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    Flag, Coat of Arms, and Tourist Board

    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  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 square miles.

    The capital of Antigua is St. John’s, with two distinctive waterfront areas and a selection of shops and restaurants. A majority of the 71,068 people (2001 Census) residing on Antigua are of African descent, the remainder being of British, Lebanese, Syrian, Chinese and Portuguese origin.

    Barbuda (Bar-byew’ da), which lies 27 miles northeast of its sister island Antigua, has a land area of 62-square miles. A low lying coral island, known for its untouched pink coral and white sand beaches, its highest point is only 125 feet above sea level.

    The capital of Barbuda is the village of Codrington. A majority of Barbuda’s 1,500 inhabitants live in Codrington.

    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.

    Antigua was 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 fortifications, to the impeccably-restored architecture of English Harbour, 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 the 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 the slave trade throughout 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.

    Tourist Office
    For more information about events, promotions and things-to-do in Antigua and Barbuda, go to the Tourist Office Page  visit the official website of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority.

    UK Tourism Office: Antigua and Barbuda Tourism 

    Note: Information provided on this page were derived from a combination of internal research and readily-available outside sources, such as destination tourism offices, official press releases and marketing media kits.

    Fast Facts

    Capital: Saint John's

    Motto: "Each Endeavouring, All Achieving"

    Anthem: "Fair Antigua and Barbuda"

    Royal Anthem: "God Save the Queen"

    Currency: Although U.S. 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$2.7. Traveler’s checks and major credit cards are accepted and ATM’s are available around the island.

    Time: Antigua is on Atlantic Standard Time year-round. During the fall and winter, noon in New York equals 1 PM 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.

    Electricity: 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.

    Taxes/Service Charges: 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. An airport departure tax of US$28.00 (EC$70.00) is payable at the airport on departure.

    Tipping: Similar to that in the U.S., 10-15% 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.

    Communications: Direct dialing 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.

    Attire: Informal, but 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.

    Pet Regulations: An import permit must be obtained from the Chief Veterinary Officer before the importation of all animals. In order to obtain this permit, the intended animal must first be micro-chipped and its blood tested for Rabies Titer at an approved laboratory. The result of such tests must then be forwarded to: The Acting Chief Veterinary Officer at P.O. Box 1282, St. Johns, Antigua.

    Medical Facilities: There are 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.

    Travel Information
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    Entry Requirements
    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.

    Transportation by Air and Sea
    There are direct flights and connections from North America via San Juan and St. Maarten provided by Air Canada, American Airlines, Caribbean Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta and US Air, and several weekly flights from Europe. Scheduled and charter service is available to many of the neighboring islands. Flying times: New York (4 hours); Miami (3 hours); Charlotte (4 hours); Toronto (4 hours); Puerto Rico (1 hour); London (8 hours); Frankfurt (9 hours); Paris (8 hours). V.C. Bird International Airport, located on the northeast corner of Antigua, is the point of entry for visitors arriving by air. There is a US$28 airport departure tax for stay-over visitors.

    Carib Aviation operates 15-minute flights twice daily from Antigua to Barbuda. Passports are not needed, as the point of entry for both islands is Antigua. Visitors may also opt to take a one and a half hour ferry boat ride between the islands. Once on the island, taxis and the Barbuda Express (ferry service) are available.

    Cruise ship ports are located in St. John’s Harbour and Heritage Quay. Private boaters can enter at St. John’s Harbour, English Harbour, the St. James Club or Crabbs Marina.

    Cruise lines with port-of-call in Antigua include:

    Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruise Line, Cunard Line Limited, Crystal Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, 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.

    Useful Links
    Consulate (Canada): Consulate General of Antigua and Barbuda

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