Antigua and Barbuda

  • About

    Antigua and its sister island Barbuda are two of the brightest jewels of the Caribbean. These heavenly islands offer romantic sunsets, sea, sand, rum and fun in equal measure. Antigua's population is only 65,000 and Barbuda's just 1,300 though, so it's never hard to unwind on a deserted beach and find a tranquil sport. And what's more there are plenty to choose from. Antigua is a haven for beach lovers. There are said to be at least 365 white sandy bays. That's one for each day of the year in case you didn't notice. And if you run out of time to explore all those Antigua beaches smaller islands nearby - the Virgin Islands, St Kitts and Nevis, Anguilla, St Martin and St Barths - are also at hand.

  • History

    In 1493 Christopher Columbus named Antigua after the statue of the Virgin in Seville Cathedral. From 1632 it became a British colony focusing on sugar plantations, worked by African slaves. Barbuda gained independence in 1981 and is now a member of the British Commonwealth. Tourism is the main industry today but it is limited to preserve the experience and natural wonders of these beautiful islands. The island's small number of accommodations lends an excusive feel.

  • Things To Do

    Antigua is made up of headlands branching out in every direction, enclosing superb bays that were once used by smugglers but now are a delight for sailors and watersports enthusiasts.

    There are plentiful opportunities for water activities including windsurfing, kitesurfing, sailing and kayaking. There are boat and yacht charters available and the last week of April, first week of May, holds the Antigua Sailing Week, the world's third largest sailing regatta. There are also spectacular diving opportunities with numerous barrier reefs and wrecks to be explored. The Andes wreck, an 80-year-old freighter wreck at the entrance to Deep Bay, is one of the best known. You could also try one of the many organised excursions, including Jeep Safaris which take you on a visit to normally inaccessible harbours and villages. Helicopter flights neighbouring volcanic island Montserrat provide spectacular views over the lava fields.

  • Sports

    There are two golf courses in Antigua but cricket is the national passion. The Antiguan Recreation Ground in St John is the home to test matches but you will see cricket played everywhere.

  • Other Attractions

    Frigate Bird Nature Reserve

    Huge black frigate birds soar above the waters.

    Nelson's Dockyard

    Former British Georgian dockyard and famous conservation area.

    Stingray City

    Swim with stingrays in north Antigua in eco friendly environment.

    Walling's Forest Nature Trail

    A nature guide will take you up to one of the higher hills for fabulous views over Antigua.

    Devil's Bridge

    Natural bridge of limestone rocks in south east Antigua. Nearby a natural blowhole shoots seawater and air.

  • Recommended Beaches

    Dickenson Bay

    Thought to be one of the best beaches in the world.

    Runaway Bay

    Northern Antigua resort beach.

    Half Moon Bay

    South East beach in national part area. Superb choice for families.

    Jolly Beach

    Super white sandy beach to the south west.

    Doigs Beach

    Quiet perfect Caribbean beach.

    Darkwood Beach

    Castaway picture postcard beach.

  • Highlights

    Betty's Hope Sugar Plantation, the colonial capital of St John's and Fort James are major cultural attractions. Shirley Heights offers spectacular views and a stroll around English Harbour and Nelson's Dockyard are recommended too. Antigua sailing week, which takes place at the end of April, is the event of the year.

  • Travel

    VC Bird International Airport near St John's links Antigua with North America and Europe. Twice daily flights link Barbuda with Antigua. Cruise ships dock at Heritage Quay and St John's. Yachts moor at English Harbour or Falmouth Harbour. Fast ferries transport you from Antigua to Barbuda. Hire cars, jeeps, taxis and scooters are available

  • Celebrity spotting

    The islands attract many celebrities including Liza Minelli, Sophia Loren, Peter Gabriel and Roger Moore. The most famous though is without a doubt Princess Diana, who spent four vacations at Barbuda's famous K Club.

  • Accommodation

    Barbuda offers a superb and near legendary choice of accommodation from budget hotels, self-catering and basic yet idyllic beach huts to romantic hotels, spa hotels and luxury hotels.

  • Key Facts

    • Full Name - Antigua and Barbuda
    • Capital City - Saint Johns (Antigua)
    • Population - 66,500
    • Time Zone - GMT-4
    • Languages - English
    • Religion - Anglican Church, Roman Catholic
    • Currency - Eastern Caribbean Dollar