Antigua lies right in the heart of the Caribbean. Visitors return again and again to take advantage of our idyllic climate, world-class white sand beaches and easygoing yet cosmopolitan way of life...
HOW BIG IS ANTIGUA?
Located in the Lesser Antilles in the heart of the Caribbean, Antigua is 108 sqm. in size and about 13 miles across. Our sister island Barbuda is 62 sqm. and lies 27 miles to our north. Tiny and uninhabited Redonda is a dependency 20 miles to our northwest. There are about 98,000 people living in Antigua, 1,500 in Barbuda and mostly seagulls on Redonda. On a clear day in Antigua, you can see the neighbouring islands of Guadeloupe, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis.
WHAT IS THE CLIMATE LIKE?
Antigua's temperatures range from an average low of 73°F (23°C) in winter to 85°F (30°C) low in summer. The trade winds blow fairly constantly except in September. Average rainfall is 45 inches, mainly falling in heavy showers between September and November.
DOES ANTIGUA HAVE A MODERN AIRPORT?
The 'Gateway to the Eastern Caribbean', VC Bird International Airport promises smooth arrivals and departures. It was rebuilt in 2015 and now boasts improved facilities and speedier processing times. The 3,040-metre runway welcomes private jets, as well as frequent flights from the UK, USA, Canada and Europe. Facilities include premium-class lounges, shops, a bank, restaurants and a bureau de change. Taxis are available outside the terminal and most fares are fixed rather than metered. Expect to pay about US$15 to get to nearby St. John's in the north and about US$35 to get to English Harbour in the south.
WHAT AIRLINES FLY THERE?
Flying to Antigua from North America are American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue, United Airlines, Air Canada, Sunwing and WestJet. Those with direct air links from Europe include British Airways and Virgin Atlantic from London's Heathrow and Gatwick. Serving the larger regional territories are Air Antilles, Caribbean Airlines, LIAT and interCaribbean Airways, while SVG Air, WinAir, Fly Montserrat, Tradewinds Air and Sky High Aviation offer regional flights. Chartered inter-island airport transfers are also available through CalvinAir Helicopters.
CAN CRUISE SHIPS DOCK IN ANTIGUA?
Up to five cruise ships can dock in St. John's at the same time, a tender service also available. Access to the city's bars, restaurants and duty-free shops is easy as the port's exit gates lie about 500 feet (150 meters) from the ships' gangways. Many visitors also arrive by yacht. To comply with current protocols, skippers must contact the Port Authority at least 6 hours prior to arrival. Your vessel will be guided to either the Nevis Street Pier in St. John's, the English Harbour, Falmouth Harbour or Jolly Harbour ports or to another holding area.
WHAT IS THE LANGUAGE?
English is the official language in Antigua, although anyone who's grown up on the islands often speaks to each other in a local dialect. Popular phrases include 'No big ting' and 'Antigua me come from!'
WHAT CURRENCY CAN I USE IN ANTIGUA?
The Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC$) is pegged to the US$ at an official rate of EC$2.70 to US$1. US dollars are in common usage, and credit cards are also widely accepted.
DO I DRIVE ON THE LEFT OR RIGHT?
Driving in Antigua is British-style on left. A local license is required at a cost of EC$50 or US$20. It is valid for 90 days and issued on presentation of your current valid license. Take care when driving at night as you may encounter speedbumps, goats on the road, and other drivers not dimming their headlights! In the peak winter months and during April Sailing Week, you should reserve a car in advance. You can pick them up at your hotel or the airport.
ARE SWIMSUITS JUST FOR THE BEACHES?
Antigua retains a semblance of formality and swimsuits are limited to beaches. Casual clothes are the unwritten rule for dining and shopping in town. There is a nude beach beyond Hawksbill.
WHAT IS THE VOLTAGE?
Antigua's currency quirk means most hotels operate on 110 volts (same as the US and Canada) but some have 220 volts like the UK. Probably best to check before plugging in.
CAN I GET WIFI IN ANTIGUA?
Free wifi is widely available in hotels, restaurants and bars, although you may need to request an access code. It is also available in the airport departure lounge. The local telecommunications company APUA, as well as international companies like Digicel and Flow, operate a 4G LTE network with 100% island-wide coverage. You can also purchase a local SIM card to work on an unlocked phone. Be sure to check roaming charges first.
WHERE ARE THE SUPERMARKETS?
There are several supermarkets within easy driving distance of St. John's in the north. You'll find 1st Choice on Anchorage Road, a Cost Pro at the Woods Mall and The Gourmet Basket on Sir George H. Walter Highway. The super-supermarket Epicurean has a branch just off Friars Hill Road, with another in the west of the island at Jolly Harbour. In the English Harbour area, you can stock up at Bailey's, Crab Hole Liquors, Covent Garden and The Cork and Basket.