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Visitors flock to Antigua's secluded beaches kissed with powder-soft sand and crystal-clear waters. Located in the middle of the Caribbean's Leeward Islands, Antigua's neighbors to the North and West are Nevis, St. Kitts, St. Barts, and St. Martin; to the South are Montserrat and Guadaloupe. Known as a major sailing hub, there are many natural anchorages and tiny surrounding islands for exploring. You can relax on the beach, take a day for a sailing adventure, sightsee, and shop. At the end of the day, you'll be able to wind down and enjoy a delectable meal at one of Antigua's fine dining establishments or hire a private chef for a customized meal in the privacy of your villa.
Many of our Antigua villa rentals are located in the exclusive Jumby Bay Resort, set on a 300-acre private island located 2 miles off the coast of Antigua and accessible only by boat. A Top-Ranked All-Inclusive Resort by Conde Nast, this AAA Five Diamond stay is a naturalist’s haven noted for its lush landscape, stately palm trees and three superb, white sand beaches. Jumby Bay Resort is known worldwide for providing discerning travelers with world-class service and distinguished amenities.
Your Antigua villa vacation can be planned with ease, as several major airlines service the island's only airport including Westjet, Air Transat, Westjet, American Airlines, British Airways, US Airways, Continental, Delta, Virgin Atlantic, and Air Canada.
Antigua is one of the 2 major islands that make up the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda. Ringed with coral reefs, the island is known for its many sandy beaches. Set along English Harbour, restored Nelson’s Dockyard, which Admiral Horatio Nelson made his base in the 1780s, includes a marina and the Dockyard Museum. Trails lead up to Shirley Heights, a former military lookout with panoramic views.
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The islands of Antigua and Barbuda are most inviting, with a warm climate tempered by a lovely breeze. Its coastline, once considered safe harbours for the settlers, now offers numerous secluded beaches of white and pink sand for your pleasure and relaxation. Active travellers will surely be pleased with such a large array of sports, whether in the ocean or in the many verdant national reserves. The nearly unbroken coral reefs invite snorkellers and scuba divers.
Antigua is the larger of the two islands. Its many historical sites and museums will fill you days with new discoveries. The little island of Barbuda is now home to one of the most significant bird sanctuaries. Divers will enjoy the several ships wrecked litter the ocean floor. Delicious meals, an exciting nightlife and great shopping opportunities are sure to complete an unforgettable holiday.
St John'sCurrency :
Eastern Caribbean dollarDriver's License :
Must hold a local driving permit to drive in Antigua and Barbuda. Can be obtain at any car rental agency or police station upon presentation of a valid Canadian driver's licence. Left driving.Electricity :
Mix of 110 and 220 V, 50Hz.Entry Requirements :
A passport valid for at least 6 months beyond the expected return date from Antigua and Barbuda is required.GMT Time :
-4hr. Daylight savings time is not appliedGovernment :
Constitutional monarchyLand size :
441 km2, including BarbudaLanguage :
English, local dialectsNational Airlines :
91,295 approx, including BarbudaReligion :
75% Anglican, 11% Protestant, 10% Roman Catholic, 3% Rastafarianism, 1% otherRequired Vaccines :
noneTourist Season :
December through AprilForeign Affairs and International Trade Canada :
Consult the "Country Travel Advice and Advisories" of Antigua and Barbuda
The islands offer authentic Caribbean cuisine with an emphasis on slow cooking and careful seasoning. A perfect example is the national dish of Pepperpot & Fungee. This rich stew of salt beef, pork, pumpkin, vegetables and spices was first conceived by natives as a means of preserving food. Fungee is a paste-like ball of cornmeal and okra.
Other traditional meals include doucanah (sweet potatoes, coconut, raisins and spices), pumpkin soup, raycan (smoked herring), crusted Baked Snapper with Ginger, salt fish balls, garlic conch, antrobers (eggplants), bread pudding, Barbudan peas and rice, Johnny Cakes and Green Figs (unripe plantain). Desserts include delicious coconut pie and Antigua Black pineapple pie.
Your thirst can be easily quenched with a homemade soursop drink or a ginger beer. A refreshing pale lager is the Antiguan Wadadli beer. Cocktails made with Antiguan rum are superb, like the local rum punch.
Ninety percent of the population is of African descent, while the remainder of the population mostly share a European background. Antiguans are known for their kindness and generosity.
Antiguans are great artists and handicraftsmen. Fine examples of pottery have been created here for centuries already. Many art galleries display wonderful artworks, like paintings and sculptures. Famous artists include Michael 'Scrim' Strzalkowski, who has been crafting the finest sculpture from whale's tooth ivory, and Linda Webber.
The rhythms of the islands are best represented by calypso, soca, steeldrum, zouk and reggae. The Rio Band play music typical of Antigua's past. The fife band usually consists of a fife (a small flute made of bamboo), a grudge or grater, a boom pipe (as bass), a ukulele and a traditional guitar.
The islands of Antigua and Barbuda are located in the Eastern Caribbean in the Leeward Islands grouping. Barbuda is separated from Antigua by a 52 km stretch of Atlantic Ocean. Coral reefs surround both islands, protecting it from rough waves.
Relatively flat lands combined with gentle rolling hills make up the majority of the Antiguan landscape. The highest point on Antigua is Boggy Peak, extending 402 m above sea level. Antigua's rugged shoreline has created about 365 white sanded beaches and cove. Barbuda's beaches are known for pinkish sand beaches. The so-called Highlands of Barbuda reach only 64 m in height.
A people known as the Siboneys were the first to settle on the island of Antigua some 4000 years ago. This group seems to have vanished some 2000 years after. They were later followed by the Arawak Indians, who were in turn dominated by the Caribs Indians.
Columbus identified the island in 1493 and named it Santa Maria de la Antigua. The next century and a half was marked by battles over ownership between the French, Spanish and English. The British finally took rule in 1625. Slaves from Africa were brought to work the sugar, cotton and tobacco plantations, the backbones of the island's economy at the time. Life remained unchanged until slavery was abolished in 1834.
Little is known of Barbuda's history but it was annexed to Antigua in the year 1860. Antigua was the first British Associated self-governing State in 1967. Full independence from Britain was gained on November 1, 1981.
The Hawksbill Turtle, distinguished by its narrow pointed beak and often jagged edge on both sides of the shell, were once hunted for its tortoise shell but is now on the endangered species list. The European Fallow Deer was brought here in the early 1700s and has adapted remarkably well on Barbuda and Guiana Island. It is only found on these islands.
The west coast counts a number of mangroves. Some areas have lush vegetations and several varieties of fruits, flowers, and vegetables are grown on farmlands. The Antigua Black Pineapple was introduced by the Arawaks and mainly used for making twine cloth and for healing purposes. Today you will find it in many desserts. Banana, mango, and coconut groves are common sights in the countryside as well. Forests of red cedar, white cedar, mahogany, whitewood, and acacia have been planted. Barbuda is heavily wooded as well.
Although most tourists favour sunbathing and swimming, there are a multitude of sports available for practice in the many resorts and beach areas, mostly involving water of course. Popular activities include snorkelling, kayaking, windsurfing , water skiing and sailing. Scuba divers will enjoy Antigua's and Barbuda's coral ref and many ship wrecks.
Tennis is big in Antigua and most hotels have great courts for day and night playing. Horseback ridding, biking or hiking are always a delight. You will find two wonderful golf courses on the island: the Jolly Harbour Golf Club and the Cedar Valley Golf Course.
The game of Cricket is taken very seriously. Matches can be found almost anywhere on the island, at almost any time. The Antigua Recreation Grounds is the test cricket venue.
Banks & Money
In Antigua, the legal tender is the Eastern Caribbean dollar. Although prices are listed with the national currency, US dollars are readily accepted. Canadian currency can be exchanged at any bank and change offices. ATMs, dispensing EC$, are available at the island's banks and at the airport.
ATMs are everywhere. Major credit cards are widely accepted in most hotels, restaurants and businesses.
The island enjoys a warm tropical climate tempered by a constant cool breeze from the trade winds. The rainy season is from June to November. The average summer temperature is of 30° C and of 23° C during the winter. The water temperature varies between 24° C and 32° C depending on the season.
For monthly average temperatures please refer to your destination of choice.
Telephone services have been modernized as have cellular roaming service and GSM capabilities. The country code for Antigua is 268. To place a local call, dial the local seven-digit number.
There are two daily newspapers, The Daily Observer and The Antigua Sun, and one weekly newspaper called The Scoop.
Although the water is generally safe to drink, it is advisable to drink bottled water. Local meat, poultry, seafood, fruit and vegetables are generally considered safe to eat. The most common illness is the traveler's diarrhea (turista) and sunstroke.
There are no required vaccines to enter the country, unless you are arriving from a yellow fever affected destination. The following vaccines are recommended for any tropical destination: hepatitis A and B, rabies, typhoid, tetanus and yellow fever. Mosquitos, sand flies and fire ants can be bothersome.
January 1 - New Year's Day
March/April - Good Friday, Easter Monday
May - Labour Day
May/June - Whit Monday
July/August - Carnival
November 1 - Independence Day
December 25 - Christmas Day
December 26 - Boxing day
Antigua & Barbuda are relatively crime free, however as a tourist you are more likely to be a target of petty crime. Use good judgement, take advantage of the safety deposit boxes provided by the hotels, do not leave valuables unattended in public and carry your wallet and camera discreetly. Also make sure to lock your hotel room and rental car.
There are two duty-free shopping centres in St. John's: Heritage Quay and Redcliffe Quay. At these shops you will find great deals on perfumes, alcohol, jewellery, china, electronics, and crystal.
Local handicraft includes local pottery, straw work, batik, hand printed fabrics, art work and shell curios. And of course lets not forget a nice bottle of Antiguan rum.
Taxes & Tips
Hotels and restaurants add an 8.5% government tax to the bill. Usually a 10% service fee is also added in lieu of tipping but extra changed is often left for good service. If it is not added then a 10 to 15% tip is appreciated. The same tipping amount is given to taxi drivers and bellhops receive 1$ per bag.
There is one airport on the island which is the V. C. Bird International Airport. Short flights between other islands are easy and affordable with small charter companies. A charter flight to Barbuda is available seven days a week, as is a ferry service. Several marinas are at the disposal of boaters. These include the Antigua Yacht Club Marina, Catamaran Marina, Jolly Harbour Marina and St. James's Club Marina.
Antiguans drive on the LEFT side. Car rentals are available, as are mopeds and bicycles rentals. To rent a car you will have to purchase a temporary permit. Taxis are not metered, so you should agree on a rate before starting the journey. There is no official public transportation system but a sporadic and unreliable local service is available.
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Terms, conditions and restrictions apply; pricing, availability, and other details subject to change and/ or apply to US or Canadian residents. Please confirm details and booking information with your travel advisor.