Antigua and Barbuda
|Currency||Eastern Caribbean dollar (XCD)|
|Population||101.4 thousand (2023)|
|Electricity||230 volt / 60 hertz (NEMA 1-15, NEMA 5-15)|
|Time zone||UTC−04:00, America/Antigua|
|Emergencies||999 (emergency medical services, fire department, police), 911 (emergency medical services, fire department, police)|
|edit on Wikidata|
Antigua, pronounced "an-tee'-gah", 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.
Antigua and Barbuda are nicknamed "Land of 365 beaches" due to the beaches that surround the two islands.
The Siboney were the first to inhabit the islands of Antigua and Barbuda in 2400 BC, 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 Commonwealth of Nations in 1981.
The climate is tropical marine with little seasonal temperature variation. The islands experience hurricanes and tropical storms (July to October), and periodic droughts.
Officially 230 V 60 Hz. 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). Adapters are available which accept a polarized plug and adapt it for use with a non-polarized outlet. See the electrical systems article for more information.
the main island and a major Caribbean resort destination
few people, even fewer facilities, magnificent beaches
tiny uninhabited island
- 1 Saint John's - capital, on the island of Antigua
- 2 Codrington - a town on the island of Barbuda
- Dickenson Bay
- 3 English Harbour
- 4 Falmouth
- Half Moon Bay
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, China, Cuba, Dominica, Eswatini, Fiji, Georgia, Grenada, Guyana, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Macau, 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, 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.
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.
V.C. Bird International, (ANU IATA) located in north eastern Antigua on the outskirts of St John's, is the country's main international airport. The airport serves flights from the United States, Canada, Europe and other Caribbean islands.
The following international airlines serve the airport:
From the US: American Airlines/American Eagle (Charlotte, Miami, and New York-JFK), Delta Air Lines (Atlanta and New York-JFK), JetBlue (New York-JFK), Seaborne Airlines (San Juan), United Airlines (Newark)
From Canada: Air Canada (Toronto-Pearson), Sunwing Airlines (Montreal-Trudeau), WestJet (Toronto-Pearson)
From Europe (UK): British Airways (London-Gatwick) and Virgin Atlantic (London-Heathrow)
From the Caribbean: ABM Air (Barbuda, Montserrat), British Airways (Providenciales, St. Kitts, Tobago), Caribbean Airlines (Barbados, Kingston, and Port of Spain), FlyMontserrat (Barbuda, Montserrat, Nevis), InterCaribbean Airways (Tortola), Seaborne Airlines (San Juan), Sky High Aviation Services (Santo Domingo–Las Americas), St. Barth Commuter (St. Barthelemy), Tradewind Aviation (St. Barthelemy), VI Airlink (Tortola), Winair (Sint Maarten, St. Barthelemy)
Many excursionist come in via cruise ships and enjoy their day in Antigua. Many cruise lines travel to Antigua.
Yacht charters offer another alternative in and around the islands.
Tourists mainly get around by taxi or tour operators.
There is however a fleet of local buses, usually minibuses with about 12-14 seats, which run set routes (you can tell from the number on a circular badge on the upper right corner of the windscreen as the bus approaches you) and you can wait at a stop or walk along the road and hail a passing one. They're very cost-effective (*much* cheaper than a private taxi), and will stop wherever you want to on the route, although the network only really covers the main roads. There is also no set timetable but one usually passes every 10-15 minutes. The drivers are speedy and it can be an adventure!
If you stay a week or more, rates for rental cars can become quite reasonable (see below).
Barbuda Express runs ferries between Barbuda and Antigua.
There are various car rental agencies, so they're unlikely to be hard to find.
Languages spoken are English (official) and local dialects. There is also an expanding Spanish-speaking migrant population.
- Nelson's Dockyard in English Harbour
- The British forts and the views from Monk's Hill in Falmouth
- Frigate birds on Barbuda
- Boggy Peak, the nation's highest point and a national park, which was named Mount Obama, for U.S. President Barack Obama on his 48th birthday in 2009 until 2016.
Exchange rates for Eastern Caribbean dollars
As of Jan 2023:
Exchange rates fluctuate. Current rates for these and other currencies are available from XE.com
The currency of the country is the East Caribbean dollar, denoted by the symbol: "$" or "EC$" (ISO currency code: XCD), which is also used by seven other island nations in the Caribbean. The EC dollar is subdivided into 100 cents. It is pegged to the United States dollar at an exchange rate of US$1 = EC$2.70.
Coins circulate in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10 and 25 cents and 1 dollar. Banknotes circulate in denominations of 10, 20, 50, and 100 dollars.
- Galley Boutique, English Harbour, has great clothes.
- 1000 Flowers, St. John's, has great clothes.
- 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.
Working longer than three months requires an official working licence, to be filed with the employer. The employer also has to pay for it. There might be good jobs at the tourism sector and the entertainment industry (especially on-line casinos and sports betting).
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.
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 6. 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 an East Indian dish of rolled Indian flat bread filled with hot and spicy curries and tamarind sauce.
The only American fast food chains operating on Antigua are KFC, Burger King and Subway, all with two locations in and out of St. John's.
Local drinks are
- Tamarind juice
- Mango juice
- Coconut water
- Cavalier Rum , Antiguan Rum.
- Wadadli, Antiguan Beer
- Oasis, Desalinated water.
- Papa Zouk, Bar and fish and chips restaurant 2 min outside of St. John's.
There are many hotels resorts and other kinds in Antigua so finding one should not cause too much of a hassle(?)
Though Antigua is generally a 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.
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:
- Breathe deeply
- Drink water
- Sleep peacefully
- Eat nutritiously
- Enjoy activity
- Give and receive love
- Be forgiving
- Practice gratitude
- Be accepting
- Take your time
Tap water is generally drinkable, but people complain about the taste and it may upset your stomach at first if you're not used to it, so most visitors drink bottled water.
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.