There is a holiday experience here for almost any budget, the big spenders can mingle with the famous in-crowd of the many 5 star resorts on Antigua, but there are plenty of options for comfortable accommodation readily available also. There are beaches for everyone on both islands and a good cricket game is easy to come by if you are a sports enthusiasts. Antigua and Barbuda are a great choice for a Caribbean getaway.
Both Antigua and Barbuda have beautiful resorts and stunning beaches making them a perfect Caribbean destination. They have a laid back relaxed atmosphere where island life is easy, fresh fruit and food is plentiful and the locals and the weather are warm and friendly.
Where is Antigua and Barbuda?
The Caribbean Islands of Antigua and Barbuda are a single country located off between the North Atlantic and the Caribbean Sea off the coast of South America
History of Antigua and Barbuda
The islands dark history of slavery are long gone and the islands today are home to ideal cruising grounds for yachts, national parks alive with animal and bird life and spectacular scenery and natural attractions.
Antigua and Barbuda Visa Requirements
All visitors need a valid passport and a round-trip or onward ticket for entry into Antigua and Barbuda. Passports must be valid for at least six months beyond the period of stay. Most countries do not require a visa for stays of up to 6 months and there is no restriction on doing business whilst you are there.
Upon entering the country you may be required to show immigration officials that you have return or onward tickets and adequate means of support and accommodation for your period of stay.
Antigua & Barbuda has a US$20 airport departure tax, a room tax of 8.5% and service charge of 10%.
As entry requirements may change from time to time it is strongly advised that you check with the department of foreign affairs or your local consulate or embassy for the current requirements.
Antigua and Barbuda Travel Health
Vaccinations recommended for travel to Antigua and Barbuda are Hepatitis A and Tetanus with Diphtheria and Typhoid sometimes advised depending on the season and region being visited. Travelers arriving from a yellow fever infected area, over the age of one, are required to produce a yellow fever vaccination certificate.
The water is generally safe to drink however may cause mild abdominal upsets. Bottled water is readily available and is the more sensible option. Milk and dairy products are safe for consumption as are local meat, poultry, seafood, fruit and vegetables.
There are reports of Dengue fever throughout the country so precautions against mosquito bites should be taken. There is a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean and includes Antigua and Barbuda.
Medical treatment on the islands is very expensive therefore health insurance is strongly advised. There is one hospital and one private clinic on the islands as well as several General Practitioners. At the private health clinic, Adelin, a deposit of US$4,000 via credit card is required for any treatment as they do not accept any medical travel insurance.
The hurricane season in Antigua and Barbuda usually runs from June to November.
The islands are generally very safe places to visit however you should always exercise caution in foreign countries. Always secure valuables, stay alert particularly at night and try to remain in well-lit areas. In Antigua there has been an increase in crime over the last couple of years involving gun crime.
Like any country in the world there is the risk of terrorist attacks which may target civilians particularly in popular tourist destinations.
Traveling on the roads throughout the country is fairly safe however many roads lack road markings and many of the streets are not lit at night. Always exercise caution and remain alert at all times and try to avoid road travel at night.
Emergency numbers for Antigua and Barbuda are: all emergencies 911; Fire (268) 462-0044; Police (268) 462-0125/999; Ambulance (268) 462-0251.
What is Antigua and Barbuda Local Currency?
The official currency of Antigua and Barbuda is the Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC$). Notes are in denominations of EC$100, 50, 20, 10 and 5 and coins are in denominations of EC$1, and 25, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents. The US dollar is widely accepted on both islands.
International banks are available in St John’s, the capital of Antigua, and hotels and larger shops will exchange Pound Sterling and US Dollars. American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are all widely accepted and ATMs are available in the larger resorts.
Traveller’s Cheques are easily exchanged at international banks, hotels and the larger stores. It is recommended to take traveller’s cheques in US Dollars to avoid any additional exchange rate charges.
Banking Hours are: Mon-Thurs 0800-1500; Fri 0800-1300 and 1500-1700 (some banks open until midday on Saturday).
is Antigua and Barbuda’s Weather?
Antigua and Barbuda experience a lovely tropical climate throughout the year with very little seasonal temperature variation. In winter (December to March) the average daily temperature only drops a few degrees from the usual 27°C.
Both islands are usually dry throughout the year except during the rainy season(mid-September to November) and hurricane season which usually occurs from June to November.
Recommended clothing for travel to Antigua and Barbuda are lightweight cottons or linens, and rainwear for travel between September to December.
Culture of Antigua and Barbuda
The people of Antigua and Barbuda are warm, friendly and welcoming. As you would expect with this beautiful Caribbean lifestyle the people are relaxed and laid back.
It is usual to tip 10-15% on the islands with some restaurants and hotels already adding a 10% gratuity. Taxi drivers will also expect around 10-15% tip and porters and bellhops will expect around 50 cents per bag. When staying on the islands there is also an additional room tax of 8.5%.
Approximately 45% of the population of Antigua and Barbuda belong to the Anglican Church and approximately 42% belong to other Christian groups, and about 8 percent belong to the Roman Catholic.
As the people of Antigua and Barbuda are very friendly and respectable they expect the same courteous manner in return. Smiling and saying please, thank you and good bye will be gratefully acknowledged. Beachwear should only be worn at the beach and do not wear camouflage clothing as this is only reserved for the military and will cause offense.
What Languages Are Spoken In Antigua and Barbuda?
The official language of Antigua and Barbuda is English with other local dialects being spoken particularly in rural areas.
The telephone country code for the islands is 268 and mobile phone coverage is good throughout the islands. The Internet is readily available in the large cities and resorts.
Post office hours are: Mon-Fri 0800-1200 and 1300-1600.
Antigua and Barbuda Transport Options
The international airport for Antigua and Barbuda is the VC Bird International (ANU) located on the northeast corner of Antigua, 8km northeast of St John’s. There is also an airstrip at Codrington on Barbuda for light aircraft and Carib Aviation offers flights twice daily between the two islands.
Ferries operate between the islands as well as local boats that are available for excursions. There is a bus network however it is small and buses are infrequent. Taxi are readily available on both islands and have regulated rates.
Vehicles drive on the left in Antigua and Barbuda and roads are in fairly good condition, however they lack road markings and many streets are not lit at night. Car and moped hire is readily available on Antigua and bicycles are also available for hire. Some locals on Barbuda also hire out the own personal vehicles. The national speed limit is 65kph and there is a limit of 32kph in built-up areas. To hire a vehicle you will need to buy a temporary local driver’s licence from a police station or car hire agency which is valid for six months.
Antigua and Barbuda Travel Tips
Casual attire is typical in Antigua and Barbuda unless it is specifically requested for formal dress. However it is not appropriate to wear beachwear or revealing clothes any place other than the beach. It is offensive to wear camouflage clothing at any time even for children.
Smoking in most public places is acceptable and certain homosexual acts are illegal on both islands. Petty crime affects tourists on the islands however the more violent crime is generally not directed towards visitors.
Antigua and Barbuda Local Food
The cuisine on the islands includes a variety of seafood, especially lobster and red snapper, fresh fruit and vegetables. All the large hotels offer many selections of imported meats, cheeses, fruits and vegetables. Fast food chains include KFC and Subway but are only on Antigua.
National specialities include: Pepperpot (meat and vegetable stew); Fungee (cornmeal); Roti (meat and curried potato patties); Ducana (grated sweet potato steamed in a banana leaf); Tamarind balls (sweets) and black pineapples.
National drinks include: Ting (sparkling grapefruit drink); Wadadli (beer); a variety of fresh juices and coconut water; dark and light rum.
The legal age for drinking on the islands is 18.
Antigua and Barbuda Local Timezones
Antigua & Barbuda Standard Time is 4 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT-4) and both islands do not operate Daylight-Saving Time.
Electricity in Antigua and Barbuda is 230 Volts, alternating at 60 cycles per second. Outlets in Antigua and Barbuda generally accept 1 type of plug: Flat blade plug.
Antigua and Barbuda Dutyfree Limits
The following items may be imported into Antigua & Barbuda without incurring customs duty: 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco; 1l of wine or spirits; 170ml of perfume.
Prohibited Imports include: firearms, ammunition, weapons and narcotics.