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Antigua and Barbuda travel guide - Travel S helper

Antigua and Barbuda

travel guide

Antigua and Barbuda is an Americas twin-island nation located between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It is comprised of two inhabited main islands, Antigua and Barbuda, as well as a number of smaller islands (including Great Bird, Green, Guinea, Long, Maiden and York Islands and further south, the island of Redonda). The permanent population is about 81,800 (as of the 2011 Census), and Antigua’s capital, biggest port, and largest city is St. John’s.

Antigua and Barbuda, separated by a few nautical miles, are located in the Leeward Islands, a subgroup of the Lesser Antilles, about 17°N of the equator. Christopher Columbus named the nation Antigua in 1493 after finding the island in honor of the Virgin of La Antigua in Seville Cathedral. Due to the many beaches that surround the islands, the nation is called “Land of 365 Beaches.” Its government, language, and culture have all been heavily impacted by the British Empire, which the nation was a part of before.

Both Antigua and Barbuda are low-lying islands whose topography has been influenced more by limestone formations than by volcanic activity. Antigua’s highest point is Mount Obama (formerly Boggy Peak), the remnant of a volcanic crater that is up to 402 metres high.

The coastline of both islands is very indented, with beaches, lagoons and natural harbours. The islands are surrounded by reefs and shoals. There are few rivers, as rainfall is low. Neither island has sufficient amounts of fresh groundwater.

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Antigua and Barbuda - Info Card




East Caribbean dollar (XCD)

Time zone



440 km2 (170 sq mi)

Calling code


Official language

Antiguan and Barbudan Creole

Antigua and Barbuda | Introduction

Demographic Of Antigua and Barbuda

Ethnic groups

Antigua has a population of 85,632, made up mostly of people of West African, British and Madeiran origin. The ethnic distribution is 91% black, 4.4% mixed, 1.7% white and 2.9% other (mainly Indian and Asian). Most whites are of Irish or British origin. Christian Arabs from the Levant and a small number of Asians and Sephardic Jews make up the rest of the population.

An increasing percentage of the population lives abroad, mainly in the United Kingdom (Antigua-British), the United States and Canada. A minority of Antiguan residents are immigrants from other countries, including Dominica, Guyana and Jamaica, and increasingly from the Dominican Republic, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Nigeria. An estimated 4,500 US citizens also call Antigua and Barbuda home, making their numbers one of the largest US populations in the English-speaking Eastern Caribbean.


74% of Antiguans are Christians, with Anglicans (about 44%) being the largest denomination. Other Christian denominations present are Baptists, Presbyterians and Roman Catholics.

Non-Christian religions practised on the islands include the Rastafarian movement, Islam, Judaism and the Baha’i Faith.

Weather & Climate in Antigua and Barbuda

Rainfall averages 990 mm per year, with considerable seasonal variation. Generally, the wettest period is between September and November. The islands generally have low humidity and recurrent droughts. Hurricanes strike on average once a year. Temperatures average 27°C and range from 23°C in winter to 30°C in summer and autumn. The coolest period is between December and February. The low humidity makes it one of the most temperate climates in the world.

Economy Of Antigua and Barbuda

Tourism dominates the economy and contributes more than half of the gross domestic product (GDP). Antigua is famous for its many luxury resorts. However, weak tourism activity since the beginning of 2000 has slowed down the economy and forced the government into a difficult fiscal situation.

Investment banking and financial services are also an important part of the economy. Major global banks with offices in Antigua include Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) and Scotiabank. Financial services firms with offices in Antigua include PriceWaterhouseCoopers. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has charged Antigua-based Stanford International Bank, owned by Texas billionaire Allen Stanford, with orchestrating a massive fraud that may have defrauded investors of about $8 billion.

Agricultural production in the two-island nation is concentrated in the domestic market and constrained by limited water supplies and a shortage of labour due to the attraction of higher wages in tourism and construction.

The manufacturing sector consists of enclave-like assemblies for export, with bedding, handicrafts and electronic components being the main products. Prospects for economic growth in the medium term continue to depend on income growth in developed countries, especially the US, which accounts for about one-third of all tourists.

After investor and lawyer Neil Simon opened the American University of Antigua College of Medicine in 2003, a new source of revenue was created. The university employs many Antiguans and the approximately 1000 students consume a large amount of goods and services.

Things To Know Before Traveling To Antigua and Barbuda


The languages spoken are English (official) and local dialects. There is also a growing population of Spanish-speaking migrants.


Siberians were the first to inhabit the islands of Antigua and Barbuda in 2400 BC, but Arawak and Carib Indians settled the islands when Christopher Columbus landed on his second voyage in 1493. The first Spanish and French settlements were followed by the English, who established a colony in 1667. Slavery, which was introduced to exploit Antigua’s sugar plantations, was abolished in 1834. The islands became an independent state within the British Commonwealth of Nations in 1981.


The locals are very friendly and respectful. Approach them in a polite manner and they will definitely reciprocate. Approach them with a smile and think please, thank you, good day.


The culture is mainly a mixture of West African and British cultural influences.

Cricket is the national sport and Antigua has produced several famous cricketers, including Sir Vivian Richards, Anderson “Andy” Roberts and Richard “Richie” Richardson. Other popular sports include football, boat racing and surfing (Antigua Sailing Week attracts locals and visitors from all over the world).

American pop culture and fashion also have a strong influence. Most of the country’s media is made up of major American networks. Many Antiguans prefer to shop in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Family and religion play an important role in the lives of Antiguans. Most attend services on Sunday, although there are a growing number of Seventh-day Adventists who keep the Sabbath on Saturday.

Calypso and soca music, both of which originated mainly in Trinidad, are important in Antigua and Barbuda.


Corn and sweet potatoes play an important role in Antiguan cuisine. For example, a popular Antiguan dish, dukuna /ˈduː kuːˌnɑː/, is a sweet, steamed dumpling made from grated sweet potatoes, flour and spices. One of Antigua’s staple foods, fungi /ˈfuːn.dʒiː/, is a boiled dough made from maize flour and water.


There are two daily newspapers: the Daily Observer and the Caribbean Times. In addition to most American television networks, the local ABS TV 10 is available (it is the only station that broadcasts only local programmes). There are also several local and regional radio stations, such as V2C-AM 620, ZDK-AM 1100, VYBZ-FM 92.9, ZDK-FM 97.1, Observer Radio 91.1 FM, DNECA Radio 90.1 FM, Second Advent Radio 101.5 FM, Abundant Life Radio 103.9 FM, Crusader Radio 107.3 FM, Nice FM 104.3


The Antigua and Barbuda national cricket team represented the country at the 1998 Commonwealth Games, but otherwise Antiguan cricketers play in domestic matches for the Leeward Islands cricket team and at international level for the West Indies cricket team. The 2007 Cricket World Cup was played in the West Indies from 11 March to 28 April 2007.

Antigua has played eight matches at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, which was completed on 11 February 2007 and has a capacity of up to 20,000 people. Antigua hosts the Stanford Twenty20 – Twenty20 Cricket, a version launched in 2006 by Allen Stanford as a regional cricket match in which almost all the islands of the Caribbean participate. Antiguan Viv Richards scored the fastest Test hundred and Brian Lara twice set the world Test record at the Recreation Ground in Antigua.

Club football, or soccer, is also a popular sport. Antigua has a national football team that participated in World Cup qualifying for the 1974 tournament and for 1986 and later. In 2011, a professional team was formed, Antigua Barracuda FC, which played in USL Pro, a lower professional league in the United States. In 2012, the national team achieved the feat of advancing from their preliminary group for the 2014 World Cup, including a victory against the mighty Haiti. In their first match in the upcoming CONCACAF group on 8 June 2012 in Tampa, Florida, Antigua and Barbuda, made up of 17 players from the Barracudas and 7 players from England’s lower professional leagues, scored a goal against the United States signed by Peter Byers; however, the team lost 3-1 to the United States.

Athletics is popular. Talented athletes are trained from a young age and Antigua and Barbuda has produced some pretty talented athletes. Janill Williams, a promising young athlete, hails from Gray’s Farm, Antigua. Sonia Williams and Heather Samuel have represented Antigua and Barbuda at the Olympics. Other rising stars include Brendan Christian (100m, 200m), Daniel Bailey (100m, 200m) and James Grayman (high jump).

Entry Requirements For Antigua and Barbuda

Visa & Passport for Antigua and Barbuda

All EU citizens can enter without a visa.

Citizens of the following countries can 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, Kyribati, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Malawi, Maldives, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Namibia, New Zealand, Nauru, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Russia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Petersburg. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, South Korea, Suriname, Swaziland, Switzerland, Tajikistan, United Republic of Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United States, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Zimbabwe and citizens of the British Overseas Territories.

If you need a visa, you must present a passport valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of your visit, a completed application form and a passport photo. A visa for a single entry costs 30GBP and for multiple entries 40GBP.

Note that you do not need a visa if you are of a nationality for which a visa is normally required and you are entering Antigua and Barbuda as a port of call for a cruise ship, provided the ship is leaving on the day of arrival.

How To Travel To Antigua and Barbuda

Get In - By air

V.C. Bird International (IATA: ANU) is located in the north-east of Antigua, on the outskirts of St. John’s, and is the country’s main international airport. The airport offers flights to the United States, Canada, Europe and other Caribbean islands.

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

The airport is served by the following international airlines:

Vers les États-Unis : American Airlines/American Eagle (Charlotte, Miami et San Juan, Porto Rico), Delta Airlines (Atlanta, GA et New York JFK), United Airlines (Newark, NJ)

To Canada: Air Canada (Toronto, Ontario)

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

Vers les Caraïbes : American Airlines/American Eagle (San Juan, Porto Rico), Caribbean Airlines (Barbade, Trinidad et Kingston, Jamaïque)

Get In - With the boat

Many day trippers arrive by cruise ship and enjoy their day in Antigua. Many cruise lines call at Antigua.

Yacht charters offer another alternative in and around the islands. Several companies serve this area, including Boat Caribbean and Windward Islands, both of which offer luxury crewed yacht charters in Antigua and Barbuda.

How To Travel Around Antigua and Barbuda

Tourists mainly travel by taxi or through tour operators. For tourists on a budget, however, the bus service is acceptable but slow. Unfortunately, the most beautiful places are only accessible by your own means. But if you stay for a week or more, car rental prices become quite reasonable.

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

Car Rental The cheapest car rental agency you can find is Tropical Car Rentals Antigua: Tropical Rentals Tel: (268) 562-5180, Fax: (268) 562-5181, [email protected]. Their cars are in excellent condition and their prices are much lower than other agencies on the island. They will pick you up at the airport and wait for you when you leave. This way you avoid unnecessary extra trips by taxi or other means.

Destinations in Antigua and Barbuda

Regions in Antigua and Barbuda

  • Antigua
    The main island and one of the most important tourist destinations in the Caribbean
  • Barbuda
    Few people, even fewer facilities, beautiful beaches
  • Rodonda
    Small uninhabited island

Cities in Antigua and Barbuda

  • Saint John’s – Capital, on the island of Antigua
  • Codrington – A town on the island of Barbuda.
  • Dickenson Bay
  • English port
  • Falmouth
  • Half Moon Bay

Accommodation & Hotels in Antigua and Barbuda

There are many hotels in Antigua, so finding one should not be a big problem.

  • Antigua Holiday Villas, +1-268 462-6266. St. John’s,
  • Coconut Beach Club, Yepton Estate, St. John’s, Antigua, +1 268 462-3239, toll free: +1 877 385-6517. A charming all-inclusive resort, mainly for couples.
  • CocobayResort, Valley Church, St Mary’s, Antigua, +1-268-562-2400. Antigua’s sunset site.
  • Dickenson Bay Cottages, St Johns, Tel (268) 462 4940,Fax (268) 462 4941, [email protected],, Beautiful place with fully equipped loft flats, pool, 200m from the beach.
  • Halcyon Cove by Rex Resorts, Dickenson Bay, +1 268 462-0256. On the shores of Dickenson Bay.
  • JumbyBay, +1-268 462-6000. St. John’s, With 40 suites and 11 villas, this resort offers guests many services and activities such as sunbathing, snorkelling and sailing. It also offers holiday packages.
  • Buccaneer Beach Club, Dickenson Bay, +12685626785. Arrival: 3pm, Departure: 1pm. A small, comfortable Caribbean-style hotel located directly on the beach in Dickenson Bay. The 18 flats are fully equipped and ideal for a short or long stay. They all overlook the lush garden and tranquil pool. Italian management. Tours and transfers can be arranged. 168 USD.

Food & Drinks in Antigua and Barbuda

Food in Antigua and Barbuda

The national dish is fungie (pronounced foon-gee) and pepperpot. Fungie is a dish very similar to Italian polenta, as it is made mainly from maize flour. Other local dishes include ducana, seasoned rice, salt fish and lobster (from Barbuda). Local sweets include sugar cakes, caramel, raspberry and tamarind stew and peanut brittle. The various restaurants on the island offer local and international dishes.

  • Lunch can consist of anything that can easily be bought at a nearby shop, including a bakery.
  • Dinner usually consists of rice, macaroni or noodles, vegetables/salad, a main dish (fish, chicken, pork, beef, etc.) and a side dish such as macaroni pie, fried potatoes or plantains.

On Saturdays, you will find numerous drive-through barbecues all over the island at major road junctions. They serve rice and chicken, dumplings, soup, etc. Sometimes they even have a sound system for entertainment.

Sunday is the day when the culture is most reflected in the food. Breakfast may include salted fish, aubergine, eggs, bacon, sausage or salad. Dinner may include pork, baked chicken, braised lamb or turkey, accompanied by rice (prepared in various ways), salads and a local drink.

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

The only American-style fast food chains in Antigua are KFC with three locations and Subway sandwiches in St. John’s.

Drinks in Antigua and Barbuda

Local drinks are:

  • Mauby
  • Seamoss
  • Tamarind juice
  • Mango juice
  • Coconut water
  • Cavalier rum, Antigua rum.
  • Wadadli, Antiguan beer
  • Oasis, desalinated water.

Festivals & Holidays in Antigua and Barbuda

The national carnival, held every August, commemorates the abolition of slavery in the British West Indies, although on some islands the carnival may celebrate the arrival of Lent. Its festive shows, pageants and other activities are a major tourist attraction.

Public Holidays in Antigua and Barbuda

Date English name Comments
1 January New Year’s Day
March-April Variable Good Friday
March-April Variable Easter Monday
First Monday in May Labour Day Characterised by songs, dances and free transport to the festival sites.
May 16 Whit Monday
1 August Carnival – J’Ouvert Tomorrow
2 August Carnival – Last Round
1 November Independence Day Often combined with a fashion show
9 December National Heroes’ Day Commemoration through speeches and family
25 December Christmas Day
26 December Boxing Day
27 December Christmas Tribute Day

Stay Safe & Healthy in Antigua and Barbuda

Stay safe in Antigua and Barbuda

Although Antigua is generally safe, you should protect your purses and wallets. Walk only with the money you need, 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.

Homosexual acts between consenting adults are illegal in Antigua and Barbuda and punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Discretion is advised for LGBT travellers.

Stay healthy in Antigua and Barbuda

Don’t take unusual risks, eat more packaged goods. However, the public market is a great place to mingle and get cheap food.

In St. John’s there are a few signs along the road explaining the ten principles of a healthy lifestyle:

  1. Take a deep breath
  2. Drink water
  3. Sleep in peace
  4. Eat healthy
  5. Enjoy the activity
  6. Giving and receiving love
  7. Indulge
  8. Practice gratitude
  9. Accept
  10. Take your time



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