Antigua & Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda are centrally situated in the Leeward Islands of the Eastern Caribbean. Surrounding Antigua and Barbuda are Guadaloupe, Nevis, St. Martin, St. Barts, Montserrat, and St. Kitts.
Antigua consists of 108 square miles, 14 by 11 miles at its longest and widest points. The highest elevation in Antigua can be found at Boggy Peak (1319 ft). About 30 miles north of Antigua lies Barbuda, an island with a land mass of 68 square miles covered with coral. In addition to the main island, a small unpopulated island known as Redonda, which serves as a habitat for native animals and plants, is part of Barbuda.
Summer temperatures usually remain in the 80’s while winter temperatures average in the 70’s (Fahrenheit). Since the islands do not usually receive more than 45 inches of rain, Antigua and Barbuda enjoy more sunny days than most islands in the Eastern Caribbean. However, visitors to the island should be advised that the northeast trade winds blow year round, usually only dying down during September, but visitors will enjoy low levels of humidity during any season of the year.
365 public beaches are located on Antigua, all available to be enjoyed by visitors to the island. To find a good beach, consider some of the following locations:
- Northwest Coast:
For those looking for beaches with modern buildings, amenities, and luxuries, they should consider Runaway or Dickenson Bay. Those wanting to visit a beach near St. Johns should consider Deep Bay or Fort James. People who love to surf should visit Galley Bay. The beaches surrounding Hawksbill are also high quality beaches.
- Southwest and South Coast:
Antiguan beaches in this region are usually in areas with fewer luxuries and newer construction than northern beaches. Many tourists enjoy the Darkwood beach and the beaches surrounding Johnsons Point. Those seeking tranquility should consider visiting Doigs Beach or Rendezvous Bay.
- East Coast:
Tourists desiring to visit a national park should spend some time at Half Moon Bay. Parents bringing their children to Antigua should consider visiting the Long Bay since it is shielded by a reef.
Ever since famous English general Horatio Nelson established a port for the British Navy in Antigua, sailing has become central to its national identity. Tourists can now board yachts, speed boats, and other boats designed for recreation in the same docks where the British Navy docked its ships. In fact, Antigua’s government sponsors a yearly sailing week. Numerous options are available for tourists interested in sailing or boating on Antigua.
Carnival is a 10 day festival full of food, dancing, music, and other cultural celebrations. Highlights of the celebration include the Party Monarch, the Panorama Steel Band event, and the Miss Antigua Pageant competition. Moreover, numerous smaller events and celebrations are held during this 10 day celebration.
Most Antiguans are very passionate about cricket, so it is not difficult to find a game somewhere on Antigua. Fans of the sport can also visit the Antigua and Barbuda Museum to learn more about the history of the sport on the islands and view memorabilia from famous Antiguan cricket player Vivian Richards.
Diving and Snorkeling
With very warm year round water temperatures, (an average of 80 degrees Fahrenheit), clear water with 50-140 feet of visibility, and beautiful natural surroundings, Antigua is an excellent place to snorkel or dive. Since the southern and eastern shores of the island are bordered by shelfs, snorkelers and divers can remain in shallow water. Moreover, strong ocean currents do not exist in Antigua, making it a safe an ideal area to explore. Those desiring to dive or snorkel in a controlled environment can do so at Cades Reef, a section of which contains a water park. Those interested in exploring the ruins of a shipwreck in 30 feet or less of water can dive or snorkel at the remains of the Andes located at Deep Bay. Experienced divers can explore the waters near the ledge of Sunken Rock.
Snorkeling and diving enthusiasts will also enjoy Barbuda's reefs where sunken ship ruins are abundant, many that have not been examined by divers yet. To explore the underwater depths of Barbuda, interested individuals should contact a shop or company in Antigua that specializes in diving or snorkeling to acquire the appropriate equipment.
For visitors to Antigua who love to windsurf, they should contact Windsurf Antigua, conveniently situated at Dutchman's Bay. This location is the best place to windsurf in Antigua.
Hiking and Bird Watching
Hiking enthusiasts will find trails leading to some of Antigua’s most famous historical sites, such as Fort George and Barrington. Different organizations within Antigua often set up hikes for tourist groups.
Antigua and Barbuda are full of numerous species of birds. The biggest bird sanctuary within the Caribbean can be found on Barbuda, housing close to 200 species of birds. Those who love to observe birds will also find other great areas to view them on these islands.
Golfers will find two full size golf courses on Antigua. The courses are located on Jolly Harbour and the Cedar Valley Golf Club. Those looking for a smaller course can visit the K-Club on Barbuda.
Fishing and Hunting
Opportunities for hunting and fishing also exist on Antigua and Barbuda. To hunt in Barbuda, one must obtain a gun and hunting license at the Codrington Village. Once a year in May, a sport fishing competition is held on Antigua and Barbuda.
Stingray City Antigua
Visitors to Antigua can swim with the stingrays in water as clear as glass at Stingray City, Antigua. They will also get to enjoy the natural beauty of the coral reef enclosing the area where the rays swim.
Visitors to Antigua and Barbuda have the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the Caribbean by taking a day cruise. This way, tourists can visit surrounding islands without being at sea for days at a time.