Yacht Charter & Sailing Vacations

Antigua • Where to go • When to go • What you should know • How to Book

Antigua yacht charter –“The Beach is just the Beginning”

With 365 beaches, one for every day of the year, Antigua (and its sister island Barbuda) makes for a fabulous yacht charter destination.  But as its motto goes, the beaches are just the beginning.  Ideal for adventure seekers, you can zipline through the rainforest, swim with wildlife, try your hand at a variety of water sports, bird-watch, hike, horseback ride or take a history adventure tour.  Warm clear water, stunning nature and wildlife, abundant nightlife, tons of on-water and land activities, and colorful maritime history –this Leeward Island in the Caribbean is not to be missed.

Antigua is a very kid-friendly place because of the beaches and water activities.

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Antigua Yacht Charter and sailing vacations going ashore on a dingy


We’ve been there!

And, we’d do an Antigua yacht charter again and again (and again), there is a good reason – plenty to explore – the beaches – good food – good trade winds – warm water – and some fascinating history. 

This time we circled the main island – next time we’d love to go to Barbuba where they say the pink sandy beaches are not to be missed. We snorkeled, we sailed, we beached it, we explored the old fort, we ziplined through the rainforest, and so much more.  You can’t do it all in a week but if you keep coming back, maybe you can experience most of it.

Sailing Requirements

Antigua Bareboat charter requirements:

Sailing Resume



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Sailing Skill Level

Knowledge – Skills – Experience:

✔ Intermediate Plus

Antigua Yacht Charter note:  there are a few shallow reefs that you need to be aware of and so confident navigation skills are required. Barbuda is a 25-mile sail to the northeast. Take careful note of charts and watch radar and weather prediction apps for thunderstorms.
Sailing Skill Levels ›

When to go?

Antigua is generally a year-round destination.

The best time to visit is between November and May when the weather and trade winds are more stable, and temperatures are comfortable. But this does not preclude the other months – Antigua is enjoyable all year around. During the peak of summer, it is a good idea to have air conditioning on your boat.


Antigua and Barbuda have a tropical climate with delightfully warm and easily swimmable water temperatures all year around ranging from 79 °F  (26°C) to 84 °F (29°C) – nice! The cooler dry season is from January to mid-April. Air temperature rarely gets above 90 °F  (30°C) and rarely below 72 °F (22°C). The wettest months are July through October although mostly from thunderstorms rolling quickly through and so the sunshine hours remain high.

The best and most predictable wind season is January through mid-April.

Cuisine and Provisionng

A mix of American, Indian, Arab, European, and African influences make up the cuisine of Antigua.  The national dish of Antigua and Barbuda is fungie (pronounced “foon-jee”) ( a cornmeal dish).  Another traditional dish is the pepper pot—a stew of meats, dumplings, spices, and vegetables.  But you’ll find an array of dishes to suit any palate—from hamburgers to Jamaican jerk to Roti to shawarma to fresh caught seafood.  And best not to miss the black pineapple!

Must See & Do

  • Water activities.  Scuba the Sunken Rock or Pillars. Snorkel the shipwreck of the Andes or Freeman Bay.  Try a variety of water sports (kite surfing, windsurfing, jet skiing) at Nonsuch Bay or Dickenson Bay.
  • Visit/hike Shirley Heights. Overlooking Nelson’s Dockyard is Shirley Heights.  A hike to the top gives you gorgeous views.  Make sure you visit on Sunday to enjoy the festivities—sunset, food and drinks, and bands with steel drums
  • Explore Nelson’s Dockyard and the historic Fort Barrington.  This working marina and maritime museum provide modern shopping, delicious restaurants, and stunning hiking beauty. On Friday nights, enjoy ‘Seafood Friday’ at the Dockyard.
  • Sail to Barbuda.  North of Antigua Barbuda is known for its pink sand beaches, remote beauty, colorful reefs, and birds.
  • Enjoy fancy resorts.  From the 5-star Carlisle Bay resort to the top-rated Jumby Bay, Antigua is home to resorts with luxurious spa offerings and exquisite dining options.
  • And the number 1 thing for kids is to do the bouncy beachy thingy in Ffryes Bay.

How to get there?

VC Bird International Airport (ANU) is the international airport serving Antigua and Barbuda. It is a very modern and well designed airport.  It is about 30-35 min taxi ride away from the charter bases located in Jolly Harbour and English Harbour.

Antigua Bareboat Charter Sample Itineraries

Where to go on an Antigua-Barbuda sailing vacation?

Scroll below for sample itineraries or use the map to explore.

Sample Itineraries:

There are two basic places to start from on an Antigua Yacht Charter: English Harbour and Jolly Harbour. Above is just a few sample itineraries. There are many more bays to stop in. Ask at your charter base at time of check-in. Also consider the swells which will affect your last minute decisions on your itinerary. Also depending on the Sargassum Seaweed, you may also need adjustment.

Visting Barbuda is certainly an option. It is an all-day sail there and all day back so that will cut into your itinerary. Since there is so much to see around Antigua, we recommend a 10-day itinerary for Barbuda.

In the interactive map above, click the left top box. This gives you options to visit other itineraries and turn them on and off. Enjoy!

Antigua Related Blog Posts


NauticEd are Antigua yacht charter agents. We don’t charge you a fee and can more than likely save you money on all your sailing vacations. We search the world’s databases for over 8,000 yachts in 55 destinations. We give expert advice on where and when to go – likely, we’ve been there. Make an inquiry and book your sailing vacations through NauticEd Sailing Vacations.

Additional Notes

Sailing Skill Levels

Local Knowledge + Education: as Sailing Vacation Experts, NauticEd’s team has chartered and sailed in almost all these locations – providing you with the “local knowledge” you need when planning a sailing vacation. And, as the leader in sailing education, NauticEd assigns different skill levels based on the knowledge-theory and practical/experience needed for chartering in different sailing locations.

Recommended Knowledge-Theory Courses for chartering: Bareboat Charter Master Bundle (six bareboat and near coastal courses), Catamaran Sailing Confidence (if chartering a Cat), Yacht Charter Crew Course (for your crew).

Skill Levels notably emphasize the overall practical experience and competency that is required to sail in certain areas. Of course, the “devil’s in the details” on specifics, and we recommend you contact us when planning a sailing vacation. We’ll save you money on your vacation – which is great – but being prepared to have safe fun experiences that will last a lifetime is priceless!

• Intermediate = Near Coastal <5nm within sight of land, some navigation hazards (always be aware), and generally mild weather conditions. Good seapersonship (i.e., “seamanship”) skills, knowledge, and experience apply.

• Intermediate +Plus = Near Coastal <15nm, within sight of land in clear atmospheric conditions, moderate navigation hazards, and/or challenging weather. Good seapersonship skills, knowledge, and experience apply.

• Advanced = Near Coastal <20nm, within sight of land in clear atmospheric conditions, many navigation hazards, and/or potentially difficult weather. Expert seapersonship skills, knowledge, and experience apply.

*Atmospheric conditions: from the deck of a sailboat, your “visible horizon” is about 12nm on a clear day (considering typical freeboard + your height). Visibility is decreased by haze, fog, rain, smoke, and similar atmospheric considerations. Navigating by line of sight is obviously greater if your destination has features such as mountains, lighthouses, tall buildings, etc…

*Navigational hazards may include features such as rocks, shoals, rough inlets or anchorages, challenging tides and currents, lee shores, commercial traffic, etc…

*Weather: examples of challenging or difficult weather include thunder/lightning storms, areas prone to high winds, or even seasonal risks such as excessive heat.


Last updated on October 15th, 2023