With one for every day of the year, Antigua is definitely not short of beaches. Yet, a luxury yacht charter vacation to the island can offer more than just sand, sea and sun.
A beach-lover’s paradise, Antigua is fringed with endless stretches of sun-kissed sand lapped by gorgeous azure waters. But, if you venture beyond the shoreline, you’ll be impressed by the incredible plethora of activities, tours and events that the Caribbean island has to offer.
Here is a selection of the most unusual experiences, perfect for your next luxury yacht charter to Antigua.
1. Zip line through the rainforest
Fly through lush rainforest and see the island from a different perspective as part of the Antigua Rainforest Zip Line Tour. Suspended over stunning jungle-clad hills and gorges, the breath-taking series of 12 zip lines and an Indiana Jones-inspired suspension bridge offer an adrenaline-fuelled adventure like no other.
Thrill seekers will also love the attraction’s Ropes Challenge Course and three new aerial walkways that hang high up in the tree tops. Plus ultimate daredevils can hike through the rainforest to experience the 300-feet high and 325-feet wide ‘screamer’ zip line.
Just don’t forget to check out the spectacular scenery as you soar through the canopy – you may even spot one of Antigua’s rare wild bird species on your way.
2. Take a helicopter ride around Montserrat’s volcano
Still emitting a mixture of ash, smoke and steam, the 3,000-feet Soufrière Hills volcano is certainly a sight to behold. Located on the nearby island of Montserrat, the sight is best observed on an once-in-a-lifetime helicopter tour departing from Antigua’s Jolly Harbour.
Life on the neighbouring island changed forever when the volcano erupted in 1995, burying the capital, Plymouth, and surrounding villages, farmland and forest in ash, rock and mud. Helicopter rides allow passengers to experience the full impact of the jaw-dropping devastation in a safe environment.
There is more to see than the devastating aftermath, however. The north of Montserrat boasts a stunning coastline of black sandy beaches and, from 2,000 feet above, coral reef and other marine life can be spotted in the crystal clear waters.
3. Swim with sting rays
Get up close and personal with friendly stingrays in the calm waters of Mercer’s Creek Bay, situated on the north east coast of Antigua. The fascinating and surprisingly gentle creatures will arrive to greet you and time can be spent swimming alongside them.
The breed that frequents these parts are known as southern rays and are recognised by their angular-shaped bodies. Able to grow up to 150 centimetres in length, the captivating animals glide soundlessly around in the shallow water.
The bay is home to other fascinating marine life too, so grab your snorkel and discover mesmerising coral reefs and scores of rainbow-coloured tropical fish.
4. Eat fish and chips
It may come as a surprise to hear that the quintessential British dish of fish and chips is available in Antigua, but it’s not as shocking as the sight of a chippie housed inside a bright red 1959 London Double Decker Bus, parked up alongside the island’s west coast.
Known as Shell’s Fish and Chips, the establishment serves traditional crispy battered fish and hot, fluffy chips wrapped in paper-lined baskets as well as homemade mushy peas and fried gherkins. There is also a special rum punch on the menu for a more traditional taste of the Caribbean.
Diners can enjoy their fare aboard the bus or in the pretty gardens. Located along Valley Road, the restaurant is part of the West Coast Village, a vibrant collection of alfresco-style eateries and bars.
5. Celebrate the king of tropical fruit
Sweet, juicy and delicious, mangoes of every size and type will be in abundance at the annual summer Antigua and Barbuda Mango Festival. At the event, visitors and locals alike will be able to sample every imaginable mango-made delight, from fruity soaps and scented candles to mango preserves, sauces and wines.
A mango market, exhibitions, children activities, live music and nature trails laden with mangoes also run as part of the event, and the Mango Pineapple Culinary Competition is a popular feature too.
The two-day festival takes place at the Botanical Gardens in St John’s.
If you’re interested in incorporating any of the above into a luxury yacht charter vacation, please contact your preferred charter broker.
Alternatively, take a look at all luxury yachts available for charter in Antigua.