Set at the heart of the glorious Leeward Islands, Antigua has become an essential stop for Caribbean yacht charters. While it’s white sandy beaches and crystal-blue lagoons offer a sun-soaked paradise, delve deeper into the island and you will find a country spanning an impressive number of historical and cultural sights. Antigua private yacht charter offers the very best of the Caribbean.
When to go on your Antigua Private Yacht Charter
Peak travel season runs from December to April when the island experiences average daily temperatures of 27 °C and little rainfall. If you are looking for peace and quiet then May to November sees the crowds decrease and a drop in prices. However, if you travel during this period you can expect a more tropical climate. With increased humidity and the risk of extreme weather during the hurricane season from July to November.
How to get to Antigua
VC Bird International Airport is located 5 miles east of the capital Saint John’s and recently opened a chic new terminal. Airlines such as Delta, US Airways, United Airlines, WestJet, JetBlue, CanJet and Air Canada all offer direct flights from a number of North American cities. Direct access from Europe is limited but British Airways and Virgin Atlantic for example offer flights from the UK.
Thanks to its considerable number of protected ports, Antigua is one of the principal yacht charter destinations in the Caribbean. There are full service marinas at all points of the island. English Harbour, Falmouth Harbour, Jolly Harbour and Parham Harbour are especially popular. They enable Leeward Islands yacht charter guests to access Antigua from other islands, such as Barbuda, Montserrat, Guadeloupe and St Kitts & Nevis.
Top Activities for an Antigua Vacation on a Yacht
Best Beaches and Bays in Antigua
It has often been said that on Antigua ‘life is a beach’. With 365 to choose from (yes that’s one new beach per day, every day for one whole year!), Antigua always has the right beach for you. Whether you’re searching for a secluded bay or buzzing beach clubs, this island has everything. By chartering a yacht in Antigua you will have the best access to both the bustling hotspots and the unspoilt coves. With a number of offshore reefs Antigua is also excellent for snorkelling and diving. The list below gives an indication of the variety on offer:
- Cades Reef: Located off the south-western corner of the island, this partially exposed coral reef is Antigua’s premier diving spot. As it is accessible from Falmouth Harbour, the reef and its surrounding small islands and shallow water is the ideal spot to drop anchor for a swim and snorkel.
- Dickenson Bay: Dickenson Bay is the perfect spot for those looking to experience a quintessential Caribbean beach. Particularly because it’s packed with hotels and beach bars. Soak up the party atmosphere at the hot pink beach bar and Ana’s on the Beach (001 268 462 6326). For the more active take a ride on a banana boat or jet ski from Tony’s Watersports and Bar (001 268 462 6326).
- Pigeon Point Beach: For a more low-key option head to the south coast’s premier spot at the mouth of Falmouth Harbour. Popular with local families, Pigeon Point is ideal for those looking to sunbathe and swim without the crowds.
- South-west contingent: Sparsely populated and remote by Antiguan standards, the south-west trio of Ffryes Bay, Darkwood Beach and Crab Hill Bay (Johnson’s Point) are a favourite amongst Antigua yacht charter guests. These glorious stretches of sand offer some of the best snorkelling spots on the island. Therefore they are also the premier spot to see the spectacular Antiguan sunset.
- Jolly Beach: Despite being slightly isolated on the West Coast of the Island, a handful of hotels in the nearby bay gives Jolly Beach the perfect balance between atmosphere and tranquillity. Surrounded by enormous headlands and stretching a full mile, this white sandy beach offers some of the prettiest scenery in the region. Also an excellent spot for diving, Jolly Dive offers daily trips from the beach.
- Half Moon Bay: Set on the East Coast of the Island, Half Moon Bay is as close as will you get to finding an ‘undiscovered’ beach. Bring your snorkelling gear and a BBQ and sit back and enjoy the bay’s unique light pink sand.
- Nelson’s Dockyard National Park: Made a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2016, this Georgian-era marina is Antigua’s most iconic sightseeing destination. With it’s beautiful stone Pillars of Hercules and excellent dockyard museum based in English Harbour, the dockyard is an excellent place to begin your Antigua yacht charter
- Martello Tower: Now a popular place to get hitched. But still worth the trip. As the 56ft mini fort built by the British in the early 1800s offers excellent views of the south west of the island.
- St John’s Cathedral: The capital’s most iconic landmark. With its twin spires and beautiful interior, the cathedral is a must for those wishing to visit the capital.
- Betty’s Hope: Located in the East of the island, Antigua’s first sugar plantation provides an insight into the island’s colonial past and the history behind the industry that typified the region before independence.
- Wallings Dam & Reservoir: Not far from English Harbour, an area surrounding a former Victorian style damn has been reforested and now contains a beautiful selection of trees including mahoe, white cedar and mango. Also popular amongst bird-watchers.
- Fort James: Built in 1739 and still possessing some of its 36 cannons, Fort James’ remote location in the north of the island makes it a super spot for yacht charterers to visit.
- 39ers Public Square: For a uniquely Antiguan sight, head to this boat-shaped monument. It is dedicated to Antigua’s first Prime Minister, Vere Cornwall Bird, and explains the Antiguan national flag. And particularly the significance of the pineapple as a symbol of the island’s hospitality.
Some of the Best Restaurants in Antigua
- Le Bistro: The smartest restaurant on the island. Serving up exquisitely prepared French cuisine on a plant filled veranda, Le Bistro is a foodie’s delight! (001 268 462 3881)
- Sheer Rocks: Sheer Rocks offers a daily tapas menu and full a la carte service in the evening. Spectacular because of its spectacular view over the blue ocean from a stunning cliff side, There is also a plunge pool and day beds which offer the perfect spot for sunset. 001 268 562 4510
- Catherine’s Café Plage: Pigeon Point’s premier destination, this tree sheltered café also specialises in French cuisine. Offering exquisite long lunches and some of the best seafood on the island. 001 268 460 5050
- Papa Zouk: For the full Caribbean experience, venture into the St John’s suburbs to this hugely entertaining restaurant and rum bar. Start by tasting a selection of over 250 varieties of rum before tucking into some quality seafood. While enjoying an evening of Caribbean live music. 001 268 464 6044
An Antiguan Party
Just like the rest of the Caribbean, Antiguans love to party and the island contains many excellent bars. Mostly based on beaches the typical bars offer live music and dancing best accompanied by a rum punch or Caribbean beer.
- Mad Goose Man: Located in between Falmouth and English Harbour, Mad Goose Man is a popular choice amongst yacht crew and tourists who flock for its speciality Live Music Fridays.
- Beach Limerz: Named after the West Indian phrase ‘to lime’ (meaning chill out), this classic wooden beach bar sits on the stunning Fort James Beach and as an excellent to relax while taking in the reggae, jazz and calypso being played in the background.
- Shirley Heights Lookout: Famed for their legendary Sunday Nights, Shirley Heights offers stunning views over English Harbour accompanied by the sounds of steel bands and soca.
- Cloggy’s: Situated below the Yacht Club, Cloggy’s is a lively spot offering hearty food and an atmospheric bar that stays open late.
- Abracadabra: Right at the heart of English Harbour, this Italian restaurant becomes a lively late-night venue featuring some of the best Caribbean DJs.
With years of experience and a commitment to the extra degree, 212 Yachts are ready to ensure your yacht charter in Antigua is simply mesmerizing. For expert advice, answers to all of your questions and to explore yachts available to charter on your travel dates in Antigua, contact our team today.