Antigua and Barbuda…are those two separate countries, or just one? Are they islands, or two halves of an island? And most importantly…where are these places and what is there to do there?
We’ll answer all your questions about Antigua and Barbuda and more. By the time you’ve finished reading, you’ll already be searching for flights so you can pay Antigua and Barbuda a visit!
Where is Antigua and Barbuda?
Antigua and Barbuda is one country–not two– located in the West Indies. It lies between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic ocean. However, each country has its own island. Antigua is the largest island, and is home to the capital city, St. John’s.
A few smaller islands also belong to the country of Antigua and Barbuda. They include Great Bird, Green, Redonda, Long, Guiana, the Maiden Islands, and the York Islands. All the islands are part of the Leeward Islands, which in turn form part of the Lesser Antilles. They are located east of Central America and north of South America.
Government of Antigua and Barbuda
First explored by Christopher Columbus in 1493, Antigua was later colonized by the British in 1632. British settlers arrived in Barbuda in 1678. In 1958, Antigua and Barbuda became part of the West Indies Federation. When the Federation dissolved, the country became a West Indies associated state. Finally Antigua and Barbuda gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1981.
Today, the country is a member of the British Commonwealth and recognizes Queen Elizabeth as head of state, although it is self-governing.
The original inhabitants of Antigua and Barbuda
Although the British came to settle on these beautiful islands in the 1600s, they were certainly not uninhabited. The first Amerindians who lived there were called the Ciboney. The Ciboney were succeeded by the Arawaks, who also settled on many other Caribbean islands.
The Caribs, who were fierce warriors and mighty seamen, reportedly exterminated most of the Arawaks living on Antigua and Barbuda.
However, the British settlers apparently had a hard time differentiating the different indigenous peoples from one another, and so there may have been other existing ethnic groups. Nevertheless, most of them died out quickly because of various diseases brought by the English settlers. Others became ill from malnutrition or the effects of slavery, and eventually perished.
Climate of Antigua and Barbuda
Wondering what it would be like to travel to these islands and stay a while? If you’re looking for a warm, consistent climate, look no further than Antigua and Barbuda. The temperatures stay in the 80s nearly all year long. In the winter, average temperatures range from a low of 73 F to a high of 84 F. In summer, the range is 77 F to 86 F.
These islands get the most rain during September and November. Occasionally, they are affected by hurricanes. As of 2018, Barbuda is rebuilding from 2017’s Hurricane Irma.
Who lives in Antigua and Barbuda today?
As of 2018, most of the population of Barbuda lives in Antigua, since the effects of Hurricane Irma made their evacuation necessary.
The latest census, carried out in 2011, counted only 80,161 people on the island. Most (91%) are of African descent. A small percentage are European, mainly British or Irish, or Portuguese. There are also some Asians and Sephardic Jews.
What languages do they speak?
If you’re an English speaker, here’s some good news: you’ll have an easy time getting around on Antigua and Barbuda, since English is the official language. Standard British English is taught in schools. However, some people speak Antiguan creole, which takes words from African languages as well as English.
How can I get to Antigua and Barbuda?
Before you go, you’ll need to find out whether you’ll need a tourist visa in order to visit this country. That will depend on the country your passport was issued by. You can apply for a visa on Antigua and Barbuda’s eVisa website.
Next, you’ll need to book a flight from your country to Antigua’s airport, called V.C. Bird International Airport. You can travel to Barbuda from Antigua via air to Barbuda’s Codrington Airport, or on a ferry called the Barbuda express.
Finally, it’s time to book your accommodations. Key Caribe can provide you with a tranquil, private beachfront villa where you can truly relax.
What currency do they use?
Antigua and Barbuda has its own currency, the Eastern Caribbean dollar. However, you can use American dollars in some establishments. It’s best to change currency once you have arrived in Antigua, as you will most likely find the best rates there.
You can also use credit cards and traveler’s checks. However, smaller places (such as craft shops and small restaurants) may be cash-only.
The Eastern Caribbean dollar comes in bills of $5, 10, 20, 50, and 100. Coins are issued in denominations of 0.01, 0.02, 0.05, 0.10, 0.25, and 1 dollar.
Fun Facts about Antigua and Barbuda
- Cricket is a very important sport in this country. Soccer, rugby, and netball are also popular.
- Sweet potatoes and corn are Antiguan staples. A popular food, fungi, is not what you might think– it’s not fungus, but rather a cooked cornmeal and water paste.
- Every August, Antiguans celebrate Carnival, a festival commemorating the abolition of slavery in Antigua and other Caribbean countries in the West Indies.
Want to get in on the fun at Caribbean festivals? Find out when they are held and where.
- Antigua and Barbuda has the most technologically advanced hospital in the Caribbean, the Mt. St. John Medical Centre.
- Antigua Sailing Week is a competition that draws thousands of tourists and locals every year. In 2019, it will take place from April 27th to May 3rd.
- Coral reefs circle Antigua, and the island has an abundance of beautiful beaches to explore.
- Shirley Heights in Antigua is one of the best places to hike in the Caribbean. You’ll love the panoramic views at the top.
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