Antigua (pronounced An-tee’ga) and Barbuda are located in the middle of the Leeward Islands in the Eastern Caribbean, roughly 17 degrees north of the equator. To the south are the islands of Montserrat and Guadeloupe, and to the north and west are Nevis, St. Kitts, St. Barts, and St. Martin.
Temperatures generally range from the mid-seventies in the winter to the mid-eighties in the summer. Annual rainfall averages only 45 inches, making Antigua the sunniest of the Eastern Caribbean Islands, and the northeast trade winds are nearly constant, flagging only in September. The island enjoys low humidity year round.
The Trade Winds that once blew British men-of-war safely into English Harbour now fuel one of the world’s foremost maritime events, Sailing Week. The expansive, winding coastline that made Antigua difficult for outsiders to navigate is where today’s travelers encounter a tremendous wealth of secluded, powdery soft beaches.
The coral reefs, once the bane of marauding enemy ships, now attract snorkelers and scuba divers from all over the world. And the fascinating little island of Barbuda – once a scavenger’s paradise because so many ships wrecked on its reefs – is now home to one of the region’s most significant bird sanctuaries.
Antigua, the largest of the English-speaking Leeward Islands, is about 14 miles long and 11 miles wide, encompassing 108 square miles. Barbuda, a flat coral island with an area of only 68 square miles, lies approximately 30 miles due north. The current population for the nation is approximately 68,000 and its capital is St. John’s on Antigua.
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