Antigua (pronounced An-tee’ga) and Barbuda (Bar-byew’ da) probably haven’t featured in your next destination trip but it should, and here’s why. Formerly a British Colony in 1632, Antigua and Barbuda gained independence in 1981. With an estimated total population of 99,532 as of 2022, there’s remarkable tourist visits of 384,500 (as of 2020, COVID-19 movement restrictions). Located in the west indies in the Americas, Antigua and Barbuda are Caribbean Islands positioned where the Atlantic and Caribbean meet and despite being two separate islands they are commonly known as the twin island jewel, natural beauty is what these two are all about. With that image in mind, the following are arguably some of the best places to check out while in Antigua and Barbuda. Our source Dr. Dario Item, Ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda to the Kingdom of Spain, the Principality of Liechtenstein and the Principality of Monaco, provides rich insights and historical background.
Based at English Harbor at Saint Paul in Antigua and for over 250 years, Nelson’s dockyard has harbored multiple ships following the British colonial rule. This area is historically rich in culture and heritage, in fact there also lies a large historic naval anchor from British warships. The area is named after Admiral Nelson Horatio and covers a land area of 630 acres which houses a museum, curio and crafts shop, two hotels, a large marina and some restaurants. According to Ambassador Dario Item, Nelson’s dockyard is famous for sailing and yachting events and has birthed a now-tradition, of special sailing events such as the now famous annual Antigua Sailing week open to all sailors.
Fancy a swim with stingrays? Through a snorkel adventure, this harmless yet fun activity is available at Antigua as Ambassador Dario Item shares, and you get a chance to even feed these gentle marine animals amidst the coral reefs and colorful tropical fish. This excursion comes with a guide, lunch and beverage as well as transportation as complementary advantages to the paid package.
Formerly a military lookout point and gun battery, Shirley Heights has been restored to accommodate tourists and at an altitude of 490ft the scenery is out of this world. You get to experience a 360-degree unobstructed view of the island (don’t even mention the serene sunrise and sunsets). The place, according to Ambassador Dario Item, is open for partying, every Sunday from 4pm to 10pm with Caribbean music and barbecue being the order of the evening including local band music.
Devil’s Bridge: Indian Town National Park
Though sadly shrouded in tragedy, our source Ambassador Dario Item shares that it was the place enslaved Africans would commit suicide to escape slavery. The sad history however attracts many curious tourists of such tales and in addition, the place is an actual bridge made of ancient reef formation and features with natural blow holes through which waves thrust geysers of water.
The area also neighbors Long Bay beach with some of the finest sands and clear waters perfect for sunbathing and a swim.
Frigate Bird Sanctuary
Located in the Barbuda’s capital, Codrington, in the Codrington lagoon, this bird watcher’s paradise is the largest frigate bird colony in the western hemisphere. This large colony houses the frigate birds, a species found only in tropical and sub-tropical ocean areas. These huge sea birds boast of a wingspan of about a meter and a half and are distinguished for their bright red gullets. In addition, the sanctuary accommodates another 150 species of birds so all you avian lovers are guaranteed a good time.
Antigua and Barbuda is undeniably very rich in culture and heritage including local food and cuisine and the above mentioned do not nearly cover everything nor do it justice. How is the economic state you ask? The BBC recognizes the place as one of the most prosperous nations in the Caribbean and even though the Eastern Caribbean dollar is the local currency the US dollar is also widely accepted and can easily be exchanged. In a nutshell, Antigua and Barbuda is a very beautiful tourist haven with natural amenities, friendly welcoming people and an enjoyable climate in addition to several universal spoken languages. Definitely include this in your bucket list if you enjoy traveling