Antigua's coastline is filled
with quiet bays and inlets, providing an extraordinary number of
sheltered beaches--365 in all. Today this topography is a major
attraction for those searching for that rarest and most basic of all
commodities--a quiet, pristine stretch of sugary white sand.
However, for much of Antigua's history as an English naval base and
sugar colony it attracted the much less benevolent interest of the
French--after all, nothing beats a secluded white sand beach for
secretly landing an army. The legacy of British concern is a wealth of
crumbling stone ruins scattered along Antigua's coast and the elegant
Georgian architecture of Nelson's Dockyards National Park. The restored
harbour now serves as the home port for Antigua's celebrated annual
Other activities and points of interest include tennis (and the
international-calibre play of Tennis Week), golf, and diving and
snorkeling among the islands' many reefs and shipwrecks. Nearby Barbuda
is home to the Caribbean's largest bird sanctuary and mile after mile
of wide pink sand beach.
Antigua (pronounced An-tee'ga) and Barbuda are located in the middle of
the Leeward Islands in the Eastern Caribbean, roughly 17 degrees north
of the equator. To the south are the islands of Montserrat and
Guadaloupe, and to the north and west are Nevis, St. Kitts, St. Barts,
and St. Martin.
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.
Temperatures generally range from the mid-seventies in the winter to
the mid-eighties in the summer. Annual rainfall averages only 45
inches, making it the sunniest of the Eastern Caribbean Islands, and
the northeast trade winds are nearly constant, flagging only in
September. Low humidity year-round. Check our weather section to get
the latest forecasts. Contents provided by the Department of Tourism of
Antigua and Barbuda.