Antigua and Barbuda are considered one of the top must-see destinations in the Caribbean. Lying in the sweet spot between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, the two main islands in addition to a number of smaller islands, are perfect for a Caribbean getaway.
The group of islands were discovered by Christopher Columbus, and consequently he gave the islands their names. However, according to historians’ investigations, it was determined by carbon dating that the earliest signs of inhabitants’ date back to 1300 BC. Antigua and Barbuda have gained independence from the British Empire in 1981, however, they remain a part of the British Commonwealth, and their head of state is Queen Elizabeth II. The islands are characterized by their simple yet picturesque terrain, and they are sometimes called the islands of 365 beaches – due to the variety and abundance of beaches surrounding the islands. As a result, the economy of Antigua and Barbuda is mainly dependent on tourism, as the islands are famous for their many luxury resorts. Like most British Colonies, Antigua and Barbuda are home to a small but diverse population. At just over a 100 thousand, the population is comprised of several nationalities, and the official and most used language is English, although in different dialects.
A Challenging Climate
Antigua and Barbuda are positioned in a sensitive spot regarding climate conditions. While temperatures are generally moderate throughout the year, hurricanes usually strike the islands at least once a year. In September of 2017, Hurricane Irma struck the island of Barbuda, causing its population to be evacuated to Antigua. As almost 90% of its buildings and infrastructure were destroyed by the hurricane, rebuilding efforts are still underway. Fortunately, the effect on tourism has been minimal, as Barbuda only hosted a few hundred hotel rooms. However, that’s not slowing down the rebuilding efforts which are expected to be completed by the end of 2018.
While both islands are home to wonderful beaches, Antigua draws the most visitors due to its more lively atmosphere. Top destinations in Antigua include Half Moon Bay, which is full of coral beaches, Stingray City, where tourists can mingle freely and feed hundreds of friendly stingrays, the beautiful 17 Mile Beach, and the fascinating Nelson’s Dockyard National Park, home to several restored historical buildings as well as a former British dockyard dating back to the 18th century. And for history buffs, the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda provides an in-depth look at the rich history of the islands and its native inhabitants. Both islands are well known for their rare flora and fauna, with the famous Frigate Bird Sanctuary being one of the top attractions in Barbuda.
The two islands of Antigua and Barbuda have demonstrated an economical agility and an ability to sustain themselves with natural hazards, especially since their location puts them in a critical climate spot where hurricanes strike often. This provides a dynamic and thrilling atmosphere. Additionally, they have a lot to offer for tourists, with a fascinating blend of cultures, cuisines, historical sites, and fun tourist activities.