Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda

Things to do - general

Antigua and Barbuda (Spanish for “ancient” and “bearded”) is a twin-island country lying between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It consists of two major inhabited islands, Antigua and Barbuda, and a number of smaller islands (including Great Bird, Green, Guinea, Long, Maiden and York Islands and further south, the island of Redonda).
Separated by a few nautical miles, Antigua and Barbuda are in the middle of the Leeward Islands, part of the Lesser Antilles, Noth of the equator. The country is nicknamed “Land of 365 Beaches” due to the many beaches surrounding the islands. Its governance, language, and culture have all been strongly influenced by the British Empire, of which the country was formerly a part.

Country Antigua and Barbuda
Visa requirements

No Visa Required

Languages spokenEnglish
Currency usedEastern Caribbean Dollars (XCD) $1 USD - $2.70 XCD
Area (km2)440 km² ; (170 sq mi)

Nightlife info

Antigua has a wide range of restaurants and eateries on offer from Cordon Bleue dining to take-aways. It is an interesting fact that this corner of the world seems to be one of the only places that McDonalds has not managed to conquer, as most Caribbean people prefer chicken to beef. I specifically do not advertise or show preferences about my travels, as so often tastes vary wildly, but Carol and I agree that one of the best meals we have ever had was Pork in stilton at Barrington's restaurant in the Royal Antiguan

Culture info

The culture is predominantly a mixture of West African and British cultural influences.
Cricket is the national sport and Antigua has produced several famous cricket players including Sir Vivian Richards, Anderson "Andy" Roberts, and Richard "Richie" Richardson. Other popular sports include football, boat racing and surfing. (Antigua Sailing Week attracts locals and visitors from all over the world).

American popular culture and fashion also have a heavy influence. Most of the country's media is made up of major United States networks. Many Antiguans prefer to make a special shopping trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico.<p? Family and religion play an important roles in the lives of Antiguans. Most attend religious services on Sunday, although there is a growing number of Seventh-day Adventists who observe the Sabbath on Saturday.

The national Carnival held each August commemorates the abolition of slavery in the British West Indies, although on some islands, Carnival may celebrate the coming of Lent. Its festive pageants, shows, contests and other activities are a major tourist attraction.

Calypso and soca music, both originating primarily out of Trinidad, are important in Antigua and Barbuda.

Corn and sweet potatoes play an important role in Antiguan cuisine. For example, a popular Antiguan dish, Dukunais, a sweet, steamed dumpling made from grated sweet potatoes, flour and spices. One of the Antiguan staple foods, fungi , is a cooked paste made of cornmeal and water. Culture Image

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Antigua was first settled by Archaic Age hunter-gatherer Amerindians called the Siboney or Ciboney. Carbon dating has established the earliest settlements started around 3100 BC. They were succeeded by the Ceramic Age pre-Columbian Arawak-speaking Saladoid people who migrated from the lower Orinoco River.

The Arawaks introduced agriculture, raising, among other crops, the famous Antigua black pineapple (Moris cultivar of Ananas comosus), corn, sweet potatoes (white with firmer flesh than the bright orange "sweet potato" used in the United States), chiles, guava, tobacco, and cotton.

The indigenous West Indians made excellent seagoing vessels which they used to sail the Atlantic and the Caribbean. As a result, Caribs and Arawaks were able to colonize much of South America and the Caribbean Islands. Their descendants still live there, notably in Brazil, Venezuela, and Colombia.

Most Arawaks left Antigua around 1100 AD; those who remained were later raided by the Caribs. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the Caribs' superior weapons and seafaring prowess allowed them to defeat most of the West Indian Arawak nations, enslaving some and possibly cannibalizing others.

The Catholic Encyclopedia makes it clear that the European invaders had difficulty differentiating between the various groups of the native peoples they encountered. As a result, the number and types of ethnic/tribal groups in existence at that time may have been much more varied and numerous than just the two mentioned in this article. European and African diseases, malnutrition, and slavery eventually killed most of the Caribbean's native population, although no researcher has conclusively proven any of these causes as the real reason for these deaths. Smallpox was probably the greatest killer. Some historians believe that the psychological stress of slavery may also have played a part in the massive number of deaths amongst enslaved natives. Others believe the reportedly abundant, but starchy, low-protein diet may have contributed to their severe malnutrition as they were used to a diet fortified with protein from the sea.

The island of Antigua, originally called Wa'ladli by Arawaks, is today called Wadadli by locals. Caribs possibly called it Wa'omoni. Christopher Columbus, while sailing by in 1493, may have named it Santa Maria la Antigua after an icon in the Spanish Seville Cathedral. The Spaniards did not colonize Antigua because it lacked fresh water but not aggressive Caribs. The English settled on Antigua in 1632; Sir Christopher Codrington settled on Barbuda in 1684. Slavery, established to run sugar plantations around 1684, was abolished in 1834. The British ruled from 1632 to 1981, with a brief French interlude in 1666.

The islands became an independent state within the Commonwealth of Nations on 1 November 1981, with Elizabeth II as the first Queen of Antigua and Barbuda. The Right Honourable Vere Cornwall Bird Sr became the first Prime Minister.


Antigua and Barbuda both are generally low-lying islands, which was formed with a mixture of volcanic activity and limestone. The highest point on Antigua is Mount Obama (formerly Boggy Peak), the remnant of a volcanic crater rising 402 meters (1319 ft). This mountain is located amid a bulge of hills of volcanic origin in the southwestern part of the island.

The limestone formations in the northeast are separated from the southwestern volcanic area by a central plain of clay formations. Barbuda's highest elevation is 42 meters (146 ft), part of the highland plateau east of Codrington. The shorelines of both islands are greatly indented with beaches, lagoons, and natural harbours. The islands are rimmed by reefs and shoals.


Antigua and Barbuda is famous for its beaches, boastig a hefty 365 beaches, That's one beach for every day of the year. Barbuda is home to one of the pink sand beaches in the caribbean and is definitely a site to be seen and experienced.

Things To Do

Stingray CityStingray city
Stingray City is a unique experience only offered by two islands in the entire Caribbean chain, being only a short boat ride off the coast of Antigua. The boat docks at a shallow point at sea where the water is crystal clear and about waist height for the average person. Here you will be able to swim with and feed the friendly stingrays. Don't worry about ending up like Steve Irwin as these stingrays are quite docile. Back on the mainland, Stingray City provides refreshment as well as a mini zoo of the different forms of wildlife that could be found on the island.

Shirley HeightsShirley heights
Shirley Heights is a must, hands down the best spot on Antigua, and one of the top spots in the Caribbean in my opinion, to view the sunsets, not to mention Shirley Heights is a perfect spot to have a romantic evening out, or to host a party, the location is top notch and a must see.

Devil's BridgeDevils bridge
Located in the north-east of the island, Devil's bridge is a naturally occurring out crop of land shaped by the Atlantic ocean. The stories of Devil's Bridge are plentiful, one of which being the spot where many African Slaves died while either one escaping their lives of bondage or 2 trying to swim back to Africa, there are no historical evidence of this, but regardless Devil's Bridge still remains as a must visit spot on your vacation.

Valley Church Beachvalley-church-beach-1
One of the 365 beaches mention before, Valley Church Beach is gorgeous, pearl white sand bordering with the turquoise blue of the Caribbean sea, absolutely wonderful for a day at the beach.

Pillars of Hercules
No these are not in Greece, but these pillars named after the Greek mythological hero Hercules is just as astonishing. A superb spot for picture taking and there are even some brightly colored fish making the area great for snorkeling.

Fort JamesFort James
Fort James a popular historical destination is beautiful, this fort, built in 1739 by the British to protect their harbour from a French invasion, is a staple on the island and perfect to sample a bit of the history of the island and not to mention its perfect for pictures.

Zip-lining is always fun and Antigua doesn't leave it out. Soaring through the air over a thick lush tropical canopy with the wind rushing through your hair, is an exhilarating experience. Definitely try this experience.