Antigua is the largest of the English-speaking Leeward Islands in the Eastern Caribbean. Like most islands in the Caribbean, it benefits from a warm climate moderated by steady trade winds. This makes the region one of the world’s most desirable sailing destinations along with its complex coastline, abundance of safe harbors and a nearly unbroken protective coral reef.
Sailors flock here as they are spoiled for choice when it comes to sunbathing and swimming. There is said to be 365 distinct beaches on Antigua, one for every day of the year.
Day 1: Arrive at the base, Jolly Harbour, a relaxed Caribbean town with open air bars on the waterfront – perfect for atmospheric cocktails as the sun sets. Greencastle Hill Park is one of Antigua’s highest points and popular for its views and megaliths.
Day 2: Head to Five Islands Harbour and the boat accessible Pinching Bay, where you can enjoy a peaceful, undeveloped beach – something that’s becoming rare on Antigua. Snorkeling and beachcombing are good here but take your own provisions for lunch and dine on board. If you want amenities, try the neighboring Hawksbill Bay with its resort.
Day 3: Sail north to Deep Bay, which is renowned for great snorkeling thanks to a 100-year old shipwreck in the bay. You’ll be able to see a lot underwater here as the water is so clear and calm. If you are feeling energetic you can hike for 10 minutes and explore Fort Barrington, which was built in 1780.
Day 4: Head south to English Harbour, which is also known as Nelson’s dockyard due to its heritage as an important former British military base. Horatio Nelson lived in the dockyard in the late 1700s. This is the last working Georgian-era dockyard in the world and it’s recently undergone a major transformation and restoration. Get a fantastic view of the area on the hills overlooking the dockyard at Shirley Heights, which is also an old military position and gun battery sitting 490ft above sea level. It’s the place to be on a Sunday afternoon and evening, when a local steel band plays and you can enjoy delicious local BBQ while watching the sunset.
Day 5: Head to Green Island, an uninhabited isle which is privately owned by the Mill Reef Club. The western part of the island is just the spot for snorkeling and spotting colorful fish, even turtles, as well as exploring quiet, sandy beaches. It’s often described as a charter highlight. You can also stop by Willikies and the rock formation Devil’s Bridge.
Day 6: Make for Carlisle Bay, known for its luxury resort where you can enjoy the fine dining ashore or stop at the wonderful anchorages to explore beautiful scenery. It’s a great place to kayak and explore the mangroves.
Day 7: Head back to base.