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Antigua And Barbuda

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.

Antigua and Barbuda are nicknamed "Land of 365 beaches" due to the beaches that surround the two islands.

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 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). 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

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

Other destinations

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) 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), [1] 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 (Charlotte, Miami and San Juan, Puerto Rico), Delta Airlines (Atlanta, GA and 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)

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.

Yacht charters offer another alternative in and around the islands. There are a variety of companies that service this area including Boat Caribbean [2] and Windward Islands [3], both of which offer crewed, luxury yacht charters of Antigua and Barbuda.

Get around

Tourists mainly get around by taxi or tour operators. However for the tourist on an economy budget the bus service is acceptable, but slow. Unfortunately the nicest spots are only reached by your own transport. But if you stay a week or more, rates for rental cars become quite reasonable(see below).

By ferry

Barbuda Express runs ferries between Barbuda and Antigua.

Car rentals

There are various car rental agencies, so they're unlikely to be hard to find.

Talk

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

See

  • Nelson's Dockyard in English Harbour
  • The British forts and the views from Monk's Hill in Falmouth
  • Frigate birds on Barbuda
  • Mount Obama, previously known as "Boggy Peak" the nation's highest point and a national park named for U.S. President Barack Obama on his 48th birthday in 2009.

Do

Buy

Money

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.

Shopping

  • 1000 Flowers, St. John's has great clothes.

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. 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).

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.

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 with three locations and Subway sandwiches in St. John's.

Drink

Local drinks are

  • Mauby
  • Seamoss
  • Tamarind juice
  • Mango juice
  • Coconut water
  • Cavalier Rum , Antiguan Rum.
  • Wadadli, Antiguan Beer
  • Oasis, Desalinated water.

Bars

  • Papa Zouk, Bar and fish and chips restaurant 2 mins outside of St. John's.

Sleep

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

Stay safe

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.

Homosexual acts between consenting adults are illegal in Antigua and Barbuda, punishable by 15 years' imprisonment. Discretion is advised for LGBT travelers.

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.

Connect

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Exercise a high degree of caution

The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.

Crime

Petty crime and armed assaults against tourists can occur and incidents sometimes involve firearms. Take necessary precautions and remain vigilant. Avoid deserted and unpatrolled beaches after dark. Check with local authorities to determine which beaches are safe. Do not carry large sums of cash or wear jewellery. Ensure valuables, passports and other travel documents are secure at all times.

Road travel

Traffic drives on the left. Main roads are well maintained, though street lights are uncommon and there is a lack of signage. Wild animals may stray into traffic. For more information on road conditions and traffic safety, consult the Department of Tourism (tel.: 268-462-0480, email: deptourism@antigua.gov.ag.)

Air travel

Consult our Transportation Safety page in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.

Health

Related Travel Health Notices
Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.
Vaccines

Routine Vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Vaccines to Consider

You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread by contaminated food or water. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.

Influenza

Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.

Measles

Measles occurs worldwide but is a common disease in developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Be sure your vaccination against measles is up-to-date regardless of the travel destination.
 

Typhoid

Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives, or with weakened immune systems. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should consider getting vaccinated.

Yellow Fever Vaccination

Yellow fever is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Risk
  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
  • Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required if you are coming from a country where yellow fever occurs.
Recommendation
  • Vaccination is not recommended.
  • Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care provider.
Food/Water

Food and Water-borne Diseases

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

In some areas in the Caribbean, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in the Caribbean. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!

Travellers' diarrhea
  • Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
  • Risk of developing travellers’ diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
  • The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.

Insects

Insects and Illness

In some areas in the Caribbean, certain insects carry and spread diseases like chikungunya, dengue fever, malaria and West Nile virus.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.

Dengue fever
  • Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.  
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue bite during the daytime. They breed in standing water and are often found in urban areas.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine available for dengue fever.

Malaria

Malaria

There is no risk of malaria in this country.


Animals

Animals and Illness

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Some infections found in some areas in the Caribbean, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.


Person-to-Person

Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.

HIV

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). 

Practise safe sex while travelling, and don’t share needles, razors, or other objects which could transmit infection.

Remember that HIV can also be spread through the use of unsterile medical equipment during medical and dental procedures, tattooing, body piercing or acupuncture. Diseases can also be spread though blood transfusions and organ transplantation if the blood or organs are not screened for HIV or other blood-borne pathogens.


Medical services and facilities

Medical services and facilities

Medical facilities are adequate, but there is no decompression chamber available on the islands. Cases are referred to Guadeloupe or Saba. Clinics and hospitals may expect immediate cash payment for medical services.

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention page for more information.

Civilians may not import camouflage material. It is an offence for civilians to dress in camouflage clothing or to carry items made of camouflage material.

If planning to marry in Antigua and Barbuda, ensure that you meet all requirements before leaving Canada. Most countries require you to produce a certificate stating that there are no Canadian impediments to your marriage. You should arrange to obtain the certificate in Canada before your departure.

You must have a local driving permit to drive in Antigua and Barbuda. It can be obtained for 50EC$ at any car rental agency or police station upon presentation of a valid Canadian driver's licence.

If you are interested in purchasing property or making other investments, seek legal advice from professionals in Canada and locally before making commitments. Disputes arising from such activities could be prolonged and costly to resolve.

Money

The currency is the East Caribbean dollar (XCD).

Climate

The hurricane season extends from June to the end of November. The National Hurricane Center provides additional information on weather conditions. Stay informed of regional weather forecasts, and follow the advice and instructions of local authorities.