Travel tips for Antigua holidays, Caribbean

When to go to Antigua

Antigua is one of the sunniest places in the Caribbean, with a pleasant climate all year round. Drier months are from November to April, with the rainier season between May and October. Northern winters tend to be busier, as visitors from the US and Europe try to escape the cold.

Passports & immigration

UK, US and Canadian nationals require proof of citizenship - a valid passport, original or certified birth certificate.

We strongly recommend that all members of your party travel with a passport with a validity date of at least six months past the date of your departure from the island and either an onward or return airline ticket.

For Visa Information, please visit the Antigua and Barbuda High Commission.

Customs

In addition to the usual contraband, camouflage clothing is prohibited so if you have any, please leave it at home.

Departure taxes & service charges

Antigua has a US$20.00 airport departure tax, a room tax of 8.5% and a service charge of 10%.

Gratuities and tipping

10-15% is the standard tip depending on the service. Some restaurants add this automatically so check before you double-tip. Porters and bell boys traditionally receive US$1 per bag and taxi drivers 10-15% of the fare.

Electricity

The resorts predominantly use 110V.

Appropriate attire

Elegantly casual. Beach attire is appropriate for the beach but not town, shops or restaurants. Some restaurants stipulate jackets and ties for men and dresses for women in the evening.

Time zone

Antigua is in the Atlantic Standard Time zone, four hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

Currency

The official currency of Antigua is the Eastern Caribbean dollar which is fixed to the US dollar. The U.S. dollar is widely accepted at most merchants, including hotels, restaurants, and car rental companies, but change is often given in Eastern Caribbean dollars.

Major credit cards and traveller’s cheques are widely accepted, but small vendors and locally owned establishments may only accept cash. ATMs can be found in the airport and at island banks, which include the Bank of Antigua, Barclays Bank PLC, and the Royal Bank of Canada.

Banking

Lots of choice, most of which have the same opening hours. Banking hours are Monday to Thursday from 8:00am to 2:00pm; Friday from 8:00am to 4:30pm.

Staying in touch

Telephones: To phone Antigua from the UK dial 001 then the country code (268) before the rest of the number. To phone the UK from Antigua dial 001 then 44 before the rest of the number (omit the first digit of the area code).

Mobiles: Check with your service provider for availability and charges before leaving home.

Internet: Hotels, private villas and apartments have internet access. There are internet cafes and wi-fi zones in most centres.

Travelling Around

By Car – Temporary driver's licences lasting 3 months are required and can be obtained at rental companies for around EC$50 and production of your UK licence. Please drive on the left.

By Taxi – Plenty around in main centres but always organise a return trip if heading somewhere remote. Confirm the fare in advance and remember a 10% tip is expected.

By Bus – Transport by bus is affordable, and there are two major bus stations in St. John's.

On two wheels – Motorbikes, mopeds and bicycles can all be hired. Make sure you wear a helmet.

Medical facilities

There are several general practitioners and specialists on the island as well as 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.

Personal safety

Antigua is relatively crime free, but exercise normal precautions; i.e. don’t leave valuables unattended in rental cars or on the beach. Place your valuables and travel documents in your room safe. Keep your guest room doors and windows locked, especially at night and when you are not in the room.

Shopping in Antigua

Antigua offers a variety of shops and boutiques for the holidaymaker looking for that extra-special Caribbean gift or souvenir. Whether its crafts, jewellery or duty-free bargains, visit Antigua’s shops to find your own Caribbean treasure. Most of Antigua’s shops are clustered on St. Mary’s Street or High Street in St. John’s. Duty-free items include English woollens and linens. You can also purchase local items: pottery, straw, rum, hats, shells and handmade fabrics. Another rich shopping area in St. John’s is the Redcliffe Quay waterfront on the south side of town. Here, thirty-five boutiques are set around tree-shaded, landscaped courtyards.

Shopping hours

Monday to Saturday 8:00am to noon and 1:00pm-5:00pm.

Rates & Availability