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St. Johns Harbor
St. Johns Harbor
St. Johns Harbor
St. Johns Harbor
St. Johns Harbor
St. Johns Harbor

St. Johns Harbor

St. Johns, Antigua and Barbuda
Lat: 17° 7' 40.8''
Lon: -61° 51' 59.4''
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Lat17° 7' 40.8''

Lon-61° 51' 59.4''

ESE at 12 knots

St. Johns is the capital of Antigua. Although the facilities here are the best on the island for shopping, dining, provisioning and tourist-type activities, few recreational cruising boaters choose to anchor here or stay for extended periods of time due to the constant coming and going of commercial and cruise ship traffic. That said, the harbor does offer excellent protection, unless the wind clocks out of the northwest and even then, conditions never really reach untenable levels.

Large mega-yachts can arrange to tie up at the cruise ship dock with previous arrangements, but if yours is a more humble yacht, you can tie up stern-to at a few small slips that are located between the two cruise ship slips toward the shore. There are no services here, but you may be able to talk the marina into letting you top off the water tank.

Ashore are plenty of grocery stores, produce and fresh fish markets and large grocery stores for stocking up the galley. For dining, there are dozens of waterfront restaurants, and more just within a short walk of the water's edge, and many of them are excellent. Shopping is a popular pastime in St. Johns, and there are all manner of shops ashore catering to just about every need. Many visitors just enjoy walking around town and enjoying the mix of old and new architecture in the town’s center.


The island was discovered in 1493 by Christopher Columbus, and he decided to name the island Antigua, which has stuck every since. The island was originally inhabited by the Arawak Indians, who date back from before Christ. It is believe they arrived on the islands by small boats, paddling their way from South America.

English settlers arrived on Antigua in 1632 and immediately set up farming for sugar, tobacco and spices. The French temporarily occupied Antigua for several months in 1666, but it was soon given back to the British. The country (Antigua and Barbuda) gained its independence from the British in 1981, and today, both islands support a thriving tourist economy

Navigating the Water:

St. Johns Harbour is a major cruise ship port, and as such, the entry channel is frequently dredged to depths of 30 to 35 feet. If you are approaching from the south, make sure to pass Sandy Island (N17 08.075 W61 55.578) either to the east or west, the western route being the closest to shore. From the north, mind Jarvis Shoal and the long line of reefs and rocks that extend to the west for about five miles.

Once you have cleared these obstacles, set a course for the West Channel and the Fairway buoy (N17 08.374 W64 53.785), which is about 3.4 miles northwest of the cruise ship docks in St. Johns Harbor. From the Fairway buoy, set a course of 127 degrees magnetic to intercept the range lights that will help to guide you in past Pillar Rock and Loblolly Point along a long line of lighted red and green buoys.

Past Week Point, you will encounter the turning basin for the large cruise ship terminal, and there are two anchorages south of here, but make sure to anchor well clear of the terminal. Alternatively, you can anchor north of flashing green buoy “5” on the northwest side of the harbor in six- to eight-foot depths.

Local Notices to Mariners:

See our “Local Notices to Mariners” blog for updates on the latest conditions and advisories for this area.


V.C. Bird International Airport, located on the northeast corner of Antigua, is the point of entry for visitors arriving by air to Antigua and Barbuda. There are both direct flights and connections from North America via San Juan and St. Martin and several weekly flights from Europe. Scheduled and charter service is available to many of the neighboring islands. The airport is served my such major carriers as Air Canada, American Airlines, BWIA, Continental, Delta and US Airways.

Getting around Antigua is relatively simple. If you have a bike, or a good set of walking legs, many of the towns are easily explored by foot or pedal, but there are also busses that run on “semi-regular” schedules around the island. Figuring out the schedule and routes can be frustrating. Taxi cabs are available throughout the island, and many are also qualified as tour guides for sightseeing trips. Rates for the trips can be obtained from the local hotels.

Lastly, you can rent a car. There are almost two dozen agencies on the island and rates range from $40- $50 U.S. dollars a day. You will also need to get a temporary license (valid for three months), which costs an additional $20.

Helpful Links:

Antigua and Barbuda Department of Tourism

Guide to Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda Calendar of Events

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