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Antigua and Barbuda - Climate and Weather
It's perfect for enjoying any of the 365 beaches on offer, which boast soft, white sand and coral reefs under a warm azure sea.
Why The Climate In Antigua And Barbuda Is Great For Expats
East of Puerto Rico and north of Venezuela you will find a cluster of islands in the Caribbean sea. Some are just territories, but Antigua and the smaller island of Barbuda claimed independence from the British in 1981 and now run as an independent democratic nation, whilst retaining membership of the Commonwealth of Nations and the British monarch as Head of State.
Antigua and Barbuda are not as large as some of the other Caribbean islands and perhaps not as well known. However, they are home to more than 90,000 residents. In 2017 - before Hurricane Irma wreaked extensive damage - more than one million tourists arrived just in 12 months.
The year-round good weather is an obvious draw for many of the people who have chosen to move to Antigua and Barbuda. Luckily, the islands have escaped the intense overdevelopment seen in many other tourist locations, which means that civic buildings and churches are normally the only buildings which have more than two floors.
Being outdoors most of the day is easy in an environment where the temperature rarely drops below 22°C (72°F). There’s just enough rain to keep the vegetation lush and verdant, but rarely too much to spoil the year-round offerings of sailing, diving, cricket and al fresco eating.
Swimming In Antigua And Barbuda
The nation has 365 beaches, all of which are accessible to the public. Some look as though they are the property of the waterfront hotels, but you have the legal right to visit them. Don’t be shy to do so – local people make good use of these beaches without any embarrassment or concern as they know it is public property.
The blue azure sea is great for swimming all year round. The sea temperature falls to its lowest annual average of 26°C (79°F) in March but is slightly warmer for the rest of the year. In September, October and November sea temperatures average a lovely 29°C (84°F).
Lots of businesses here offer sailing, diving and snorkelling. It’s a great way to enjoy more of the ocean and the ring of reefs which are in easy reach.
Some beaches don’t have lifeguards, while others may display warning signs when the currents pose a risk to swimmers. Rip currents cause most coastal deaths so learn the signs of their presence and avoid them.
Useful Weather Websites
The website accuweather.com has an interactive radar weather map centred on St John’s, which is free to view online. You can quickly see the likely rain pattern and how it will move over the next few hours. This gives you time to adjust your arrangements if the weather is going to affect them.
Meanwhile, weather.com is comprehensive and easy to read. These include day and night time temperatures as well as the weather for the next 36 hours, plus current wind speed, humidity, pressure and visibility.
If you’re looking ahead and need to know the weather forecast for the next 14 days, try the user friendly chart on TimeAndPlace.com. This gives you an idea of the likely weather, temperature range and wind speeds over the next fortnight.
If you want to know about weather averages for Antigua and Barbuda over the course of the year, a number of well laid out and easy to read climate charts are available on Holiday-weather.com. These are useful for planning far ahead, such as if you want to hold an outdoor party.
Hurricane Season In Antigua And Barbuda
Unfortunately, the setting for Antigua and Barbuda in the Caribbean Sea does bring the risk of hurricanes. Officially, the season for hurricanes in Antigua and Barbuda runs from June until November. Most of the time, the islands have a lucky miss, so the most you’ll have to endure are a few hours of strong winds and heavy rain.
However, sometimes the hurricanes arrive in force and a great deal of damage is done. September 2017 was a terrifying month for residents as Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Jose wreaked extensive damage. Three people died on Barbuda and every single person on the island had to be evacuated to Antigua. Hundreds were left homeless by the flattened houses, the British government sent in support troops to help with the clear up, and millions of dollars of aid came in from several countries including the UK and China.
Have contingency plans ready, so you know where you are heading and with what equipment if you need to evacuate or shelter. Always have an emergency pack ready for this time of year. At an absolute minimum, this should include non-perishable food and plenty of bottled water, essential medicines and a torch with a spare battery.
What To Wear In Antigua And Barbuda
Most of your wardrobe will be geared to the hot weather. Shorts, comfortable light tops and sandals are great for daily life.
Beachwear is casual and there are no issues about bikinis or speedos. However, it is illegal for women to be in public topless, and for either sex to be nude, even on the beach. Every beach in Antigua and Barbuda is public, and the law applies across all of them. This is a law the local population supports, so if you flout it you will cause offence.
Don’t forget to cover your midriff when leaving the beach. Heading off to bars, shops and eateries wearing nothing but skimpy swimwear is not appropriate, even on a tropical island.
Cotton is one of the best fabrics you can wear in hot weather. A smart cotton dress or short sleeved shirt is an excellent choice for making a good impression at work or a business meeting. If you can afford it, sourcing clothes made from organic cotton reduces the carbon footprint of your purchase.
You should also be prepared for rain. There are plenty of occasions in which an umbrella or light raincoat will be necessary, especially in September, October and November. These rain showers will usually disappear quickly and leave the air feeling fresh and cooler.
Heavy leather shoes are rarely appropriate outside the smart professional workplace. Instead, look for footwear which can cope with the occasional downpour and let your feet breathe as the temperatures soar.
Be Sun Smart
The sun shines for an average of eight hours a day in October in Antigua and Barbuda - and that’s the least sunny month of the year! In March and June, you can even expect 10 hours a day. Combined with warm temperatures that can creep up to 31°C (88°F), the sunshine can put you at risk of dehydration, cancer-causing sunburn and even death through heat exhaustion.
Drink plenty of water. You should be able to easily relocate bottled water for sale wherever you are. As soon as you feel thirsty, you know you are already dehydrated and must act quickly.
Make sure your clothing is appropriate for your activities. If you are outside, wear a hat, preferably, one with a wide brim to provide more protection. Covering your shoulders will protect them from the sun - they are particularly vulnerable to getting burnt.
Most importantly, always wear a high factor sunscreen. Wear it even if it is raining outside, and reapply it regularly, especially if you are swimming. It will protect your skin the sun’s dangerous rays, which can cause aggressive and fast moving forms of skin cancer.
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