July 31st – August 07th, 2024.
The Antiguan Carnival annually commemorates the emancipation of slavery, spanning from the end of July to the first Tuesday in August. A highlight is the lively j’ouvert (or juvé) day, featuring spirited performances by brass and steel bands for the enjoyment of the entire island’s population. Meanwhile, Barbuda’s Caribana, held in June, adds its unique flair to the festivities.
In 1957, the Antiguan and Barbudan Carnivals emerged, replacing the Old Time Christmas Festival with the aim of boosting tourism in the region. While the modern Carnival preserves some elements of the Christmas Festival, it has evolved into a vibrant ten-day extravaganza featuring colorful costumes, beauty pageants, talent shows, and captivating music.
The celebration, rooted in the spirit of emancipation, encompasses diverse events such as the Party Monarch and Calypso Monarch competitions, the Panorama steel band competition, and the dazzling Parade of Bands. From the Miss Antigua Pageant to the Caribbean Queen’s Competition, the carnival showcases a rich tapestry of cultural expressions.
Beyond these major spectacles, the eleven-day carnival offers an array of smaller festivities, including local concerts, food fairs, parades, and cultural shows. It’s a continuous burst of joy and celebration, making the Antiguan Carnival a cherished and dynamic experience.
Antigua carnival parades unfold across two weekends, featuring tee-shirt mas on the first weekend and pretty mas on the Monday following the second weekend. Should you intend to participate in both the tee-shirt mas and pretty mas festivities, it’s advisable to extend your trip by at least five days.
- Extra Day 1: Arrival Antigua – Meet And Greet
- Extra Day 2: Tee-Shirt Mas
- Extra Day 3: Motions Cruise
- Extra Day 4: Land And Sea Tour
- Extra Day 5: Free Day
- Day 1: Arrival Antigua – Meet And Greet
- Day 2: Fete #1: Drink Til Ya Weakkkkk – Fete #2: Melting Pot
- Day 3: Land and Sea Tour – Fete #3 Best F*cking Fete (Bff)
- Day 4: Fete #4: Ripple And Tease Boat Cruise x Beach Party
- Day 5: Fete #5: De Breakfast Fete
- Day 6: J’ouvert – Carnival Street Parade (Monday Wear)
- Day 7: Carnival Street Parade (Full Costume)
- Day 8: Departure
- All activities mentioned on the itinerary inclusive of all tickets and entrance fees.
- Hand-picked accommodations.
- Group transportation.
- Arrival airport transfer.
- Accommodation in double rooms. Single occupancy option is available.
- Backline Carnival Costume (you have the choice to upgrade to a frontline costume).
- Costume pickup.
Antigua Carnival Group Itinerary
Wednesday July 31: Arrive in Antigua – Meet and Greet
Arrive in Antigua and transfer to your chosen accommodation. Depending on your arrival time, you will then be taken immediately afterwards to Soca Islands Meet and Greet event. This is the perfect opportunity to mingle and get to know your fellow travellers who will be partying with you for the next seven days.
Thursday August 01: Drink Til Ya Weakkkkk – Melting Pot
Get ready for a double dose of fetes today. Our first stop is Drink Til Ya Weakkkkkk – but hold on, we’re not taking the name literally because we’ve got to conserve that energy for the second event of the day: Melting Pot. It’s a day of back-to-back feting, so get ready for a day of endless jam.
Friday August 02: Land and Sea Tour – Best F*cking Fete (BFF)
We spend the entire day exploring some of the natural wonders that Antigua has to offer. Then later in the evening to head out to the Best F*cking Fete.
Saturday August 03: Ripple and Tease Boat Cruise x Beach Party
The morning is yours for you to enjoy as you would like. Then we set sail on the ultimate booze cruise before dancing the afternoon away at the beach party at Ripple and Tease.
Sunday August 05: De Breakfast Fete
We’re kicking off our morning bright and early today to join the De Breakfast Fete – a fantastic event featuring drinks and delicious food. While it’s labelled as a breakfast party, get ready for a celebration well into the afternoon. Take it easy and pace yourself for a lasting and enjoyable experience.
Monday August 06: J’ouvert – Carnival Street Parade (Monday Wear)
Today is day one of the two-day street festivities. First we head out before the sun comes up to jump through the streets covered in paint, mud or oil. Later in the day we’ll be parading through the streets in our favourite Monday wear. Please note that Monday wear is not included and has to bought separately.
Tuesday August 06: Carnival Tuesday (Full Costume)
All year long, we’ve been anticipating this moment, and now it’s time to hit the road and cross the stage. Today, we’ll be parading through the streets of St. Johns, the vibrant capital city of Antigua, showcasing our costumes. Today also marks the end of the two-day festivities.
Wednesday August 07: Antigua Departure
Savour your last morning in Antigua. Depending on your departure time, you might have a few hours for some last-minute shopping or a final dip in the sea. Bid farewell to the island as you head to the airport for your departure.
Antigua Carnival payment plan.
Initial Deposit: 15%
Final Payment due on or before May 31 2024
Soca Islands provides you with the most flexible payment plan making it super easy and affordable to book your Barbados Crop Over experience by asking for payments in three installments. Your 15% deposit is due upon booking, followed by 35% of the total cost due 30 days after booking. The remaining 50% due 60 days before your trip.
For bookings made between 90 and 60 days before the start date of the experience, 50% of the total cost of the experience must be paid upon booking.
Bookings made between 60 days and 30 days before the start date of the experience, 100% of the total cost of the experience must be paid upon booking.
Here’s a glimpse of the hotels we selected for this adventure.
Royalton Antigua Resort
Situated in Five Islands Village, just 2 km from Eden Beach, Royalton Antigua, an Autograph Collection All-Inclusive Resort, offers an array of amenities, including a restaurant, complimentary private parking, an outdoor swimming pool, and a fitness center. Boasting free WiFi, this 5-star hotel also features a bar and a garden. Guests can benefit from a 24-hour front desk, a kids’ club, and currency exchange services during their stay.
Siboney Beach Club
Nestled along the pristine white sand beach of Dickenson Bay, Antigua, this resort offers a serene setting. Guests can enjoy on-site dining, a refreshing freshwater pool, and lush tropical gardens. The well-appointed guest rooms come equipped with full kitchenettes. Each room at Siboney Beach Club boasts a private terrace, providing a personal space to unwind. The modern rooms feature a warm color palette, a private bathroom, and a safety deposit box for added convenience.
Antigua travel information.
Time Zone: GMT -04:00
Currency: Easter Caribbean Dollar. 1USD = 2.72 XCD
Antigua is a picturesque island nestled in the Caribbean, known for its breathtaking landscapes, pristine beaches, and rich history. It boasts a captivating natural beauty characterized by powdery white-sand beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and lush green landscapes. The island is surrounded by coral reefs, creating ideal conditions for snorkeling and water activities.
Steeped in history, Antigua is home to colonial architecture that reflects its past as a British naval and military outpost. Nelson’s Dockyard, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, stands as a testament to the island’s maritime heritage. Cobblestone streets, historic forts, and sugar mills add to the island’s charm. Antigua’s culture is a vibrant mix of African, British, and Caribbean influences. Visitors can experience the lively local music, dance, and cuisine, which showcase the island’s cultural diversity. The annual Antigua Carnival is a celebration of color, music, and festivities that attracts visitors from around the world.
With 365 beaches—one for each day of the year—Antigua is a paradise for beach lovers. From the popular Dickenson Bay to the more secluded Half Moon Bay, each beach offers its unique charm. Water enthusiasts can enjoy sailing, snorkeling, diving, and other water sports in the warm Caribbean Sea. Antigua is renowned as the “Sailing Capital of the Caribbean.” The island hosts world-class sailing events, including Antigua Sailing Week, drawing sailing enthusiasts and professionals from around the globe.
Despite its popularity as a tourist destination, Antigua maintains a relaxed and laid-back atmosphere. Visitors can unwind on the beaches, explore the countryside, and enjoy the unhurried pace of island life. Antiguans are known for their warm hospitality and friendliness. Visitors often find a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere that adds to the overall positive experience of the island.
How to get around Antigua
Antigua and Barbuda’s compact size is ideal for exploration. Antigua spans 108 square miles, allowing visitors to conveniently travel from point A to point B in 45 minutes or less—no destination is too distant! For an authentic island experience and a touch of adventure, consider hopping on a bus at the nearest stop or heading to the East or West Bus station. The bus ride will guide you through charming villages, leading to the island’s beaches, historical sites, and natural attractions.
Renting a car is another hassle-free option and remains the most popular means of exploring Antigua and Barbuda. To obtain a driving permit in Antigua, you’ll need a valid driver’s license and pay a fee of EC$50. Taxis are readily available across Antigua, offering fixed fares for routes between the airport, English Harbour, various hotels, and other destinations, with rates that can be obtained upon arrival.
Where to stay in Antigua
Antigua, a beautiful Caribbean island known for its stunning beaches and rich history, offers a variety of accommodation options to suit different preferences and budgets. The best place to stay depends on your interests and the type of experience you’re seeking. Popular places to consider are Siboney Beach Club, Hodges Bay Resort & Spa, and Royalton Antigua.
Things to do in Antigua
Antigua, a beautiful Caribbean island, offers a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy. Here are some things to do in Antigua:
- Explore Nelson’s Dockyard: Visit the historic Nelson’s Dockyard, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore the restored naval dockyard, marina, and historic buildings.
- Relax on Antigua’s Beaches: Enjoy the stunning beaches, such as Dickenson Bay, Jolly Beach, and Half Moon Bay. Relax on the pristine white sand and swim in the crystal-clear waters.
- Snorkeling and Diving: Antigua boasts excellent snorkeling and diving spots. Explore the vibrant underwater world and coral reefs at places like Cades Reef and Stingray City.
- Take a Catamaran Cruise: Experience the beauty of the coastline on a catamaran cruise. Many tours offer snorkeling, swimming with stingrays, and a relaxing sail.
- Visit Shirley Heights Lookout: Hike or drive up to Shirley Heights for panoramic views of English and Falmouth Harbours. Sunday evenings are especially popular for the sunset parties.
- St. John’s City Tour: Explore the capital city, St. John’s, and visit attractions like the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda, St. John’s Cathedral, and the colorful markets.
- Betty’s Hope Sugar Plantation: Discover the history of Antigua’s sugar industry by visiting Betty’s Hope, a restored sugar plantation with ruins and a museum.
- Enjoy Water Sports: Engage in water activities like kayaking, windsurfing, and paddleboarding. Many resorts offer equipment rentals and lessons.
- Hike to the Pillars of Hercules: For hiking enthusiasts, the trail to the Pillars of Hercules offers a challenging but rewarding trek with breathtaking views.
- Try Local Cuisine: Indulge in the local culinary scene. Taste traditional dishes like saltfish and fungee, and visit local eateries for a true Antiguan dining experience.
- Bird Island Day Trip: Take a boat trip to Bird Island, a small islet off Antigua’s coast, known for its pristine beaches and excellent snorkeling opportunities.
- Antigua Rainforest Canopy Tour: Experience an adrenaline rush with a zip-lining adventure through Antigua’s lush rainforest.
Whether you prefer relaxation on the beach, exploring historical sites, or engaging in thrilling activities, Antigua offers a diverse range of experiences for every type of traveler.
Barbuda, the charming sister island of Antigua, offers an idyllic retreat for those in search of tranquility, laid-back luxury, stunning beaches, a connection with nature, and the warm hospitality of Barbudans. This low-lying coral island is renowned for its pristine pink coral and white sand beaches, as well as hosting the largest Frigate Bird Sanctuary in the Western Hemisphere. Situated 28 miles northeast of Antigua, Barbuda beckons those seeking a peaceful escape.
For those planning a visit to Barbuda from Antigua, several options are available. One of the most popular means of transportation is the high-speed ferry, providing a delightful 90-minute journey on pleasant days. Presently, two ferry services operate: The Barbuda Express and The Island Escape.
The Barbuda Express, a robust catamaran, offers same-day one-way and round-trip services. Operating six days a week between Antigua and Barbuda, The Barbuda Express presents tourists with economical packages to explore and uncover the charms of this undeveloped and lesser-explored island. Boarding the ferry can be done at the ferry dock in St. John’s Harbour, located at the bottom of High Street in St. John’s City, Antigua. Additional information can be found at www.barbudaexpress.com.
Furthermore, The Barbuda Express manages the Typhoon Express, capable of accommodating both passengers and cargo for a comprehensive transportation experience.