Our first spot in 2022 after the covid pandemic years. We arrived in Antigua after sailing across the Atlantic ocean and spent the next 6 months on this island paradise with 365 beaches, one for every day of the year, as they say here.
Explore Antigua with us while we share the highlights.
Antigua is located in the West Indies, south of the British Virgin Islands and St. Martin. Overall a fantastic spot to visit with many bumpy roads and a distinct feel. I like to break Antigua into its major areas, which have very different feelings from each other. Let's start with our home base, English Harbour.
English Harbour area lies to the island's south, open to the trade winds from the east. There is always a nice breeze blowing here, allowing for great daily sailing! This area tends to be the center of yachting on the island. The superyachts come and go as the season progresses as well as all manner of private or charter boats big and small.
The 2 adjoining bays, Falmouth Harbour and English Harbour, home to world heritage site Nelson's Dockyard, allow for some reasonably protected and safe anchorages with good holding. Daily visits from sea turtles in the afternoons are typical in these bays.
Pigeon Beach is a blast! We celebrated many an evening on this beach at Catherines Cafe or on lay Day of Antigua Sailing Week. Perfect spot to grab a drink and sit and pass the day away. A popular site with all the visiting yachties.
Just around the corner, you have Windward beach, as the name suggests it faces into the wind and can have quite a bit of surf, this makes of a very secluded feel and, if the day is calm enough, a great snorkel route.
Hikes around the hills in this area allow for excellent views like the Pillars of Hercules. Don't forget about Shirley Heights for some real Caribbean steel drum experiences, BBQ and a good party.
Learn to sail here with Ondeck Maritime Training Acadamy, a recreational and professional mariners school.
The area hosts a small town with all your necessities but forget supermarkets or getting any real banking or business-type errands done; for that, you need to head to St. Johns.
St. Johns is home to the central city and the cruise ship terminal. So expect all your typical establishments from banks to supermarkets, clothing stores, souvenir shops and everything in-between. Close by, you have Dickenson Bay, home of the famous floating bar and the starting point for many beach excursions.
If you are the sort of travellers we are, it's worth the visit, but not for long. So here is where you will find whatever purchase you want, but skip the tourist traps that cater to the cruise ships.
Nearby you can find several historical forts like Fort Barrington, A great short climb for a spectacular view over Deep Bay that hosts another great beach to spend the day.
I also heard about swimming with stingrays somewhere nearby, but we did not get the chance to check it out.
To the west lies Jolly Harbour; here, you will find most of the bareboat charter fleets and new gated housing developments. Many vacation rentals, as well as high and medium-range homes, are located in an area that is very self-sufficient with its banks and supermarket. So if your typical picturesque white sand beach and palm trees of the Caribbean are what you had in mind, this is where you will find it.
Many of the homes here remind me of a very Florida-like feel—pink colour stucco with docks in the waterways behind them.
One of the ways to drive here includes a trip through the national park. A rainforest-like feel on a bumpy road. Where some zip lining is also located.
To the East
On the Eastern side of the island, you have places such as Nonsuch Bay and Green Island, spots we often sail to. A few beautiful restaurants here, as well as incredible snorkelling. The perfect spot to spend an overnight anchorage. You have many more bays and inlets in this area that we ran out of time to explore. Hopefully, on our next stop, we can investigate it together if you decide to join us onboard!
We will be coming back to Antigua from March-May 2023! Connect with us to join onboard.
Our Recommendations ( Click to learn more)
Cloggy's - Dance the night away in a casual setting with other yachties
Energy Fitness / Accommodations - For gym and modern accommodations
Shirley Heights - Steel drums and BBQ party
KFC - Try it; it's different here for some reason
Zip Lining - Fun in the rainforest
Fort Barrington - Mini hike and beach area
Ondeck Maritime Training - Learn to Sail
Catherines Cafe - Great Beach Lounge/Bar
Official Tourism Site https://visitantiguabarbuda.com/
-The Sailing Adventurers
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