Antigua

Essential information

Antigua

Location

Our Antigua based moved into the historical Nelson’s Dockyard in English Harbour on 31 July 2000, having previously been at Falmouth Harbour for six years. Nelson’s Dockyard has great historical interest and old world charm, being the only working Georgian dockyard in the world.

Contact details

Sunsail Antigua Base
Nelson’s Dockyard
English Harbour
Antigua, West Indies

Open hours

The base is open 8am-5pm, seven days a week (evening staff to cover until all flights have arrived). The base is open from 2 November-31 May, (closed 1 June-1 November)

Shore facilities

  • Water
  • Ice 
  • Fuel
  • Showers
  • Laundry
  • Garbage disposal
  • Gas
  • Provisioning (locally)
  • Accomodation
  • Bars and restaurants
  • Money change

Dockage fees (marina)

USD 0.80 per foot, per night.

Customs and port fees

Per yacht USD 40 dependent upon length of yacht and number of crew.

Arrival and departure

Airport parking

Save up to 30 percent when you book your airport parking through us. Please call the team for more details.

Airport hotels

We have preferential rates at many hotels at the UK’s major airports. Please call the team for more details.

Time difference

Time difference between the UK and Antigua is GMT -5 hours.

Flights

Gatwick information: 0844 335 1802

Heathrow information: 0870 000 0123

Manchester information: 0871 271 0711

Luton information: 0158 240 5100

Glasgow information: 0870 040 0008

Luggage

Luggage allowance is 20kg per person. Only one item of hand luggage per person is allowed and this must not weigh more than 5kg. For storage aboard we recommend travelling light and using folding luggage.

Lost or damaged luggage whilst flying is the responsibility of the airline and is not covered by your travel insurance. Thomson Airways carries no liability for loss or damage to valuable or fragile items packed in hold baggage however caused.

You must not include in checked baggage, money, jewellery, precious metals, computers, personal electronic devices, negotiable papers, securities or other valuables, business documents, passports and other identification documents or samples.

Alcohol may be taken on the flights but only in checked luggage (well secured from breakages) not as hand luggage due to airport security restrictions.

Incidents

If an incident occurs, immediately report it to airport officials and ensure Property Irregularity Reports (PIR) are completed. Claims will not be considered once you have left the airport.

Pre-booking

If you are taking our Thomson Airways flights and wish to enquire about pre booking seats please call the airline direct on 0871 231 4793. Group seats are available for pre booking through Sunsail. Call the team for more details. Please note that Thomson Airways are unable to provide a priority check-in service for your inbound flight. This service operates at London Gatwick outbound only.  

Airport

VC Bird International Airport is located at on the northeast of Antigua and is 35-45 minutes by car from our base.

VC Bird International Airport facilities

Souvenir shops, a post office, duty-free outlet, a bar and restaurant.

Transfers

We are unable to provide transfers at Antigua, however there are taxis available outside the airport. Please inform the driver that you are going to the Sunsail base in English Harbour.

As you come out of the arrivals hall, there is a dispatch desk that will take details and write a receipt confirming the fare. Dispatch will call the next taxi in line forward. Sunsail can arrange a taxi from the base back to the airport at the end of the charter. 

It is approximately USD 32 per taxi for up to four people (one way), plus USD 8 for each extra person, plus excess bags (taxi drivers should be paid direct).

If you have arranged your flight independently, transfer to the base will be at your own expense. Remember to tell the driver you are going to Nelsons Dockyard. If transfers are not required it is still essential that you inform the base of your arrival details for planning purposes.

Please note: if you are arriving separately please bring a copy of the charter contract.

Luggage

We would highly recommend packing prescription medicine and essential clothing (swimsuit, t-shirt and shorts) in your hand luggage as occasionally your luggage may arrive at the base after you do.

Please pack using soft-sided bags, as these are easier to store on your yacht. We have no facilities for holding luggage.

Passport and visas

Please ensure your passport is valid for the period of travel and for six months after you return.

Your passport name must match the name on the flight ticket otherwise you may not be able to travel and insurance may be invalid.

If your child is not already included on a valid British passport they are required to hold their own passport.

EU passport holders do not require a visa unless wishing to visit the US Virgin Islands.

Non-British passport holders should check with their local consulate direct.

It is your responsibility to ensure relevant visas are obtained where necessary. We cannot be held responsible for refusal of entry or travel due to lack of visas. If you are in any doubt, please contact your embassy for full details.

Customs and immigration

Before leaving the airport, you will have to clear immigration and customs.

A landing card will be given to you on the plane, along with a customs declaration form. It is not possible to take fresh food into most Caribbean islands and airlines will assume no liability for perishable articles that may be confiscated by customs.

On departure from Antigua a tax of USD 20 per person (including children over 12 years old) will be levied. Please organise departure tax payment prior to queuing at the departure gate.

There will be no departure tax from Antigua to London Gatwick if staying less than 24 hours.

Please note: It is illegal in Antigua to wear camouflage or combat gear, even on children. We do not recommend you bring any with you as it will be confiscated.

On arrival

All boats are prepared for the 6pm boarding time. The first evening is a sleep aboard where you have the time to unpack provisions and settle into the boat. A short orientation briefing is then given upon arrival.

Out of hours arrival procedure

A sleep-aboard letter will be left on the office door if you are arriving late. A second sign with your name will also be placed on your designated boat.

Even though we are only officially open until 5pm we do in most cases wait for any guest who might arrive at the base after this time.

On departure

You have to disembark by 11am, so it is recommended returning to base the day before.

Before departing your boat, you will be met by our customer service team for debriefing.
The debrief form is to let us know if you have encountered any problems with the boat or broken anything during the trip, this enables us to rectify problems for the next charter.

In addition to filling in forms we also require you to bag dirty laundry and leave in the cockpit, empty all cupboards and fridges of food and throw away, return snorkel gear and any lifejackets borrowed from reception and ensure that the boat is handed back to Sunsail in a clean and tidy state. We reserve the right to charge for boats left less than shipshape.

Sailing information

Sailing experience: Level 2

Experience levels are based on sailing conditions and the length of passages within your chosen sailing area.  

Get more information on Antigua's sailing conditions.

Sailing licences

Although no sailing licences are required for cruising in Grenada, we strongly advise that you take any sailing certification on holiday with you. This may be useful should you be contacted by Customs or Port Police. If you have not already done so then the skipper and first mate will be required to fill in a sailing resume at the base to confirm that you have the necessary skills to sailing in this region.

Formalities

A valid passport and crew list is compulsory for clearance. You must also have a crew list for clearance, show date of issue and expiry of passports, gender, marital status and your address.

Cruising permits

There are no taxes to be paid for sailing between Antigua and Barbuda.

All boats entering the territorial waters must be cleared by customs and immigration and pay the following taxes:

Port Entry and Cruising permit: USD 16 (ECD 40)
Landing fee: USD 2 per person (ECD 5)
Rubbish dump: USD 10 (ECD 26)

Customs and Immigration offices are located within Nelson’s Dockyard, making it easy for those intrepid sailors who are sailing from or to Antigua to complete their formalities

If you wish to visit other islands, i.e Guadeloupe, Nevis, etc. a USD 25 departure tax will apply and the cruising will need to be renewed when returning in Antigua on top of clearance fees. You will also be required to follow the clearing procedure in and out of the visited island/country.

Night time sailing

You are not permitted to sail at night unless it has been agreed with the base manager prior to departure.

Cruising area limits

BVI: All the British Virgin Islands, including Anegada and US Virgin Islands.

Bareboat charter with Sunsail crew and platinum charter:  No sailing in US Virgin Islands and Spanish Virgin Islands.

Rest of Caribbean: No further than 20 miles out from Puerto Rico to Grenada,
excluding Saba, Montserrat, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago.

Martinique/Guadeloupe: There are a few yachts in Antigua (the ones that are marked yellow in Neptune) that cannot go into Martinique/ Guadeloupe at any time.

There are some other restrictions throughout the whole Caribbean, which are detailed in the Caribbean Introduction section.

Mooring fees and taxes

Moorings are only available in Falmouth Harbour and Jolly Harbour with charges set around USD 15-20 per night.

Fees will be collected at the time of use.

Cruising tax/month permit

21-40 feet, USD 8
41-80 feet, USD 10

Entry charge

Per person, USD 2.60
21-40 feet, USD 4
41-80 feet, USD 6

Dockage varies from 50 cents to USD 1 per foot, per night.

Charts and pilot book

All the charts and pilot books you will need for the sailing area are issued at your chart briefing.

Charts and pilot books can be purchased by mail order from the UK chandler Kelvin Hughes by contacting 02380 634911.

Fuel

We would highly recommend that you pre pay fuel due to the distance of the nearest fuelling station from the base, i.e. the boat will not be full when handed back to us.
Cost is approximately USD 3.95 per gallon.  

Fuel is available opposite the Nelson’s Dockyard marina, on at the entrance to Nelsons Dockyard.

Cool boxes

Cool boxes are available at the base on a first come first served basis at no additional charge. Clients must sign these out and return them clean and undamaged otherwise they will be charged for replacement. Only one per boat.

Skippered charter information

The skipper’s time is booked from 12pm-12pm in 24-hour periods. If you have reserved a skipper for the first day of your charter and have a 6pm start, he or she will use this time to ensure they are happy with all aspects of the yacht and will be at the base to meet you upon your arrival. If you've reserved a skipper for a later date on your charter they will start at 12pm on that day.

The skipper is responsible for the safety of the yacht at all times. They are not permitted to dive with you, nor leave the vessel overnight. He or she must conduct a safety brief with you before leaving the dock regardless of the duration of the contract with you.

For “check out charters” (anything less than the full duration of the charter) the check out skipper’s time is booked from 6pm-6pm to allow for a meet and greet in the evening and go over basic systems, then a full day with you the next day.

The skipper is required to give you a thorough briefing on all aspects of the yacht and dinghy in addition to assisting you with planning an itinerary for the trip and advising you how to contact the base, the return to base procedures and the emergency assistance procedures. We suggest that you attend the scheduled chart brief that will be supplemented by the skipper during his or her time with you on the yacht. We also suggest that you make it clear exactly what you want to cover: anchoring, docking, etc.

The skipper fee does not include food or beverages for the skipper and this is your responsibility. We suggest that you discuss this on the first day with your skipper and establish whether you'll provide cash for meals, whether you've included him or her in your provisioning or whether you'll accommodate him or her as part of the group for meals ashore.

The skipper must have his or her own cabin. We prefer not to put the skipper in the bow due to the shared head and size of the cabin. If you expect your skipper to stay in the bow, please let us know well in advance so that we can choose the appropriate (small) skipper.

For one-day check out skippers, it's your responsibility to get the skipper back to the base. If you prefer not to come back to the base you must pay all expenses (ferry, taxi, etc.) to get him or her back to the base.

The average tip for a skipper is 15-20 percent of the skipper’s fee. This is, of course, at your discretion.

Banks and money exchange

Currency

Antigua runs a dual currency system: The Eastern Caribbean dollar (ECD) is the local currency and primarily used throughout Antigua. The US dollar (USD) and US dollar traveller's cheques are widely accepted throughout the island, although change will normally be given in ECD. All of the islands accept US dollars, however only Anguilla, St Kitts, Nevis, St. Vincent, St. Lucia and Antigua accept Eastern Caribbean Dollars.

Shops usually price smaller items in ECD and expensive goods (value over GBP 50) in US dollar.

There is one bank in Nelson’s Dockyard; ATM machines are available in St John’s. Banks in St. Johns are open on weekday mornings from 8am-2pm except on Thursdays when they close at 1pm.

ATMs are available 24 hours a day. Credit cards can be used for payment in larger establishments and in most restaurants (a surcharge may be applied).

Currency can be exchanged commission free at any high street TUI retail travel agent on production of your Sunsail invoice. You can pre-order your currency from a travel agent by telephoning them in advance on 0870 9005154 to find your nearest branch.

Credit card information

Most businesses in Antigua and Barbuda do not accept American Express cards.

General information

Language

The language of Antigua and Barbuda is English.

Cost of living in the Antigua

A three course meal including half of a bottle of wine is USD 50. A bottle of beer is approximately USD 3. A bottle of wine costs minimum USD 9. A snack is around USD 7.

Jars of baby food cost USD 1.50 each, powdered milk is about USD 5 per tin and nappies range from USD 10-21 depending on amount, brand and size.

Restaurants

Restaurants generally close at 11pm. There are many restaurants in English and Falmouth Harbours, near the base.

Trappa
Tel: +1 268 562 3534
Mobile: +1 268 728 2880

In the heart of English Harbour, great value, always popular.

Antigua Yacht Club Marina Restaurant
Tel: +1 268 460 1797

With an outstanding location and stunning views across Falmouth Harbour, this stylish restaurant is the perfect location for lunch and dinner with friends or just relaxing over drinks at any time of the day or night.

Restaurants closed from September to low season.

If you are looking to travel in low season there will be a limited choice of restaurants to eat ashore and you should provision accordingly. It is therefore a perfect time of year for you to enjoy a barbecue off the back of the boat.

Tipping

Tipping is standard and expected in all restaurants and bars and for other services undertaken during your holiday. The rule of thumb is generally 10-15 percent of the amount charged. Some establishments automatically add this onto the bill.

Shopping

Our Antigue base is located on an historic site, including a museum dedicated to Admiral Nelson who hid his fleet at English Harbour.

Close to the base there are several souvenir shops, a bank, post office, bakery, bars, restaurants, two diving schools, laundry, showers, buses to St. John’s, car rental and taxis.

Taxis: from St John’s to Antigua base USD 26

Rental car: local licence compulsory of ECD 50, plus cost of car rental.

Hotels

Admiral’s Inn  
(PO Box 713)
Nelsons Dockyard
English Harbour, Antigua and Barbuda
West Indies
Tel:  +1 268 460 1027
Fax: +1 268 460 1153
Email: admirals@candw.ag

The Admiral’s Inn is located 14 miles from the airport and 12 miles from the town of St John’s. It is situated inside the walls of Nelson’s Old Naval dockyard at English Harbour, with a waterfront area and courtyard. The Admiral’s Inn is housed in one of the finest Georgian brick buildings in Nelson’s Dockyard. It offers 13 twin-bedded rooms, each with a private bathroom and shower. Rooms are cosy and there is a nautical bar and a delightful terrace restaurant in a private corner of the dockyard, overlooking the harbour that is open seven days a week with local music on Saturday nights. There is also a restaurant with a terrace. A free water taxi to the beach is also available.

Tours

Stingray City

Here you will be able to pet and feed Southern Stingrays in their natural environment. You will learn all about these amazing animals from your experienced guide. You can snorkel on coral reefs with colourful fish life. These calm, clear, shallow waters makes it easy and fun for everybody.

Tel: +1 268 562 7297
Email: stingray@candw.ag

Devils Bridge

Is a remarkable example of sea-water erosion. Geological, Devil's Bridge is a natural arch carved by the sea from soft and hard limestone ledges of the Antigua formation, a geological division of the flat north-eastern point of Antigua. A bridge was created when a soft part of the limestone eroded away by action of Atlantic breakers over countless centuries.

Shirley Heights

The view from Shirley Heights Lookout is without question the most famous view on the beautiful island of Antigua. Located within the national parks, overlooking English and Falmouth Harbours, this panoramic view, on clear days takes in Guadeloupe to the south and Montserrat with its still active volcano to south west. Shirley Heights Lookout has been home to the 'biggest and best' party on the island every Sunday for the last 25 years.

Tel: +1 268 728 0636, +1 268 764 0389
info@shirleyheightslookout.com

Electrical, phones and music

Electricity

The standard voltage on all yachts is 12 volts. Electricity in Antigua is 220 volts AC, 50Hz and uses the standard US 2-pin plug. In order to use electronic equipment that is 220 volts you will need an inverter suitable for use in a cigarette lighter.

Mobile phones

A mobile phone is available free of charge if you wish to have one. A security deposit of USD 200 against loss of the equipment is needed upon departure. On average half the cost of an international cell on roaming, you will only be charged for the calls you have made. Receiving calls is free in Antigua and Barbuda.

Music/iPods

All boats are fitted with a radio and CD player. If you wish to listen to your iPod whilst sailing you will need to bring along an I-trip or FM radio transmitter.

Activities

Provisioning

We offer a wide range of food and drinks packages to suit your party’s needs.

Find out more about our provisioning options.

Water sports

Scuba diving

A tank and weight belt for one person costs approximately USD 10 per day. A full set of diving equipment costs approx. USD 20-30 per person per day.

There are several dive companies, including:

Aquanaut (Falmouth Harbour): Tel: +1 268 460 2813
Jolly Dive (Jolly Harbour): Tel: +1 268 462 8305/Fax: +1 268 460 2813
Deep Bay Divers (Deep Bay): Tel: +1 268 463 8000/Fax: +1 268 460 2813
Dive Antigua (Dickenson Bay): Tel: +1 268 462 3483/Fax: +1 268 462 7787
Dockyard Divers (English Harbour): Tel: +1 268 460 1178/Fax: +1 268 460 1179

NB: All rates quoted are subject to change without prior notice.

Snorkelling

We have a range of snorkelling gear which you may wish to use. We are limited on children’s sizes so if you have your own you may wish to bring them with you.

Health and safety

Illness or injury

If you get ill and visit the doctor or hospital during your trip contact a member of our team as soon as possible on either your lead boat, the base. If you need to make a claim for curtailment due to illness, ask the base manager for assistance and contact your insurer’s emergency medical service immediately.

Your insurance company will assist with travel arrangements, advice and payment of bills. Obtain receipts for any medication, treatment or transport you have to pay for and submit with your claim.

Safety

All yachts are equipped with adult life jackets and harnesses. We leave it up to you to decide when personal safety equipment should be worn.

We have a limited supply of children’s life jackets (age 4+ only). If you have your own children’s life jacket we would encourage you to bring it along.

We suggest that children who are not strong swimmers should not be allowed in a dinghy without a life jacket or buoyancy aid and that they should wear a buoyancy aid or harness when on deck.

Children under the age of 16 should not operate an outboard engine and should be supervised at all times when in the dinghy.

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