Explore the romantic bays and hidden beaches covered by blinding white sand. Don’t hesitate to begin your unforgettable journey! Tips and advice on how to make the best of your time while sailing in Antigua.
This article gives you an overview of the following topics:
- What’s the best time for sailing in Antigua?
- Coasts in Antigua: Wonderful hidden spots in Antigua that you cannot miss
- Ports around Antigua
- Sail in Antigua! Antigua sailing holidays, tours and itineraries
- Antigua sailing holidays: a week catamaran sailing itinerary (North)
- 7 days sailing around Antigua
- Antigua catamaran tours: 1-week catamaran sailing in Antigua (South)
What’s the best time for sailing in Antigua?
Due to the fact that Antigua is located in the tropical zone, the temperature is consistent during most of the year. The average annual temperature is above 26 °C; it is usually around 24 °C both during the day and night. The warmest period is between May and October when the temperature doesn’t drop below 28 °C. In this area, the hurricane season is from July to October. According to the statistics, there hasn’t been a hurricane here since the ’90s. The safest period for sailing is between November and June when the weather is peaceful, and there aren’t many rainy days.
The climate is pleasant during the whole day, with cool breezes and calm nights. This is the perfect time for relaxation, hiking, and recreation. Variations in the water level caused by the tide are minimal, having no effect on cruising. Check the sailing conditions and wind rose diagram of Antigua
Coasts in Antigua: Wonderful hidden places in Antigua that are worth visiting by boat
We should consider the following must-visit places in Antigua.
St. John’s, the spectacular capital
The capital city and largest town of Antigua is St. John’s. It is the centre of international and local trade. Also, it is the sailing centre of an archipelago consisting of three islands. There is a giant harbour here which is very well equipped. While walking in the city centre, we can leave our boat in the marina without any problem. There are several shops, restaurants, and WiFi in the area. After docking our boat, it is worth making a trip to St. John’s Cathedral. This impressive white cathedral was originally built-in 1683, and its two twin towers were built added in 1845. It can be found on the highest point of the city, offering an amazing view of the sea and the harbour.
The next spot that we will definitely have to see is the Antigua and Barbuda Museum. The museum can be found downtown and was established inside the oldest house of the island in 1747. The most interesting periods of the island’s history are exhibited here. If you have a chance, you should visit one of the local markets to buy some beautiful and fresh Caribbean fruits and vegetables.
Admiral Nelson’s Dockyard
Cruising further from the capital, the next destination could be Admiral Nelson’s Dockyard, which is also one of the national parks in Antigua. The harbour is located in the English Bay, which is one of the most beautiful natural bays of the region. It served as the safe home of Admiral Nelson during the Napoleonic wars. The national park has a museum, shops, restaurants, and an amazing harbour. It is real yacht heaven. We can also find a yacht yard here. They are still manufacturing vessels.
The National Park offers several activities to the visitors. The house that once belonged to the admirals has a dockyard museum which presents the history of the dockyard. We can observe the ongoing archaeological research as well. There are many wonderful yachts in the dockyard. The harbour is a fascinating spot for visitors. It is very well equipped; several vessels may be docked here.
After sightseeing, the well-deserved relaxation awaits. There are 365 beaches in Antigua; one of the best ones that we should visit is Dickenson Bay. It is a beautiful beach covered by amazing white sand where the sea is always peaceful. There are giant hotels along the beach with the highest booking rate per year. Swimmers can choose from restaurants, cocktail bars, and watersports during the day. There are a lot of small uninhabited islands nearby, and a one-mile-long coral reef can also be found on the shores of the bay.
Pigeon Point Beach
Pigeon Point Beach is a very popular spot in Antigua. It may be suitable for those who like the whirl and active recreation. The beach is located on the southeast part of the island, it has many bars and restaurants, and it also offers recreational activities. There are also showers, changing tables and playgrounds available. Adventurers can even scuba dive on this shore segment.
Ports around Antigua
There are many ports and anchorages here; it is important to note, however, that sailing on Antigua is not always easy.
The landscape is beautiful though, and the locals are very hospitable, so it is definitely worth taking the risk!
The harbour is located on the south coast of Antigua. It is only a few minutes’ walks from the famous Nelson’s Dockyard Maritime Museum. In the well-equipped harbour there is drinking water and electricity available. The harbour can accommodate larger boats up to 100 m in length. The AYC Marina is home to a regatta in April and the following Antigua Sailing Week.
It is located north of Falmouth Harbour, just minutes from the hustle and bustle of the harbour. However, the distance is enough to make the marina peaceful and quiet. The marina has 60 berths for boats up to 60 m in length. The depth of the seabed is 4 m. In the marina, there is 24-hour security, a hotel and two restaurants.
Nelson’s Dockyard is a 45-minute drive from the capital. It is one of the most famous sailing destinations. Also, the Dockyard is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Thanks to regular maintenance and restoration work, the port still preserves its 18th-century look. Once it was a naval base for the British Royal Navy. Today, the Dockyard is part of a complex with museums, parks, restaurants and cafés. You need a permit to berth with your own boat, but you can easily berth with chartered boats.
Jolly Harbour Marina
Although Jolly Harbour Marina is not the largest marina on the island, it is well-equipped and offers quality services for sailors. Whether it is boat maintenance, storage, bicycle rental or even a hairdresser, sailors are not in short supply. The marina has 155 berths of drinking water and electricity.
Sail in Antigua! Antigua sailing holidays, tours and itineraries
Antigua sailing holidays: a week catamaran sailing itinerary (North)
The trip begins in the capital, St. John’s, and this is where we return after a week. Boat rental in Antigua.
Day 1. St. John’s – Long Island
16, 99 km (10, 56 mi)
After leaving St. John’s Harbour, we sail to Long Island. Approaching the shore, breathtaking rocks, dashing coral reefs and peaceful beaches welcome us. After dropping anchor, let’s go on an adventure! Hike to Hamiltons Cave, discover Dean’s Blue Hole, which is the second-largest blue hole in the world, or take a nice walk along the pink-sand beaches. For a cultural experience, visit the Twin Churches and St. Peter’s & St. Paul’s Church in Clarence Town. After the exhausting hike, we can choose from several restaurants famous for their fresh fish dishes, special spices and local hospitality.
Day 2. Long Island – Barbuda
54, 97 km (34, 16 mi)
Barbuda is a member of Leeward Islands and is part of the Antigua and Barbuda archipelago. Leaving for the north from the harbour in St. John’s, we can reach the island after a few hours of cruising. The highest point is barely 38 metres above sea level. The centre of the island used to be a town called Codrington, until it suffered vast damages in September 2017. Hurricane Irma destroyed most of the area, and as a result, locals had to move to farther islands. We can admire some beauty of nature here as well. If we are lucky, we might encounter the Ameiva Griswold’s, which is a species of lizard in the Teiidae family and can only be found here in the whole world.
Another spot that we shouldn’t miss on the island is Pink Sand Beach. It is an abandoned shore segment with a length of 8 miles. You can walk miles without meeting anybody. The sand is fabulous pink and gold thanks to the crushed coral.
Day 3. Barbuda – Gustavia
109, 89 km (68, 29 mi)
Gustavia is the capital of Saint-Barthélemy. It offers many activities for nature lovers and several cultural events to check out. Approaching the island, we are greeted by a completely different landscape than on the previous days: steep cliffs and dormant volcanoes covered with lush vegetation. The island is a French territory, but the memories of Swedish rule are also present. Visiting Schell Beach and Fort Karl is a must for nature lovers. If you have time, discover the Swedish Clock Tower. You should buy the souvenirs here: you should not leave the island without some locally roasted coffee, unique shoes and jewellery.
Day 4. Gustavia – Anguilla
40, 58 km (25, 21 mi)
Anguilla can be found to the northwest from Barbuda, and it also belongs to the Leeward Islands. This is one of the smallest islands in the region and is a very popular secret destination amongst celebrities and movie stars. It is a perfect and exclusive place that has everything visitors may need. Life on this island is not at all busy; it is perfect for relaxation and spending our time on the beach. They say that the seawater here glistens more beautifully than in any other place in the region. You can swim with dolphins, do watersports or enjoy the sunshine while sipping cocktails in the company of a movie star.
Day 5. Anguilla – Saint Kitts and Navis
94, 84 km (58, 93 mi)
Day 6. Basseterre (St.Kitts & Nv.) – Redonda
58, 53 km (36, 37 mi)
Going further towards the southwest, we get to a tiny island. It is Redonda, which is part of Antigua and Barbuda. It has a territory of 1.6 square kilometres and is basically a volcanic rock with walls as high as 300 metres. The island is uninhabited; we can only encounter tourists and fishermen here. The giant rocks reaching into the water provide quite a beautiful sight. It is a good idea to sit down on one of them to watch the sunset.
Day 7. Redonda – Montserrat – St. John’s
71, 55 km (44, 46 mi)
The next and last destination before reaching our starting point is Montserrat. The island had been struck by natural disasters, so certain parts were closed down. Still, it is remarkable that the island has preserved its breathtaking beauties after such disasters. We shouldn’t miss the most active volcano on the island, Soufriére Hills. There are several sights in the area, for instance, the museum which illustrates the way volcanoes work. We can choose from many tourist routes that offer amazing views of the sea, or in the case of clear weather, Antigua itself. Besides, there are countless bays and beaches where we can swim and go scuba diving.
7 days sailing around Antigua
Day 1. English Harbour – Nonsuch Bay 18, 24 km (11, 33 mi), Day 2. Nonsuch Bay – Low Bay (Barbuda) 55, 26 km (34, 34 mi), Day 3. Low Bay – Coco Point (Barbuda)18, 41 km (11, 44 mi), Day 4. Coco Point – Dickenson Bay 52, 91 km (32, 88 mi), Day 5. Dickenson Bay – St.John’s 6, 34 km (3, 94 mi), Day 6. St.John’s – Jolly Harbour 13, 56 km (8, 42 mi), Day 7. Jolly Harbour – Carlisle Bay – English Harbour 20, 13 km (12, 51 mi).
Antigua catamaran tours: 1 week catamaran sailing in Antigua (South)
Day 1. English Harbour – Jolly Harbour 20, 13 km (12, 51 mi), Day 2. Jolly Harbour – Little Bay 48, 05 km (29, 86 mi), Day 3. Little Bay – Marigot (Guadalope) 98, 36 km (61, 12 mi), Day 4. Marigot – Pointe-à-Pitre 61, 30 km (38, 09 mi), Day 5. Pointe-à-Pitre – La Désirade 54, 55 km (33, 90 mi), Day 6. La Désirade – Port Louis (Guadalope) 66, 03 km (41, 03 mi), Day 7. Port Louis – Nonsuch Bay – English Harbour 94, 26 km (58, 57 mi).
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