It's difficult to distinguish between a brochure and any image of Antigua & Barbuda if you hold one up against the other. These two islands are classic examples of the Caribbean, with swaying palm trees dotting sugar-white beaches that curve like crescent moons around protected bays. The holidays in Antigua are fantastic.
The bigger and more well-known island, Antigua, is distinguished for its golden curves. Every day of the year is represented by one of the 365 beaches here. The magnificent sands of Antigua are more of a way of life than a peculiar selling point, though. With the exception of the occasional snorkel, a normal day in this place consists of sipping rum from beachside shacks while taking in the scenery from an opulent resort. But since Horatio Nelson was stationed there in the 18th century, sailors have found refuge in Antigua during the holidays. Almost every month sees a regatta or yacht race taking place in Antigua's sparkling waters, a legacy of British colonial authority that has only grown more ingrained in the island nation's culture over time.
Tiny Barbuda is frequently overlooked in favor of its larger sister, but those who are clever enough to include it in their Caribbean vacation can enjoy its blush-colored beaches, sparse tourist traffic, and reef-filled waters.
Named after the admiral who ushered in the colonial period in Antigua, Nelson’s Dockyard is the jewel in the island’s proud maritime heritage. In operation since 1745, it’s the only surviving Georgian marina and became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2016. Fully restored to its original splendour, buzzing restaurants and shops now sit inside the quaint 18th-century buildings, presided over by a number of colonial forts that pock the hillside. The interesting museum there charts Antigua’s seafaring history, life on the dockyard and boasts a number of fascinating artefacts, including a telescope once used by Nelson himself.
Everywhere you look in Antigua is postcard-perfect – it doesn’t have an ugly side. So why not absorb all its beauty in one eye-popping panorama? That’s why we love Shirley Heights, a military lookout and battery perched atop a lush peak. The restored complex and parade ground is well worth a wander but peer past its walls for epic, sweeping views of English Harbour and the glittering Caribbean Sea beyond. It’s a sight that really takes your breath away.
Antigua’s 365 beaches may take the plaudits but the island’s tasty cuisine is a fusion feast that feels like it has almost as many flavours. Dining out in one of the many restaurants that are spread across the island is the perfect way to savour Antigua’s spectacular views. Eat delicious French food on a pristine beach near English Harbour at Catherine’s Café or head to the north coast to soak up incredible ocean views while trying the fresh seafood at Cecilia’s in Dutchman’s Bay. The finest of Caribbean cuisine can be found among the friendly beachside surroundings of Coconut Grove in Dickenson Bay, while Gallic gourmet has been a speciality of Le Bistro for over 30 years. Yum!
You can’t fully grasp the culture of Antigua & Barbuda until you witness the locals’ passion for cricket. There’s no better place than at the national arena, the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, named after the country’s most famous cricketing son. Time your holiday right and you’ll have a chance to watch a premier international match here and the exhilarating atmosphere truly makes this a bucket-list experience.
If your toes are itching to get off the beach for a few hours, then a dune buggy safari is the best way to explore Antigua’s wild interior. Drive through historic local villages, lush grasslands, unspoiled beaches and sugar plantations that you probably wouldn’t see otherwise. It’s an exciting adrenaline-fueled adventure that shows a hidden side of beautiful Antigua.
No vaccinations are recommended for Antigua & Barbuda asides Covid-19 vaccination card and a negative Covid-19 PCR test result not less than 72hours old. Though the country is regarded as having a risk of contracting the Zika virus. However, please consult your GP at least four to six weeks prior to travel for current advice.
The currency is the Eastern Caribbean dollar, although US dollars are also widely accepted.
According to the Antigua and Barbuda tourist visa policy, foreign nationals from over 130 different countries must have a visa to enter the island country for tourism. Speak with your agent on how to get a visa if you would be needing one.
English is the official language in Antiqua and Barbuda. Spanish is spoken by around 10,000 inhabitants
Antigua & Barbuda is a great year-round holiday destination, with plenty of rays to catch whenever you choose to visit.
December to April is the peak season, with temperatures averaging a high of 27°C. It’s the driest time of year; sunshine is aplenty; and April sees the Caribbean’s largest regatta roll into town, with Antigua Sailing Week staging races and cultural events.
The official Caribbean hurricane season runs from 1 June to 30 November, and though the risk is unlikely, you could encounter a tropical storm. That said, June-November is typically nesting season on the island, making it a great time to spot hawksbill turtles. May to August are still beautiful, with average temperatures peaking at highs of 31°C, despite increased chances of showers. It’s also the time of Antigua’s biggest celebration, the 10-day Antigua Carnival in July and August, where the liberation of slaves is marked with performances by brass and steel bands.
The weather from September to November sees the highest chance of rain, but there are still many sunshine hours to soak up and the weather turns the landscape lush and bursting with vegetation and tropical flowers.
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