It’s tough to think of a spot in the Caribbean that isn’t simply gorgeous, but the small island nation of Antigua and Barbuda—from the Spanish words for “ancient” and “bearded”—on the eastern cusp of the Caribbean Sea provides inhabitants not only with enviable natural beauty, but also with a relatively high standard of living and one of the best education systems in the region. With a literacy rate well over 90%, and being one of the preeminent medical services providers in the Caribbean—the country has the most modern hospital of any Caribbean island, the Mt. St. John Medical Center—this nation is very proud of its achievements, and with good reason.
A lot of American’s (as well as other foreigners, to a lesser extent) visit or move to Antigua and Barbuda because of the attractive physical surroundings: pristine beaches on a luscious tropical island a mere 17 degrees north of the equator are quite the invitation. Yet cultural factors also play a significant role, as the country’s history as a British colony make many Anglophiles feel comfortable, though the mix with African and Portuguese culture provide a certain flare that is hard to resist.
Music and dance flourish in Antigua and Barbuda, and the annual carnival festivities draw enormous crowds from within the island and from overseas, too; traditionally associated with the end of slavery in the West Indies as well as the end of Lent, carnival brings the island to life in a way few would expect. Great shows and street performances, especially of locally-renowned calypso and soca music and dance styles, are the mainstays of this great tradition.
The only official language in Antigua and Barbuda is English, though Antiguan Creole, a local dialect drawing on British, American, and African influences, is widely spoken. Due to large immigrant communities from the Dominican Republic, Spanish is also commonly heard.
Entering Antigua and Barbuda is not at all a complicated affair, as long as you have the forms for acquiring the proper visa (necessary for stays beyond six months) . For those that have lived in the country for over seven years continuously, it’s possible to obtain citizenship.
With a relatively low cost of living by western standards, a lot of expats find a very comfortable existence on the island, whose economy is primarily dominated by the tourism, banking, and agricultural sectors.
Take a look at a tourism site to get to know some of the nicer destinations and activities on the island, and also be sure to check out local real estate deals if considering purchasing land on one of the islands.