Antigua and Barbuda, the Perfect Place to Getaway from the Winter

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Dickinson Bay Beach, Antigua

Antigua and Barbuda is a world-renowned travelling destination for the surfers and those of us who love perpetual summer and the sunny beaches. Really, if there’s something you’ll definitely find in abundance in Antigua and Barbuda, well, that thing is beaches. Beautiful, sandy beaches and lots of refreshing drinks, with little straw hats!

Indeed, it sounds like fun, isn’t it? Well, let’s take a closer look at the quintessence of this magnificent place, shall we?

To begin with, Antigua and Barbuda is a small country, and you know that saying: strong essences are kept in small bottles. Yes, that saying applies to Antigua, as the country only has a land surface of 440 square kilometers or 170 square miles and a population of 91 thousand. Yes indeed, it’s a petite place to be in, while Antigua is a Spanish word for ancient, and Barbuda means bearded.

That’s because Antigua and Barbuda was discovered by Christopher Columbus, way back in 1493 while he was sailing around the world, and the country’s original name was Wa’ladli.

Now, getting back to our business, if you’re travelling to this paradise-like place, you’ll find that the most action is taking place in Antigua, which is a truly glamorous little island and here you’ll be flabbergasted by the luxurious yachts floating around in the harbor , the pairs of honeymooners minding their own love-thing around the beaches and in the surf and the huge numbers of scuba divers enjoying the stunningly beautiful coral reefs which can be admired from distance, due to the crystalline waters.

Indeed, Antigua and Barbuda is exquisitely beautiful; actually, it’s so nice in here that big stars and celebrities are owning homes in this place. People like Oprah Winfrey and the Italian designer Giorgio Armani are among the country’s permanent guests, sort of speak. God, I wish I was rich, just once!

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Now, with the glamour part taken care of, let’s move along with the story and discover other touristic attractions. Let me tell you about the majestic rain forests, the mountains begging to be climbed and hiked upon, the historic places like the Shirley Heights, the old military lookout at Nelson’s Dockyard, Antigua’s highest mountain top, i.e. Mount Obama (yeah, just like the president), along with national parks and the country’s lively capital St John’s.

Antigua is a place bursting with night life, beautiful old-school market places where you can pick up fresh fruit at almost any hour, day and night, local crafts, and if you like silence, well, say hello to Barbuda, the little sister island.

Here things have a slower place, but the nature is equally beautiful. Barbuda is basically a heaven for wild-life, like exotic birds and deer, and while here you can visit the Frigate Bird Sanctuary and admire ancient Amerindian sculptures and rock carvings at Two foot Bay.

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What to see, what to do in Antigua and Barbuda

Well, you can play one hell of a cricket match while here, obviously if you’re into this “old men’s” game, i.e. you’re English or an Aussie. Just kidding, but cricket is like the national anthem here, and it’s played professionally, respecting the highest international standards, and I kid you not. The country is filled with enthusiasts, amateurs and professional players alike, and if you’ll catch a game at the national stadium located in St John’s, you’ll find yourself a happy man (if you’re a cricketer).

Warri is a very old local board game, and also Antigua and Barbuda’s national game which is played traditionally using shells and cups, in a “count and capture” manner. There are players at every street corner, so it’s impossible to miss it!

The history buffs will profit from visiting the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda, that if you’re the kind of person looking beyond the country’s beautiful beaches and tourist resorts (and that’s not easy, trust me).

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Climbing upon the Shirley’s Heights will offer an awesome view over the harbor and the Caribbean Islands in the vicinity, but also the opportunity to enjoy one hell of a barbecue, local rum and live music, any given Sunday!

Antigua’s landmark can be defined as being the restored Dockyard of Admiral Nelson, dating way back to 1745, when it was the residence of Horatio Nelson, until 1787. The place was impeccably re-built recently, after decades of decay and today you’ll be able to visit it and buy yourself some souvenirs, go shopping nearby or have a nice meal at the local restaurant.

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Food and Drink in Antigua and Barbuda

Speaking of delicious culinary experiences, thy name is the local cuisine, believe me folks! Fresh catches are the country’s specialty, like red snapper, lobster, mahi mahi, conch, loads of other fish and shrimp, all served in top-notch restaurants available in the plethora of tourist resorts.

The street food is also excellent, like fish and rotis and barbecued chicken, available everywhere around the English Harbor or St John’s. Specialties include fungee (okra dumplings with cornmeal), veggie stew with meat and fungee (pepperpot), patties made from curried potatoes with beef and chicken (roti), sweet potato with sugar, spices and coconut, all steamed inside a banana leaf (ducana), tamarind balls (sweets), pineapple, veggie soups and doughnuts with codfish.

Regional drinks include ting, wadadli, fresh juices and rum.

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Visa Requirements

To visit Antigua and Barbuda, you’ll only need a valid passport, but no visa.

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