All About Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua has 108 square miles of land and is located at latitude 17 degrees 5 minutes north and longitude 61 degrees 45 minutes west in the Leeward Islands of the Caribbean. The island has 13 miles of coastline dotted with numerous coves and bays, many with beautiful white-sand beaches. The southwest corner of Antigua is hilly, rising to 1,319 feet at Mt. Obama Peak (formerly known as Boggy Peak), the island’s highest point. Barbuda, a low-lying coral island, is located 32 miles north of Antigua and has approximately 64 square miles of land. Barbuda encompasses the expansive Codrington Lagoon, which is bounded by a long undeveloped beach. The country also includes Redonda, an uninhabited rocky islet less than one square mile in size. It lies 32 miles southwest of Antigua.
Antigua is at the crossroads of the world, with daily direct flights from North America and Europe. It is also the hub of the Caribbean yachting community..
A favourite of European royalty and the discerning visitor alike, the English-speaking twin-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda has been home to the world’s most privileged people for generations. The island is surrounded by turquoise waters, which host luxury yachts for six months out of the year, and is enjoyed by celebrity residents and locals year-round.
The country's temperate climate and plentiful marine life contribute to its fresh, delicious and organic culinary experiences. Abundant outdoor activities also make for a very healthy lifestyle. Antigua and Barbuda is the ideal place to live and, therefore, it is no surprise that people of all nationalities, ethnicities and financial backgrounds make these islands their first or second homes.
Antigua is also steeped in rich history, which dates back hundreds of years. The island was a major British naval base for more than two centuries, thanks to its extensive, winding coastline and large naturally sheltered harbours. Today, the nation is an independent member state of the British Commonwealth, with Queen Elizabeth II as head of state.
Antigua’s government continues to demonstrate its commitment to the tourism industry with projects such as the expansion of the country's international airport. This project will cost $75 million US and will introduce the use of passenger Jetways, which will increase the efficiency of this busy port of entry and allow more passengers to come to the islands' shores.
This small, twin-island state is a member of the United Nations, the British Commonwealth, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Organization of American States and several other international organizations. The nation’s currency is the East Caribbean dollar, which is currently pegged to the U.S. dollar at $2.70 EC/$1 US. Antigua levies no capital gains or inheritance taxes, and there is no tax on income generated outside the country.
How To Get There
Located at the centre of the Eastern Caribbean, Antigua has positioned itself as a regional and international air and sea hub.
From North America, Antigua is served by a number of international airlines, including American Airlines, Caribbean Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Air Canada. From Europe, there are multiple carriers: British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and several charter companies provide daily or seasonal transatlantic flights. LIAT, Caribbean Airlines and other small carriers operate domestic and regional flights daily.
The new airport terminal is scheduled for completion in 2015 and will be the most advanced one in the region. The country’s capacity to receive larger aircraft, more frequent flights and, therefore, more visitors, will only cement the reputation of Antigua as the crossroads of the world.
A large number of visitors to Antigua and Barbuda arrive by yacht or cruise ship, sailing into Heritage Quay, Nelson’s Dockyard and Falmouth Harbour on the south side of the island of Antigua. Customs and immigration procedures easily accommodate the unique needs of the yachting community in Antigua and Barbuda; offices operate at all ports of entry to ensure easy passage into the country.
Attractions and Things To Do
Nelson’s Dockyard National Park is the most visited site in the country. The only functioning Georgian-era dockyard in the world, it is one of the prettiest historical sites in the Caribbean and will soon be designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Dockyard Museum is located in the heart of Nelson's Dockyard in the old Naval Officer’s House. A centre for archeological research in Antigua, the museum offers a research lab and library, educational programs and an interesting gift shop.
This park's southern stingrays are the brightest rays you'll catch in the Caribbean. The park allows visitors the unique opportunity to touch and feed stingrays while snorkeling among magnificent coral reefs and schools of colourful tropical fish.
The Caribbean’s Greatest Summer Festival
Every year, Antigua celebrates its emancipation from slavery by showcasing local talents in dance, beauty, creativity, music and showmanship over a week chock-full of activities and entertainment. The festival takes place during the months of June and July. It has an official place on the country’s calendar of activities, which runs from the last week in July to the first Tuesday in August.
Renowned around the world for having a beach for every day of the year, Antigua and Barbuda are touted as being among the most beautiful islands in the world. The variety of pink-, gold- and white-sand beaches will make you want to stay awhile.
World Class Restaurants
A blend of Italian, French and Caribbean cuisine can be found in most of Antigua and Barbuda's fine restaurants. The award-winning Le Bistro is one of the most popular. Other culinary hot spots include Catherine’s Café Plage, C&C Wine Bar, Sheer Rocks Restaurant, Jacqui O’s Beach House, The Admiral’s Inn and Trappas Restaurant & Bar.
International Cricket Events
The Antigua Recreation Ground was the site of cricketer Brian Lara’s two world-record feats. Today it is home to the beautiful game of football (soccer). The Sir Vivian Richards Stadium—named after one of Antigua and Barbuda’s and, indeed, the world’s, greatest cricket heroes—was built in 2007 for the ICC Cricket World Cup and now hosts most regional and international cricket events, including the Caribbean 20/20 series held in July and August of each year.
A chartered helicopter offers an unrivalled view of the active volcano on the neighboring island of Montserrat. And it's excellent for a quick trip over to Antigua's sister island, Barbuda. Both tours allow you to see some 50 miles of clear-water coral reef systems and beaches along the coasts of Antigua and Barbuda.
Three-day sailing courses can be arranged by booking with either the Royal Yachting Association or Ondeck Sailing.
Whether it is a one-day, a weekend or a week-long charter that tickles your fancy, there is a plethora of experienced and highly professional companies that can fulfil your every sailing wish. Individuals, families and groups can book tours to explore Antigua and Barbuda or the wider Caribbean region.
Antigua Sailing Week
This is the Caribbean’s premier sailing event, which happens at the end of April each year. Sailors bring their boats from all over the world to compete in this renowned series of serious and fun races. The event is great for spectators, too; they can follow the action either on the water or on land.
Deep Sea Fishing
Caribbean deep-sea fishing is regarded as one of the best experiences in the world. You can present the chef at your chosen hotel with your catch for dinner—it could be marlin, tuna, kingfish or wahoo. The Caribbean Sea is the ideal place for a fishing adventure for both experienced anglers and novices.