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Travel Guide: Antigua and Barbuda

Featured hotels in Antigua and Barbuda »

Jumby Bay, A Rosewood Resort

Price (US$):
$2400 - $2750 / night

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Location. Jumby Bay, A Rosewood Resort is located on the beach in Long Island's Antigua neighborhood, close to Dutchman's Bay, Hell's Gate Island,… more »

Carlisle Bay

Price (US$):
$747 - $1250 / night

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Location. Carlisle Bay is located on the beach in Carlisle Bay's Antigua neighborhood, close to Carlisle Beach, Doigs Beach, and Mount Obama.… more »

Curtain Bluff

Price (US$):
$1480 - $1481 / night

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Location. Curtain Bluff is located on the beach in Carlisle Bay's Antigua neighborhood, close to Carlisle Beach, Mount Obama, and Doigs Beach.… more »

Inn At English Harbour

Price (US$):
$726 - $942 / night

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Location. Inn At English Harbour is located on the beach in English Harbour's Antigua neighborhood, close to Galleon Beach, Pillars of Hercules,… more »

Hermitage Bay All Inclusive

Price (US$):
$1740 - $1741 / night

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Location. Hermitage Bay All Inclusive is located on the beach in Jennings's Antigua neighborhood, close to Hermitage Bay, Mosquito Cove Beach, and… more »

About  •  Understand  •  Regions  •  Cities  •  Get In  •  Get Around  •  Talk  •  Do  •  Buy  •  Eat  •  Drink  •  Sleep  •  Learn  •  Work  •  Stay Safe  •  Stay Healthy  •  Respect  •  More »

About

Antigua and Barbuda are two Caribbean islands, (Antigua, pronounced "an-tee'-gah" and Barbuda), that form a country that lies between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east-southeast of Puerto Rico, off the coast of South America.

Understand

Antigua is perhaps the island which most typifies the modern day view of a small Caribbean destination. With few other natural resources, tourism dominates the local economy of both islands. Stunning white sand beaches abound, and on Antigua there is no shortage of attendant high-end resorts. Barbuda still has the beaches but little tourism-based infrastructure.

Investment banking and financial services also make up an important part of the economy with many major foreign banks taking advantage of the nation's liberal banking laws. That may all change though after the 2009 arrest of Antigua-based Texan billionaire Allen Stanford who is accused of perpetrating an enormous fraud which may have bilked investors of some US$8 billion.

Cricket is a huge sport here and this tiny nation has produced several genuine all-time world greats of the game. Cricket fans will certainly not be short of locals to chat with.

History

The Siboney were the first to inhabit the islands of Antigua and Barbuda in 2400 B.C., but Arawak and Carib Indians populated the islands when Columbus landed on his second voyage in 1493. Early settlements by the Spanish and French were succeeded by the English who formed a colony in 1667. Slavery, established to run the sugar plantations on Antigua, was abolished in 1834. The islands became an independent state within the British Commonwealth of Nations in 1981.

Climate

The climate is tropical marine with little seasonal temperature variation. The islands experience hurricanes and tropical storms (July to October), and periodic droughts.

Electricity

Officially 230V 60Hz. Most outlets are the standard British type. Generally speaking, U.S. and Canadian travellers should pack adapters for these outlets if they plan to use North American electrical equipment in Antigua & Barbuda. Contact your hotel and ask to be sure. Many places are now built to North American standards.

Also in use are non-grounded North American outlets. These require an adapter to work with plugs that have the third grounding plug. Older North American outlets may not be polarized (with one slot wider than the other). To remedy this, the wider vertical blade on a polarized plug may be filed down to match the width of the other. Otherwise, adapters are available which accept a polarized plug and adapt it for use with a non-polarized outlet.

Regions

Antigua
the main island and a major Caribbean resort destination  
Barbuda
few people, even fewer facilities, magnificent beaches  
Rodonda
tiny uninhabited island  

Cities

  • Saint John's - Capital, on the island of Antigua
  • Codrington - A town on the island of Barbuda
  • Dickenson Bay
  • English Harbour
  • Falmouth
  • Half Moon Bay

Get In

All EU citizens can enter without a visa.

Citizens of the following countries may also enter without a visa: Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Cuba, Dominica, Fiji, Georgia, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Malawi, Maldives, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Namibia, New Zealand, Nauru, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Russia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, South Korea, Suriname, Swaziland, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United States, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, and citizens of British Overseas Territories.

If you do need a visa, you must have a passport valid at least 6 months after time of visit, a completed application form, and 1 passport size photo. A single entry visa costs 30GBP and multiple entry costs 40GBP.

Note that if you are of a nationality that normally requires a visa and you are entering Antigua and Barbuda as a port for a cruise ship, you do not need a visa provided the ship will be leaving the day it arrives.

By plane

V.C. Bird International, (IATA: ANU) (ICAO: TAPA) located in north eastern Antigua on the outskirts of St John's, is the country's main international airport. The airport serves flights into the United States, Canada, Europe and other Caribbean islands.

LIAT (Leeward Islands Air Transport Services), headquartered in Antigua, operates flights to various destinations in the Eastern Caribbean.

The following international airlines serve the airport:

To the US: American Airlines/American Eagle (Miami and San Juan, Puerto Rico) , Continental Airlines (Newark, NJ), Delta Airlines (Atlanta, GA and New York JFK), US Airways (Charlotte, NC)

To Canada: Air Canada (Toronto, Ontario)

To Europe: British Airways (London-Gatwick), Condor (Frankfurt, Germany), Livingstone (Milan, Italy), Virgin Atlantic (London-Gatwick)

To Caribbean: American Airlines/American Eagle (San Juan, Puerto Rico), Caribbean Airlines (Barbados, Trinidad and Kingston, Jamaica)

By boat

Many excursionist come in via cruise ships and enjoy their day in Antigua. Many cruise lines travel to Antigua.

Windward Islands - Windward Islands, one of the worlds largest yacht charter companies, can take care of all charter requirements, from bareboat, crewed to luxury in Antigua and Barbuda. Operating from its offices in USA, UK, Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland, Caribbean, Hong Kong and New Zealand.

Get Around

Tourists mainly get around by taxi or tour operators. However for the tourist on an economy budget the bus service is fairly good.

To/From Barbuda: The Barbuda Express offers ferries from Antigua.

Talk

Languages spoken are English (official) and local dialects. There is also an expanding Spanish-speaking migrant population.

Do

  • 365antigua.com (what 2 know, where 2 go), [5]. online guide to local entertainment, events, arts, culture and sports.

Buy

  • Galley Boutique, English Harbour has great clothes.
  • 1000 Flowers, St. John's has great clothes.

Eat

The national dish is fungie (pronounced foon-gee) and pepper pot. Fungie is a dish very similar to the Italian Polenta being made mainly of cornmeal. Other local dishes include ducana, seasoned rice, saltfish and lobster (from Barbuda). Local confectionaries include sugarcake, fudge, raspberry and tamarind stew, and peanut brittle. The various restaurants around the island sell both local and international food.

  • Lunch might be anything that can be easily bought from a nearby shop, especially a bakery.
  • Dinner will typically be rice,macaroni or pasta, vegetables/salad, a main course (fish, chicken, pork, beef etc.) and a side dish like macaroni pie, scalloped potatoes or plantains. Local drinks are mauby, seamoss, tamarind juice, mango juice and coconut water. Adults favour beers and rums, many of which are made locally.

On Saturday be prepared to find many drive-by barbecues at important road crossings all over the island. They are serving rice and chicken, dumplings, soup, and alike. Sometimes they even have a sound system for entertainment.

Sunday is the day when the culture is most reflected in the food. For breakfast one might have saltfish, eggplant, eggs, bacon, sausages, or lettuce. Dinner may include pork, baked chicken, stewed lamb, or turkey, alongside rice (prepared in a variety of ways), salads, and a local drink.

  • Harmony Hall, near Freetown. It closes for the summer on May 6th. The best restaurant on the island.
  • Mama Lolly, Redcliffe Quay, St. John's. Vegetarian and vegan friendly home cooking.
  • Calabash, Redcliffe Quay's "Vendors Mall", St. John's. Vegan cuisine. Owned by a raw chef who used to work in New York.
  • The Roti King, corner of St Mary's Street and Corn Alley, St John's. Serves Roti, which is a East Indian dish of rolled Indian flat bread filled with hot and spicy curries and tamarind sauce.

The only american style fast food chains operating on Antigua are KFC with three locations and Subway sandwiches in St. John's.

Drink

  • Papa Zouk, Bar and fish and chips restaurant 2 mins outside of St. John's.
  • Cavalier Rum , Antiguan Rum.
  • Wadadli, Antiguan Beer
  • Oasis, Desalinated water.

Sleep

There are many hotels in Antigua so finding one should not cause too much of a hassle.

  • Jolly Harbour Resort & Marina, Toll free: United States/Canada: 1-866-905-6559; United Kingdom/Europe: 00 800 1 235 6559, . All inclusive.
  • Galley Bay, Telephone: (268) 462-0302,
  • Grand Royal Antiguan Beach Resort, Phone: (268) 462-3733, European or All Inclusive Plans.
  • Jumby Bay, P.O. Box 243, St. John's, Antigua, West Indies, Tel (268) 462-6000, Known worldwide for providing discern travelers with world class service and distinguished amenities with 40 suites and 11 villas, this resort offers many services and activities for its guests such as sunfloats, snorkeling, and sail boating. It also offers convenient vacation packages for travelers.
  • Antigua Holiday Villas, P.O. Box 1585, St. John's, Antigua, West Indies, Tel (268) 462-6266, Luxury villas for your Antigua holiday.
  • Coconut Beach Club, Yepton Estate, St John's, Antigua, [11]. A charming and affordable all inclusive resort, we are small, intimate and friendly, catering mostly to couples who want a restful and revitalizing vacation. Call Toll Free: 1 866 978 7299 (USA) OR 0800 097 3591 (UK)
  • Cocobay Resort, Valley Church, St Mary's, Antigua, ☎ Toll Free: 1 866 307 7236 (USA) OR 0800 097 0870 (UK), [12]. On the sunset side of Antigua.

Learn

Antigua State College

Antigua and Barbuda International Institute of Technology

Antigua and Barbuda Hospitality Training Institute

University of the West Indies (Open Campus)

University of Health Sciences Antigua

American University of Antigua

Learn about local heritage and culture. Learn a bit of dialect along the way. Buy a copy of the local newspaper "The Observer": they have a nice cartoon in local creole which helps with the interesting Antiguan Dialect.

Work

Working longer than three months requires an official working license, to be filed with the employer. He also has to pay for it. There might be good jobs at the tourism sector and the entertainment industry (esp. on-line casinos and sports betting).

Stay Safe

Though Antigua is a very safe place, secure your purses and wallets. Walk only with the necessary money, avoid street urchins and vagrants and don't be afraid to ask for help. If you rent a car, park in a well-lit area.

Stay Healthy

Avoid taking unusual risks, eat more from packaged goods. However the public market is a great place to mingle and get inexpensive provisions.

There are some signs on the road of St. John's, providing you with the ten principles of healthy living:

  1. Breathe deeply
  2. Drink water
  3. Sleep peacefully
  4. Eat nutritiously
  5. Enjoy activity
  6. Give and receive love
  7. Be forgiving
  8. Practice gratitude
  9. Be accepting
  10. Take your time

Respect

The locals are very friendly and respectable. Approach them in a courteous manner and it will undoubtedly be returned to you. Approach them with a smile and remember please, thank you, good afternoon.