You Were Today Years Old When You Heard These 15 Interesting Facts About Antigua!

July 4, 2022Tom Spruce

Did you know these super interesting facts about Antigua before today?

Interesting facts about Atnigua
Did you know these interesting facts about Antigua? Photo by Alec Brunelle on Unsplash

We already know it’s absolutely gorgeous, but there’s also a laundry list of other interesting facts about Antigua. 

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? 

Gimme the facts

  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. 3 is the magic number

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 of the Antiguan coastline
There’s more to these islands than meets the eye. Image by falco from Pixabay

Bonus fact

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

2. 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.

Mount Obama in Antigua
Presidential mountains. Image by Fernando Flores from Pixabay

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.

Antiguan beach
There are 365 beaches in Antigua. Image by photosforyou from Pixabay

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. 

Aerial image of St John's in Antigua
The population of this tiny nation is suitable small. Image by falco from Pixabay

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. 

Woman carrying flowers
There is a mic of English and West African roots in Antiguan culture. Photo by Scott Umstattd 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. 

Red phonebox on Dickenson Bay.
Dickenson Bay is one of the best beaches on the island. Photo by Sarah Kilian on Unsplash

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. 

A frigate bird inflating its red chest
Frigate birds are prevalent in Antigua. Photo by AussieActive on Unsplash

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 Jakob Owens 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. 

A brown noody in Great Bird Island
There are a plethora of natural wonders in Antigua. Photo by Alvaro Daimiel on Unsplash

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.

Flag of Antigua
The Antiguan flag is instantly recognisable. Photo by chris robert on Unsplash

Test your Caribbean flag knowledge now

12. A favourite 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. 

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. 

Old colonial-style church in Antigua
Even Christopher Columbus has spent time in Antigua. Photo by Brighton Pereira on Unsplash

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. 

People playing cricket
Cricket is a big thing in Antigua. Photo by Kern Ramlochan on Unsplash

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.

The waterfront in St John's
Take some time to explore the capital the next time you’re in town. Photo by Simone Mascellari 🇮🇹 on Unsplash

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 TripAdvisor-rated resorts. 

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