Antigua: 280 sq km (108 sq miles); Barbuda: 161 sq km (62 sq miles); Redonda: 1.6 sq km (0.6 sq miles). Total: 441.6 sq km (170.5 sq miles).
155.4 per sq km.
St John's. Population: 22,342 (1991).
Antigua & Barbuda comprises three islands; Antigua, Barbuda and Redonda. Low-lying and volcanic in origin, they are part of the Leeward Islands group in the northeast Caribbean. Antigua's coastline curves into a multitude of coves and harbours (they were once volcanic craters) and there are more than 365 beaches of fine white sand, fringed with palms.
The island's highest point is Boggy Peak (402m, 1318ft); its capital is St John's. Barbuda lies 40km (25 miles) north of Antigua and is an unspoiled natural haven for wild deer and exotic birds. Its 8km-long (5-mile) beach is reputed to be amongst the most beautiful in the world.
The island's village capital, Codrington, was named after the Gloucestershire family that once leased Barbuda from the British Crown for the price of 'one fat pig per year if asked for'. There are excellent beaches and the ruins of some of the earliest plantations in the West Indies.
The coastal waters are rich with all types of crustaceans and tropical fish. Redonda, smallest in the group, is little more than an uninhabited rocky islet. It lies 40km (25 miles) southwest of Antigua.
Constitutional monarchy. Gained internal full independence in 1981. Head of State: HM Queen Elizabeth II, represented locally by Governor-General Sir James Carlisle since 1993. Head of Government: Prime Minister Lester Bird since 1994.
Language: English is the official language. English patois is widely spoken.
Anglican, Methodist, Moravian, Roman Catholic, Pentecostal, Baptist, Seventh Day Adventist and others.
GMT - 4.
Antigua's Best Beaches
This uncrowded 8-mile stretch of white sand reaches from Coco Point to Palmetto Point on Barbuda. The island, encircled by reefs and shipwrecks, is great for scuba diving.
Darkwood is a delightful taupe ribbon on the southwest coast. It's anchored by a lively beach bar that serves terrific local food, including fresh lobster, for lunch.
This lengthy stretch of powder-soft white sand on the northwest coast has exceptionally calm water. Here you'll find small and large hotels and beachfront restaurants. Water-sports equipment can be rented here as well.
Five Islands Peninsula
On this outcropping close to St. Johns Harbour you'll find four secluded beaches (including one for bathing in the buff) of fine tan sand, as well as coral reefs for snorkeling at the Hawksbill Beach Hotel.
Half Moon Bay.
This ¾-mi (1-km) crescent, part of a national park, is a family-friendly spot known for its prime snorkeling and windsurfing. On the Atlantic side of the island, the water can be quite rough at times.
Johnson's Point is a deliciously deserted beach of bleached white sand on the southwest coast.
A trip here, to the island's far eastern coast, rewards you with coral reefs in water so shallow that you can actually walk out to them. Along the beach are the Long Bay Hotel and the rambling Allegro Pineapple Beach Club.
Near English Harbour you'll find this fine white-sand beach with calm water. Several restaurants and bars are nearby.
Runaway Beach is home to the Barrymore Beach Hotel and the Runaway Beach Hotel, so its stretch of white sand can get crowded. "All prices are for a standard double room, excluding 8½% tax and 10% service charge.
Scattered along Antigua's beaches and hillsides are exclusive, elegant hideaways; romantic restored inns; go-barefoot-everywhere places; and, increasingly, all-inclusive hot spots for couples. Choose accommodations near St. Johns - anywhere between Dickenson Bay and Five Islands Peninsula - if you want to be close to the action. English Harbour, far from St. Johns, has the best inns and several excellent restaurants; it's also the hangout for the yachting crowd. Elsewhere on the island, resorts cater more to guests who want to stay put or are seeking seclusion. Many of the smaller establishments have become all-inclusive to survive the fierce competition; some are so remote that trying to arrange an EP rate makes no sense unless you have a car."
HOW TO GET THERE
Antigua & Barbuda is served by several scheduled international airlines, including Air Canada, American Airlines, British Airways, BWIA and Virgin Atlantic. LIAT (Leeward Islands Air Transport), Caribbean Star (8B) and BWIA provide scheduled passenger flights from Antigua to over 20 destinations in the Caribbean. Subsidiary companies of LIAT (Four Island Air Services Ltd and Inter Island Air Services Ltd) run flights within the Leeward Islands.
Approximate flight times: From St John's to Los Angeles is 9 hours, New York is 3 hours 30 minutes and London is 7 hours 30 minutes.
International airport: VC Bird International (ANU), formerly Coolidge International, is 8km (5 miles) northeast of St John's. The airport provides access to major international centres, such as London, New York, Miami, Frankfurt/M, Toronto and Montréal, with feeder services to all the Eastern Caribbean islands, the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Taxi services run to the town and hotels. Facilities include full outgoing duty-free shopping (alcohol, perfume, straw items, T-shirts, souvenirs and handicrafts), restaurant (0600-2200), bar (0600-2200), car rental and currency exchange (Mon-Fri 0900-1500; Sat 1330-1930).
Departure tax: EC$50 or US$20. EC$35 for nationals of CARICOM countries. Children under 16 are exempt.
St John's has a deep-sea harbour served by cruise liners from the USA, Puerto Rico, the UK, Europe and South America. Fly-cruises from London are available with Holland America, Royal Caribbean, Cunard, Costa, Sunline and Princess Cruises. Many smaller ships sail to other Caribbean islands." "You'll see two bus stations in St. Johns, one near the Botanical Gardens and one near Central Market, but don't expect to see many buses. Schedules follow ""island time,"" which is to say that privately owned vehicles roll when the spirit (infrequently) moves them.
HOW TO GET AROUND
To rent a car, you need a valid driver's license and a temporary permit ($20), available through the rental agent. Costs average about $50 per day in season, with unlimited mileage, though you may get a better rate if you rent for several days. Most agencies offer automatic, stick-shift, and right- and left-hand-drive. Many roads are full of potholes; you may find that a refreshingly open, four-wheel-drive vehicle ($55 per day) will get you more places on the island.
Avis (Airport, PHONE: 268/462-2840; St. James's Club, Mamora Bay, PHONE: 268/462-5000).
Budget (Airport, PHONE: 268/462-3009).
Dollar (Factory Rd., St. Johns, PHONE: 268/462-0362).
Hertz (Airport, PHONE: 268/462-6450; All Saints Rd., St. Johns, PHONE: 268/462-4114; Jolly Harbour, PHONE: 268/462-6268).
National (Coolidge St., St. Johns, PHONE: 268/462-2113).
Thrifty (Airport, PHONE: 268/462-8803).
Gas and service stations that take credit cards are found throughout Antigua but mostly in larger towns. Before driving off into the countryside, check your rental car for tire-changing equipment, including an inflated spare.
A valid driver's license and a temporary permit ($20), which is available through the rental agent, are needed to rent a car in Antigua.
Rules of the Road
Driving is on the left, although many locals drive in the middle - or think nothing of stopping at roadside to chat. Don't be flustered by honking: it's the Caribbean version of hello.
By Motorcycle You can rent Honda or Yamaha motorcycles for $35 per day ($150 per week) at Shipwreck Scooters (English Harbour, PHONE: 268/464-7771). Scooters run $25 per day, $85 per week.
By Taxi Taxis are unmetered, and although fares mount up quickly, rates are fixed (your driver should have a rate card). Some cabbies may take you from St. Johns to English Harbour and wait for a ""reasonable"" amount of time (about a half hour) while you look around, for about $40.
You can always call a cab from the St. Johns taxi stand (PHONE: 268/462-0711.
Violent crimes and armed assaults have been perpetrated against tourists. Petty street crime also occurs, and valuables left unattended on beaches are subject to theft.
While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Antigua and Barbuda laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Antigua and Barbuda are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
Medical care is limited. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars or more. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services, and U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States.
Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas may face extreme difficulties. Check with your own insurance company to confirm whether your policy applies overseas, including provision for medical evacuation. Ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas hospital or doctor or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS:
While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Antigua and Barbuda is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Safety of Public Transportation: fair
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: fair
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: fair
Driving in Antigua and Barbuda is on the left-hand side of the road, as in the United Kingdom. Roads are narrow and in poor condition. There is relatively little police enforcement of traffic regulations. The condition of the roads (in urban areas, fair to poor and in rural areas, poor) and the speed at which many persons drive lead to serious traffic accidents. The relative safety of public transportation is fair to poor. Buses and vans are frequently crowded and travel at excessive speeds. More detailed information on roads and traffic safety can be obtained from the Antigua Tourist Board, telephone (262) 462-0480, or the Director General of Tourism, telephone (262) 462-1005.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS:
While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Antigua and Barbuda.
|Passport||Visa||Return Ticket Required|
|USA||1 (see below)||No||Yes|
Passport valid for at least 6 months beyond period of stay required by all except 1. nationals of the USA, providing they have other documents with proof of identity, such as a birth certificate, drivers licence with photo, a citizenship card/naturalisation certificate, or a voter's registration card.
Visa Information for citizens of other countries:
Government House, PO Box 60, The Valley, Angulla (tel: 497 3315; fax: 497 3151 or 497 3314).