Antigua and Barbuda


The two Leeward Islands of Antigua (pronounced An-tee'ga) and Barbuda (coral Island formerly known as Dulcina) form a single nation state but offer attractive contrasts. Antigua is the largest of the Leewards and has also a dependency, Redonda, which is an uninhabited rocky islet. 
In Antigua, there is a beach for every day of the year and it’s a paradise for sun-lovers and swimmers. Most of the beaches never get crowded and all of them are protected by reefs. Another way to avoid visiting the same beach twice is to get a boat out to one of the 30 off-shore islets, where you’ll find even more beaches.


Antigua's history extends as far back as two and a half millennia before Christ. The first settlements, dating from about 2400 B.C., were those of the Siboney (an Arawak word meaning "stone-people"). Long after the Siboney had moved on, Antigua was settled by the pastoral, agricultural Arawaks (35-1100 A.D.), who were then displaced by the Caribs--an aggressive people who ranged all over the Caribbean. Antigua was sight by Christopher Columbus in 1493 and named for the Church of Santa Maria de la Antigua in Seville. The Islands were successfully colonized in 1632, when the British introduced sugarcane from St. Kitts. Then Barbuda was colonized in 1678. The abolition of slavery in 1834 hurt the sugar industry; sugar has not been commercially grown on the Island since 1985. The country joined the West Indies Federation in 1958. With the break up of the federation, Antigua, with Barbuda and Redonda as dependencies, became an associated state of the Commonwealth in 1967 self-governing its internal affairs. Full independence was granted Nov. 1, 1981.  The Labour party, and the Bird family, led the nation in its first decades. Vere Bird was the nation's first prime minister and was succeeded by Lester Bird, his son, in 1994. The islands suffered extensive damage from Hurricane Luis in 1995. Many inhabitants of Barbuda, culturally and politically distinct from Antiguans, have pressed for independence from the larger Island.


Most Antiguans are of African lineage, descendants of slaves brought to the Island centuries ago to labour in the sugarcane fields. Antigua community has many artists, musicians & galleries featuring work in a broad range of mediums. Carnival is also a very special and important event for the country and the people; it is about the masses, celebrating their talents, their vibrant culture and joie-de-vivre.


To See

Sightseeing opportunities include Long Bay, a long stretch of white sand with good snorkelling around the reef just offshore. Nelson’s Dockyard was once a busy Georgian dockyard and it has been turned into an interesting living museum. The forts at English Harbour and Shirley Heights are good reminders of colonial maritime history. The Capital, St John’s is very colourful and Long Street is the place to view some old buildings. In the city, you can also attend a game of cricket or eat in great restaurants of West Indian cuisine. Finally, Barbuda will be a good idea for a day excursion to enjoy Palm Beach or the small village of this secluded Island. However, the main reason you go to Antigua, is for its beaches. Sailing, diving and other water sports are also well developed and from luxury resort to barefoot beach bar, this family holiday destination offers a wide range of attractions.

Usefull Information

Airports: Antigua-VC Bird Airport.

Area: 442.6 km2 (170 square miles). Antigua 280 km2; Barbuda 161 km2.

Business: Banking hours are Monday through Thursday from 8am to 1pm and from 3pm to 5pm; Friday from 8am to 12pm (noon), and 3pm to 5pm.

Capital: St. John's.

Climate: With little rain, Antigua & Barbuda is the sunniest of the Eastern Caribbean Islands, and the northeast trade winds are nearly constant, flagging only in September. Low humidity is all year-round.

Clothing: Informal, but conservative. Beach attire is appropriate for the beach but not town, shops or restaurants.

Currency: Eastern Caribbean Dollar – EC$.

Customs: The following items may be taken into Antigua and Barbuda without incurring customs duty: 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 225g of tobacco; 1.137l of wine or spirits. Firearms, ammunition, weapons and narcotics are prohibited.

Economy: Antigua was one of the first Caribbean islands to actively encourage tourism and financial services are now the main components of the service sector, which accounts for over three-quarters of the Antiguan economy. Other industry is construction, and light manufacturing (clothing, alcohol, household appliances).

Electricity: 220/110 volts AC, 60 cycles, most hotels have both voltages available.

Entry & Departure requirements: Please refer to the official Antigua & Barbuda tourism website (link below) or ask us.

Health: There are several general practitioners and specialists on the island, a hospital and a private clinic. Pharmaceutical services are widely available.

Holidays: New Year’s Day (01JAN), Good Friday, and Easter Monday (MAR-APR), Labour day (MAY), Whit Monday (MAY-JUN), Queen’s Birthday (JUN), Carnival two days (AUG), Independence Day (NOV), Heroes’ Day (DEC), Christmas (25-26DEC).

Language: English, English patois is widely spoken.

Political status: Independent nation; member of the British Commonwealth.

Population: 69,108.

Religion: Anglican and other Protestant churches.

Security: Antigua & Barbuda are relatively crime free, but exercise normal precautions; for instance, don't leave valuables unattended in rental cars or on the beach.

Shopping: Monday through Saturday 8am to 12pm (noon) and 1pm-5pm. Uniquely Antiguan purchases include straw goods, pottery, batik and silk-screen printed fabrics, and jewellery incorporating semi-precious Antiguan stones.

Taxes & Service charges: a room tax of 8.5% and service charge of 10% (in lieu of tipping).Tipping is 10-15% depending on the service. Be aware that some restaurants and hotels will automatically add a 10% gratuity.

Telecommunications: The international dialling code for Antigua & Barbuda is + 268.

Time: GMT – 4 hrs. Antigua & Barbuda Time does not operate Daylight-Saving Time.

Transportation: Taxis are available throughout Antigua. Fares between the airport, harbour, and many hotels and destinations are fixed and can be obtained upon arrival. There is some local bus service but renting a car is an ideal way to discover more of Antigua. Driving is on the left side of the road.



Antigua Beach
View from Shirley Heights
Sunset over Jolly Beach
Barbuda Beach
Galley Bay Hotel, Antigua
Buccaneer Beach Club Hotel
Long Bay Hotel
Siboney Beach Club Hotel
Sugar Ridge Hotel & Spa
Jolly Beach Resort & Spa
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