Antigua (pronounced An-tee'ga) is located in the middle of the Leeward Islands in the Eastern Caribbean, roughly 17 degrees north of the equator.
To the south
are the islands of Montserrat and Guadaloupe, and to the north
and west are Nevis, St. Kitts, St. Barts, and St. Martin.
Antigua, the largest of the English-speaking Leeward Islands, is about 14 miles long and 11 miles wide, encompassing 108 square miles. Its highest point is Boggy
Peak (1319 ft.), located in the southwestern corner of the island. The current population for the nation is approximately 68,000 and its capital is St. John's on Antigua.
Temperatures generally range from the mid-seventies in the winter to the mid-eighties in the summer. Annual rainfall averages only 45 inches, making it the sunniest of
the Eastern Caribbean Islands, and the northeast trade winds are nearly constant, flagging only in September. Low humidity year-round.
See the chart below to learn all about the island paradise Antigua.
(pronounced An-tee'ga) is located in the heart
of the Caribbean Sea at 17 degrees 5’ north and
longitude 61 degrees 45’. The largest of the
Leeward Islands, Antigua is a 108-square mile
limestone and coral island recognized for its
numerous coves, bays, 365 white sand beaches and
clear turquoise-colored waters. To the south are
the islands of Montserrat and Guadeloupe, and to
the north and west are Nevis, St. Kitts, St.
Barts and St. Martin/Maarten. The sister island
of Barbuda (Bar-byew’ da) lies 27 miles
northeast of Antigua with a land area of 62
The capital of
Antigua is St. John’s with two distinctive
waterfront areas and a selection of shops and
Sunny and warm
all year with soothing trade winds, the average
temperature ranges from the mid-seventies in the
winter to the mid-eighties in the summer. Annual
rainfall averages only 45 inches, making it the
sunniest of the eastern Caribbean islands, and
the northeast trade winds are nearly constant,
flagging only in September.
English is the
A majority of
the 80,100 people (2004 Census) residing on
Antigua are of African descent, the remainder
being of British, Lebanese, Syrian, Chinese and
named by Christopher Columbus in 1493 in homage
to Santa Maria de la Antigua, the
miracle-working saint of Seville, Spain. In
1632, Antigua was permanently settled as a
colony by the British. The arrival of Sir
Christopher Codrington began the sugar era for
the island with more than 150 cane-processing
windmills—each the focal point of a sizeable
plantation. By the end of the eighteenth
century, Antigua had become an important
strategic port as well as a valuable commercial
colony. Known as the "gateway to the Caribbean,"
it was situated in a position that offered
control over the major sailing routes to and
from the region's rich island colonies. Most of
the island's historical sites, from its many
ruined fortification, to the impeccably-restored
architecture of English Harbourtown, are
reminders of colonial efforts to ensure its
safety from invasion.
Horatio Nelson arrived in 1784 to develop the British naval facilities at English Harbour and to enforce stringent commercial shipping laws. The first of these two tasks resulted in construction of Nelson's Dockyard, one of Antigua's finest physical assets. Serving under Nelson at the time was the future King William IV, for whom the more pleasant accommodation of Clarence House was built. It was during William's reign, in 1834, that Britain abolished slavery in the empire.
As the sugar industry of the British islands began to dissolve, the island turned towards the development of tourism. In 1967, under the leadership of V.C. Bird, with Barbuda and the tiny island of Redonda as dependencies, Antigua became an associated state of the Commonwealth, and in 1981 it achieved full independent status.
|ARRIVING BY SEA||
ports are located in St. John's Harbour and
Cruise lines with port-of-call in Antigua include Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruise Line, Cunard Line Limited, Crystal Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Orient Lines, Princess Cruises, Radisson Seven Seas Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Seabourn Cruise Line and Silversea Cruises.
|ON ISLAND TRANSPORTATION||
Renting a car is
an ideal way for visitors to discover more of
Antigua. The cost is about $40 to 50 per day. A
valid driver's license and a $20 fee are
required to obtain a permit to drive in Antigua.
The rental agency will assist in securing this
temporary license, which is valid for 90 days.
Motorists drive on the left side of the street
and should be alert for cows, goats and speed
bumps along the roads.
Taxis are available throughout Antigua. Fares between the airport, harbor, and many hotels and destinations are fixed and can be obtained upon arrival. Most fares are fixed rather than metered and should be decided upon prior to the trip. Taxi drivers are also qualified as tour guides for sightseeing trips. Tour rates can be obtained beforehand through hotels.
All visitors to
Antigua and Barbuda must be in possession of an
onward or round trip ticket. Visitors from the
United States need a valid passport.
history and spectacular topography provide a
variety of popular sightseeing opportunities.
Nelson’s Dockyard, the only remaining example of
a Georgian fort commissioned by the British in
1755, is perhaps the most renowned landmark.
Other attractions include a historic overview of
six periods of Antiguan history through a
multimedia presentation at the Dow
Interpretation Center. Visitors may also enjoy
a panoramic view of the Caribbean’s longest
continuously operational port from Shirley
Heights. Further evidence of the island’s
historical roots is St. John’s Cathedral,
visible from around the capital; it is regarded
as one of Antigua’s national monuments. Betty’s
Hope, which was built in 1674, is the site of
one of the first full-scale sugar plantations on
Antigua, and offers a chance to step back into
time by visiting the restored mills.
Antigua is also recognized for its picturesque landscape and natural preserves. Explore the lush vegetation of the rainforest with an expedition down Fig Tree Drive. Another unique attraction is Devil’s Bridge, located at the eastern tip of the island in Indian Town National Park, where Atlantic breakers have carved out a natural limestone arch.
There are 365
beaches on Antigua, one for every day of the
year. The numerous reefs and coves combined with
crystal-clear turquoise waters afford beachgoers
the luxury of privacy and beauty. The great
majority of beaches rest inside the calm,
protected waters of the island's Caribbean side.
All are open to the public, and so the challenge
posed to a visitor is simply how to decide on
the beach that suits one's taste. Popular spots
along the west coast of the island include
Morris Bay, Galley Bay, Ffryes Bay, Darkwood
Beach, Dickinson Bay and Turners Beach. The
shoreline along the east side of the island
includes Half Moon Bay, voted the number one
beach by the Travel Channel, and Long Bay which
offers great snorkeling opportunities.
expresses its culinary soul by giving voice to a
variety of cuisine including native dishes,
French, Italian, Creole, Caribbean,
International and more. Local seafood
specialties include spiny lobster, fish, clams
and conch. Diners can select from more than 90
bars and restaurants.
shopping areas of Antigua are located in
downtown St. John’s close to the waterfront at
Heritage Quay and Redcliffe Quay. As a
duty-free zone, Antigua offers a selection of
local arts and crafts, straw goods, pottery and
jewelry as well as china, crystals, watches,
perfumes, cameras and tobacco. Most shops are
open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon
and 1 to 4 p.m. On Friday and Saturday mornings
the farmers market on the southern edge of the
city has folk crafts, colorful tropical fruits,
and a buzzing crowd that make for a lively
|ADVENTURE SPORTS & ACTIVITIES||
A variety of
land and sea activities await the
adventure-seeker. Water sports abound from
sailing, boat cruising, water skiing, deep sea
and reef fishing to scuba diving and snorkeling
among the thriving coral reefs surrounding the
For land lovers, two 18-hole golf courses and professional tennis and squash courts are accessible and open to the public. In addition, the island offers other popular recreational activities such as horseback riding, helicopter tours, hiking and eco-tours. The Island also harbors a fierce devotion to the sport of Cricket, with the season running from January to July.
nightlife includes entertainment by steel bands,
calypsonians, jazz groups, limbo dancing and
moonlit cruises at most major hotels. For those
seeking a more energetic nightlife, several
nightclubs operate on the island, while three
major casinos offer gaming.
|WEDDINGS AND HONEYMOONS||
weddings become even more popular, many of the
hotels on island offer special packages and
wedding planners to help accommodate every
desire. There is no waiting period or residency
requirement to secure a marriage license, just
begin by visiting the Ministry of Justice with a
valid passport, complete the application and pay
a $40 registration fee, $150 application fee and
the Marriage Officer's fee of $50.
Once a date and time for the ceremony has been determined, the ceremony may be performed in the presence of a registrar or marriage officer and two witnesses. All applicants must be over 18 years of age and if previously married, the original divorce decree or, in the case of a widow or widower, the original marriage and death certificates will need to be presented.
dollars are widely accepted on the island, the
unit of currency is the Eastern Caribbean dollar
(EC$). The exchange rate is approximately US$1
equals EC$2.70. Traveler’s checks and major
credit cards are accepted and ATM’s are
available around the island.
An 8.5 percent
government tax is added to all hotel rates.
Most hotels and restaurants also add a 10
percent service charge in lieu of tipping.
Similar to that
in the U.S.; 10-15 percent depending on the
service. Some restaurants and hotels will
automatically add a 10 percent gratuity. If in
doubt, just ask. Porters and bellboys should
receive 50 cents per bag and taxi drivers expect
10-15 percent of the fare.
Antigua is on
Atlantic Standard Time year-round. During the
fall and winter, noon in New York equals 1 p.m.
on the island. During daylight saving time in
the U.S., the hour is the same on the Eastern
Seaboard as it is on the island.
Most hotels are
wired as in the U.S. with 110 volts, 60 cycles;
however, some run on 220 volts requiring the use
of a converter.
to the U.S., Canada and most of the world is
available on the island. To call Antigua, direct
from the U.S., dial one plus the area code
(268), then the seven-digit number. Internet
access is also available at some hotels and
cafes in St. John’s.
conservative. Beach attire is not appropriate
for town, shops or restaurants. Some hotels and
restaurants stipulate jacket and tie for men and
dresses for women in the evening.
several general practitioners and specialists on
the island, a hospital and a private clinic. No
vaccinations are required unless the visitor is
arriving from an endemic area. Recompression
chambers are available by air ambulance at
nearby Saba and in St. Thomas. Pharmaceutical
services are widely available
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