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Hawksbill, Antigua beach vacations

It’s often claimed that there is a beach for every day of the year in Antigua - and a beach lover would certainly not be disappointed in this most beautiful of Caribbean islands. The beaches are long, short, coved, steep - good for snorkeling, for swimming, for children; there are enough beaches to ensure that your particular preference can be accommodated.

I often speak to families who hang by the pool all day because that’s where the younger children like to play in the shallows of the pool, and I totally get that. However I’ve always insisted on parking at the beach and just going backwards and forwards to the pool, because I simply cannot stand swimming in pools that all your kids have been playing in all day…Yes, I’m thinking the same as what you’re thinking. I’ve been reasonably unrepentant with my children (and probably wrecking their entire lives) about one pool swim goes with a sea swim. The upshot being that we now all swim in the sea unless they go to the pool…on their own.

Therefore I guess I do consider myself a bit of a sea swimming enthusiast and will attempt to share this with you by explaining why certain beaches are such a pleasure.

In Antigua, it’s easy — wherever you lay your towel there will be a good beach locally; however one that sticks in my mind is at Hawksbill. A half hour drive or so from St John’s airport, this collection of four beaches is in the north east of the island. I’ve been there in sun and storms and it has never been anything other than beautiful. Hawksbill by Rex Resorts, which sits secluded in a dip enjoys almost complete privacy, even though all Antiguan beaches are public property, access to three of the beaches would be tricky if you were not a guest at the resort. 37 acres of tropical gardens protect the immediate area lending it a rugged and un-gentrified feel.

At the furthest end, interestingly where the honeymoon suites are situated in a horseshoe, the dress code is simple — nude. The beach is completely secluded and only getting through a large gate with very clear guidelines as to the (un)dress code, do you gain access. Try it first thing in the morning with the sun rising and have the beach to yourself.

The main beaches in front of the resort offer water sports of every type, whilst being roped off from swimmers. It has never seemed that busy to me — the equipment has seen better days, but it is fine for pootling around. I do recommend that you snorkel off the beach and around the headland to the right where the villa juts out into the sea. There are amazing things to be seen, safely and without getting pulled along by any rips. There are also stepladders up to the villa and I’ve had to get out there before — it wasn’t a problem. One thing which I hope the resort does is invest in some more shade brollies — there aren’t enough and whilst there are some overhanging trees to find shade under, it is not quite enough. The problem I guess is that the “untouched”, nature of the beach might be marred…?

During July to September, watch for jellyfish being swept into the main stretch of beach — the water is so clear that they aren’t immediately visible until you look from above. If you happen to get stung, get some lime juice or a tomato on it quickly, it soon stops stinging and itching.

My best beach is the one which the public often come down to — it has gentle waves and old foundations of some sort about five feet in. We found hundreds of tiny white shells all perfectly formed…(no, we didn’t bring them home). The snorkeling was great and body surfing was a pleasure.

Hawksbill by Rex Resorts offers a well-priced all-inclusive Antiguan beach vacation — if you want to experience these beaches you are pretty much obliged to stay here, or you can get a day pass. I would suggest this resort’s finest attraction is the collection of beaches — stunning seascapes for artists and amazing endless skies.

Tropical Sky client Gill says: “What a fabulous time we had in Antigua and thank you very much for sorting out our accommodation at Hawksbill by Rex Resorts.  It was absolutely wonderful and we couldn’t have wished for better. Lovely rooms, brilliant staff, great food – it really was paradise.  Certainly the most relaxing vacation we have ever had although we are now struggling with coming from 30 degrees celcius yesterday to minus one today!”

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