Antigua & Barbuda’s Sports and Amusements

SPORTS AND AMUSEMENTS:

Antigua is known as a sailor’s paradise, and is a popular mooring spot for a variety of vessels, including luxury yachts. At most hotels and at English Harbour, you can charter yachts and other types of sailing vessels with trained crews for an afternoon or for longer island-hopping excursion. Smaller vessels also are available for rent.

Yachts, schooners and gaffers converge on English Harbour in mid-April for the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta, a celebration of traditional artisanship.Events include races, a heritage festival and a Concours d’Elegance show and competition. Antigua Sailing Week, considered by some to be the world’s warmwater sailind regatta, generally is held the last Sunday in April through the first Saturday in May. The island also hosts the 9-day Antigua Charter Show in early December. The coastline of Antigua is intended with beautiful bays and some 365 coral beaches, many accessible only by boat. Swimmers, shell collectors and sunbathers need never visit the same beach more than once in a year. Those planning beach outings are advised to carry insect repellent; no- see-ums can be a nuisance on the leeward side of the island, especially at dusk. The beaches on the nortwest coast are frequented by tourists due to the high concentration of resorts in the area. Popular northwest coast beaches include Dickenson Bay, a pretty white-sand beach bordered by several hotels and restaurants. Watersports enthusiasts will appreciate the multitude ofoperators offering rental equipment for windsurfing. The bay also is a departure point for glass- bottom boat and catamaran excursions. The gentle surf at Runaway Beach also is perfect for water sports, especially children’s activities. Visitors can rent floats, kayaks, windsurfers and sailboats. Water skiing also can be arranged. Landlubbers can explore the area on horseback.

The coral reefs are the remains of shipwrecks, where many many multicolored fish gather, make snorkeling and scube diving popular; many dive operators on the island provide equipment and lessons. In Deep Bay snorkelers and divers can explore a sunken ship, The Andes. The stately ruins of Fort Barrington, rise right above the picturesque beach area bordering the bay. A path leads to the top of the fort; the hike can be strenuous and only those in good physical condition should attempt it. Hikers who make the trek to the topwill be rewarded with stiking views of St. John’s Harbour. Half Moon Bay, in Half Moon Bay National Park on Antigua’s southeast coast, derives its name from the coastline’s shape. The crescent-shaped beach, enhanced by azure waters and cool breezes, is perfect for a pleasant stroll. Visitors like to climb the rock at the north end of the shore. Surf conditions vary due to the bay’s shape; visitors can experience crashing waves that present perfect opportunities for body surfing or gentle ripples ideal for swimming.

Darkwood Beach is situated on the island’s southwest coast. The white-sand beach, surrounded by a hilly landscape, is punctuated by sailboats docked in crystal-blue water. Beach chairs can be rented at a small snack area and shelters covered with palm fronds provide respie from the sun. On a clear day, visitors can see the island of Monserrat looming on the horizon. Morris Bay, off Antigua’s south coast, is the site of the Curtain Bluff Resort. In this tranquil secluded setting adorned by sweeping palms, a prominent bluff rises majestically from the sea.

Deep-sea fishing trips for marlin, wahoo, kingfish, shark and barracuda may be chartered out of Falmouth Harbour. Fishing tournaments are held every Labour Day and Whit Monday. Golf enthusiasts have two 18-hole courses on which to chase birdies: Cedar Valley Golf Club, (268) 462-0161; and Jolly Harbour Golf Course, (268) 480-6950. Tennis courts are available at most hotels and tournaments held throughout the year attract many professionals. Men’s and Women’s single and double matches, take place along with matches that pit amateurs against the pros. Antigua Tennis Week is held at Curtain Bluff in early May and mid November.

As in other English West Indian islands, cricket is the national obsession and Antigua is home to some of the world’s best cricketers. A stadium of World cup Cricket is named for one of the island’s cricket legends, Sir Vivian Richards. Tournaments between local district teams can be seen across the island on the weekends. Spectators also enjoy netball (a women’s game similar to basketball, only the hoop has no backboard), basketball, soccer and Thoroughbred racing in season. Carnival is the island’s most spectacular event. Inspired by the splendor of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation and the desire for a yearly festival symbolizing freedom, the Antigua and Barbuda Tourist Board instituted the Antigua Carnival. Beginning the last week in July, Carnival commemorates the antiguan people’s emancipation in 1834. For 10 days, culminating the first Monday and Tuesday in August, Carnival throngs revel from early evening until dawn to the pulsating strains of steel and brass band music. Holiday visitors join the community in the traditional “jump up”, a kaleidoscope of singing, dancing and laughter from the early morning hours until the sun is high in the sky. Carnival City, in the Recreation Grounds at St. John’s, presents talented entertainers amid magnificent sets. Shirley Heights Lookout, which offers a spectacular view of English Harbour, is the site of 6 hours of nonstop entertainment on Sunday beginning at 4 p.m.. Visitors have the opportunity to mingle with residents, enjoy succulent barbecue and dance to the beat of reggae and steel bands. The island has a few small nightclubs and year-round nightlife opportunities range from an evening at the theater to gambling in a casino or strolling on a beach.

 

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