With calm clear waters on the southern coastline and rough rolling waters on the northern Atlantic side, Antigua has a wide selection of beaches. Many are deserted, accessible only by tender and therefore perfect for those in search of complete privacy, whilst others are ideal for partygoers or water sports enthusiasts.
'There are so many beaches on Antigua that it’s hard to choose just one, but top of my list are Dickenson Bay on the northwest corner and Half Moon Bay on the east coast,' says Monaco broker Lesley Excoffon.
'Both are long stretches of sparsely populated white sandy beach and provide the perfect base for beach games or a barbecue set up by your yacht’s crew.'
Lesley also recommends taking the tender ashore to the perfect crescent shaped beach at Carlisle Bay. 'Fringed by untouched rainforest, the sheltered beach and calm waters are perfect for families with young children.'
Antigua is currently enjoying a gastronomic boom rich with both local and international flavour and culture. And fortunately, owing to the island’s mountainous topography the best restaurants in Antigua are generally perched high up along the Atlantic or Caribbean coastline and benefit from spectacular views. Choose from dishes featuring locally caught spiny lobster, fresh catch of the day or indigenous cuisine such as saltfish or macaroni pie.
Broker Craig Cohen from New York recommends stepping off your yacht onto the private jetty at Jumby Bay. 'Just a short cruise from the mainland, the secluded island resort is home to The Estate House - one of the top fine-dining venues in the whole Caribbean,' says Craig. 'Merging classic fare with island flavours, the menu perfectly complements the old plantation house in which the restaurant is located.
For less formal occasions, the new Jumby Bay Veranda is an Italian trattoria where home-made pastas and fresh fish and meat dishes are cooked Italian style, all enhanced by herbs and fresh produce straight from the resort’s farm.'
For the best place to enjoy the sunset, head to Carmichael’s. The restaurant is perched high up on a hill overlooking Jolly Harbour and affords its diners spectacular views. The menu is equally impressive, with diners able to choose from a variety of delicate fresh seafood dishes or hearty, local cuisine.
'Try the sesame seared yellowfin tuna or the Antiguan sweet potato curry,' recommends Miami broker Diana Meza. Diana also recommends Sheer Rocks for its stunning location high on the cliffs. 'For a really unique and unforgettable experience I always recommend clients reserve the private pavilion by the water's edge.' Dishes are created from the freshest ingredients available in a creative menu that aims to be sophisticated without being pretentious. 'Their Caribbean tapas is highly recommended – try tuna tartar and sticky pork.'
One of the best fish restaurants on Antigua, the characterful Papa Zouk in St. John’s is ideal for lovers of fresh seafood. 'Try the Antiguan lobster dipped in garlic butter, or a red snapper caught that morning, simply grilled and accompanied by a selection of 250 different types of rum,' recommends Diana.
As tempting as it might be to enjoy a nightcap on board, you will only really get a feel for the diverse crowd who live in Antigua by venturing out to explore the nightlife. Fortunately the place to be is along the strip between Falmouth Harbour and English Harbour, so you won’t have far to venture back to your yacht. Colourful bars jostle for space along the historic streets, and tourists, islanders and yachties mingle over various rum punch concoctions.
This is where you will also find Abracadabra, the main nightclub, which attracts world famous DJs during peak season. Elsewhere, the capital St John’s is the place to head for live music, and you can’t visit Antigua without experiencing a Shirley Heights jump-up. A Sunday afternoon session at this hilltop venue begins with a barbecue and continues with reggae, steel pans and a fantastic sunset over English Harbour.
The entire Caribbean is steeped in maritime history, and Antigua was and is right at the heart of the action. 'Once home to the Royal Navy’s West Indies fleet and for a time under Admiral Nelson’s direct command, English Harbour and in particular Nelson’s Dockyard remains a visible symbol of England’s powerful navy past, with many Colonial naval buildings remaining completely intact,' explains Beverley Hills broker Henry Guest.
'Overlooking this is Shirley Heights – formerly a military lookout point for Nelson, you can still see cannons and the remnants of the barracks and fortifications. Take in the view (at the top of this story) and then stay on for sunset cocktails.'
Antigua is the perfect place to embark or disembark on a cruise through the Caribbean’s Leeward Island chain. For further information on chartering in the Caribbean, contact your Burgess charter broker.
To find out more about Burgess’ yachts for sale and yachts for charter, please contact your Burgess broker. Alternatively, get in touch with one of our offices directly: London, Monaco, New York, Miami, Singapore or all other locations.