Billed as “The Caribbean’s greatest summer festival” Antigua and Barbuda’s Carnival is one of the twin island state’s biggest events, often attracting thousands of visitors both regionally and internationally to join in the celebrations. The official carnival celebrations take place from July 25-August 4 with a number of competitions and shows including music, pageantry and mas. Most of the events take place in the capital, St. John’s, at the historic Antigua Recreation Grounds (ARG). Of course, if you’re visiting for carnival, this means that you need a place to stay! The question is where is the best place to stay if you don’t know Antigua but want to take part? Here are 5 recommendations for the best place to stay if you’re visiting for Antigua’s Carnival.
Located in downtown St. John’s, Heritage Hotel is a great place to stay if seeing and hearing the hustle and bustle of the city is an attraction rather than a deterrent. The Heritage Hotel is on the main tourist area in St. John’s, located within the Heritage Quay shopping plaza. An easy 10-15 minute walk will take you straight to the ARG and carnival city where most of the action takes place. The hotel sits right on the waterfront overlooking the harbor where cruise ships come in, and has a scenic boardwalk on which to explore the area.
Joe Mikes Hotel, Restaurant and Casino
Joe Mikes, a small family run hotel, is in the heart of St. John’s, and therefore the heart of carnival. This unassuming building is located on Nevis Street and is therefore close to all of the amenities that St. John’s has to offer. There’s a restaurant downstairs for those who don’t want to go too far for meals, although there are also dozens of choices just steps down the street. Unlike most other accommodation, Joe Mikes Hotel is fully incorporated with carnival. They host the weekly Jam Corner events, where both established and up and coming artistes showcase their songs in the lead up to carnival. They also participate in the t-shirt mas and J’ouvert events, allowing patrons to party in a fun filled and safe atmosphere on the streets of St. John’s. There’s also a casino downstairs if you are looking for a few hours for other entertainment.
ELS Guest House
Located in Radio Range on the outskirts of St. John’s, ELS is a great place to stay that’s not too far from the action that takes place mainly in St. John’s but not too close to be disturbed by most of the noise or commotion. This four story guesthouse features one and two bedroom suites, each with their own private balconies. Each room is air conditioned, and has internet and cable TV, along with a microwave or stove. If you don’t feel like preparing anything yourself, there’s also a small restaurant on the top floor to cater for your gastronomic needs, as well as a games room to have some fun. The roof top is also designed as an open air relaxation area where you can enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding area and St. John’s.
Jolly Beach Resort
One of the larges resorts on the island, Jolly Beach Resort features one of the best beaches in Antigua with a two mile stretch of beautiful white sand. Although located in the quiet village of Bolans, it’s no more than a 15 minute drive to St. John’s, and public bus transportation is easily available just outside the resort. With specials just for carnival time and their own t shirt mas group, this is one hotel that definitely caters for those looking to vacation with a carnival twist. Enjoy the amenities of a shopping center, numerous restaurants and bars and a supermarket without the hustle and bustle of town. You can choose an all-inclusive package or self-cater at one of your numerous restaurant options. Jolly Beach Resort definitely offers the best of both worlds.
Paige Pond Country Inn
View this hotel on booking.com
If you’re in need of a place to relax during or after the carnival action, then Paige Pond Country Inn may be the place for you. Located in the tranquil village of Buckleys, this self-catering accommodation is the perfect place to “detox” after a hard day (or night) of carnival partying. Expect ensuite accommodation and other perks such as Wi-Fi internet for uploading those pictures as well as cable tv. Since you are located along a bus route there’s easy access to town, but you’re also only a 20 minute drive away if you’re driving. It’s the perfect getaway for the carnival partiers.
Another great option is the Anchorage Hotel – not on the beach and so representing a cheaper way to stay. Check that hotel on booking.com it’s well located to get you into St Johns fast.