Antigua (pronounced An-tee'ga) is located in the middle of the Leeward Islands in the Eastern Caribbean, roughly 17 degrees north of the equator.
To the south are
the islands of Montserrat and Guadaloupe, and to the north and west
are Nevis, St. Kitts, St. Barts, and St. Martin.
Antigua, the largest of the English-speaking Leeward Islands, is about 14 miles long and 11 miles wide, encompassing 108 square miles. Its highest point is Boggy
Peak (1319 ft.), located in the southwestern corner of the island. The current population for the nation is approximately 68,000 and its capital is St. John's on Antigua.
Temperatures generally range 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. Low humidity year-round.
See the chart below to learn all about the island paradise Antigua.
FACT SHEET ANTIGUA
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-colored 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. Johns with two distinctive waterfront areas and a
selection of shops and restaurants.
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
English is the spoken
A majority of the 80,100
people (2004 Census) residing on Antigua are of African
descent, the remainder being of British, Lebanese, Syrian,
Chinese and Portuguese origin.
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 fortification, to the impeccably-restored
architecture of English Harbourtown, 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 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 slavery in 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.
|ARRIVING BY SEA
Cruise ship ports are
located in St. John's Harbour and Heritage Quay.
Cruise lines with port-of-call in Antigua include Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruise Line, Cunard Line Limited, Crystal Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Orient Lines, 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.
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
Antigua's rich history and
spectacular topography provide a variety of popular
sightseeing opportunities. Nelson's Dockyard, the only
remaining example of a Georgian fort commissioned by the
British in 1755, is perhaps the most renowned landmark.
Other attractions include a historic overview of six periods
of Antiguan history through a multimedia presentation at the
Dow Interpretation Center. Visitors may also enjoy a
panoramic view of the Caribbean's longest continuously
operational port from Shirley Heights. Further evidence of
the island's historical roots is St. John's Cathedral,
visible from around the capital; it is regarded as one of
Antigua's national monuments. Betty's Hope, which was built
in 1674, is the site of one of the first full-scale sugar
plantations on Antigua, and offers a chance to step back
into time by visiting the restored mills.
Antigua is also recognized for its picturesque landscape and natural preserves. Explore the lush vegetation of the rainforest with an expedition down Fig Tree Drive. Another unique attraction is Devil's Bridge, located at the eastern tip of the island in Indian Town National Park, where Atlantic breakers have carved out a natural limestone arch.
There are 365 beaches on
Antigua, one for every day of the year. The numerous reefs
and coves combined with crystal-clear turquoise waters
afford beachgoers the luxury of privacy and beauty. The
great majority of beaches rest inside the calm, protected
waters of the island's Caribbean side. All are open to the
public, and so the challenge posed to a visitor is simply
how to decide on the beach that suits one's taste. Popular
spots along the west coast of the island include Morris Bay,
Galley Bay, Ffryes Bay, Darkwood Beach, Dickinson Bay and
Turners Beach. The shoreline along the east side of the
island includes Half Moon Bay, voted the number one beach by
the Travel Channel, and Long Bay which offers great
Antigua expresses its
culinary soul by giving voice to a variety of cuisine
including native dishes, French, Italian, Creole, Caribbean,
International and more. Local seafood specialties include
spiny lobster, fish, clams and conch. Diners can select
from more than 90 bars and restaurants.
Two charming shopping areas
of Antigua are located in downtown St. John's close to the
waterfront at Heritage Quay and Redcliffe Quay. As a
duty-free zone, Antigua offers a selection of local arts and
crafts, straw goods, pottery and jewelry as well as china,
crystals, watches, perfumes, cameras and tobacco. Most
shops are open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon
and 1 to 4 p.m. On Friday and Saturday mornings the farmers
market on the southern edge of the city has folk crafts,
colorful tropical fruits, and a buzzing crowd that make for
a lively morning.
|ADVENTURE SPORTS & ACTIVITIES
A variety of land and sea
activities await the adventure-seeker. Water sports abound
from sailing, boat cruising, water skiing, deep sea and reef
fishing to scuba diving and snorkeling among the thriving
coral reefs surrounding the island.
For land lovers, two 18-hole golf courses and professional tennis and squash courts are accessible and open to the public. In addition, the island offers other popular recreational activities such as horseback riding, helicopter tours, hiking and eco-tours. The Island also harbors a fierce devotion to the sport of Cricket, with the season running from January to July.
A relaxed nightlife includes
entertainment by steel bands, calypsonians, jazz groups,
limbo dancing and moonlit cruises at most major hotels. For
those seeking a more energetic nightlife, several nightclubs
operate on the island, while three major casinos offer
|WEDDINGS AND HONEYMOONS
As destination weddings
become even more popular, many of the hotels on island offer
special packages and wedding planners to help accommodate
every desire. There is no waiting period or residency
requirement to secure a marriage license, just begin by
visiting the Ministry of Justice with a valid passport,
complete the application and pay a $40 registration fee,
$150 application fee and the Marriage Officer's fee of $50.
Once a date and time for the ceremony has been determined, the ceremony may be performed in the presence of a registrar or marriage officer and two witnesses. All applicants must be over 18 years of age and if previously married, the original divorce decree or, in the case of a widow or widower, the original marriage and death certificates will need to be presented.
Although U.S. dollars are
widely accepted on the island, the unit of currency is the
Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC$). The exchange rate is
approximately US$1 equals EC$2.70. Traveler's checks and
major credit cards are accepted and ATM's are available
around the island.
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
Similar to that in the U.S.;
10-15 percent 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
Antigua is on Atlantic
Standard Time year-round. During the fall and winter, noon
in New York equals 1 p.m. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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