Have you ever heard of a country that is effortlessly beautiful? If you have not, then you have not heard of Antigua and Barbuda. It is one of the most beautiful destinations on earth. Its beauty surpasses that of many developed nations for one thing – the beauty is natural. No wonder close to a million tourists visit the small country in the Caribbean every year to enjoy the rhythm and clapping of the crystal clear waters, the breathtaking views, the sonorous melody of the frigate birds, and the unending cooling sensation of the wind. I call it ‘the beauty that is admired by the blind.’
In my last visit to the beautiful nation, I had the following interview with Mr. John Williams. A man I met at Dickenson Bay that was visiting the country for the third time.
How many times have you visited this Island?
Mr. John Williams: This is the third time I am visiting.
How many more times will you visit?
Mr. John Williams: That depends on when I die. The first time I visited this place was 8 years ago and I have visited 3 times already. I hope that tells you how addicted I am becoming to this place.
What intrigues you to keep coming back?
Mr. John Williams: The list is endless. Every time I come here, there is always something beautiful to see that I haven’t seen before. Nature speaks volumes here. It just keeps me captivated. To think that as small as this place is, there are about 365 beaches. The waters are crystal clear and I can’t stop swimming with stingrays. If I could, I would have built a house under those waters.
Apart from the waters, is there any other thing you find unique about this place?
Mr. John Williams: The weather is amazing. This place is supposed to be one of the hottest places in the world because it is the sunniest island in the Caribbean. Surprisingly, the constant wind has solved that problem and we’re cool. I haven’t really seen frigate birds all my life before I visited this Island. They are so beautiful and I am always amazed at the distinction between males and females in terms of color and vocalization.
What beautiful places will you recommend for visitors that will like to visit this place and why?
Mr. John Williams: The Shirley Heights. That is the most beautiful sight I have had in my life. There is no better place in this world to view the sunset. Secondly, I’ll recommend Mount Obama. That is the highest peak of Antigua. If you don’t visit that place, then you haven’t come to Antigua. The Devil’s Bridge is another place. I don’t know why it is called the Devil’s bridge but visiting it doesn’t mean you’re a friend of the devil. I must admit that watching the waters forcefully find their way through the blowholes was a unique sight. And finally, do not go home without visiting St. John. You need to see how beautiful nature can be when mixed with civilization.
Thank you so much, Mr. Williams. It was nice talking with you.
Mr. John Williams: Thank you, too.
After the interview with Mr. Williams, I felt it was important to speak with someone from Antigua and Barbuda. We visited Dr. Dario Item who currently serves as Ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda to Spain, Lichtenstein and Monaco and as permanent representative to UNWTO. The following was my conversation with Ambassador Dario Item.
Hello Ambassador Item. What is so special about Antigua and Barbuda?
Ambassador Dario Item: I will answer your question by asking you a question. Why did you come here?
The place is beautiful.
Ambassador Dario Item: That is it. Antigua and Barbuda are special because of their beauty. We might not have abundant natural resources or petroleum reserves but we have preserved the beauty of our country and made it attractive to people like you. More than 60% of our GDP comes from tourism. So, there can’t be anything more special than the beauty of our Island.
You talked about preserving the beauty of your country. How exactly are you doing that?
Ambassador Dario Item: The government has formulated policies that will encourage citizens to contribute to the preservation of nature in Antigua and Barbuda. For example, the Environmental Protection and Management Act of 2015 clearly outlined the various steps in protecting the lands and waters. After Hurricane Irma which caused severe damage to our country, we came together to rebuild the entire place because if Antigua and Barbuda is not beautiful, then it is not our home. As you know, we have also been admitted into the World Tourism Organization. You can be sure that with their partnership, we can do more. I can guarantee you that Antigua will be more beautiful on your next visit.
What do you personally find attractive in Antigua and Barbuda?
Ambassador Dario Item: I like the pink-sand beaches and I often visit Barbuda with my family to admire them. Maybe because my wife’s favorite color is pink. When the sun sets in Antigua, we look at the waters because that is where you can see the beauty of the sunset. That is one sight I never get tired of. I also love the turquoise waters. Sitting close to them can ease your nerves. In short, there is no part of my country that is not attractive.
What do you have to say to people who are skeptical about coming to Antigua and Barbuda?
Millions of people have visited this country before now but I have not seen one person who said coming here is not worth it. We have been blessed with one of the most beautiful places on earth and we need more people to help us admire nature.
Thank you, Ambassador Dario Item. It was nice meeting you.
When you visit places like Antigua and Barbuda, you realize that there is no better camera than the eyes. You might see beautiful pictures of the Islands but you can never understand how beautiful the place is until you have seen how wonderful the island is with your own eyes. Maybe after visiting once, you might never stop coming. Without a doubt, Antigua and Barbuda is a place you should visit at least once in your lifetime.