Nestled in the heart of the Caribbean is a tiny gem which I call home. The twin island nation of Antigua and Barbuda is located in the middle of the Leeward Islands in the Eastern Caribbean. Stretching 108 square miles, I was born and raised on the island of Antigua. Barbuda is the sister-island to Antigua sharing the same government. It is a flat coral island with an area of only 68 square miles and lies about 30 miles north. Temperatures generally range from mid-70s in the winter to the high-80s to low-90s in the summer. There are 365 white, sandy beaches on Antigua and Barbuda, one for each day of the year. The country is reliant on tourism, and it markets itself globally as a luxury Caribbean escape. The official language is English, but many locals speak the Antiguan Creole which was derived from British and African origins.
(Photo courtesy of www.lonelyplanet.com)
(Photo courtesy of www.antiguanice.com)
The islands contain rich culture and history. Discovered in 1684 by Christopher Columbus, Antigua became home to one of the largest sugar cultivations in the region at this time. Many of the sugar mills are still present to this day, the most famous being Betty’s Hope.
(Photo courtesy of www.geographia.com)
As with many other Caribbean islands, many forts were built in the 18th century to protect against French invasion. Fort James was built to protect the capital, St John’s, and the cannons are still currently standing in their original position.
(Photo courtesy of www.strabon-caraibes.org/ab)
Barbuda, known for its pink sand, is home to the Bird’s Sanctuary which is inhabited by the frigate bird, the national bird.
(Photo courtesy of http://www.barbudaful.net/)
There are many festivities and activities throughout the year, the most popular being Sailing Week in April; the Carnival festivities in the summer; the Independence celebrations in November; and Caribana in Barbuda.
Places of interest and Historical sites: Nelsons Dockyard, Shirley’s Heights, Harmony Hall Art Gallery, the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda
Activities: cricket, boating, snorkeling, kayaking, day cruises, zip lining
Restaurants and Nightlife: Big Banana, Commissioner Grill, The Coast, Abracadabra
To read more about Antigua and Barbuda, visit the official website for the Department of Tourism, http://www.antigua-barbuda.org/. Hope to see you there sometime soon!