So you’ve decided to move to the Caribbean, but don’t know which country to pick. Below are 14 good reasons why you should choose the colorful nation of Antigua and Barbuda as your permanent destination.
1. A Beach for Every Day of the Year
It’s said that 365 beaches can be found in the country, one for each day of the year. True or not, the country is home to some of the most beautiful white and pink sand beaches in the Caribbean. Dickenson Bay is a long and lively beach, usually packed with people and filled with various possibilities, from sight-seeing in a glass-bottom boat to banana boating and jet-skiing. Pigeon Point is the main public beach on the south coast, where you can swim, snorkel, and sunbathe. Although not exactly undiscovered, Half Moon Bay is a pretty secluded and often deserted beach, perfect for those eager to get away from it all.
2. Exciting Flora, Fauna and Sea Life
The local flora is most diverse in the remoter areas and along hiking trails. The islands are home to more than 100 species of birds, such as the little egret, brown pelican, and numerous herons. Barbuda is home to one of the most important bird sanctuaries in the world, Codrington Lagoon National Park, which takes special care of the frigate bird. Coral reefs serve as colorful underwater playgrounds for avid divers and snorkelers. Cades Reef, in the St. Mary area, is a must-see for every avid snorkeler and diver!
3. It Has One of the Most Temperate Climates in the World
This fact is mostly due to the low humidity of the country, making it an ideal destination to visit year-round. The average rainfall is about 39 inches per year. The wettest months are between September and November, whilst the coolest time of the year occurs between December and February.
4. Adventures and Outdoor Experiences
If you’re a water sports enthusiast, then head to the country of 365 beaches and choose between the numerous possibilities Antigua and Barbuda has to offer, including scuba diving, snorkeling, jet-skiing, fishing, sailing, or even kayaking. For an adrenaline-filled day on land you can go zip-lining or on an organized safari through the forest. Speaking of forests, rainforest trekking is a popular activity among locals and tourists alike. Visit the Frigate Bird Sanctuary to get an inside view of local fauna, or head to the Devil’s Bridge, one of the most picturesque places in Antigua. If you prefer karst formations, visit the Darby Sink Cave.
5. Cultural Heritage
The country of Antigua and Barbuda isn’t only famous for its natural landscape, but also has a number of cultural heritage sites. St. John’s Cathedral is an Anglican Church constructed in the 19th century, and it is one of the most visited sites in the capital city of St. John’s. The Museum of Antigua and Barbuda is also not to be missed. Nelson’s Dockyard National Park is the perfect combination between man-made and natural landscape. It is the site of the former 18th century British Naval Dockyard and some restored buildings, along with numerous natural trails leading to lovely views over the ocean.
6. Active Nightlife and Colorful Celebrations
Antigua and Barbuda is famous for its active nightlife and abundance of nightclubs and especially bars, which lure tourists through their awesome music and beachside location. But the biggest party of the year is the Antiguan Carnival held each year in celebration of the abolition of slavery. The Carnival takes place from the end of July until the first Tuesday of August, and is a 10-day festival of colorful costumes, food fairs, cultural shows, concerts, parades, beauty pageants, talent shows, and, most of all, great music.
7. Mouthwatering Cuisine
The authentic Antiguan cuisine is primarily made up of corn and sweet potatoes. A popular dish is the “dukuna”, a kind of sweet and steamed dumpling, composed of grated sweet potatoes, flour and spices. The national dishes are pepper pot and fungie, which is similar to the Italian polenta and is prepared with cornmeal.
The national sport in Antigua and Barbuda is Cricket, and numerous local players are also part of the international West Indies Cricket Team. Several famous players were born in the country, like Richard “Richie” Richardson, Anderson “Andy” Roberts and Sir Vivian Richards. Football, surfing and boat racing are other popular sports practiced on the island.
9. Lots of Public Holidays
Besides the traditional public holidays held generally in other countries (Christmas, New Year’s, Pentecost or Whit Monday, and Good Friday), Antigua and Barbuda offers some additional holidays when you can take a day off and just relax. Independence Day is a huge celebration, with many food fairs, dance festivals, arts and crafts exhibitions held for a whole month prior to the actual day. On Independence Day a ceremonial parade is held in numerous parts of the country, where locals and foreigners all take part in the celebration.
10. No Language Barrier
The English settled Antigua and Barbuda in 1632, and the country was under British rule until 1981 with only a brief French interlude. The country gained its independence on the 1st of November 1981 within the Commonwealth of Nations, and has Elizabeth II as the First Queen of Antigua and Barbuda. Because of this long British rule, the country’s official language is English, making it easy to communicate with anyone on the island.
Antigua and Barbuda is known for its strong community, and locals are famous for being friendly and attentive to each other. Numerous organizations help keep the community spirit alive. Local organizations have a wide range of activities, from sports clubs (Association of Billiard Sports, Triathlon, Yacht Show, Sail Week and Sport Fishing), through special needs clubs (Association for People with Disabilities), to groups focusing on environmental awareness (Waste Recycling Group).
12. A Short Plane Ride Away
The country is only a few hours’ plane ride away from North America, especially easy to get to from the eastern seaboard. Numerous major carriers, such as American, Continental, Delta, Air Canada, and US Airways ensure the best services for their customers. V.C. Bird International Airport has direct flights to Toronto, Miami, New York, Newark, and some seasonal flights to Atlanta, Montreal, and Charlotte.
13. Affordable Homes Close to the Beach
For about $276,000 you can purchase a 2,372 sqft home built in 2011, close to some of the best beaches in the country. The property is located in a gated residential community and comes with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. It has a snug living room, a cozy dining area, and a lovely furnished kitchen. The property itself is landscaped, and has a fenced yard and a beautiful garden area.
14. Paradise View in St. John’s
You can get a 3,200 sqft, 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom property for about $725,000 in the capital city of Antigua. The property has a large living room area, a comfortable dining area for 4, and a snug kitchen with modern appliances. It has both mountain and ocean views, and comes with a landscaped garden filled with tropical trees and shrubs making you feel close to nature. There’s even a small swimming pool from where you can admire the amazing panorama over the ocean.
Whether you’re searching for a quiet place to settle down, or, quite the contrary, a roaring place with lots of parties, Antigua and Barbuda can fulfill all your desires!
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