Antigua is like the Buy One Get One Free deal of the Caribbean. Tourists visiting the island nation have ample opportunity to visit not only the main island of Antigua, but the lesser-known Barbuda as well.  Each has a very different sense of style from the other, providing a place of reprieve for both high energy travelers and laid back explore. Three islands actually make up the chain that is Antigua, though the third, Redonda, remains uninhabited. Antigua (pronounced An-tee’ga) and Barbuda are located in the middle of the Leeward Islands (see map ) 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.

Barbuda is for the vacationer who wants to get away from it all. The island is home to more frigate birds than humans, and remains largely underdeveloped. There are only a few hotels on this island, providing many guests with the seclusion and exclusivity they seek on their Caribbean vacation. Activities reflect the relaxed pace of the island; beach combing is one of the more popular past times, as are boating, tennis, golf, and swimming. Barbuda’s attractions include the architectural remains of the Codrington Estate, the Frigate Bird Sanctuary, and of course, the beaches.

Encompassing 108 square miles,  Antigua is the largest of the British Leeward Islands. The islands are relatively low-lying volcanic formations, although the terrain is mostly influenced by limestone deposits. This island has an average annual temperature of 80.6 degrees Fahrenheit, and is considered to have one of the most temperate climates in the world because of its low humidity levels. The islands average 39 inches of rain each year, with the wet season peaking between September and November. The people of Antigua believe in mutual respect. Residents speak English and are of African descent with a history of slavery. A strong British influence makes cricket a favorite sport among the islanders.antiguacarnivalogoThe great thing about a trip to Antigua is that you really can choose the style of vacation that suites you best; but step out of your comfort zone for a few hours if you are feeling up to it. Antigua is the more modern of the two islands, featuring posh restaurants, larger shopping facilities, and sprawling resort hotels.  Shopping in Antigua is duty-free, and  if you visit Antigua between the months of July and August, you are in for a special treat, because that is Antigua’s Carnival time. Carnival is the island’s celebration of Caribbean song and dance, featuring colorful costumes, lively pageants, food festivals, numerous concerts, and many street fairs. There is no better way to experience local culture than to attend Carnival.Carlisle bay Hotel, AntiguaThere are 365 beaches on Antigua, one for each day of the year. . . If a beach for every day of the year isn’t enough to entice you to visit, the temperate climate and wealth of natural attractions might just be. In truth, a vacation in the Caribbean isn’t for everyone, but if you are looking for a tropical destination filled with options, Antigua is the place for you.BestSignature

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