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Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda is a Caribbean destination that's both exotic and accessible. Here you'll find a rich history to explore, some of the finest rums, unique delicacies like the Antigua Black pineapple—considered the sweetest in the world—and, in the surrounding waters, a vibrant sailing scene unmatched in the West Indies.

Antigua's location at the middle of the West Indies island chain means it's closer than about half of all other Caribbean destinations. From the United States, several major airlines land at VC Bird International Airport, just five miles from the island’s capital of St. John's. Soon, the older, though not terribly bad, facilities will be retired, as a modern, brand-new terminal is slated to open in early 2015. No visas are required for travelers from the U.S., Canada, and a wealth of other European Union countries. Barbuda has just one tiny village, Codrington, where the miniscule airport and ferry landing dock are located.

You've got two main options. One, a trusted taxi driver. Inquire at your hotel for someone they regularly use. A driver will happily shuttle you around, rates are fairly reasonable, and you won't have to worry about overindulging in the great rum selection. Or, rent a car. It costs less than being driven, and you're completely free to explore at your leisure, uncovering unique experiences with a little direction and a lot of chance. Most hotels and resorts can arrange a car for you once you're on the island. Just remember, all those years of British influence mean they drive on the left in Antigua and Barbuda.

Barbuda is blissfully undeveloped. The island is famous for its bird population, and is a choice spot for birders. To see the island on a day-trip from Antigua sign up for a tour with the Barbuda Express (they also offer island day trips for people staying in Barbuda as well) and they operate the daily catamaran service between the sister islands. If you’re staying on the island, know that most of the independent restaurants in Barbuda require 24-hour advance reservations, because they only buy enough food for confirmed guests.
Patrick Bennett AFAR Ambassador

 

Patrick is a travel photographer, brand builder, and blogger. After 15 years in the advertising world, he’s now focused on something closer to home: refreshing how people think of travel in the Caribbean islands where he grew up. Patrick may reside in Brooklyn, but you’re just as likely to find him kite surfing, climbing mountains, or running from volcanoes on the sandy shores of the West Indies. Read more at Uncommon Caribbean.