Antigua has a wide variety of water-based activities to offer its guests, including snorkeling, scuba diving, windsurfing, sport fishing, and sailing.
Antigua’s beautiful beaches are ideal for snorkeling, with many coral reefs close to the shoreline and rental equipment readily available. Many day sails include a visit to a reef, usually Cades Reef, for snorkeling.
While Antigua is not generally known for its diving, there is reasonable variety here and the island can certainly be a good destination for beginning divers. The diving is mainly to the south of the island. Visibility can be quite good, up to 100 feet, thanks to weak currents, a white sandy bottom, and clean water. Some of the reefs are very close to the surface and have seen hurricane damage. Better marine life is farther offshore. Contact Antigua Scuba Centre (www.antiguascuba.com, (268-729-4698 or 268-561-1383) or Ultramarine (email@example.com, 268-463-3483).
Antigua has good opportunities for windsurfers, with winds straight off the Atlantic blowing at around 20 knots and up. Many hotels have equipment that you can rent. The winds are best early in the year (Dec. – March), but it is possible to surf year round and June and July are also good. The best place to windsurf is in the northeast beyond the airport, with beginners starting off in Dickenson Bay. The two main companies for windsurfing and kitesurfing are H2O Antigua in Dutchman’s Bay (theteam@H2oAntigua.com, 268-562 3933) and KiteAntigua in Jabberwock Beach (www.kiteantigua.com, 268-460-3414).
Antigua and Barbuda has an annual sport fishing tournament, held each May and attracting big game anglers. Depending on the time of year, the fish here might include kingfish, wahoo, and dorado. To go on a fishing charter, contact Overdraft (www.antiguafishing.com, 268-462-1961).
Antigua is famous for sailing, and celebrates Sailing Week in late April. All over the island, you’ll find yacht racing and beach parties. Dockyard Day, the festival’s grand finale, includes games and contests. Be sure to book sailing trips and sea excursions in advance if you’re coming for Sailing Week.
A day out on the superb waters surrounding Antigua can be a highlight of your visit. Many sailing trips head out to the northeast of the island, where you will find small islands and cays with calm beaches and snorkeling, or to Cades Reef in the southwest. Contact Wadadli Cats (www.wadadlicats.com, 268-462-4792), Jabberwocky Yacht Charters (268-773-3115), or Tropical Adventures (www.tropicalad.com, 268-480-1225).
Active travelers may take advantage of the opportunity to see Antigua by kayak. Contact Antigua Paddles (www.antigapaddles.com, 268-463-1944) or Tropical Adventures (www.tropicalad.com, 268-480-1225).