15 Interesting Facts About Antigua You Need To Hear Before Booking A Stay

It might be smothered in more stunning beaches than you count, but there’s more to this tiny island than miles of sun-soaked shoreline. We’ll prove it! Did you know these super interesting facts about Antigua before today? 

We already know it’s absolutely gorgeous, but there’s also a laundry list of other interesting facts about Antigua. Like, for example, did you know it’s home to the rarest snake in the world? 

Well, you do now! But there’s more where that came from. 

In this blog, we’ll list 15 truths about the island and go through them in more detail to give you an even better view of how amazing it truly is.

So, what are the facts? 

Lovers Beach in Antigua
It’s a fact about Antigua that there’s a different beach for every day of the year.

15 Facts About Antigua 

These 15 pieces of knowledge prove that there’s more going on in Antigua than gorgeous beaches and sun-filled days. 

  1. Antigua & Barbuda is actually made up of three islands
  2. Mount Obama is the highest point on the island of Antigua.
  3. Antigua is one of the smallest countries on earth, ranked 182nd by area
  4. Antigua has been nicknamed the land of 365 beaches
  5. The current population of Antigua and Barbuda combined is 99,539
  6. Antigua has a rich cultural heritage of British and African influences 
  7. English is the official language in Antiqua and Barbuda.
  8. Antigua is home to the largest nesting colony of frigate birds in the Caribbean
  9. It’s quite likely you’ll encounter sharks, particularly reef and nurse sharks when diving near the coats of Antigua
  10. At least 182 bird species have been recorded in Antigua
  11. The national flag was adopted on 27 February 1967 to mark the achievement of self-government. 
  12. Antigua is a foodie destination because of its fresh seafood, delicious rum, and flavourful dishes
  13. Antigua was visited by Christopher Columbus in 1493 
  14. Cricket is the national sport
  15. The capital of Antigua is St John’s

1. There Are Actually 3 Islands in Antigua & Barbuda

Although the country is known as Antigua and Barbuda, there are actually three main islands which make up the nation: Antigua, Barbuda and an uninhabited island called Redonda – plus a few other even smaller atolls.

Aerial shot from Shirley Heights, Antigua
There’s more to these islands than meets the eye

Bonus fact

The island of Antigua was born out of the sea by a volcano about 30 million years ago!

2. There Are Mountains Named After Presidents

Originally known as Boggy Peak, Mount Obama is the highest point on the island standing just over 400m tall. The peak is part of the Shekerley Mountains, a low mountain range on the southwestern part of the island.

Although the peak was renamed after the 44th President of the United States in 2009, its name was reverted back to Boggy Peak in 2016. While it may not be the biggest range, exploring the mountains is one of the best excursions in Antigua.

3. One of the Smallest Countries on Earth

Antigua is only around 14 miles long and just 11 miles wide. With an area of 442 km² the islands are 550 times smaller than the UK. In fact, you could fit Antigua in the area of London three-and-a-half times. 

Platform floating in the Caribbean Sea
Antigua is one of the smallest countries in the world. Photo by Bogdan Pasca on Unsplash

4. A Beach a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

Known as the land of 365 beaches, the island is said to have a different beach for every day of the year. 

Plus, those beaches carry a pinky hue due to the presence of a red shell in the sand grains. This distinctive colouration makes them incredibly Instagrammable beaches.

5. Under 100k Population

The tiny nation is ranked 201st in the world for population and 130th for growth rate.

As of 2021, the population of Antigua and Barbuda was projected around 98,000, up by nearly 2% compared with 2020. 

6. The Heritage is Real

One interesting fact about Antigua and Barbuda is that it’s cultural heritage spans from the UK to Africa.

It’s thought that this unique blend of influences stems from colonial times and the importing of thousands of West African slaves back in the 1800s. 

However, there are still British influences across the islands today. Queen Elizabeth II is recognised as the Head of State still, they drive on the left-side of the road and there is a Princess Diana Beach which was renamed what would have been her 50th birthday. 

Old colonial-style church in Antigua
Discover some of the heritage sites in Antigua. Photo by Brighton Pereira on Unsplash

7. Full English 

That British influence remains today as English is the language of choice. However, there is a clear accent difference on the two islands. 

Antiguan Creole is also used, but this was seen more as a language of the common people. But Spanish is the second most common dialect on the islands due to an influx of immigrants from the Dominican Republic back in the 80s. 

8. Frigate Birds for Days

You can find the largest colony of frigatebirds in the Western Hemisphere on Anitgua.

These brightly coloured birds inflate their pinky-red chests to attract a mate and have been named the national bird of the country because of the sterling work they to do balance the local fauna. 

9. Jaws-ome Sharks

It should come as no surprise that the azure Caribbean Sea waters around the 365 beaches are loaded with sharks. The thriving coral reefs and warm temperatures provide plenty of food sources.

However, an interesting fact about Antigua is that  there has never been a shark attack here in recorded history. 

There are lots of sharks around Antigua
Explore an abundance of sharks. Photo by Tomas Gonzalez de Rosenzweig on Unsplash

10. Unique Wildlife

Every country in the world has it’s own unique biodiversity. However, Antigua and Barbuda (and the surrounding islands) are the only places where you can catch a glimpse of certain creatures. 

For example, the Antiguan Racer Snake, the rarest snake in the world, is critically endangered and can only be found on Great Bird Island just off Antigua. 

11. Flagging a Change

Every national flag in the world is unique (that’s kinda the point of them) but Antigua’s is incredibly recognisable. The red and black banner carries an image of the rising sun and each colour has a specific meaning.

Red symbolises the lifeblood of the island’s slave ancestors and the dynamism of the people. Meanwhile, black represents the soil and African heritage.

The gold, blue, and white elements stand for Antigua and Barbuda’s stunning sun, sea and sand.

12. A Fave with Foodies

There are many incredible restaurants in Antigua. But the abundance of fresh seafood and punchy flavours make it a perfect destination for foodies. 

Pepperpot is a kind of wholesome beef stew which is generally served with fungi-cornmeal dumplings. 

Caribbean food spread
Stunning fresh Caribbean food

13. Columbus Was ‘ere

The eponymous Christopher Columbus was the first European to visit the island way back in 1493. Following his visit, he renamed the island after the Church of Santa Maria de la Antigua in Seville. 

14. They Don’t Like Cricket, They Love It

The penultimate of our interesting facts about Antigua is that they adore cricket. As the national sport, cricket in Antigua is more like a religion than a common interest. 

In fact, they have a national stadium and even produced one of the greatest players the world has ever seen, Sir Vivian Richards. 

15. St John’s in the Sunshine

The capital city of Antigua and Barbuda is St John’s. Here you can find a mesmerising array of shops, bars, restaurants and beaches (of course). 

As well as being the capital, St John’s is also the largest city on the island and it’s main port too. Making it a main stopping-off point for Caribbean cruises.

Explore it for yourself

All these incredible interesting facts about Antigua and Barbuda showcase it as the wonderfully unique island it is. But don’t take our word for it, get out and explore it for yourself. 

Click the button below and we’ll tell you another fact about the island – where you can find four of our best-rated resorts on the island. 

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