Antigua & Barbuda Travel Guide

Antigua & Barbuda travel guide flagAntigua & Barbuda are two islands that form an independent country in the lower half of the Leeward Islands of the Caribbean. Antigua is the larger of the two and is almost twice as big. Barbuda is a very low lying sandy island 30 miles to the north.

Antigua & Barbuda travel guide - Nelson's Dockyard

Nelson’s Dockyard is a must do

In pre-Columbian time Arawak Indians lived on the islands farming and fishing until the much more aggressive Carib Indians invaded. Even though Christopher Columbus spotted Antigua on his second voyage, the Spanish chose not to settle on either island since there was no fresh water. It was not colonized until the British came to Antigua in 1632. 50 years later Christopher Codrington settled on Barbuda setting up a game reserve on the island due to the poor soil. The British held the islands until they were granted independence in 1981.

Helpful Info
Population – 101,000 (99,000 on Antigua and 2,000 on Barbuda)
Money – shares the Eastern Caribbean dollar with 5 other countries and 2 British islands (fixed at US$1 = EC$2.70)
Language – English
Religion – 77% Christian
When to go – Dec-June is most popular. Summer is nice also, but a little hotter and more humid. Hurricanes most active Aug-Oct.
World Heritage Sites – 1 – Antigua Naval Dockyard
Country formed – Independence from United Kingdom on 1 Nov 1981

My Visit

Antigua & Barbuda travel guide - Beach

You simply cannot beat the Barbuda beaches

I sailed from St Barts to Barbuda on my six-week Leeward island cruise in April 2017. After a week or so we sailed down to Antigua and stayed in Falmouth Harbor on the south side to take care of some engine troubles and pick up crew.

Likes, Dislikes, and Recommendations

Antigua & Barbuda travel guide - Cave

One of caves on Barbuda

Barbuda is a wonderful laid-back island. It is very sand, surrounded by reefs, and offers fantastic anchorages….unless there is a ground swell. At those time it is not where you want to be. On the southern half especially make sure you have a good chart, good sunlight, and are good at eyeball navigation. I have two hints for you. First, most people do not know it, but you can check into the country at Barbuda as long as you give 48 hours’ notice by e-mailing Second, once on the island use George Jeffery as your guide to the frigate bird colony, water taxi across the lagoon, and all-around guide.

Antigua & Barbuda travel guide - Nelson's Dockyard - Sail Loft

Another shot of the historic Nelson’s Dockyard

Coming from very quiet Barbuda, Antigua will feel like a metropolis, but it is a still a great island. You will find any yachting service you need along with provisioning and good flight connections. With anchorages all around the island, it can be a worthy cruising ground and I look forward to exploring it more. A secret I learned from other cruisers is to not check in/out at English Harbor. Always use the facility at Jolly Harbor to save a ton of money.

You can get even more helpful hints by watching the travel videos I am made for Antigua & Barbuda below. Also, you can read what all I did there in my blog posts located below the video.

All Blogs From Antigua & Barbuda

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