The nation of Antigua and Barbuda are an island combination located on the east boundary of the Caribbean Sea. Named for the Spanish words Antigua means, “Ancient”, and Barbuda means, “Bearded”. These islands are composed of two main islands with several smaller inlets. The climate is warm, with a tropical climate and constant year round temperatures hovering around 81 °F.
For travelers who want to view the environment in an uncommon way, there are guided kayak and jeep tours provided by several businesses on the island. Betty's Hope Sugar Plantation was founded back in 1650, by Christopher Keynall. Betty's Hope was one of the largest and most efficient sugar plantations in the 1940's. Hundreds of Africans lived out their lives on the grounds of Betty's Hope, after becoming emancipated in 1834. The twin windmills on the property were used to crush the sugar cane, using three vertical iron rollers and stand as beacons of a past life still today. Other interesting structures on the property include; the Cistern House, was is still functional and where the residents used to get drinking water, the Great House (Buff Estate), surrounded by rock walls and on a grassy knoll near the mill, the Curing House, the Boiling House and the Still House, which was used to make rum, this building is now roofless, but still has magnificent columns and arches that can be admired. Betty's Hope has since been completely restored to its former splendor and the reopening ceremony was held in January, 2005.
The Admirals Inn and historical Nelsons Shipyard at English Harbour, were originally erected back in 1788, off the southeast coast of Antigua. The bricks used to build the three-story structure were carried over aboard ships from England. The dwelling at one time had a bodega and administrative office, but has now been converted to an inn. The ground floor of the main building is now a bar and restaurant and the bar is constructed out of a wooden workbench salvaged from the shipyard and still bears names carved by sailors. The inn comes equipped with the Joiners Loft, a two bedroom apartment, which takes up the entire second floor of a small building next door, the loft provides stunning views of the English Harbour and inside Nelsons Shipyard.
In Barbuda, there have been two cathedrals built on the same location, St. Johns Cathedral. The first structure was made of wood and built in 1861, and the second was constructed of red English brick in 1720, after the first one fell into a state of disrepair and was demolished. As plans were being made to further expand the new church, an earthquake hit the island and caused severe damage to the church. A new cathedral was erected with the first cornerstone being laid in October, 1843 and the church was finished and consecrated on July 25th, 1848. Over time the church has represented many things to the residents of St. Johns and now serves as one of the islands top tourist attractions.
Antigua is also a host to several boating events and festivals throughout the year that draw tourists from all over the world. Such events include; the Antigua Classic Boat Regatta, Antigua Sailing Week, Antigua Yacht Club Marina, Games Night at Antigua Yacht Club, Jolly Harbor Yacht Club Regatta and the biggest boating event on the island is the Nelsons Shipyard Champagne Toast, on New Years Eve.
For a tourist who enjoys festivals, there is the yearly, National Warri Festival. Warri is the national board game of Antigua and finds it origins in Africa and was brought to the islands by the men and women who lived on the plantations. The game is now honored by a festival, which includes a Masters Division, Senior, Junior and Novice, for beginners. It is said that one should never play a game of Warri against anyone from Antigua, because they are the best players in the world.
Remember to pack plenty of sunscreen and repellent and enjoy a stay on the islands that have some of the most fascinating attractions in the Caribbean. Visitors can shop at local flea markets or more upscale boutiques and everything is duty-free, which is another big plus for travelers. The warm climate and hospitable inhabitants make Antigua and Barbuda the perfect place to visit any time of the year.