Overview – Antigua
Set in the heart of the Caribbean archipelago, the Leeward Islands nation of Antigua and Barbuda is a haven for beach lovers and sailors. Located 43 miles due east of Nevis, Antigua (pronounced An-TEE-gwa or locally as An-Tee-ga) is one of the most popular destinations for those on a Caribbean yacht charter.
Just a four hour flight from the east coast of the US, this 108 sq. mile flat island of coral and limestone is often a gateway for visitors heading off to other islands.
For those that chose to stay, Antigua is famous for cricket; historical sites; sparkling blue waters; a spectacular coastline with abundant coves, natural harbors and bays; approximately 365 white sandy beaches; its festivals (Carnival, International Literacy Festival, a number of indigenous food festivals, the Warri Festival, and of course the Antigua Sailing Week); its upscale tourism industry which offers offshore banking and gambling, and just about every outdoor activity imaginable. Antigua is also internationally famous as a luxury yachting destination and as a provisioning and marine supply center.
Twenty-five miles to the northeast lies the tiny sister island of Barbuda (60 sq. miles). Although less visited, those on a Caribbean yacht charter who really want to get away from it all will, like the late Princess Diana, appreciate the desert island remoteness and miles upon miles of pale pink and white sandy beaches. No matter how you spend your time in the island nation of Antigua & Barbuda, you will have plenty of experience choices to make your vacation dreams a reality.
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Events & Activities – Antigua
Here’s a preview of a few things you can expect during your Antigua yacht charter with Virgin Island Sailing®:
- Desirable sailing conditions for both traditional sailboat enthusiasts and catamaran sailors, plus marinas with amenities to host luxury superyachts.
- Remote white and pink soft sand beaches, lined with tropical lagoons and lively reefs throughout.
- A rich heritage with historical landmarks like Nelson’s Dockyard, Martello Tower and Soufriere Hills Volcano
A Few of the Best Places to Visit in Antigua:
- Half Moon Bay, Antigua. This crescent-shaped bay offers two unique beach experiences – one side on the Atlantic with a rougher surf and the other side with calm waters. Not only is Half Moon Bay one of the most beautiful beaches on Antigua, it’s also a great snorkeling spot.
- 11- Mile Beach, Barbuda. A narrow spit between the turquoise waters of the Caribbean and the Codrington Lagoon, this sugar-like pink sandy beach is also known as Low Bay Beach. Accessible only by boat, a bareboat or crewed yacht charter can moor offshore and enjoy this remotely located beautiful Caribbean beach.
- Montserrat Island. A British territory, but due to its Irish heritage calls itself the Caribbean’s Emerald Isle. During the 1990’s, the Soufriere Hills Volcano was very active and buried the main town of Plymouth with volcanic ash. Now years later, there is still seismic activity, but the major threat is quieted and this Caribbean island is a desirable tourism location to experience both it’s interesting volcanic nature and the beautiful scenery.
Antigua is well known internationally amongst yachting enthusiasts for the yearly Classic Yacht Regatta in early April and Antigua Sailing Week in late April. The latter includes several classes of yacht races, and the week is filled with beach parties and other fun events.
Like any Caribbean nation, Antigua hosts a variety of lively celebrations during holiday weeks.
Weather & Seasons – Antigua
Enjoy the Leeward Islands nation of Antigua & Barbuda year round. These islands are part of the Caribbean region which experiences temperatures averaging 80°F and are kissed by breezy, cool trade winds year round.
While vacationers visit Antigua every month, December through April typically brings the best sailing winds, which is the reason the one of the largest Caribbean sailing regattas occur during April. The mid season months of May and June have comfortable winds and good weather with typically mild rain, plus less people.
June begins the region’s hurricane season, which continues through November. Rain showers are more common in the summer and early fall. While some charters still enjoy cruising the waters during this time, conditions can be riskier between mid-August and mid-October. The Virgin Island Sailing® charter experts can assist you in choosing the best season to sail in Antigua.
|Temp Max (°F )||Temp Min (°F )||Avg. Water Temp (°F )||Avg. Rainfall (in)||Avg. Wind Speed (kts)|
|January||82||72||80||2||E / NE 10-25 |
|February||82||72||80||2||E / NE 10-25 |
|March||84||73||79||2||E / NE 10-25 |
|April||84||73||80||3||E 10-25 |
|May||88||77||81||4||E 10-25 |
|June||88||77||82||3||E 10-25 |
|July||88||77||83||3||E / SE 15-25 |
|August||88||79||84||4||E / SE 10-25 |
|September||88||77||85||5||E / SE 10-15 |
|October||88||75||84||6||E/ SE 5-15 |
|November||86||75||83||5||E 10-15 |
Sample Itinerary - Antigua
20-30 minutes | 1 mile
- Stunning beaches, lagoons, and reefs
- Swimming and snorkeling
- Many waterside cafes, bars and restaurants
A horseshoe-shaped bay and natural harbor particularly developed to cater to superyachts. Situated in a refined, busy, and cosmopolitan area where you will find an array of chic bars, restaurants and boutiques all within walking distance of each other. If you should tire of gazing and marveling at the impressive boats, you could wander over to Nelson’s Dockyard for a little island history. There are also a variety water sports for you if you want to get a little more active.
1 hour | 5 miles
- Secluded bay and with a backdrop of hills and rainforest
- Untouched sands and clear azure waters
- Stroll the chic resorts and enjoy fine dining
Enjoy the spectacular views of white sand, palm trees and turquoise water, amongst a backdrop of emerald green rainforest. The beaches offer a relaxing setting amidst crystal clear waters. Head ashore to stroll through the resorts and enjoy upscale or beachfront dining.
45-60 minutes | 3 miles
- Underwater park
- Excellent snorkeling and diving
- Wide variety of exotic marine life
A trip to the reef makes an exciting family-friendly break from the beach. Coral reefs are magnets for a variety of sea creatures. You may encounter spiny lobsters, conch, noisy parrotfish, slithery moral eels, soaring eagle rays and cruising barracuda. Non-aggressive reef sharks are also known to make a periodic appearance.
1 hour | 6 miles
- Stunning white-sandy beaches
- Seaside dining at top-notch restaurants
- An array of onshore activities including a championship golf course
Take advantage of the stunning white-sandy beaches and some fun onshore activities and then treat yourself to a delicious meal at one of the many fine restaurants. Enjoy an evening swim in some of the most amazing turquoise color water you will ever see. The view of the surrounding mountains and palm trees are also absolutely beautiful. Before calling it a day quench your thirst with a drink in the beach bar, or take advantage of happy hour in one of the marina bars.
1 hour | 6 miles
- Fantastic for snorkeling
- Shipwreck to explore
- Calm turquoise water ideal for relaxing
The calm turquoise waters provide the perfect opportunity for some rest and relaxation. The beautiful scenic views of the pearly white sands and palm trees create the ideal setting for a day of unwinding. Deep Bay is perfect for swimming and snorkeling and offers several interesting historical sites to explore.
15 minutes | 1 mile
- Historic 18th century British fort
- Short hiking trail
- Nearby beach bars
Explore the historic 18th century Fort Barrington beginning at the entrance of Deep Bay. From here, you can see the ruins of the Fort at the top of the hill overlooking the bay. Once you reach the fort you will be met with the most magnificent panoramic views of Deep Bay. This is one of the best locations to admire the breathtaking beauty of the Caribbean Sea from above and is a great spot for photos with the almost dreamlike backdrop of the bright blue sky meeting the turquoise water.
45-60 minutes | 4 miles
- Great snorkeling and scuba diving location
- Fantastic swimming and a variety of water sports
- Fully loaded resort beach experience
Turquoise waters and perfect white sand backed by a tropical green hillside. Simply relax and unwind or partake in the many activities you will find. From swimming to cove explorations, to kayaking, wind surfing and scuba diving there’s plenty to keep you busy. A little way off the coast of the bay, explore some uninhabited islands that are home to a one-mile-long coral reef for some superb snorkeling.
1.5 hours | 7 miles
- Postcard-perfect beaches
- Crystal-clear water
- Stunning views
Enjoy a relaxing evening admiring the pristine beaches and beautiful sunsets.
Great Bird Island
45-60 minutes | 3 miles
- Remarkable snorkeling
- Explore the bird sanctuary
- Hike to the top of the island
With white sand beaches encircled by palm trees and inhabited by exotic wildlife, you will be hard-pressed to find a more attractive location to getaway to. Explore the island with a nature hike and you may get a chance to see some endangered wildlife species, including the West Indian whistling ducks and the red-billed tropic birds. The sights from the hike that leads to the top of the island are incredible. Snorkel amongst a variety of vibrant marine life and enjoy the warm turquoise water.
1.5 hours | 7 miles
- Pristine white sand and secluded beaches
- Excellent snorkeling
- Exotic bird watching
Virtually undisturbed from the time it was discovered by European sailors 500 years ago the island itself is a natural oasis which summons to be explored at an easy relaxed pace. Explore the island and secluded beaches. Swim or snorkel among the diverse array of brightly colored tropical marine life. It’s an adventure you can’t really experience anywhere else in the area, so make it one of your stop-offs.
1.5-2 hours | 9 miles
- Amerindian Village site
- Stunning inlet
- Great area to explore
The Amerindian village site can be found about half a mile up the Indian Creek inlet. It is an internationally known prehistoric archaeological site and is the most important on Antigua.
15-20 minutes | 1 mile
- The Lookout
- Spectacular views over the bays
- Exquisite Caribbean dining
Make the hike to the summit of Shirley Heights, a restored military lookout and gun battery, and experience The Lookout which is a high point that presents a superb view of English and Falmouth Harbours’ and might just be the best view in Antigua. On a clear day, the vista provides views of the southern island of Guadeloupe and the active volcano Montserrat. The view is especially remarkable at early evening and sunset when all of English Harbour is lit up.
30-45 minutes | 2 miles
- Superb Galleon Beach
- Pillars of Hercules
- Snorkeling and swimming
White sand and tranquil waters with an exceptional snorkeling reef. The surrounding area is a beautiful blend of rolling hills, tropical vegetation, marine life, and historical sites. The bright white sands of Galleon Beach are capped with palms and enclosed by gentle waters. A short trek to the left of the bay around the point will take you to the Pillars of Hercules. The Pillars stand at the end of Charlotte Point guarding the entrance to Freeman’s Bay and English Harbour. They are natural geological rock formations carved by wind, rain and the sea.
10-15 minutes | 0.5 miles
- Nelson’s dockyard and Admiral’s House Museum
- Fine boutiques and restaurants
- Duty-free shopping
Used as a naval base by the English, in the 18th century, retrace Nelson’s steps by strolling along its fascinating streets and visiting Nelson’s dockyard and the Admiral’s House Museum. Not far from Nelson’s Dockyard, you will find a fine selection of bars and restaurants, and even an English pub that serves up British fare with a Caribbean twist. Take advantage of the duty-free shopping and visit some of the local boutiques. If you’re in the mood to get wet head on over to Windward Bay or Pigeon Beach for a relaxing dip in the ocean.
Back To Marina
45-60 minutes | 3 miles
One last short adventure to return your yacht. Soak in the Caribbean sun all the way.