Life revolves around the coast in this Caribbean nation that has twin islands bordered by sandy beaches, sheltered coves and historic harbors.
Antigua and Barbuda lie in the eastern Caribbean Sea, bounded by superb beaches. Many travelers visit the islands in order to relax on the pink-and-white sands and explore coral reefs and shipwrecks. Enjoy their tropical forests and bird populations as well.
Antigua is the bigger of the two islands, where international flights land and cruise ships dock. Once you have found your accommodation, head to the beach; there are hundreds to choose from. Dickenson Bay and Runaway Bay on the northwest coast are popular with families, while Half Moon Bay on the southeastern coast has a good reputation with windsurfers. For a little adventure during your vacation, zip line above the trees of Antigua’s rainforests.
In the capital city, St. John’s, find the mid-19th century baroque St. John's Cathedral. Shop in the weekend farmers market and learn about the history of the islands at the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda.
Elsewhere on Antigua, go to the English Harbour to see Nelson's Dockyard. It was Admiral Horatio Nelson's home for several years in the 1780s. Visit the surrounding national park as well.
Travel to Barbuda on the 90-minute ferry service, Barbuda Express. Barbuda is less developed than Antigua with fewer people and resorts. Visit Frigate Bird Sanctuary near the northwestern lagoon, home to more than 170 species of birds. Venture into the limestone caves at Two Foot Bay to see resident bats.
The water off both islands offer numerous dive and snorkeling spots. In addition to the marine life, look for many shipwrecks to explore. Other water-based activities include sailing, kayaking and fishing.
When dining out, be sure to try the islands’ specialties: extra-sweet black pineapples on Antigua and lobster on Barbuda. The national dish is fungie (cornmeal and okra dumplings) and pepperpot.
A good time to visit Antigua and Barbuda is between mid-December and mid-April. The weather is still hot, but doesn’t reach the extremes of summer. Come for the relaxed lifestyle, nature and beaches.