Beautiful Antigua – Antigua and Barbuda…
Antigua, the largest of the British Leeward Islands had warm, steady winds, a complex coastline of safe harbours, and a protective, nearly unbroken wall of coral reef. It would make a perfect place to hide a fleet. And so in 1784 the legendary Admiral Horatio Nelson sailed to Antigua and established Great Britain’s most important Caribbean base. Little did he know that over 200 years later the same unique characteristics that attracted the Royal Navy would transform Antigua and Barbuda in to one of the Caribbean’s most sought after destinations.
The signs are still there, they just point to different things. The Trade Winds that once blew British men-of-war safely into English Harbour now fuel one of the world’s foremost maritime events, Sailing Week. The expansive, winding coastline that made Antigua difficult for outsiders to navigate is where today’s trekkers encounter a tremendous wealth of secluded, powdery soft beaches. The coral reefs, once the bane of marauding enemy ships, now attract snorkelers and scuba divers from all over the world. And the fascinating little island of Barbuda – once a scavenger’s paradise because so many ships wrecked on its reefs – is now home to one of the region’s most significant bird sanctuaries.
Antigua, the largest of the British Leeward Islands, is about 14 miles long and 11 miles wide, encompassing 108 square miles. Its highest point is Boggy Peak (1319 ft.), located in the southwestern corner of the island. Barbuda, a flat coral island with an area of only 68 square miles, lies approximately 30 miles due north. The nation also includes the tiny (0.6 square mile) uninhabited island of Redonda, now a nature preserve. The current population for the nation is approximately 68,000 and its capital is St. John’s on Antigua.
For a fun-filled vacation that the whole family will love, look no further than a trip to Antigua. The island offers a host of activities that cater to children and teenagers, and will keep them busy and well entertained. Your children will want to visit Antigua again and again.
Take horseback riding lessons with your children at Spring Hill Riding School or stop by Temo Sports for tennis lessons specially designed for children. The Yacht Club offers sailing lessons for children as well. All three of these places are located in English Harbour, with helpful, friendly staff.
Spend an afternoon on Putter’s Miniature Golf Course, and after that, take a two-minute walk to Dickenson’s Bay. This is one of our most popular beaches, and besides a clear blue ocean, Dickenson Bay offers many activities such as jet skiing, parasailing and the occasional volleyball game. Diving courses are available at Jolly Dive and Ultramarine, however please be aware that there may be age restrictions.
Looking for a babysitter? Swailings, located in Jolly Harbour, has this covered; from babysitters and nannies to hosting birthday parties. Swailings’ specialty is in swimming lessons, as well as ‘football’ or ‘soccer’ lessons, depending on whether you’re from the UK or the US! Swailings is a one-stop shop for all of your childcare needs.
Whether you are with us for a week or a season, Antigua welcomes you and your family with open arms! This year, plan a vacation for the whole family, right here in Antigua.
And leave the rest to us!
Barbuda is one of those very few islands in the Caribbean that remains–and probably will remain for some time–so undeveloped as to seem positively deserted at times. With the exception of the guests of the island’s small number of hotels, the population seems largely to consist of the graceful Fregata magnificens, or frigate bird. As the birds possess a marked preference for the northwest lagoon, Barbuda’s seemingly endless white and pink sand beaches are left to the peaceful wanderings of those lucky enough to sojourn here.
Activities on Barbuda are appropriately relaxed, including beachcombing (on the northeastern Atlantic coast), fishing and hunting and, at the island’s resorts, golf, tennis, snorkeling, diving, or simply soaking up the sun and the calm. Points of interest include the Frigate Bird Sanctuary, the truly noteworthy pink and white sand beaches, and an abundance of shipwrecks and beautiful reefs. Barbuda can be reached easily from Antigua, either by air (a 20-minute flight, twice daily) or by boat (in three hours). The island is home to the luxurious K-Club, Coco Point Lodge and Hotel Palmetto resorts, as well as to a number of other hotels and comfortable guest houses.
Barbuda’s Frigate Bird Sanctuary is located in the island’s northwestern lagoon and is accessible only by boat. The sanctuary contains over 170 species of birds and is home to over 5,000 frigate birds. Fregata magnificens, the most aerial of waterbirds, possesses the largest wingspan (four to five feet) in proportion to its body size of any bird in the world. It is also known as the man o’ war bird, and the comparison to warships is a particularly apt one–with its superior size and flight capabilities, the frigate bird harasses less agile flyers like pelicans, egrets, and cormorants until they drop their catch. The male frigate is marked by its red throat pouch, which it can inflates as part of its courtship behaviour and as a defensive display. Courting takes place in the fall, and chicks hatch late in the year.