One of the smallest of the Caribbean island nations, Antigua and Barbuda is a former British colony that was established by Admiral Horatio Nelson which now boasts a permanent population of just over 81,000.
Antigua is the largest and main island in the group, being located just 48 kilometres south of Barbuda.
The highest point on Antigua is Mt Obama. Formerly called the unromantic name of Boggy Peak, the 402 metre hill was renamed after the U.S. President as a birthday present in 2009.
The capital and largest city is called St. John’s and is located on Antigua. The city is a popular cruise destination, so there are many facilities around that have been established in order to amuse casual visitors. The most prominent building in the town is St. John’s Cathedral, which has had to have been rebuilt twice due to earthquake damage.
St. John’s has many hotels, cafes and, especially, bars which can get quite boisterous and lots of fun in the latter hours of the day.
English Harbour, which is at the opposite end of Antigua from St. John’s, is another popular destination. A very fine port, it was originally developed by Admiral Nelson as a base for the British Navy, and he built a dockyard there to maintain and repair his fleet. That facility is now the only remaining Georgian Dockyard in the world, and has morphed into a national park. English Harbour has many fine historical houses, including Clarence House which was built for the future King William IV who was based in English Harbour whilst he served in the navy.
Whilst the historical side of Antigua is interesting, the bulk of visitors who stay on the island go there for the beaches. Antigua is known a `the land of 365 beaches’, and they seem to just about cover the island.
The best beaches are on the western side of the island, as these face the Caribbean Sea rather than the Atlantic Ocean, so offer more protection from heavy seas.
One the northwest coast, Dickenson Bay and Runaway Bay are where some of the best resorts are located. Fort James and Deep Bay are close to St. John’s and are used more by locals.
As you head further south the beaches get less crowded and you are more likely to find a nice piece of paradise that you can enjoy all for yourself. The beaches which can be found around Johnsons Point and Rendezvous Bay are usually pretty quiet, and certainly worth the effort to reach them.