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A Window into Antigua & Barbuda...

Explore Antigua and Barbuda in this post...

Antigua and Barbuda is a twin-island paradise nestled in the Leeward Islands. Antigua, the larger island, boasts 95 miles of stunning coastline, with calm turquoise waters lapping at its famed beautiful beaches. Barbuda, the serene sister island, offers a different perspective – a relaxed atmosphere, a vast lagoon, and a sanctuary for magnificent Frigate birds. Antigua and Barbuda is a great destination for luxurious relaxation on one of their pristine beaches as well as exploring historical sites. 

Antigua and Barbuda: The Land of 365 Beaches

Size: 108 sq miles (Antigua), 62 sq miles (Barbuda)

Official Language: English

Population: 94,816

National Dish: Fungee and Pepperpot

Capital City: St John’s

National Bird: Frigate Bird

Independence Day: 1st November 

National Fruit: Antiguan Black Pineapple

Antigua & Barbuda Map & Flag

Antigua and Barbuda Map
Antigua & Barbuda Flag

The country of Antigua and Barbuda is located where the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean meet in the Leeward Islands part of the Lesser Antilles. The country consists of two major islands, Antigua, and Barbuda, as well as several smaller islands. Barbuda is 25 miles north of Antigua.

Adopted in 1967, the flag features a seven-point golden sun representing the beginning of a new era. Red is used to symbolise the lifeblood of slave forefathers & the energy of the people. Blue represents hope, while black represents the soil & African heritage. Gold, blue, & white represent sun, sea, & sand. The “V” shape symbolises the people's cry of "victory at last!"

Antigua & Barbuda Landscape & Geography

Antigua and Barbuda’s landscapes differ despite their proximity. Antigua is a somewhat rounded island of 108 square miles. Limestone and coral formations dominate most of Antigua, creating a low-lying base occasionally interrupted by coves, bays, and white sand beaches. The southwest corner stands out as a volcanic exception, with a quite hilly terrain and Boggy Peak (also known as Mt. Obama) rising to 1,319 feet, the highest point on the island. The absence of mountains and forests sets Antigua apart from other Leeward Islands. Droughts occur due to the lack of rivers and springs.

Image from Mamora Bay, Antigua
Photo by Mark Jordan on Unsplash

Barbuda, Antigua's flat sister island 25 miles north, presents a slightly different picture. Here, volcanic influence is completely absent, it is a low-lying coral island. Its highest point barely reaches 145 feet above sea level, and it is 62 square miles (161 square km) in area. Barbuda does not have any streams or lakes, and it receives less rainfall than Antigua.

The legacy of colonial-era deforestation for sugar production has left most of Antigua with dryland scrub, but the islands' marshes and salt ponds provide a haven for birds like stilts, egrets, ducks, and pelicans. One notable exception to the dry landscape is Barbuda's Codrington Lagoon, a vital habitat boasting one of the world's largest frigate bird colonies.

Antigua & Barbuda Culture

A vibrant blend of African heritage, British colonial influence, and modern life colours the culture of Antigua and Barbuda. Cricket is a national obsession, with the tiny island boasting legendary players like Andy Roberts, Curtly Ambrose, and Sir Vivian Richards, who even has a stadium named after him – a testament to the sport's importance. Football (soccer), boat racing, and surfing are other popular sports. Beyond the cricket pitch, steelpan, calypso, and reggae music provide the soundtrack to the island life.

Barbuda is a one-of-a-kind island located in the Caribbean that offers a peaceful and laid-back atmosphere, which is close to nature. Apart from its pink sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, and a wide variety of bird species, the island's pristine beauty also encompasses the village of Codrington, with its genuine island community.

However, the islands grapple with the legacy of colonialism. Antigua's many fortifications (a military construction designed for the defence of territories in warfare) stand as reminders of a violent past, while over a hundred stone sugar mills dot the landscape, remnants of a past era. Today, Barbuda grapples with concerns about excessive development threatening its delicate ecosystem, highlighting the struggle to balance progress with cultural preservation.

Antigua & Barbuda Carnival, Festivals & Events

The calendar of Antigua and Barbuda offers an exciting schedule of annual sports events, festivals, and cultural celebrations:

Cricket Season

January – July

Antigua's cricket season runs from January to July, with matches held at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium. Cricket is the island's favourite sport.

Image of Antigua and Barbuda flag
Photo by Chris Robert on Unsplash

Antigua Sailing Week


Antigua Sailing Week is a yacht regatta that takes place over a week in the waters off English Harbour in St. Paul's, Antigua.

Barbuda's Caribana Festival 


An exciting four-day celebration of culture, music, and pageantry enjoyable for both residents and visitors. The festival offers a diverse range of events such as horse racing, a fishing tournament, and live performances of calypso and soca music. You can also enjoy Barbuda's famous seafood specialities. 

The PiAngo Fest 


PiAngo Fest, formerly known as Mango Fest, is an annual event organized by the Ministry of Agriculture to showcase mangoes and pineapples in their natural state, as well as the various by-products that can be made from them. The festival provides a great opportunity for agri-processors and entrepreneurs to promote their businesses and network with others.

Image of a resort in Antigua
Photo by Alec Brunelle on Unsplash

Urlings Seafood Festival


Discover the authentic taste of Antigua at this seafood festival, where local restaurants and food vendors offer their finest fish, conch, and lobster dishes.

Antigua Carnival


Immerse yourself in the vibrant energy of the Antigua Carnival, a thirteen-day celebration of emancipation through music, dance, and artistic expression. From the end of July to the first Tuesday in August, the streets explode with colourful parades featuring costumed masqueraders and steel bands. J'ouvert, the most significant day, is a celebration of liberation marked by the infectious sounds of brass and steel bands.

Antigua & Barbuda Food

The national dish of Antigua and Barbuda is fungee and pepperpot. Fungee is a dish made by boiling yellow cornmeal and okra, which serves as a perfect accompaniment to various soups, stews, and meats. The most popular pairing is fungee and pepperpot, which together make the national dish. Pepperpot is a hearty and flavourful stew made with meat and vegetables. It should not be confused with the dish of the same name from Guyana. Antiguan pepperpot usually contains spinach, okra, aubergine, squash, peas, dumplings known as 'spinners', as well as meats such as salted pork, beef, and chicken.

Other notable dishes from Antigua and Barbuda include:

Ducana – A sweet dumpling made from grated sweet potatoes, coconut, sugar, flour, and spices. Traditionally, it is cooked in banana leaf packages in boiling water. This dish is commonly served with stewed saltfish and chop-up.

Saltfish and Chop-Up – Sautéed salted cod with onions, peppers, garlic, and tomato sauce served with a mixture of mashed, boiled aubergine, spinach, and okra called chop-up.

Fried dumplings – Golden fried dough, also known as bakes and Johnny cakes, that are enjoyed with lots of different dishes.

Image of Fort James Beach, Antigua
Photo by Kelcie Papp on Unsplash

Grilled Barbudan Lobster – Fresh Barbudan spiny lobster is seasoned, grilled, and usually served with lemon-garlic butter. It pairs well with rice and peas, fries, and garden salad.

Goat Water – A stew of goat meat is cooked with onions, peppers, garlic, thyme, clove, and hot pepper.

Conch Water – This pescatarian broth is full of flavour from tender conch and seasonings, a great alternative to goat water.

Wood Oven Bread & Cheese – Locally made bread baked in a wood oven is a popular Antiguan delicacy enjoyed during breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Locals usually have it with or without butter and colloquially called "cress" cheese or shop cheese, which is a processed cheddar cheese product.

Things To Do in Antigua & Barbuda

Explore Antigua’s maritime and sugarcane growing history at the Nelson’s Dockyard Museum in English Harbour, which presents the history of the dockyard alongside exhibits highlighting current archaeological and historical research in the area. Learn more.


Relax on the beach at Half Moon Bay. Go snorkelling in the bay, and indulge in delicious food from the local Beach Bum Bar & Grill .

See beautiful frigate birds at the Frigate Bird Sanctuary, located off the northwest coast of Barbuda, which is a must-visit destination for bird enthusiasts. This sanctuary is home to one of the world's largest colonies of Frigate birds. The Codrington Lagoon National Park is responsible for protecting this vast estuary, which supports the colony of Frigate birds.

Drive up to Shirley Heights to enjoy the breathtaking view of English and Falmouth Harbours below. Shirley Heights is a restored military lookout and gun battery, situated at a high point, about 490 ft, that offers the best view in Antigua. The view is especially stunning during sunset and early evening.

View from Shirley Height in Antigua
Photo by Phil Hauser on Unsplash

Shop for tropical local produce like black pineapple, mango, bananas, and sugar apple at St John’s Public Market. The market spills out into surrounding streets on Friday and Saturday mornings.

Explore the history of Antigua from its geological origins to its independence in 1981 at the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda. View artefacts such as Arawak pottery.

Enjoy the peace and tranquillity of Rendezvous Bay, one of Antigua's most remote and beautiful beaches. Due to its isolation, chances are high that you will have the beach to yourself or share it with just a few other adventurers.

During cricket season, from January to July, you can watch cricket matches at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium. Official matches are typically held on Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

Take the Barbuda Express to go on a tour of the beautiful island of Barbuda. The journey from Antigua to Barbuda takes only 90 minutes. During the day tour, you will have the opportunity to explore the Frigate Bird Sanctuary, see caves that were used by the Arawak Indians, and visit the ruins of the Codrington family home. You can also enjoy a delicious “al fresco” lobster lunch on the beach and have plenty of time to relax, swim or snorkel before returning to Antigua. Learn more.

Your Antigua & Barbuda

While I poured over travel guides & researched online to craft this post, nothing compares to hearing about the island straight from those who've been there.

Since I haven't had the privilege of visiting Antigua & Barbuda, I am reaching out to you!

How to share your Antigua & Barbuda...

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Sources and Further Reading

This article is a result of my interest and fascination with the nation of Antigua & Barbuda and my love for the Caribbean region. I have gathered information through research both online and in books to compile this blog post to share what I've discovered with you. However, I'm only human, and I may have missed something in my research, so if you happen to come across any information that appears to be incorrect or outdated, please do let me know by sending an email to Your input will be much appreciated and will help us improve this blog post for everyone's benefit.

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