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Antigua: what's on when?

January - Super Yacht Challenge Antigua

Near the end of January, the docks of Antigua are taken over by “super yachts” – yachts in excess of 24 metres (80 feet) – awaiting the Super Yacht Challenge, which is a gruelling maritime adventure demanding supreme concentration and teamwork. Visitors can view the impressive yachts at Nelson's Dockyard.

February - Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) - Caribbean 600 Race

Starting and finishing in Antigua, this long-distance yacht race, a major event in the sailing world, passes a total of 14 islands spread across the central Caribbean. The most recent Caribbean 600 Race attracted 65 entries from 11 countries, with dedicated crews of both amateur and professional sailors and as many as 32 different makes of yachts.

March - whale watching

The whale watching season in Antigua runs from February through to May, with March often cited as the best time to view visiting humpback whales. You can watch the whales from land or arrange a chartered boat trip to view them up close. Atlantic spotted dolphins and bottlenose dolphins also frequent the calm waters surrounding Antigua and Barbuda, so keep an eye out for these friendly creatures.

April - Kite festival

The perfect tropical skies of Antigua come alive over the Easter weekend with the vibrant colours of kites from all over the world. Kite enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels participate, and the festival has quickly grown into one of the year’s highlights, both for locals and visitors to the island.

May - Annual Antigua and Barbuda Sport Fishing Tournament and Marlin Classic

Just as the sun rises, more than 40 boats loaded with over 130 anglers set off from the historic Nelson’s Dockyard, to participate in the annual Antigua and Barbuda Sport Fishing Tournament and Marlin Classic. Every year more participants join the events, with the aim of testing their skills and enjoying the camaraderie they encourage. The fish are lured, tagged and then released, so they remain unharmed.

June - World Environment Day

Antigua marks World Environment Day on 5 June by organising educational boat trips to Guiana and Bird Island; guiding visitors on various hikes in lush forests and getting schoolchildren to participate in various environmental protection awareness efforts.

July/August - Annual Antigua Carnival celebrations

The annual Antigua Carnival is a celebration of the abolition of slavery on 1 August, 1834. In earlier days the celebrations were more informal, but since 1957, the Carnival has been a highlight on Antigua’s calendar. Today the Carnival features a full 11 days of partying, with revellers on the streets, glorious costumes and dancing, brass and steel bands, plenty of food being sold and a full schedule of cultural shows, talent shows, beauty pageants and local concerts.

The Carnival festivities take place on the streets of St. John's and at the Antigua Recreation Ground (A.R.G), which hosts cricket games the rest of the year. The festivities culminate on Carnival Monday with a massive street party known as J'ouvert, with dancing that lasts through the night.

September - DeJam Music Festival

The clear Caribbean nights throb with music for two weeks of partying each September. The DeJam Music Festival showcases the talents of DJs from all over the world, with events at a range of locations – from secluded beaches to grand catamaran cruisers and street parties.

October/November - Independence Festival

Antigua achieved full independence on 1 November 1981. Today a week-long festival marks the occasion. The celebrations kick off with the Spring Gardens Moravian Independence Food Fair and include a fishing tournament, sports competitions, theatrical performances, film festivals and parades.

December – Annual Antigua Charter Yacht Show

For over 50 years, Antigua’s Charter Yacht Show has been attracting participants and visitors, from the Caribbean and beyond. The best and most sophisticated yachts find anchor at Nelson's Dockyard, where the public can view them. The week-long event ends with a "Day Sail" when visiting brokers get to experience "micro-charter" cruising of the stunning waters and islands surrounding Antigua, aboard the yachts.

Christmas in Antigua

If you’re in Antigua for Christmas, don’t miss the Champagne Party on Nelson’s Dockyard, with live Christmas music, drinking and dancing.