Hands up who else remembers the days of telephone boxes!? In England these red-painted booths are iconic, and as an almost thirty-year-old I look back with a fond nostalgia to the days of scrabbling around for 20p to make a call before you got the bus home from school. Ah, the good old days, when people didn’t stare at a phone screen for hours on end! So, imagine my delight when I learned that one of Antigua’s 365 beautiful beaches is home to a boldly-coloured telephone box. True, you can’t actually make a call from this bad boy, but as a millennial craving the simpler times of dial-up-tones on your internet and telephones that aren’t actually cordless, I was certain that the sight of a bright red box on a beach in Antigua would be a brilliant jog to my memory.
Which one of Antigua’s 365 beaches is it?
The telephone-box beach is actually part of Dickenson Bay, one of Antigua’s most popular spots for anything beach-related. This beautiful area is definitely what would spring to mind the minute that anyone even mentioned the words ‘Caribbean’ and ‘beach’ in the same sentence: milky turquoise water, a curved stretch of white sand, and the palm trees swaying ever so slightly in the breeze all combine to make the perfect paradise-inspired location. I don’t think ‘paradisical’ is an actual word, but it should be, and it should be used to describe this very location. There are resort hotels, bars and restaurants running almost the whole length of the bay, however it still never seemed to get very crowded. This is my kind of place. And pals, let me get this straight, although the telephone box is really nothing more than a casual and random addition to an already exquisite beach- I appreciated it nonetheless!
Where to eat
If you’re travelling to Dickenson Bay by taxi, it’s worth asking to be dropped at Coconut Grove, a restaurant and bar right on the beach (and right next to that iconic red phone booth). Not only is it an ideal drop-off point, but the restaurant itself is pretty darn tooting, finger licking good. And don’t even get me started on the drinks. My pal, her lovely Mum, and I, had a delicious meal at Coconut Grove and became so obsessed with some kind of grapefruit-ting beverage that it was difficult to actually leave.
A short walk up the seafront is Ana’s on the Beach, a slightly fancier-looking place complete with beach-front cabanas and white tablecloths, accented with pops of pink cushions and vases. I never ate here but I’m told it’s another downright delicious location for a meal or two or three.
The Jet-Ski Fiasco
You may or may not know this already pals- but I am something of a proverbial chicken. Not only am I a chicken, but I’m also the type of chicken who forces myself onwards through the fear despite knowing that there’s a high chance I won’t actually enjoy the experience at all. I once jumped into the Adriatic Sea from a pedalo as I was marginally more fearful of offending the family I was staying with than of the choppy open water. (Bear in mind I only got my 25m swimming badge in year 6 because the swimming instructor trailed a massive pole in the water ahead of me which I could cling on to every time I convinced myself I was about to drown). I climbed an exceedingly high bell tower with no guard rail on a windy day by myself in Croatia, pushing myself to the top after a ten minute breakdown halfway up, during which I began hyperventilating. So when my pal Tayler-Beth suggested we hire a jet ski as it was such a good deal, I had to jump on the bandwagon, pushing all my life-long fears of ever sitting on one to one side. Good one, me.
I sat on the back, clinging on to my fearless friend for dear life and praying that this would turn out to be full on awesome. That’s right guys, I was clinging on for dear life before we’d even started moving. For the bargain price of around $40 for about half an hour (if I remember correctly), we were off! Tayler-Beth revved the engine and we both sped off into the distance, warning light blinking throughout our entire journey, and left-turn not really seeming to be working properly. Both of us spent the majority of the ride either screaming or laughing hysterically, and with slightly impaired vision from the amount of salty spray pelleting back at us from the sea.
When we watched the video that Tayler-Beth’s mum had taken of us leaving the beach on our James Bond-esque ride, we were truly surprised to discover that we can’t have been going faster than about 3.5 miles an hour. It certainly did not feel like that, pals, but I suppose it’s all relative really isn’t it?
Was I terrified? For 85% of the time, yes. Am I glad I did it? Actually, yes I am. Would I do it again? Probs not.
Related: What to do in Split, Croatia
The guys we got our slightly questionable jet-ski from had a whole range of things to hire out to beach-bums. And one of those things, were horses. Having spent some time chatting to a couple of sad-looking horse-chaps tied to a tree on the sand, I’d already decided that horse-riding in Antigua would not be my thing. I’m no horse-whisperer but these four-legged fellows had the air of Eeyore about them, appearing a little too bony and not even bothering to flick away the flies that landed on them. A friend of mine from the ship who has horses at home decided to take a ride and instantly regretted it- “the horse could barely breathe under my weight, and I’m not a heavy guy!” It’s true, he’s not a heavy guy, and to sit on a horse that’s huffing and puffing after thirty seconds is a very sad situation, let’s face it. If someone tries to sell you a horse-ride, it’s totes worth thinking twice about whether it’s actually going to be a great experience for the horse itself, know what I’m saying!?
Dickenson Bay is a glorious place, visited by locals and vacationers alike, and I fully appreciated spending time there. Don’t get me wrong, I may have only visited a few of Antigua’s 365 beaches, but this one is a downright brilliant start, that’s for sure!
Tips for visiting Dickenson Bay
- The weather in Antigua (and the Caribbean in general) can change in seconds. One second it’s gloriously warm and sunny, then there’ll be a sudden shower that lasts ten minutes- before the sun reappears. Be prepared for fickle rain clouds! (As seen in the pictures above)
- If you’re arriving by cruise ship, to get from St Johns to Dickenson Bay is about 15 minutes by taxi; and is one of the closest beaches, if not closest, to the capital city.
- All-inclusive resorts are king around these parts, so if staying on the island, this is probs the way to go.
- US dollars are widely accepted in Antigua and Barbuda, as well as the East Caribbean Dollar…its definitely a good idea to always carry some cash on you.