Conveniently located in the Northern Caribbean, the picturesque islands of Antigua & Barbuda offer stunning award-winning beaches, a comfortable climate year-round, a wide array of hotels and a host of exciting water activities and land-based attractions, to appeal to families or couples in search of the perfect holiday.
Begin your exploration in English Harbour, at historic Nelson's Dockyard; the only restored, working, Georgian Naval Dockyard in the Western Hemisphere. The Dockyard museum provides visitors with the history of the area, which was built in 1725, and was once England's most important naval outpost in the Caribbean. Cafes, bakeries and fantastic restaurants provide visiting sailors and guests alike with quality resting points and authentic tastes of the Caribbean.
Every year, the Dockyard comes alive from November – May, when Antigua's yachting season goes into high gear. In April, one of the world's most prestigious sailing regattas, the Antigua Sailing Week, brings together over 1,500 sailors for competitive sailing in Antigua's turquoise waters. The month of April also features the Classic Yacht Regatta – where traditional sailing vessels built of wood and steel make this an event that's more about the craftsmanship of the sail boats than speed. Visit Shirley Heights Lookout on a Sunday evening, and enjoy the view of the yachts in the harbour while listening to melodious steelpan rhythms.
St. John's, Antigua's colourful and bustling city, rises from the harbour front, and is backed by a twin-spired cathedral, the St. John's Cathedral. Here, you can stop in for a moment's respite; this is one of the island's oldest structures, originally built entirely of wood in 1681.
Visit the National Museum and view artifacts like ancient stone pendants and flint knives, displays on cassava, locomotives, and for sports lovers, the cricket bat of Sir Vivian Richards, one of the islands' beloved National Heroes and world renowned cricketing Legend.
The St. John's harbour is also home to the cruise ship dock, and here you will find the Heritage Quay and historic Redcliffe Quay duty-free shopping districts, where many international brand-name shopping outlets can be found. Local, home-grown souvenirs, including pottery, straw handicrafts, local paintings and wood carvings can also be sourced from the Vendors Mall and Heritage Market.
In the countryside, traces of Antigua's rich history can be found with remnants of Antigua's sugar mills nestled amongst the rolling hills, where over 150 sugar-producing plantations once stood. The imposing twin sugar-mills at the Betty's Hope plantation are the only twin towers on the island, which have been restored to working condition. A museum and signage on buildings within the area provide the history of the property founded in the 1650's.
If it's utter peace and quiet you're after, then head to the exclusive island of Barbuda. As Antigua's smaller sister island, Barbuda's charm lies in its remoteness, and is the ultimate hideaway for discerning holiday-makers. The island boasts a 17 mile pink sand beach – voted one of the best beaches in the world, and is home to the largest Frigate Bird Sanctuary in the Western Hemisphere.
Barbuda is a 15 minute flight on ABM Air or 1 ½ hr boat trip on Barbuda Express Ferry from Antigua. This allows visitors to experience two very unique Caribbean destinations on their holiday.
The Climate in Antigua & Barbuda is generally consistent with average temperatures of 85/77 degrees in the summer and 82/75 degrees in the winter. An average annual rainfall of 45 inches makes Antigua & Barbuda the sunniest islands in the Caribbean.
The official currency is the Eastern Caribbean dollar which is fixed to the US dollar. Recent exchange rate was US$1.00 = EC$2.65. US currency, travellers checks and major credit cards are welcome everywhere.
The Official Language of Antigua and Barbuda is English.
Dining in Antigua can be relaxed or formal as you require with most restaurants in scenic locations or on the waterfront. Menus at lovely independent restaurants display a wide selection of cuisine prepared by internationally-acclaimed chefs.
Customary practice for tipping is 10% if no service charge has been added.
Antigua's National Dish: Fungee and Pepperpot
Local Rum: Antigua Cavalier and English Harbour 5 year Old Rum; Beer: Wadadli
Antigua's nightlife revolves around the many beach bars that dot the coastline and stretches in English Harbour, Jolly Harbour, Dickenson Bay and the nightclubs and casinos in the city of St. John's. All-inclusive island parties, activities and events also provide premium entertainment.
March 28: AUA Rohr Tinman Triathlon, www.antiguatinmantriathlon.com
April 6: Antigua and Barbuda International Kite Festival, www.visitantiguabarbuda.com
April 25 – May 1: 48th Antigua Sailing Week, www.sailingweek.com
May 22-24: Antigua and Barbuda Sport Fishing Tournament, www.antiguabarbudasportsfishing.com
July 26 – August 5: 58th Antigua Carnival, The Caribbean's Greatest Summer Festival www.antiguacarnival.com
August 15 – August 16: Antigua and Barbuda Mango Fest www.visitantiguabarbuda.com
The National Museum, The Heritage Market, Victoria Park Botanical Gardens, The V.C. Bird Monument, The Cades Bay Pineapple Farm, Devil's Bridge, The Pillars of Hercules, Dow's Hill Interpretation Centre, Fig Tree Drive, Harmony Hall Art Gallery, and sites such as Fort James, Nelson's Dockyard and Shirley's Heights.
Barbuda attractions include: The Frigate Bird Sanctuary, Martello Towers, Castle Hill, Highland Hill, Indian Cave, Darby Cave and many other caves.
Antigua and Barbuda offer 365 astounding beaches, with a beach to suit your every need - whether snorkeling, wind-surfing, relaxing, family fun, hi-speed water-sports, or romance.
Catamaran Excursions around Antigua and to Barbuda, Helicopter Tours, Kayaking Adventures, Swimming with Stingrays, Boating tours to Bird-Island and other offshore islands, Historical Tours, Cooking Lessons, Sailing Lessons, Turtle-watching, Shirley's Heights Sunset Party, Rainforest Canopy Tours, Golfing, Cycling, Island Safaris, Kite-surfing, Deep-Sea fishing Snorkeling, Scuba-Diving and Hiking. Tours to other neighbouring islands, such as Montserrat, are also possible from Antigua.
Antigua is easily accessible from many international gateways.
Gateways/Flying Times: Atlanta: 4 hours. Frankfurt: 9 ¼ hours. London: 8 hours. Miami: 3 hours. New York: 4 hours. Newark: 4 hours. Charlotte: 4 ½ hours. Puerto Rico: 1 hour. Toronto: 4 ½ hours. Montreal: 5 ½ hours.
VC Bird International Airport (ANU) has become something of a hub in terms of flying. British Airways and Virgin fly direct from Gatwick,Thomas Cook from Manchester, and Condor from Frankfurt. American Airlines, Delta Airlines, United Airlines, and US Airways also fly via the United States, while Air Canada and West Jet fly from Toronto and Montreal.
With the island only 108 square miles, nowhere in Antigua is too far. From the V.C. Bird International Airport, a 15 minute taxi ride will soon take you into the capital city of St. John's and in 45 minutes the beach resorts dotted around the coastline of Antigua.
Airport: V.C. Bird International Airport (ANU) to English Harbour - approx. 14 miles; to St. John's downtown - approx. 5 miles; to St. John's shopping area - approx. 5 miles.
Very few nationalities require a visa to visit Antigua & Barbuda. Citizens of the United States of America, Canada, and European Union countries do not require visas to visit the destination. Citizens of the few countries that do require a visa to visit Antigua & Barbuda, do not need to obtain an Antigua & Barbuda visa if these individuals are permanent residents or hold a valid visa to the USA, Canada, and/or the UK.
In this tropical paradise romance is almost inevitable. Antigua & Barbuda is the perfect location where a romantic wedding can be created, with guaranteed sunshine and stunning backdrops for the ‘Big Day’, there is no better place to say ‘I do’ to the one you love than in Antigua and Barbuda.
These islands provide the ultimate setting for destination weddings and honeymoons with some of the world’s most romantic and secluded locations, with all the facilities and expertise available to ensure you get married without any problems.
Your wedding can take place wherever and whenever you choose – from 6am right up until dusk at 8pm. Leave the cares and worries of everyday life at home and step into a relaxing world where all of your dreams come true.
Run barefoot on the sand, exchange vows on the deck of a sailboat or in a beautiful garden setting.
For many, the classical beach wedding is the only option! Antigua and Barbuda prides itself on its pristine pink and white sandy beaches, and with 365 to choose from, there is something to suit every taste. It is perfectly possible to paddle your feet in the waves as you confirm your love, with the sound of steel pan rhythms in the background.
For those looking for something off-the- beaten-track, look no further than the famous Shirley Heights. Overlooking English Harbour, this location on an Antiguan cliff top offers breathtaking panoramic views.
With special wedding packages offered in many of the islands’ hotels, it means the cost of a destination wedding can be had at an affordable price. Most of the hotels have special flower-covered gazebos in exotic gardens overlooking the crystal blue waters of the Caribbean.
Unlike many other tropical island destinations there is no residency requirements needed to marry in Antigua and Barbuda. As long as the paperwork is in order, it is possible to obtain a license and get married in one day. Some couples even come on holiday and decide to get married spontaneously. Any point on these two islands can be magical; so let your imagination run wild and you will not be disappointed by the wide array of wedding venues and specialty services offered on island. For more information see: VisitAntiguaBarbuda.com.