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Old 14-02-2022, 14:10   #1
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Antigua here we come!!

Greetings All! This will be approximately my second post in 10 years. And this decade’s question is about a week charter in Antigua in December. Joining me and Mom will be a small group of 20-somethings. We have done the US & BVI’s enough times that it is now time to see more of the Caribbean. Having also sailed SV & Grenadines and Guadeloupe many moons ago, we chose Antigua with its 365 beaches / “one for every day of the year”.
So, my question to the Forum Team: Please list the must see / do activities, must NOT see / do activities, favorite anchorages, favorite land adventures, etc. We will not be sailing to Barbuda due to it taking up so much of 2 of our 6 sailing days. Thinking of renting Jeeps for 1 day – where would be the best spot for that with destinations, please. Curious also about which way around the island would be best – coming out of Jolly Harbor – do we go clockwise or counter-clockwise around the island??
Any tips would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 14-02-2022, 14:44   #2
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Re: Antigua here we come!!

There are lots of locals who will be happy, for a reasonable fee, to give you a tour of the island in their van. Just don't try it if there is a cruise ship in town.



A must see is the Block House, an old English fort up the Southern tip. The view up there is fantastic, there is a trail from English Harbour along that point that would be a nice short hike.
Have fun
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Old 14-02-2022, 15:54   #3
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Re: Antigua here we come!!

I'll throw a couple things in here. It's been awhile for us though:
-Charter from Jolly Hbr or Falmouth Hbr? If the latter.. then on Sunday(?) afternoon they have a big rum gathering up on the mountain above the harbour. Great view. Buses will gather to take people up. (Jolly hbr is not much but condos on the water really)
- We found a little harbor we reached along the lee side of Antigua from Falmouth Harbour on a short day. Willikies harbour up in Non Such Bay. No one there. It was a fun, though isolated, place. There is a resort up in the bay, not sure what they offer.
-Above Jolly harbour, we spent an afternoon in Five Islands Harbour as we had a windsurfer aboard, it was choppy though. We didn't night there.
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Old 16-02-2022, 01:02   #4
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Re: Antigua here we come!!

My favorite anchorage is just off Green Island - nothing ashore but beautiful and despite looking like an open anchorage on the windward side, it is protected by a big reef.

Leaving Jolly you could go either way, but for the first day you could either do a very short trip up to 5-Islands or just past that to Deep Bay (I like that anchorage, plus they've revived the resort ashore so you can head in there for drinks and dinner if you wish). The other direction (CCW) is a bit more of a sail and in that case I'd go into Falmouth for the night with lots of room to anchor and lots of things ashore.
Sunday is live music up at Shirley Heights - also there are numerous car rental places between Falmouth and English harbour (beware that you need to purchase a local driver's license that is valid 6 months, but it isn't cheap and makes renting a car for one day pretty expensive). I like hiking up to Shirley heights, but it is a bit of a trek and most will get a cab.
Holding is bad in English Harbour, and it is usually crowded in season, so I'd not necessarily plan on staying there.
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Old 16-02-2022, 06:06   #5
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Re: Antigua here we come!!

Stingray City.
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Old 16-02-2022, 06:56   #6
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Re: Antigua here we come!!

Following...really hope to get there this year or next.
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Old 16-02-2022, 07:14   #7
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Re: Antigua here we come!!

Plan on shopping or shore activities on non-cruise ship day. The locals are completely different. Loved Jolly Harbor.
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Old 16-02-2022, 10:04   #8
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Re: Antigua here we come!!

Whatever you do, do not miss going to Shirley Heights overlooking English Harbor and far beyond for perhaps the best view in the Eastern Caribbean. Take your camera. And like previously written Sunday afternoon is party time with music and food. I don’t know about these days, but the many times I was there, it was packed.
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Old 16-02-2022, 10:29   #9
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Re: Antigua here we come!!

Some people will do anything to build their post count
I’m following this closely as Antigua is on my list of islands not to be missed.
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Old 16-02-2022, 11:50   #10
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Re: Antigua here we come!!

There is an annual local talent show. I think in December. Catch it if you can. It is great.
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Old 17-02-2022, 04:12   #11
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Re: Antigua here we come!!

Shirley Heights has their party on Thursday and Sunday nights which is a lot of fun. Hiking up to the block house ruins from Slipway marina in English is a great hike or longer if you go from Freemans bay just inside English. You will want to wander around Nelsons Dockyard which can be done by anchoring in Falmouth or English or coming into a dock. But you do have to med moor for the docks in English and a few in Falmouth too. Katherines on Pigeon beach (Falmouth Harbor) has live music and great food. Several car rentals in English/Falmouth and the local drivers license is $15. Car rentals are about $60 a day. A local tour will show you more.
Hikes at English/Falmouth are middle ground and down to the old fort.
Jolly harbor is good for provisioning and several restaurants. Sandras on the beach is a little beach shack great for going for the sunset. Also Bodog is Indian food in Jolly which is good.
Carlisle and Deep Bay are great quiet bays with a resort on shore to get a drink or dinner.
Barbuda is Gorgeous! It is only about 26 miles from Jolly so if the wind is right it is only about 3-4 hours. There is a Frigate bird tour that is supposed to be fantastic. Enochs beach bar which is tiny and casual. You can get a lobster dinner for around $20 (pp)and you bring the sides. There is also a Nobu there but pretty pricey. Fun place.
Have fun
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Old 21-02-2022, 18:58   #12
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Re: Antigua here we come!!

(My 4th post!!) Thanks everyone for replying. This is why I love following the Forum. Any additional info would be great! When I grow up, I wanna be like Cheechako!! (24,435 posts!)
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Old 29-11-2022, 11:10   #13
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Re: Antigua here we come!!

We are leaving in 4 DAYS! The schedule has changed a bit so we can do Stingray City on a Non-Cruise ship day (they have Tues-Fri tied up!!)

SO - new questions:
1) Departing Jolly Harbour Sunday with the intent of being at the Stingray City dock by 11 AM Tuesday. How does Dickenson Hrbr for Sun. anchor, then Great Bird or Long Island anchorage on Monday sound so we are close to Stingray City office in Mercer Creek Bay for Tues. morn? Doable time-wise?

2) How close to the shipwreck in Deep Bay can we anchor so we can simply swim over to it?

3) Shirley Hts on Thursday - just as hopping as Sunday's party??

Thanks All!!
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Old 29-11-2022, 12:37   #14
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Re: Antigua here we come!!

I don't have my charts handy but thought that the Stingray city harbour is quite shallow with a difficult entrance. It is also as far from Jolly as you can get and still be on Antigua! The passage out of the reef from the Green Island side is probably off-limits to charter boats as well, making the counterclockwise trip even longer (and rougher on the windward side). But perhaps others who have sailed in there might add something.

(2) Very close. You can see the outline on Google Maps, and there is a float at the centre of the wreck and in normal conditions you can see its outline. You can anchor within a boatlength or two of the wreck. It doesn't make for exciting diving or snorkeling, though.

(3) Sunday nights are bigger, but you are in season now so both nights will be lively.

I'm in St. Lucia now and departing the dock tomorrow, heading north at a leisurely pace.
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Old 29-11-2022, 12:43   #15
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Re: Antigua here we come!!

Here's a link to Navionics Online
https://webapp.navionics.com/#boatin...y=%7BkjgBzzowJ

That entrance looks gnarly. Perhaps anchor off in Nonsuch off Green Island and then go ashore at Philips point and walk to take a cab to Stingray City might be an alternative.
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