ANTIGUA & BARBUDA

Sun seekers are drawn to the Caribbean twin island nation of Antigua and Barbuda for three reasons: beaches, beaches and more beaches! It doesn’t hurt that these stunning islands boast a unique and prosperous culture that is as influenced by its British colonial past as by its rich West Indies heritage. Antigua is home to many luxurious world class resorts and gastronomic restaurants, while Barbuda is often described as “sleepy,” a reputation owed to its nearly deserted beaches and casual beach hut accommodation options.

Key Facts:

Language English
Currency East Caribbean $
Population 91,295 (2014)
Capital St. John's
Airport(s) VC Bird International
GDP per capita (PPP) $18,026 (2012)
Area 440 sq km
Location North East Caribbean

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Brief History

Antigua and Barbuda has been populated since approximately 2900 BC, and control of the islands passed between three major Amerindian groups (the Siboney, the Saladoid and the Arawaks) until the late fifteenth century. After Christopher Columbus sighted and spread word in 1493, multiple European attempts were made to colonize the islands. In 1632 England succeeded, and utilized the area for the popular cash crops of the day: indigo, sugarcane and ginger. The country achieved its independence in 1981 and is known for its prosperity in the region.

Geography

Antigua and Barbuda are low-lying limestone islands that are surrounded by three dozen smaller islands and cays, located in the Leeward Islands chain of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean Sea. The largest city and capital is St. John’s, a port on the island of Antigua.

Culture

Antigua and Barbuda offers visitors a unique blend of West African and British culture, with a heavy focus on music, food and community harmony. Each August brings the national Carnival celebrations (commemorating the abolition of slavery in the British West Indies), a raucous and coluorful event that draws many tourists. Cricket, a holdover from the British past, is a beloved local pastime and matches can draw large crowds, but if you would prefer to dance the night away you will have no trouble finding fantastic live soca and calypso music.

Top Attractions

Sailing is the name of the game around these parts; Antigua and Barbuda boasts a long maritime history, from 19th century visits by Lord Admiral Nelson to the present day Caribbean’s largest annual regatta. In addition to admiring the modern sailing boats, you can visit Nelson’s Dock - a remarkably well preserved 18th century shipyard that is the islands’ main sightseeing attraction.

Gently swaying palms, exquisite white sand, aquamarine water, explosively vibrant sunsets – life in Antigua and Barbuda is all about spending as much time on the beach as possible. (They say there are 365 - one for each day of the year.) With dozens of five star resorts and exclusive boutique hotels lining the coast of Antigua and more low-key options on Barbuda, beachside accommodation options are available for all taste and budget levels.

The coral reefs surrounding the islands are some of the best that the Caribbean has to offer, and avid divers can visit well-preserved coral reefs, walls, and shipwrecks.A bevy of outdoor activities are possible: horseback riding, jungle safaris, rainforest tours and market hopping.

Famous Antiguans

Curtly Ambrose (cricketer), Claudette Peters (soca and soul singer)

Why You Should Go

The sailing, the diving...and a beach for every day of the year!

More Information

Antigua and Barbuda Department of Tourism: www.antigua-barbuda.org

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