Destination Overview: Antigua
Are you interested in learning about Antigua? This article will help you get a big picture overview of this a popular vacation destination in the Caribbean!
Antigua is one of the Leeward Islands in the Lesser Antilles. It is located southeast of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands and is surrounded by the North Atlantic Ocean to the East and the Caribbean Sea to the West.
Antigua is the largest of the British Leeward Islands and it has been nicknamed “Land of 365 Beaches”, because of the numerous beaches on the island. The island itself is approximately fourteen miles long and eleven miles wide, and encompasses 108 square miles. The central Caribbean location and multiple harbors have turned Antigua into a major sailing destination.
The island of Antigua is hilly and composed of volcanic rock, limestone, and coral. While many parts of the island can be lush and green, there are times during the dry season when everything turns a dusty brown. The highest point on the island is Boggy Peak, recently renamed Mount Obama, which stands at 1,319 feet on the southwestern corner.
St. John’s is the capital of Antigua and is on the Northwest coast. V.C. Bird International Airport (ANU) can handle jets of all sizes and is the hub for flights to almost every other island in the Caribbean. Travelers need to consider all the variables before deciding on whether to rent a vehicle for their time on the island. Anyone who arrives for a resort experience may be better off taking taxis, going on tours, and possibly renting a car for a day. The Barbuda Express is a high-speed catamaran that runs between St. John’s and Barbuda five days a week. The journey takes approximately ninety minutes and is the perfect way for people to visit the small island.
The island’s governance, language, and culture have always been strongly influenced by its background ties to the British Empire and that continues today, even though many Antiguans are of African lineage. The locals are the descendants of the slaves that were brought to the island centuries ago to work in the sugarcane fields. Since the locals speak English, the island is a perfect destination for first-time visitors to the Caribbean. Of course, the well-developed infrastructure and all-inclusive resorts add to the appeal as does the African-Caribbean flavor of the music, dancing, food, and language.
Barbuda is approximately thirty miles north of Antigua and is a flat coral island comprised of sixty-eight square miles. Both Antigua and Barbuda are part of the British Commonwealth and achieved independence in 1981.Both islands are completely surrounded by well-preserved coral reefs as well as shipwrecks. Shallow diving and snorkeling conditions near these attractions are fantastic and the water temperatures average 80 degrees Fahrenheit every day of the year. The English Harbour and the neighboring village of Falmouth are known as popular yachting and sailing destinations. At the end of April and beginning of May every year, Antigua Sailing Week takes place in the waters around the island. This world-class regatta brings multiple ships and sailors and this destination is considered the “biggest and funniest regatta in the Caribbean”.
Boating, sailing, diving, and snorkeling are the most popular water sports activities in Antigua, but there is so much more that visitors can do. Adventures can be found while zip lining, windsurfing, kite boarding, and horseback riding and many people may attempt to relax with a round of golf or by spending some time fishing.
Travelers will want to choose Antigua as their next vacation destination if they want to spend time on the beach and playing in the water. There are 365 beaches to choose from on the island and there are many islets for boaters to explore while sailing. In addition to the water, there are historical sites and an exciting nightlife to experience as well as a nice selection of shopping areas to purchase duty free goods and arts and crafts.
When to go:
Peak season for Antigua is mid December through April. The weather is ideal during these months, but keep in mind it’s also the most crowded and the most expensive time to go. The best time to visit Antigua is from May to November, the island’s low season. Rates are cheapest at this time, and you can save about 40%. There is a slight threat of hurricanes, and a higher chance of rain, but you can still expect mostly sunny weather and ideal temperatures that hover in the 80’s.
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