Antigua and Barbuda: All You Need To Know

by Kerwin McKenzie on July 10, 2019

Antigua and Barbuda: All You Need To Know

 

 

Many years ago, I made it to Antigua and Barbuda. It’s the Caribbean island that reminds me of Jamaican the most. As a matter of fact, most Antiguans sound like Jamaicans and vice versa. I returned in May of this year (2019) as guest of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Board and Traverse Events in the U.K.

This is a two-island nation and sadly most people forget about the other island, Barbuda. A similar situation happens with Trinidad and Tobago as well. On both of my visits, I did not make it to Barbuda at all. I need to correct that on the third visit.

The islands have a lot to offer in terms of outdoor activities and water sports, food and the kindness of its people. Here is some information to whet your appetite for a visit. After the hurricane damages, both islands of Antigua and Barbuda are up and running and waiting for you to visit. In addition, my friend and fellow blogger Lily also have some additional things to do here.

 

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If you’d like to visit, I’ve compiled some facts to help you on your journey.

  • Time Zone: GMT -6
  • Currency: EC Dollar
  • Language: English

 

Capital: Antigua – St. John’s. Barbuda – Codrington.

 

Antigua and Barbuda - St. John's Antigua Antigua and Barbuda – St. John’s Antigua. Flying in on American Airlines from Miami, Fl (MIA)

 

 

Scheduled Service Airlines Serving V.C. Bird International Airport in St. John’s Antigua (ANU):

    • Air Canada (AC), American Airlines (AA), British Airways (BA), Caribbean Airlines (BW), Condor (DE), Sky High Aviation (DO), Delta Air Lines (DL), FlyMontserrat (5M), InterCaribbean Airways (JY), JetBlue Airways (B6), Liat (LI), Saint Barth Commuter (PV), Seaborne Airlines (BB), Silver Airways (3M), Sunwing Airlines (WG), SVG Air, Tradewind Aviation (TJ), Thomas Cook Airlines (MT), United Airlines (UA), VI Airlink (V6), Virgin Atlantic Airways (VS), WestJet (WS) and Winair (WM).

 

Antigua and Barbuda - VC Bird International Airport (ANU) Antigua and Barbuda – VC Bird International Airport (ANU)

 

Ferries: Barbuda Express Ferry Service departs from Long Street in St. John’s for Codrington Barbuda

 

Airport To The City:  You can rent a car or take a taxi to your destination. A local drivers license can be purchased at the airport and is valid for 90 days. Driving is on the left-hand side. You can take a local minivan as well. And there are plenty of taxis. They can be costly, so check on the rates first. There is a taxi rank just outside the airport terminal.

 

The People of Antigua

 

While in Antigua, I met a number of amazing people. It was great as they are all varied people doing varied things. I love interacting with locals as they give you the local news and love talking about their country with you.

 

Here’s a look.

 

Antigua and Barbuda - Bernard and Ackley, long time friends Antigua and Barbuda – Bernard and Ackley, long time friends. I met them in Willikies after a 30 minutes walk from my hotel. I had a great conversation with them both. The house is like a private bar.

 

People At The Saturday Market in St. John’s

 

Antigua and Barbuda - People at the Market Antigua and Barbuda – People at the Market That’s Adrian on the right, he’s 91.5. This is how he spends his Saturdays at the market. He has all his faculties and is a heck of a conversationalist.

 

Rasta Trevor At Devil’s Bridge

 

Antigua and Barbuda - Kerwin and Trevor at Devil's Bridge Antigua and Barbuda – Myself and Trevor at Devil’s Bridge. Trevor and his wife sells craft items at Devil’s Bridge, a historic site, just off to my right.

 
 

Ray, the horticulturist  who works at Verandah Resort

 

 

 Ray is amazing! He’s so knowledgeable about everything green at the Verandah Resort.
 
 

Ms Simon Street Vendor

 

 

 

 

Hotels

 
I stayed at the Verandah Resort and I can say its highly recommended. This is an All Inclusive that’s for both adults and children.  Right across the street is the Pineapple Beach Club and is an All Inclusive Resort for adults only. These are all managed by Elite Island Resorts who also have many other properties on the island. You can find a list of them here.

There are also many other properties with varying degrees of luxury and cost as well.

 

Antigua and Barbuda - Verandah Resort and Spa Antigua and Barbuda – Verandah Resort and Spa

 

Antigua and Barbuda - Hammock Cove Resort & Spa Elite Island Resorts Antigua and Barbuda – Hammock Cove Resort & Spa Elite Island Resorts Opens Late 2019.

 

 

Antigua and Barbuda - Pineapple Beach Club Elite Island Resorts Antigua and Barbuda – Pineapple Beach Club Elite Island Resorts

 
 

Use the search box below to see what kinds of hotels are available in Antigua and Barbuda.
 

 
You can also find some properties at www.simplyantiguabarbuda.com

 

 

 

Things To Do in Antigua and Barbuda

 

For a small island, there are lots of things to do and of course you are on vacation so you can just do nothing as well. Let’s take a look and see what we can find, plus here are some things that my friend Lily recommends doing.

 

 

Beaches

 

Antigua and Barbuda has 365+ beaches; yes one for every day of the year and then some. Here are a few to whet your appetite:

 

Antigua and Barbuda - Galleon Beach Antigua and Barbuda – Galleon Beach

 

  • – Jabberwock Beach
  • – Dutchman’s Bay

 

 

Long Bay Beach

 

Antigua and Barbuda - Long Bay Beach Antigua and Barbuda – Long Bay Beach

 

  • – Half Moon Bay

 

 

Pigeon Point Beach

 

This is a very popular beach by the locals.

 

Antigua and Barbuda - Pigeon Point Beach Antigua and Barbuda – Pigeon Point Beach

 

 

  • – Jolly Beach
  • – Fort James

 

Churches

 

Antigua has many churches. Here are two of them. The primary religion is Anglican, although you’ll find many other religions and places of worship.

 

Antigua and Barbuda - St. John's Anglican Cathedral Antigua and Barbuda – St. John’s Anglican Cathedral

 

 

Antigua and Barbuda - Our Lady of Perpetual Hope Church Antigua and Barbuda – Our Lady of Perpetual Hope Church

 

Festivals

Like many of the Caribbean islands, there are a ton of festivals usually based on the harvesting of crops or the end of slavery. You can find a complete list at http://www.antiguanice.com/v2/aboutantigua.php?cat=94.

Carnival in July/August is the main event.

I met Leon Andy Norville, a young calypso singer. He’s really very good. Here’s one of his videos and you can find more on YouTube.

 

 

 

 

Historic Sites

 

As Antigua and Barbuda was inhabited by the Spanish, the British and the French, yes the French for short time, there are many historical sites to peruse during your visit. These sites are maintained by the National Parks Antigua – www.nationalparksantigua.com branch of the government.

 

Let’s take a look at some of the historic sites:

 

Devil’s Bridge

 

Antigua and Barbuda - Devil's Bridge National Park Antigua and Barbuda – Devil’s Bridge National Park. During slavery in the Caribbean, the slaves would escape from the nearby sugar plantations, run to here and  jump off this bridge into the waters below in hopes that their spirits would make it across the Atlantic Ocean to Africa.

 

Fort Barrington

 

Antigua and Barbuda - Deep Bay and Fort Barrington Antigua and Barbuda – Deep Bay Beach and Fort Barrington

 

Antigua and Barbuda - Fort Barrington Antigua and Barbuda – Fort Barrington

 

 

Nelson’s Dockyard

 

Antigua and Barbuda - Nelson's Dockyard Antigua and Barbuda – Nelson’s Dockyard

 

      • – Dow’s Hill

 

Shirley Heights Lookout and Blockhouse

 

Antigua and Barbuda - Shirley Heights sunset Antigua and Barbuda – Shirley Heights sunset

 

Nelson’s Dockyard Museum

 

 

Antigua and Barbuda - Nelsons Dockyard Museum Antigua and Barbuda – Nelsons Dockyard Museum

 

  • – Fort George
  • – Fort Charlotte and the Pillars of Hercules

 

 Fort Berkeley

 

Antigua and Barbuda - Fort Berkeley Antigua and Barbuda – Fort Berkeley

 

 

Betty’s Hope Sugar Plantation

 

I did not visit Betty’s Hope, but one of the locals I interviewed talked about it. It is one of the slave plantations in Antigua. Most of it is still intact.

 

Take An Island Tour

 

I took an island tour with Charles In Charge. It lasted about eight hours or so and we drove around most of the island and saw some of the infrastructure, sights and the beaches. I do recommend this tour as you get a chance to see quite a large part of the island. Here you can see a map from my Strava activity.

 

 

Antigua and Barbuda - Charles in Charge Tour Route Antigua and Barbuda – Charles in Charge Tour Route

 

Antigua and Barbuda - Charles in Charge Tour Antigua and Barbuda – Charles in Charge Tour seen at Devil’s Bridge

 

 

 

 

 

Taking A Nature Hike

 

The entire island is like taking a nature hike. You’ll see what I mean when you finally get here. However, the Wallings Nature Reserve has an organized hike that takes you to Signal Hill where you can get a bird’s eye view of the island for almost 360 degrees.

 

Antigua and Barbuda - Wallings Nature Reserve Antigua and Barbuda – Wallings Nature Reserve

 

Antigua and Barbuda - Wallings Nature Reserve - View of St. John's From Signal Hill Antigua and Barbuda – Wallings Nature Reserve – View of St. John’s From Signal Hill

 

Barbuda

 

I did not have a chance to visit Barbuda, but my fellow blogger and friend Lebawit from Sunshine and Stilettos did and had a wonderful time. You can see what she thinks of both Antigua and Barbuda at https://lilylilyphotography.com/2019/05/antigua-barbuda-beaches/.

You access Barbuda by air or by ferry, Barbuda Express.

 

Antigua and Barbuda - Barbuda Express courtesy of Sunshine and Stilettos Antigua and Barbuda – Barbuda Express courtesy of Sunshine and Stilettos

 

Beaches

 

 

The beaches on Barbuda are quite rustic and not frequented by many tourist. So if you want some alone time this is the place to go. Here are some of the beaches on the island of Barbuda:

  • Fishing Creek
  • Rubbish Bay
  • Two Foot Bay
  • Goat Island

River (Princess Diana Beach)

 

Antigua and Barbuda - Princess Diana Beach from Sunshine and Stilettos Antigua and Barbuda – Princess Diana Beach courtesy of  Sunshine and Stilettos

 

 

Things to See on Barbuda

www.barbudaful.net

  • – Codrington Lagoon national Park: Frigate Bird Sanctuary
  • – Martello Tower
  • – Spanish Point
  • – Caves
    • – Darby’s Cave
    • – Dark Cave
  • – Highland House

 

 

What To Eat In Antigua and Barbuda

 

It’s a Caribbean islands so it has an abundance to eat. There is lots of natural foods and the food is spicy and amazing.

You can have food on the street, at the markets or a fancy restaurant all over the island. Just look at the photos below.

 

Antigua and Barbuda - Tropical Time Out Ice Cream in Willikes, Antigua Antigua and Barbuda – Tropical Time Out Ice Cream in Willikes, Antigua

 

Antigua and Barbuda - Breakfast salted fish and callaloo and boiled plantains Antigua and Barbuda – Breakfast salted fish and callaloo and boiled plantains plus fresh fruit juice

 

Antigua and Barbuda - Grilled Mahi Mahi Antigua and Barbuda – Grilled Mahi Mahi

 

 

Antigua and Barbuda - Roadside vendor Antigua and Barbuda – Roadside vendor selling the Black Antigua Pineapple

 

How To Peel A Pineapple

 


 

 

 

Antigua and Barbuda - Catherine's Cafe Antigua and Barbuda – Catherine’s Cafe

 

 

Antigua and Barbuda – Catherine’s Cafe, grilled corn

 

Have you made it to Antigua and Barbuda as yet? What do you think? Leave a comment below and let me know.

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