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Antigua and Barbuda - Overview

Antigua and Barbuda make up part of the Leeward Islands group in the North east Caribbean and the notoriously easy going lifestyle typical in the Caribbean has definitely become part of the way of life. The islands cover just 170 sq miles and offer the tranquillity and luxury that this part of the world is now famous for.

Antigua is fairly famous, but Barbuda is less well known. The island of Barbuda is situated 40km north of Antigua, its 8km long beach is said to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The coastal waters are rich in ocean life, with all types of crustaceans and tropical fish. This island boasts beautiful deserted beaches and heavily wooded interior abounding in bird-life, wild pigs and fallow deer.

The main leisure activities are water sports and nature watching, with much of the country attracting rare species of wildlife. As tourism is the main industry there are many attractions and resorts which are designed for temporary visitors. The country has a tropical maritime climate which helps to bring in visitors all year round and makes the islands attractive to those who wish to move more permanently to a warmer climate.

The population for Antigua and Barbuda is around 85,000. Most of these people live in the larger towns with relatively few in more rural areas. English is the official language and the residents are predominantly Anglican, as well as Methodist, Roman Catholic, Pentecostal, Baptist and Seventh Day Adventists.

Antigua is a constitutional Monarchy. It has its own elected parliament although the British Queen is still represented on the island by a Governor General. The Governor General appoints the 17 senate members, though this is usually done on the advice of the Prime Minister. Elections for parliament are held every five years. The country was under direct British rule until the early 1980s. As a result the country celebrates Independence Day on 1 November each year. All citizens over the age of 18 are eligible to vote.

The currency used in Antigua and Barbuda is the Caribbean dollar (EC$) and this is tied to the US dollar. Tourism is the country's largest source of income though they also export items such as furniture, clothing and paint. Most goods have to be imported into the country, which along with its status as a desirable location, gives the country a higher cost of living than most places.

Read more about this country

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