The land of 365 beaches
Reef-lined beaches of powdery soft white sand, coconut groves and banana plantations, historic docks and forts. Add a dash of exquisite seafood, rum and carnival atmosphere and mix it all up with a little adventure and you have the recipe for the perfect get-away-from-it-all holiday.
Antigua and Barbuda is a country located in the West Indies comprising two separate islands of the same name, separated by 39 miles of water, and several smaller islands. 97% of the population is based on the island of Antigua. The country is part of the Commonwealth, having gained independence in 1981, and still retains its British charm.
Antigua and Barbuda is said to have a stretch of sand for every day of the year with its coves and inlets being amongst the best in the world. As well as relaxing on the glorious beaches, visitors can enjoy the country’s history and opportunities for adventure.
Top Cities St. John’s (Capital) Languages English is the official language Currency East Caribbean dollar - US dollars are widely accepted. Time Zone Time zone is (GMT-4 hours), making Antigua and Barbuda 4 hours behind London during the winter (GMT) and 5 hours behind London during British Summer Time. Drinks Imported beer: £2.40/$3.00 Domestic beer: £1.80/$2.20 Water: £1.05/$1.30
Meals Inexpensive restaurant: £7.50/$9.20 Meal for 2, mid-range, 3-course: £60.00/$73.65 Hostels Accommodation tends to be expensive and there is very little in the way of budget pricing. There are a few guesthouses though dotted around. Hotels Hotel costs start from about £100.00/$123.00 for 2 stars all the way up to £625.00/$765.00 or more for 5-star luxury accommodation. Tipping Tipping is discretionary and 10% service charge is usually added to restaurants and hotels. For taxis, 15% of the fare is appreciated as are a few dollars for porters or housekeeping. If staying at an all-inclusive, check if tipping is permitted as some prohibit this practice.
Taxi Taxis are an efficient way of getting around. A typical journey from the airport to English Harbour will be about £25.00/$30.00 or to St. Johnson’s village, the fare will be £6.50/$8.00. Arrangements can be made with taxi companies to drive around the island for sightseeing trips. Note that the taxis are not metered but there are set fares for given trips; always confirm the cost in advance. Public transport Buses (minivans) are another option for getting around Antigua but their schedules can be confusing as they don’t leave until they are full. Fares cost between £0.75/$1.00 and £1.20/$1.50. Very few buses run at night and on Sundays. There are no public buses on Barbuda. There is a catamaran service between Antigua and Barbuda which takes 90 minutes costing £32.50/$37.00 for a one-way trip. Reservations are recommended during peak season. Highlights Visit Nelson’s Dockyard for a trip back in time at this listed heritage site - see old anchors and ruins. Afterwards, head to Shirley Heights Lookout above English Harbour for the fantastic views - perfect for watching sunsets. Keeping with the historic theme, Betty’s Hope provides an insight into how plantations were run. Here you can see the original windmills and remains of the rum distillery. If a hiking adventure is on your list, then Rendezvous Bay is worth a visit. Here you’ll be rewarded with a stunning and secluded beach for a well-earned rest. Alternatively, try Indian Town National Park where you’ll find the natural limestone scenery of Devil’s Bridge as well as excellent hiking and bird-watching. Take a trip over to Barbuda to visit 17-mile Beach which is almost always empty - perfect for beachcombing and relaxing. The frigate bird sanctuary on the island is also recommended and is only accessible by boat. Other excellent beaches include Half Moon Bay (ideal for snorkelling on calm days) and Dickenson Bay (great for windsurfing). For marine animal enthusiasts, don’t miss the opportunity to swim with the stingrays at Stingray City!
Antigua is the sunniest of the East Caribbean islands.
Antigua comes from the Spanish meaning ‘ancient’ and Barbuda means ‘breaded’.
The national sport is cricket and the national dish is fungie (made from cornmeal and similar to Italian polenta).
Mount Obama is the highest point and changed its name from Boggy Peak in 2009.
The national carnival takes place each year during August, lasting 10 days, and celebrates the abolition of slavery.
Antigua and Barbuda is sometimes known as the ‘Switzerland of the Caribbean’ due to the wealth compared to its neighbours.