Pier at Codrington

Antigua and Barbuda

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The Caribbean mecca for beachcombers, boatmen and birdwatchers alike

Antigua's curving coastline and graceful harbours have lured sailors to Antiguan waters for centuries. Nelson's Dockyard on English Harbour was the hub of British maritime power in the region. Today, barely a week goes by without a world class sailing regatta taking place.

Antigua can also boast of 365 soft, white sand beaches – each palm-fringed and amid the most spectacular in the region. Dickenson Bay and Runaway Bay are home to long stretches of white sand, separated by a small promontory. Half Moon Bay's crescent-shaped strand offers two different beach experiences: calm, clear waters ideal for snorkelling at the far eastern end, or surf the choppy waves on the Atlantic side. 

History buffs will delight in Nelson's Dockyard and English Harbour. Many of the buildings here date back to the 1800s, including the only existing Georgian Naval Yard in the world. Betty's Hope, near the centre of the island, offers an intriguing insight into the sugar industry – the major industry here from 1650 to the 1920's.

Visiting Antigua's sister island, Barbuda, is an altogether more laid back experience. Life here is slow and simple – with friendly locals and few paved roads. It is one of the few islands in the region with abundant wildlife, including the largest colony of frigate birds in the world. The sight of 10,000 frigates raising their young is one of the greatest birdwatching sights in the world.

Wanderlust recommends

  1. A pilgrimage to the Caribbean's most atmospheric cricket venue, the Antigua Recreation Ground, where Sir Viv Richards scored the fastest test century in history.
  2. Get twitching between August and February when thousands of frigate birds descend on Codrington Lagoon and Man of War Island to breed.
  3. Put on your deck shoes and watch yachtsmen from all around the world compete in international regattas held just off shore.
  4. Nelson's Dockyard Museum. Home to a young Nelson for three years, this museum offers a complete history of this famous Georgian naval dockyard and the colourful story of English Harbour.
  5. Soak up the rays on Barbuda's deserted beaches. There are no beach bars or vendors – on the west side you get 17 miles of white sand, pretty much to yourself.

Further Reading

Antigua and Barbuda – Vital Stats


  • Capital of Antigua and Barbuda: Saint John’s
  • Population of Antigua and Barbuda: 86,700
  • Languages in Antigua and Barbuda: English, various local dialects
  • Time in Antigua and Barbuda: GMT -4
  • International dialling code in Antigua and Barbuda: +268
  • Voltage in Antigua and Barbuda: 230V 60Hz
  • Visa information for Antigua and Barbuda: Visa information
  • Money in Antigua and Barbuda: Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC$) Credit cards are widely accepted, as are US dollars.
  • Antigua and Barbuda travel advice: Foreign & Commonwealth Office
  • Antigua and Barbuda tourist board: Antigua and Barbuda

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