Updated 18 Nov 2022
While those who love beaches and the Caribbean will often pay a visit to Antigua to get their fill of astonishingly beautiful golden sands and crystalline sea, there is more to Antigua than its 365 beaches. This is precisely why it can be quite busy during the “peak” season that runs from mid-November to early May each year. However, those consistent trade winds make it completely agreeable to book during the island’s “shoulder seasons” as well.
From April through May and again from November through mid-December, travellers enjoy the same idyllic weather with only a slightly increased risk for precipitation. Interestingly enough, although there is not really a tremendous amount of rain during the shoulder seasons, and weather is fairly predictable, many people fear that famous “hurricane season” and avoid island travel. This makes it a perfect time to find amazing airfare prices and accommodation options.
The Benefits of Shoulder Season Travel
Some travellers understand that shoulder season is not low season. It is, as so many describe it, a “Mama Bear” type of season tucked between the high and the low times. It is when the weather is still quite good or just getting good and when tourists have dispersed or have yet to arrive. When talking about such a popular destination as Antigua, this actually means a lot.
For example, imagine that you can experience even the most popular beaches as quiet and uncrowded. Imagine too that you get your pick of the finest villas and private accommodations at great prices. Your airfare is likely to be available at a more reasonable rate than during peak times, and the opportunities for everything from guided tours and private drivers to tables at the hottest restaurants are limitless.
You can also get more interaction with the locals and even more attentive service almost everywhere you go. Whether it is before the peak season or afterward, the locals and anyone in the service industry is going to be happier to give you their undivided attention and engage with you to a greater degree.
Wildlife, Tours and the Rest
In addition to allowing you a greater degree of privacy and access to places frequently crowded during peak seasons, traveling to Antigua during the shoulder season will also allow you to enjoy experiences like the distillery rum tours or hours spent bird watching without the crowds too. Want to enjoy some time at the Saturday market without lots of crowds? The shoulder season is a likely time to enjoy such an experience. Wish to visit one of the national parks and take amazing photos without a lot of strangers in the background? This is the season. Getting a great table at one of the hotter restaurants is also a possibility thanks to shoulder season travel to Antigua.
Naturally, you might worry that there is a downside, and the reality is that the possibility for rain, the higher humidity and the fact that some businesses may be closed are the only risks. For those who have opted to rent a luxury villa in Antigua, such issues are not issues at all. After all, most decide to “nest” in their premium accommodation, enjoying everything from waterfront settings, private pools, gardens and household staff to private chefs and an array of other activities.
There is much to see and do in Antigua and many reasons to visit, and if you want to avoid the high season, save a bit on airfare and still get the best experiences of the island, you will want to book your visit during the different shoulder seasons.