Antigua

Antigua

Antigua is still a popular vacation spot for travelers who could choose to vacation anywhere. So how does Antigua and Barbuda attract this well-heeled crowd? In the case of Antigua (pronounced an-TEE-gah), you start with what nature gave you: an abundance of sun and immaculate white sand. Then you add some of the most luxurious villas and exclusive resorts in the Caribbean, and you have a veritable magnet of attractions for any taste.

Antigua has smaller island dependencies, including Barbuda (pronounced bar-byou-dah), about 25 mi/40 km north of Antigua (more of a bird sanctuary than a lavish resort) and the uninhabited Redonda, 35 mi/56 km to the southwest.

Antigua, however, still has some vacation hotels for travelers who aren’t as wealthy (more, actually, than its high-end neighbors, Anguilla and St. Barts). Antigua also has excellent golf courses, forested hills and beautiful offshore islands. It’s a favorite destination for yachters.

Fort James has also become a popular historic site, in addition to Nelson’s Dockyard, the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda, Fort Barrington and Betty’s Hope Sugar Estate.

The islands’ main attractions are relaxation, historical sights, deep-sea fishing, golf and tennis, sailing, scuba diving and snorkeling, windsurfing, beautiful beaches, bicycling, horseback riding, cricket, casinos and friendly people.

If you enjoy excellent beaches, food and watersports—and aren’t on a strict budget—Antigua and Barbuda are for you. Don’t go to these islands if you’re looking for lush mountain scenery.

Geography

The Antiguan terrain rises gently from the water and consists of rolling hills that were cleared for sugarcane fields. They still turn emerald-green during the rainy season, but at other times the island, which covers 108 sq mi/280 sq km, looks rather scruffy.

The highest point on Antigua is Mount Obama (1,319 ft/402 m high). It will serve as the focal point of a new national park.

The vegetation on Antigua isn’t boring, however. It consists of many different kinds of cacti, and along the beaches, you’ll find coconut, tamarind and sea-grape trees. There are flowering plants, often in profusion—hibiscus, oleander, bougainvillea and the bright red poinciana tree, also known as the flamboyant. The vegetation provides cover for crested hummingbirds and the yellow-breasted bananaquit.

Barbuda, a flat coral island of 62 sq mi/100 sq km with a large lagoon on one side, has a tiny population and a slower pace. But it also has miles of beautiful pink- and white-sand beaches and excellent places for snorkeling.

Resorts

Sandals Grande Antigua
Grand Pineapple Antigua