Barbuda lies 27 miles northeast of its sister island Antigua and has a land area of 62 square miles. A low lying coral island, known for its untouched pink coral and white sand beaches, its highest point is only 125ft above sea level. The capital is Codrington.
The climate is sunny and warm all year with trade winds, the average temperature ranges from the mid-seventies in the winter to the mid-eighties in the summer. Annual rainfall averages only 45 inches, making Antigua and Barbuda the sunniest of the eastern Caribbean islands and the northeast trade winds are nearly constant, flagging only in September.
Activities include swimming, diving, snorkelling, fishing, bird watching, caving and beachcombing. Sights, other than the beaches, most often visited include:-
Frigate Bird Sanctuary, accessible by boat; Dark Cave, a low boulder-hung passage that leads 400 feet underground to (almost) fresh-water pools teeming with rare blind shrimp and certain species of crustacean found nowhere else in the world; Darby’s Cave featuring a large sink hole, about 350 feet in diameter and 70 feet deep that contains a small but lush rainforest; Martello Tower, built in c.1745, is an old fort used both for defence and as a look-out along the south coast; Indian Cave is one of the most interesting prehistoric sites in Barbuda. Located at Two Foot Bay the caves have several chambers where bays can be found hanging and small Amerindian petroglyphs (rock carvings) can be seen.
There are two exclusive resorts on the island: Coco Point Lodge and the newly opened Lighthouse Bay Resort. Barbuda also has a selection of guest houses and B & Bs. There is a small selection of restaurants and snack bars on the island offering traditional Barbudan cuisine and seafood specialities including lobster.
Antigua is located in the heart of the Caribbean Sea. It is a 108 square mile limestone and coral island recognized for its numerous coves, bays, 365 white sand beaches and clear turquoise-coloured waters. The capital is St. John’s with two distinctive waterfront areas and a selection of shops and restaurants.
Antigua and Barbuda is a parliamentary democracy modelled on the British system. The Head of State is Queen Elizabeth II.
It has a sunny and warm climate all year round the same as Barbuda.
The majority of the 80,000 people residing on Antigua are of African descent, the remainder of British, Lebanese, Syrian, Chinese and Portuguese origin.
Accommodation ranges from comprehensive resort facilities and luxury hotels to smaller more intimate boutique hotels, guesthouses and cottages.
Antigua’s rich history and spectacular topography provide a variety of popular sightseeing opportunities. Nelson’s Dockyard, the only remaining example of a Georgian fort commissioned by the British in 1755, is perhaps the most renowned landmark. Other attractions include a historic overview of six periods of Antiguan history through a multimedia presentation at the Dow Interpretation Centre. Visitors may also enjoy a panoramic view of the Caribbean’s longest continuously operational port from Shirley Heights. Further evidence of the island’s historical roots is St. John’s Cathedral, visible from around the capital; it is regarded as one of Antigua’s national monuments. Betty’s Hope, which was built in 1674, is the site of one of the first full-scale sugar plantations on Antigua, and offers a chance to step back into time by visiting the restored mills.
Antigua has a picturesque landscape and natural preserves. Explore the lush vegetation of the rainforest with an expedition down Fig Tree Drive. Another attraction is Devil’s Bridge, located at the eastern tip of the island in Indian Town National Park, where Atlantic breakers have carved out a natural limestone arch.
There are 365 beaches on Antigua. The numerous reefs and coves combined with crystal-clear turquoise waters afford beachgoers the luxury of privacy and beauty. Majority of the beaches are inside the calm, protected waters of the island’s Caribbean side. All are open to the public. Popular spots along the west coast of the island include Morris Bay, Galley Bay, Ffryes Bay, Darkwood Beach, Dickinson Bay and Turners Beach. The shoreline along the east side of the island includes Half Moon Bay and Long Bay which offers great snorkelling opportunities.
Visitors may choose from a variety of cuisine including native dishes, French, Italian, Creole, Caribbean, International and more. Local seafood specialities include spiny lobster, fish, clams and conch. Diners can select from more than 60 restaurants.
To get around Antigua, UK visitors will find renting a car an ideal solution. A valid driver’s license and $20 fee are required to obtain a permit to drive in Antigua. The rental agency will assist in securing this temporary license, which is valid for 90 days. The Antigua – Barbuda Ferry takes 1hr 30mins and costs EC$140 return. Taxis are available throughout Antigua. Fares between the airport, harbour and many hotels and destinations are fixed and can be obtained upon arrival.
All visitors to Antigua and Barbuda must be in possession of an onward or round trip ticket. Visitors require a valid passport with at least six months validity before expiry from arrival date. UK passport holders do not require a visa.
For UK visitors, Antigua is served by British Airways from Gatwick and Virgin Atlantic. LIAT, Caribbean Airlines, Winair provide inter-island connections.