In this day and age of accessibility to information, digital image sharing and social media interaction, the pressure has mounted on travellers to “get it right;” to have chosen the ideal hotel that seamlessly bound your entire party’s aggregate criteria; to have avoided sacrificing even a single meal to the realms of mediocrity and this phenomenon is perhaps even more pronounced amongst travel bloggers, who are eager to share the exploits of their adventures publically and who enthuse over amassing recommendations from their communities.
Sometimes, truth be told, I miss the simplicity of traveling in years gone by. I will admit, it dealt me some shockers but I felt a reduced onus of responsibility for them and they made/make for better anecdotes to this day.
When I learned that Antigua was purported to have 365 beaches, one for every day of the year, I would not have imagined that choosing one for a day of relaxation would be axing work by anyone’ definition. I had carried out some cursory research about Antiguan beaches during our Caribbean cruise and knew I wanted to avoid the crowds that would infiltrate the island’s largest and most famous beaches.
Also excluded from the shortlist were the most remote beaches, lacking in bathroom facilities or dining options. Creature comforts aside, it would not have been in Pumpkin’s interests to take me to a place where I would not be fed for the majority of the day.
And thus, once again, I was drawn towards my happy place, somewhere characteristically but comfortably between these two extremes and that was how I arrived at Ffryes beach. On the south-west coast of Antigua, this relatively smaller, less populated beach is still equipped with sun loungers, a beach bar and restaurant, bathroom and changing facilities and had been reported to be mind-blowingly beautiful.
As we disembarked the cruise ship in Antigua, we found taxi drivers circling us almost intrusively, something which we had not experienced at other ports. Most were gathering up groups of around eight tourists into min-buses to drive towards their chosen beaches – except that once we engaged in chit-chat with them, it became apparent that they were trying to coax tourists into choosing Dickenson Bay.
As one of the larger, more commercial but supposedly stunning beaches, this may have just been helpful recommendation but the rumour mill reported to me later that many drivers get commission for bringing custom to Dickenson. We adamantly refused to be swayed, insisting on visiting Ffryes beach, however, and two other couples of a similar age, already in his vehicle, started to ask us why we had opted for this one.
I was, in no way, seeking to enter a “my beach is better than your beach” debate but I briefly filled them in about how I had read it was more tranquil and unspoilt and within a few minutes of mumblings and exchanged glances, both other couples in the taxi decided they would follow our lead to Ffryes beach as well.
All of a sudden, that pressure to “get it right” heightened tenfold. It was one thing for Pumpkin to take a gamble with my suggestion in good faith and hope for the best but it was quite another for four unknown adults to change their plans on the basis of my musings.
As we all stepped out of the car, we were faced with a view, so unfathomably blissful that the prevailing sentiment among the group rapidly changed from one of uncertain apprehension to one of free-floating delight. The research had paid off and we had been dropped off at a palm fringed paradise, discovered by merely a handful of other people before us that day.
The sun loungers are charged at a rate of approximately 10 dollars per sun lounger (a little extra for a parasol) and there was a member of staff wandering up and down the beach taking payments for these. Even with a cruise ship in port, this beach was tranquil and uncrowded, requiring no competitive marathon sprints to acquire sunbeds.
After taking a few (dozen) beach view photographs from the flower-adorned balcony of Dennis’ Bar, we gave our flip-flops the afternoon off, enabling the warm, soothing sand to settle in the webs of our toes. I giggled to conceal my relief when one of the other couples who had been in our taxi asked me whether I would like my tip at the end of the day or immediately!
As I abided by the rulebook and lathered sun block on with tedious precision, Pumpkin leaped straight into the shallow, Tiffany-blue water, which was so sun-kissed that the transient few seconds of acclimatisation usually needed when you step int
o the sea became redundant. With so few other people in the water, his main competition in the sea came from a hungry pelican swooping in and out of the water with a competitive velocity.
I sometimes fear that travel writing has quashed the reader in me with all of life’s quieter moments being used to stimulate the conception of my own words rather than the appreciation of others’. Before joining Pumpkin for a wade in the sea therefore, I tried to redress this balance by making headway through my novel, disturbed only by the transient and unexplained mist of thousands of graceful butterflies whirring by in tandem.
Lunch at Dennis’ Bar
When our appetites were beckoning us, we ordered up some Pina Coladas and took shelter under the veranda at Dennis’ Cocktail Bar & Restaurant, where it is worth arriving a little early for lunch to secure yourself one of the beach view tables (it really does promise one of the best beach views you have ever dined to.)
With the benefit of being the only eating joint around, they have a bit of a monopoly on the stomachs of hungry tourists but they live up to this task by serving up solid portions of hearty, fresh, local food, the kind of food that will have you Googling Caribbean recipes when you are home and for us, was the best food we tasted during our entire time in the Caribbean.
Pumpkin kept it simple with a classic, jerk chicken, which he tells me is the best he has ever tried and I decided to keep it very local with the Ffryes bay shrimp in coconut and garlic sauce.
Of all the island beaches we visited, for me, it was Ffryes beach in Antigua that stole my heart the most. I want to say that next time I am back, I will explore one of the other 364 beaches. I should. And perhaps, I would but as I relive that perfect day at Ffryes in my mind, its idyllic sandy shores, its tranquil surroundings and its mouth-watering food-like-your-Grandma-made cuisine, I find it harder to convince myself that I could.
43 thoughts on “Ffryes Beach Antigua, A Secluded White Sand Paradise”
Well done for sticking to your choice of beach!! It looks absolutely beautiful and you found such a good spot for lunch! I so badly want to go on a sun holiday soon. Excited to look back through your NYC posts as well 🙂
Ash | Liakada
Oh Ash, I can totally empathise -I think we’re all craving another sun break now that it finally feels like a really chilly winter! You never imagine that food at a beach bar will be particularly gourmet, especially when it’s the only eating place around but it was just mouthwatering – really hearty authentic flavours cooked by locals who know how to do it right! ☺
What a truly beautiful and unspoilt place.
Just paradise isn’t it?! Unspoilt is exactly the right word Angie – we were so surprised to turn up after 10.30 ish and to find only about five other people on the entire beach – we certainly weren’t complaining about it though ☺
Oh the pressure but such a good pay off!! I’ve thankfully found on the road that the tips I’ve gotten from other travellers are often worth it. Good on them for taking a chance on your research.
Haha, thanks Melissa! I was majorly panicking and was almost wondering whether to just change my own plans and go for their choice of beach just to take the pressure off myself! I know exactly what you mean though – one of the yummiest meals we had in Bali was from other travellers that had recommended somewhere really simple but so delicious and not particularly well known online or on other review sites so you can pick up some great tips! ☺
I’d have been so nervous sat in that cab with everyone’s expectations hovering in the air – your research paid off 🙂
I really was Suzanne!! It wasn’t a comfortable feeling especially when it’s not as if I can vouch for the place I’m recommending when I’ve never even been myself!! In hindsight, the other option would have just been to pay for the private taxi! All’s well that ends well eh?!
What a paradise of a beach, Shikha – excellent choice! It looks picture perfect and definitely the most idyllic way to spend your day in Antigua… I’ve taken a few cruises before and I’m so keen to go on another one around the Caribbean, it’s seems the perfect way to explore as much of it as possible in a short length of time!
It was beautiful Ayushi! I’m not sure I would enjoy the cruise thing for all destinations but for island hopping around the Caribbean, it was perfect and gave me a great overview for which islands I’d like to return to one day and Antigua is definitely one of them ☺
365 beaches?! I didn’t realise Antigua was big enough to have that many! I have no idea how you managed to pick just one but looks like it was a great choice. My happy place would be sitting on that sand drinking piña coladas all day 🙂
That’s just the thing – it isn’t even that big but just such a dense concentration of beaches! I’d love to go back one day and go beach hopping! You’d have loved that beach bar Ayla with its lovely cocktails and views ☺
Sounds like you found the perfect beach! This post came at a great time, as I’m off to Antigua in a few weeks. I will have to visit while I’m there!
Oh how exciting Julie! I really didn’t have much knowledge about Antigua but this little slice of it just stole my heart and I’d love to return and see it in more depth one day. Hope you have a wonderful time there!
Sounds like it was amazing, great choice of beach! 🙂 We’re off on a Caribbean cruise later in the year but it’s not stopping in Antigua unfortunately!
Oh well there are so many other gorgeous islands that I’m sure you’ll find equally pretty beaches wherever you are headed on the cruise Priti! Sounds wonderful ☺
Coming from Australia, the Caribbean always seems so distant and exotic. Antigua looks beautiful – I’d love to go there one day…. fingers crossed 🙂
Hahaha, that’s exactly how I feel when I hear about places like Fiji and the Cook Islands Tim – flipping miles away from the UK! If you do get a chance to visit the Caribbean though, definitely make a pit stop in Antigua – it’s lovely!
Haha, this made me giggle – well done standing your ground! What a stunning spot for some reading, wallowing and eating. One day I will get to Antigua!
Follow Your Sunshine
Haha, I stood it with some serious nerves Polly! Imagine if they’d have all changed their plans because of me and it had turned out to be awful?! Really is a breathtaking island though!
You’re right that there’s a lot of pressure these days to choose the right place at the right time of year – even more so when you have a group of other holiday makers in tow! Sounds like your research paid off in spades
I was really feeling the pressure that day Suze so it was very lucky that it turned out to be such a beautiful beach that everyone ended up enjoying ☺
Wow, this beach is absolutely stunning. I could run there each morning, drink fruit smoothies and walk across the beach at night to stare at beautiful stars. Did you do that as well? 🙂
Unfortunately, you’re a lot better at keeping fit with exercise than I am Agness so no running for me though I would certainly say yes to the fruit smoothies! ☺ It was such a pristine beach, Antigua seems like a beautiful island!
I feel woo’ed with the phrase “disturbed only by the transient and unexplained mist of swathes of graceful butterflies whirring by in tandem.” Stunning Shikha!
Aaah thank you Emma, that’s so sweet of you to say! I had never seen anything like it – just hundreds of butterflies just migrating across – I had a couple of photographs but sadly they were on the camera that’s lost on the train service somewhere. *sob sob*
the photos are brilliant. The beach has a double ‘f’,. you should work for their tourism board.
Thank you so much Andy! Yeh I couldn’t quite figure it out with the double “f” & whether it’s supposed to be pronounced differently or something!
I’m so sad about your camera and I know you are too. Fingers crossed you experience a London miracle and it gets returned to you. My bag containing all of our photos from our trip to Australia and Singapore in 1999 was stolen and I recall how horrible that was.
This is a gorgeous post. I’d love to go to Antigua one day!
Oh Mandy, that must have been so upsetting when you lost those photos. Yeh…I was sad if I’m being honest, I’ve tried to put it in perspective and am grateful to still have had a few photos from the tril and glad that there weren’t more photos on there that hadn’t yet been uploaded but nevertheless, still disappointed with myself for being careless with it. Thank you so much for your kind and supportive words though Mandy, really appreciate it ☺
I hear you about researching for that perfect beach and the pressure – I had a similar thing with Sri Lanka! You did well here 🙂
How absolutely devastating about the camera though, I would have cried x
I didn’t make it to any of the beachy coastal areas in Sri Lanka Natasha so but I hear some of the coastlines are just beautiful 🙂 I did cry a little about the camera to be honest with you. I have always just used my phone to take photos for many years now so it was so exciting just having something a little better and I can’t believe how quickly I lost it 😦 I just had to keep focusing on the positives, I guess, which was that at least it was only one holiday’s worth of photos I lost and at least I had a few still on my phone and my husband’s gadgets etc but the majority of our pictures were all on the missing camera and I’m so cross with myself for not uploading them sooner! x
Excellent choice Shikha! The other couple were really lucky to have listened to your advice. I still can’t get over 365 beaches for such a small country! Amazing 🙂
Thank you Jean! And yes, fantastic little statistic isn’t it?! I think of all the islands we hopped around during this cruise, Antigua was my absolute favourite beach! 🙂
Isn’t it great when you find a special place like this, off the beaten track? It looks like your research really paid off, and if (no when – this is me we’re talking about) make it to Antigua, I’ll be sure to check it out for myself! K x
Yay Keri, I’m very glad indeed that you changed that if to a when! Antigua is just beautiful and I’m sure there were plenty of other equally stunning beaches but I just loved how peaceful, quiet and small this beach was with the most outstanding traditional Caribbean food at that beach bar! It was such a relief to see the looks on the faces of the other people in our cab when we arrived (after I spent most of that short drive panicking about the fact that they were all changing their plans because of me!) 🙂
This beach looks absolutely perfect… I think you definitely got it right!! :). I’m yearning for a pina colada now… I don’t think I’ve ever had any in all the times I’ve been to a beach town!
Did you ever get your camera back? I would be so sad :(.
I never found it Anna, in the last couple of weeks, I’ve been to the lost property office in London for the train operator, made several phone calls but no luck. My guess is, whoever found it must have just kept it 😦 Even though I know it’s trivial in the big picture, I was still really upset the weekend I realised it was gone, as I took so many photos so enthusiastically during this trip and because I took so many, Pumpkin took a lot less than normal, which made it even worse! I guess I just have to be grateful for the fact that because it was a new camera, at least it was only really this Caribbean trip that I lost photos for. I am definitely going to upload immediately in future!
Antigua is so beautiful! I just got back…
So stunning right Viktoria?! Absolute paradise beaches 😍