Things to do
Antigua and Barbuda have a lot more to offer than you would expect from these two little islands. For a beach vacation Antigua is certainly a place to consider - “Land of the 365 beaches,” says it all. A great option quite close to St. John’s is Runaway Beach. Many locals head there to swim and hang out. However, on cruise ship days it can get quite crowded. The perfect example of why we always prepare you with back-up options: For a less crowded and stunningly gorgeous spot head over to Valley Church Beach in Jolly Harbour. Here you can enjoy the simplicity of island-life and soak in the sun. Both our personalized and standard guidebooks are packed with recommendations and details about Antigua and Barbuda’s best beaches.
Nature lovers not only get to swim with stingrays and explore the majesty of marine life, but also have the opportunity to enjoy the rain forest reserve with hiking trails and zip lining.
Barbuda is the smaller sister island of Antigua. With less than 2,000 inhabitants who live mostly in Codrington, the island is truly unspoiled and features a large frigate bird reserve. Plan at least one full day trip to enjoy your share of Barbuda’s 17 miles of renowned pink sand beaches.
Transportation to and on the island
Several international airlines serve Antigua’s airport V.C. Bird International from North America and Europe. American Airlines has direct flights from Miami, Delta flies from JFK and Atlanta, and Air Canada from Toronto - Just to give a selection. From Europe, Condor has direct flights out of Frankfurt in the winter season while British airways offers direct service from London Gatwick. Antigua is also the main hub of LIAT offering many routes to other Caribbean destinations.
Public transportation by minibus service is largely available in and around St. John’s. While quite inexpensive, it is not always guaranteed that you reach your destination via the shortest route since the vans drop and pick up other passengers on the way. For more flexibility a rental car is a good option. Large international companies such and Avis and Hertz as well as a number of local companies have offices at the airport.
The slightly cooler winter has average temperatures of about 23°C (73°F). In the summer the average is around 30°C (86°F). The rainy season is shorter than in the more Southern parts of the Caribbean and lasts from September to November. The best time for travel to avoid humidity is January / February. Antigua and Barbuda are in the hurricane zone and unfortunately hit quite regularly during hurricane season in the summer months.
People and Culture
Due to the British influence cricket is the number one sport in Antigua. Hence one of the biggest local sports legends Sir Vivian Richards is a cricketer. Carnival is also very big in Antigua. Unlike in most other countries, it is celebrated in late July / early August and originated to celebrate the end of slavery, dating dates back to 1834. With concerts, shows and parades, it is the most important celebration of the year with the majority of events held on Monday and Tuesday.
Before being discovered by the Europeans in the late 15th century, several American and Caribbean tribes settled on Antigua including the Arawaks and the Caribs. From the 17th century on, English settlers lived on Antigua and later Barbuda with a minor French intervention. The country gained its independence from the British crown in 1981 and is now a part of the Commonwealth of Nations.
Geography & Geology
Although there is volcanic activity in the area, Antigua and Barbuda mostly consist of limestone rock formations. While Barbuda is nearly flat, Antigua’s highest peak is 400 meters (1320 ft) above sea level. It was renamed “Mount Obama” in 2009 after the American president. Before that, the mountain was known as Boggy Peak. Neighboring islands are St. Kitts and Nevis and Montserrat in the West / South West and Guadeloupe in the South.