Travel By Fingertip.....Antigua and Barbuda

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Antigua & Barbuda
& Precipitation

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Antigua & Barbuda

Antigua's weaving coastline features, quite literally, a different beach for every day of the year (that's right: 365, according to unchallenged rumor). Historically, the island's dozens of protected coves made hideouts for privateers and havens for the British navy, whose West Indies fleet was based on Antigua from 1707 to 1889. Today, however, they are a favorite haunt of some of the Caribbean's wealthiest, most worldly tourists. Often compared with Bermuda for its breezy nonchalance and classy British poise, Antigua relies for a living on what it does best: wine, dine, pamper, and delight its visitors (many of whom return year after year). Barbuda, its smaller sibling to the north, extends that same brand of hospitality at two grand resorts, in a setting of peaceful isolation.

Measuring in at 108 square miles, Antigua is the largest of the Leeward Islands. Independent from Britain since 1981, it continues to savor British hobbies and squash, cricket, scones, and croquet. Many of the top inns are clubby in feel, requiring jacket and even tie at dinner. Nightlife is tranquil and romantic (though there are a few casinos). Neither as mountainous nor as humid as neighboring St. Kitts and Nevis, Antigua has a dependably dry and breezy climate, though the occasional cloudburst may surprise its perpetual sun buffs. Tanning, swimming, and sporting, in fact, are the island's touristic elements. Golf, tennis, parasailing, and all aquasports abound; off the remote, rugged east coast, where the Atlantic has fashioned a fanciful sculpture park, windsurfers soar through the currents. Yachtfolk flock here in late winter for Race Week, an island-wide gala capped off by Lord Nelson's Ball. Antigua's surrounding reefs are fraught with magnificent flora and fauna, to entertain divers and snorkelers.

Roads are poor in the mostly abandoned interior, where all that remains of yesteryear's endless cane fields are windmills creaking in the gentle winds. Most attractions are coastal: the majestic cathedral in hilly St. John's (the capital), the restored Nelson's Dockyard at English Harbour (a must for fans of maritime history), the wonderful shelling along the west coast, and day trips to Barbuda's bird sanctuary and beaches. The only complaints - faint, at that - are of periodic mosquito problems and high price-tags in restaurants and shops. Otherwise, travelers who want an inexhaustible supply of handsome snow-white beaches and sun-loving sports - all with a dash of British pomp - may find themselves, like so many others, terminally hooked on Antigua.


Degrees (F)

January 73-83 2.5
February 72-82 1.3
March 73-84 1.6
April 75-85 2.3
May 76-85 4.3
June 78-86 2.3
July 78-86 3.8
August 78-87 3.5
September 77-87 3.7
October 76-84 4.4
November 74-84 3.8
December 74-83 3.7