WELCOME TO ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA
We can thank a volcanic eruption for the natural beauty that is Antigua and Barbuda. However, we need to thank the people of the double island nation for creating such a warm and inviting destination. You’ll be able to explore the towns and immerse yourself in the culture just as easily as you can experience the rainforests and oceans around the islands. With almost 100 miles of shoreline and 365 beaches (one for every day!) just on Antigua, it might be hard to ever leave to go explore the neighboring Barbuda. In order to protect its truly unique and stunning wildlife and ecosystems, Antigua and Barbuda are at the forefront of many Caribbean green initiatives to make sure that as many people can enjoy the Caribbean region for as long as we can.
For those who want to learn more about Antigua and Barbuda’s cultural history, one can spend some time at Nelson’s Dockyard in English Harbour on the island of Antigua. This multi-functional locale showcases the history of the islands, the history of the British Navy in the area, shopping and dining, and even art galleries! There is something for everyone at Nelson’s Dockyard. Nelson’s Dockyard is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
History buffs that want to learn even more about the islands can head to the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda in St. John’s. Here, you can learn about the native populations prehistory and history through archaeological artifacts, learn about colonial rule, even learn about the natural history of the islands. You can also do a little bit of research on your own at the on-site research library that is open to the public.
While this stunning dual-island nation is known for its beaches, coral reefs, and crystal clear waters, there is another natural wonder that beckons adventurers to explore: the Barbuda Caves. You can sign up for a tour to explore these unique formations. You’ll see stalagmites and stalactites, miniature rainforests with wildlife living inside, and even ancient petroglyphs left by the native Arawaks.
One of the biggest sports on the islands is, without a doubt, cricket. Local players for one of two teams: the Leeward Islands or the West Indies (Windies). It’s so popular that there is an event every November called the Antigua and Barbuda International Cricket Fest. Teams come from all over the Caribbean and elsewhere to hone their skills, compete in friendly games, enjoy some music, and indulge in some home-cooked food!
For those looking for a unique way to enjoy the beautiful weather that Antigua and Barbuda has to offer, you can travel to the islands during Easter weekend. Every Easter weekend, the Antigua and Barbuda International Kite Festival occurs across the country. You can make your own kite along the beaches or you can simply enjoy the sight of hundreds of colors dancing about in the air.
Once you decide you want to get yourself a flight to Antigua and Barbuda, you should know that your best option is to go through the international airport in St. John’s on Antigua. With plenty of flights direct from other Caribbean islands, U.S.A., Canada, and Europe, getting to the double island nation will be a breeze.
When you realize you want, or maybe even need, to get to Barbuda, you will want to catch the ferry connecting the two islands.
If you’re planning on making a tour through the Caribbean and want to add Antigua to that stop, you can board a cruise to Antigua. You will dock at St. Johns, where you will be able to explore the markets and architecture of the city just as easily as you can enjoy the hundreds of beaches.
As you explore the island, you might want to guide your own adventure. You can choose to navigate the local bus system, which is a fleet of minivans that travel around Antigua. You’ll be able to figure out which vans are the buses because they have the word “BUS” on their license plate. Or instead, you can rent a car from a rental agency. Just keep in mind, in Antigua and Barbuda, you drive on the left side of the road!
The birders among us will enjoy the unique experience offered up by the Frigate Bird Sanctuary on Barbuda. The largest Frigate Bird colony in the western hemisphere, avian enthusiasts can see these wondrous creatures in their natural habitat. The national bird unfortunately experienced a bit a hit during the several years of hurricanes, but thanks to the Frigate Bird Sanctuary, populations are on the rise again! The sanctuary is home to much more than just Frigate Birds. With more than 170 species spotted in the sanctuary, you can jump on a boat tour and try to spot as many as you can!
For those who want to explore the natural beauty of the island on foot, a trip to the Wallings Nature Reserve on Antigua is a great way to spend the day. With miles and miles of trails leading you through the tropical forest, you will be treated to some of the most breathtaking views that Antigua has to offer. You can either hit trails yourself or opt for a guided hike through the Reserve’s hot spots.
Sonia Williams: The track and field sprint runner took Antigua and Barbuda to the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Williams has medaled in various Caribbean and Latin American regional competitions.
Heather Samuel: The track and field sprint runner took Antigua and Barbuda to the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. Samuel also competed in numerous regional events, such as Central American and Caribbean Games, where she medaled several times.
For those of you who want to learn a little history of the islands, you can visit the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda on Antigua. With exhibits focused on the art and artifacts of the early native populations, colonial life, and modern life, there is so much history to learn of these unique islands.
For those who want to learn more about Admiral Nelson, you can visit the Admiral’s House Museum on Antigua. You can learn about the British occupation, colonial life, and even some maritime history of the island. The preserved house also gives visitors a unique look into the colonial world.
Lovers of all things adventure will enjoy an afternoon spent at the Antigua Rainforest Canopy Tour on Antigua. You can climb up into the lush tropical rainforest and then zipline through the trees and soar like a bird through the beautiful scenery. There’s no better way to truly experience the wonders of the tropical canopy.
If you’d rather enjoy the island at more of a ground level, you can take in the scenery with a unique perspective at Antigua Paddles. Whether you want to join a group kayaking outing to the remote mangroves or hop on a motorized boat for a guided tour of the islands, you’ll get to experience something truly unique with the various options offered. Don’t forget to bring a camera and plenty of sunscreen!
Like many Caribbean islands, Antigua & Barbuda relies on its natural beauty to attract visitors to its shores. The Antigua & Barbuda Marine Association begun to protect the marine environment and help organize the boat races that attract so much attention to the island. You can donate to their cause to help further not only the country’s environment, but also their economy.
The Antigua Street Pastors is a group that uses local Anglican faith to help members of society who feel lost, abandoned, or ignored. Volunteers go out into the community every week to talk to those in underserved and under-represented who feel as though they need help. They also maintain relationships with several help centers across the country to make sure that individuals get the help they need. You can donate to their cause to help them continue to make a positive impact in the lives of people of the country.