In this second of three episodes from Antigua, I’ll take you to some of the must-see places on the Island.
We’re going to Devil’s Bridge, Shirley Heights for the sunset, learning to sail a small sailboat and a few other places.
FACT ABOUT ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA
Antigua & Barbuda is one of the smallest countries in the world, both in population and in size. The population is around 80,000, and it’s 170 square miles – so slightly smaller than Andorra and somewhat bigger than Malta.
The official language is English, and the currency is East Caribbean Dollars, but you can just as easily use US Dollars.
The biggest of the two islands – and the one we’re on is Antigua, 30 miles south of Barbuda. Here is a population of 65,000, and a bit more than half of those living in the capital, St. John. on the northwest coast of the island.
Antigua is 14 miles long and 11 miles wide.
LEARNING TO SAIL
“Sailing a small sailboat is not complicated.” Well, that was what the instructor told us. We would soon find out just how easy it is. After the brief introduction to the art of sailing, we got into four small sailboats – four in each with an instructor.
We took turns being the captain of the boat. We had to move from one side to the other whenever we changed direction. And that’s where we should keep our heads down when the boom under the sail moved from one side to the other.
At some point when it was Jamie’s turn of being the captain, he forgot to warn us and the boom came with high speed towards my head. I only just took my head down; otherwise, it would have hit me in the forehead and most likely knocked me out or in the water.
Thank god I survived, because there are so many other adventures ahead here in Antigua.
The highest peak of Antigua used to be called Boggy Park. It rises to a height of 1,319 ft so you can hardly call it a mountain. But they do now.
On August 4, 2009, and Barack Obama’s 48th birthday the Antiguan Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer renamed it to Mount Obama.
In this episode, we’re going to another place with a view: Shirley Heights. It’s a perfect spot for a sunset on the south tip of the island – overlooking The English Harbor.
Every night it draws a crowd for that view. There are a few restaurants and bars serving rum punch and a great steel band, and according to the managing director Valerie, it’s the best steel band in the world. Listen to my chat with her in this episode. Hear how she and her brother transformed this historic place to a tourist attraction.
THE WEATHER IN ANTIGUA
The climate is tropical, and the temperature doesn’t change much over the year.
Sure, most of the Caribbean is warm and sunny, but Antigua holds the distinction of being the sunniest of the Eastern Caribbean Islands. The temperatures average mid-70s in the winter and mid-80s in the summer. That’s 21 Celsius in the winter and 27 in the summer.
We went on a so-called safari around the island. Not to see animals but to explore the different sights of the island. Our first stop was very close to where we live, and it’s a must see by the coast called Devil’s Bridge. It’s not a man-made bridge but something that is naturally shaped with the crashing waves on the rocky shore.
It’s also a place with a history. In the old days, this is where the slaves went to commit suicide. I speak to our guide, Bernadette about this in the episode.
Our next stop was a place they served some excellent street food in a paper cup. It was a traditional Antiguan Gumbo.
LAND OF 365 BEACHES
The country is nicknamed “Land of 365 Beaches” due to the many beaches surrounding the islands. With “one beach for every day of the year,” it’s also a popular place for weddings. It’s estimated that there are 1200 weddings a year. Many of them on a white sandy beach like the one we ended our Island Safari.
DROP ME A LINE
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The trip to Antigua was made possible by Antigua and Barbuda Tourism and Elite Island Resorts, but everything I say in this episode is my genuine opinion.