Lashings of rum, peachy pink sands, and waters so blue they entice you in for a warm embrace every morning – Antigua has long been a lazy lovely spot for living out barefoot luxury. Every year the island boasts its annual Round the Island Race event, in which for one day only in January- yachts set out to circumnavigate the precious pretty island. There is always a blaze of bright festivity in the air, and charter guests can snap photos of the racing sails from every corner of the island. If you are looking to fill those sun-drenched days in-between, then this yacht charter itinerary can take you around paradise at a much more leisurely pace…
Day 1; Savor Local Shopping and Charm at St Johns
The candy colored capital is the perfect place to start. Wander the gauzy turquoise waterfront, admire colonial artifacts in the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda, and sit on the balcony of Hemingway’s to sup up zesty pumpkin and lime soup. In the afternoon, you can pick up local handicrafts at the lively public markets perched along Redcliffe Quay harbor before returning to your charter yacht for the first of your sunset sails.
Day 2; Strip Down at Hawksbill’s Beaches
Four dazzling beaches, one prime location – this is the stuff of super-yacht dreams. Belonging the local Rex Resort, but open to the public; you can explore the calm clear waters and coral reef with a snorkel, or sit upon the sands sipping signature cocktails. Along the way, you will find Eden Beach – the only spot on the island where you can strip off and enjoy a skinny dip.
Day 3; Ancient Wharf’s and Wonder at Nelsons Dockyard
A UNESCO wonder, Nelson’s Dockyard is steeped in the stories of history. This is the world’s only working Georgian dockyard and the 18th century marina has been restored to its former glory – all warm stone warehouses, gorgeous galleries, and beautiful boutiques. Afterwards head high to Shirley Heights for a meltingly mesmerizing view of the sun going down. Some nights Shirley Heights bursts to life, with the clanging of a brass band resounding around the ancient stone wharf’s below.
Day 4; The Scent of Sugar at Betty’s Hope
Continue wandering through the footsteps of the past with a visit to the restored plantation nestled on the hills of the wild Atlantic coast. The windmill turns as it did many years ago, designed for crushing sugarcane and sending a sweet scent to permeate the air. Take a lingering lunch at Harmony Hall – a charming Italian eatery sitting beneath the shade of the windmill. Wash down corn souffle and lobster linguine with a glorious zesty white before ducking into the attached art gallery.
Day 5; Curve Around Half Moon Bay
This crescent of bleached sugar sand is said to be Antigua’s true hidden gem. Landlocked visitors struggle to find the shores of Half Moon Bay, but approaching by water on your yacht charter you spend an afternoon discovering the delights of the picture-perfect Caribbean. The snorkeling here is crystal clear and the waters at the edge are as tranquil as the afternoon. Being far from the beaten path means that you are best packing a personal gourmet picnic and bringing it from your yacht, think barbecued crabs and ice cold beer.
Day 6; Dare Pass by Devils Bridge
Many think of Antigua of being rum shacks, white sands, and waters of emerald and blue. Yet Devil’s Bride shows another side. Passing by the Indian Town National Park you will witness rugged limestone cliffs carved by storms and salt for centuries. When the tide is high – the natural geysers shoot water high into the sky, and ancient acacia trees stand like ghosts of the past on the craggy peaks. There are some startling hikes in this area, along with the cries of flocking seabirds – you will feel as though you have glimpsed Antigua’s wilder side.
Day 7; Delight in Dickenson Bay
Finish a week of wonder at Dickenson Bay, the veritable poster child for Antigua. Miles of sand, bright sailboats on the horizon, alfresco dining, and windsurfing booths sketch out a fabulous afternoon. This is also a popular spot for dolphins and you can take a glass boated tour out into the deeper waters to watch shoals of silver and rainbow scaled fish flash beneath the blue.