling hot.

The beaches, even for a Summer’s prime time to vacation there, were not crowded at all.  Honestly, the island looked like a paradise.  We were able to stop at the Big Ffryes Beach and the Blackwood Beach as well during our circular tour of the island.

Blackwood Beach, Antigua

Blackwood Beach, Antigua (February 2016)

My recommendation is to visit Antigua.  You must.  A few things that Karem, who is a local there, told me:

  • The Summer months are extremely hot so be careful if you visit during this period.
  • The best time to visit the island, in order to feel like you are in paradise – is from December to February, or up to as late as March/April.
  • Hurricane/Tropical Storm season (though there are few) is between June and November; accommodation prices are lower though.
  • Sailing: Last week of April to May (World class competitions)
  • Jazz Festival: October – Caribbean and Afro genres

Anelia and I said our: “See you laters” at the airport with the promise that I would visit London.  I want to especially thank her for inviting me with her and her friends around the island and making my layover one of the very best.

Anelia and me on Small Ffryes Beach, Antigua (February 2016)

Anelia and me on Small Ffryes Beach, Antigua (February 2016)

Anelia, Karem and his girlfriend. Blackwood Beach, Antigua (February 2016)

Anelia, Karem and his girlfriend. Blackwood Beach, Antigua (February 2016)

Photography: Philip Moreira Photography

Instagram: Philipm814

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