Superyachts ahoy! While the rest of the Caribbean hangs in limbo after a year of barbaric storms, there are some ports of call that will forever stay sugar sweet. Antigua and Barbuda; a tale of two sides. Most places in the Caribbean capture a barefoot sleepy vibe – with nothing but rum, coconuts and soft swinging hammocks. Others have that hint of French Riviera glam – pastel painted duty-free stores and midnight casinos. Yet, Antigua seems to boast a bit of both. Superyachts dropping anchor in the same spots as pirates would 300 years ago can taste the history. Get ready to glide into Falmouth Harbor or English Harbor and prepare for a dazzling adventure as you trespass Antigua and explore her tiny counterpart – beautiful Barbuda.
What to Do
First, you need to find a spot in Antigua for your yacht to drop anchor – the captain will have a few ideas. The English Harbor is considered one of the best in the whole Caribbean, especially as you can get a bountiful cream tea with all the trimmings at the nearby Admiral Inn. Those seeking calmer quieter shores can opt to make their floating home over on Green Island. Free from the tangle of crowds, this is a dreamy spot for snorkeling peaceful reefs and strolling moonlit sands.
Speaking of beaches, there is an endless array. Like children in a candy store you can take your pick of 365 strips of pale pink, bright white, or cream-colored sands. Some, like Dickenson Bay are best for socializing. Others, like Half Moon Bay are best for watersports. And finally, you will find plenty – like Coco Point on Barbuda that seem to be torn straight from the book of paradise.
Antigua is the home of some fascinating history. Tall tales of pirates, buccaneers, Spanish galleons and trade winds. Feast on both the facts and fiction as you tour the impressive Nelsons Dockyard with its 18th century fort. Bettys Hope showcases the remains of the islands first sugar plantation and is worth an afternoon to understand why sugar was so important to these parts.
Where to Dine
Fish and rum are the mainstays of any menu – whether scratched on a chalkboard or served with white linen and silver. Le Bistro is one of the finest little nooks for an elegant spread. Dine on the verandah among the fragrant green plants. The cuisine is French, with a Caribbean twist – always a wonderful combination. Expect smoked marlin carpaccio, handcrafted deserts, and lashings of vintage champagne.
For breezy lunches on the bluff overlooking the shimmering turquoise sea, Sheer Rocks is a cool and casual spot for daytime tapas dining. The plunge pool and daybeds are ever inviting for when you need to digest. After the sun sinks, Sheer Rocks turns to their la carte menu – boasting yellow fin ceviche, sticky pork, wine pairings, and a low key luscious ambiance.
Where to Play
The C&C Wine House over on St Johns is a great spot for quaffing a world wine or two, especially if you enjoy the company of the rich and famous who flock here for the fabulous little courtyard and Thursday night vibes.
Those looking for daytime spots for guzzling pina coladas in classy settings can head to the chicest beach club on the island – Catherine’s Café Plage on Pigeon Point. A laid-back vision of stripped back driftwood, hammocks and yachts – you could spend an eternity here and never tire of the ocean views.
Sunday nights at Shirley Heights are something of a legend that stretches from Antigua to Barbuda. The Lookout Bar booms to life with reggae beats, endless pouring of rum, and the smoky scent of barbeque as young yachties dance on the tables.