Information & Facts
Antigua's tax advantages have attracted many international
companies and offshore financial centres to the island. Business
attire is generally more formal than other Caribbean islands; a
lightweight suit is appropriate for most meetings, unless in an
informal outdoor setting where smart-casual dress is more
appropriate. Handshaking is customary for introductions between
both men and women; women are considered equals in the business
world and should be treated as such. Business cards are exchanged
on introduction. Being late for meetings is considered offensive.
Business hours are 8am to 12pm and 1pm to 4.30pm Monday to Friday
and 8am to 12pm Saturdays.
Antigua and Barbuda have a pleasant year-round climate. The
average daily temperature drops a few degrees in winter (December
to March) from the usual high of around 81°F (27°C). Antigua and
Barbuda are fairly dry throughout most of the year except during
the rainy season (mid-September to November) when daily showers can
be expected. Hurricane season runs from June to November and
visitors are advised to keep an eye on the weather forecast during
The international access code for Antigua and Barbuda is +1, in
common with the US, Canada and most of the Caribbean, followed by
268. The outgoing code is 011 followed by the relevant country code
(e.g. 01144 for the United Kingdom). A GSM 900 mobile network
covers Antigua, and GSM 1900 covers both Antigua and Barbuda.
Internet cafes are available in tourist areas.
Antiguans and Barbudans are primarily of African origin,
descendants of slaves brought to the Island centuries ago to labour
in the sugarcane fields. Away from the resorts the islands have a
distinct West Indian flavour - calypso, steel bands and reggae are
all popular. But the islanders have also been influenced by the
years of British rule and this is particularly apparent in their
passion for cricket. It is an offence to wear camouflage clothing
as it is reserved for the military and beachwear should be confined
to the beach.
Travellers to Antigua over 18 years do not have to pay duty on
200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 227g of tobacco. 170ml of perfume
and 1 litre wine or spirits is also allowed.
Electrical current is 220 and 110 volts, 60Hz. Most
hotels have both voltages available. American-style two-pin plugs
There are no special health requirements for visitors to Antigua
and Barbuda, except for yellow fever immunisation for those over
one year of age arriving from an infected country. Hepatitis A
vaccination is recommended but not mandatory. The Dengue Fever
mosquito is found throughout the islands, and incidents of the
disease are on the increase; care should be taken to avoid being
bitten by mosquitoes. Travellers should be aware that some types of
tropical reef fish are poisonous, even when cooked. Health
insurance with provision for medical evacuation is strongly
recommended, as medical treatment is expensive. There is no
hyperbaric chamber; divers requiring treatment for decompression
illness must be evacuated from the island. The private hospital,
Adelin, requires a substantial credit card deposit before treating
visitors, who then have to personally reclaim the cost from
insurance on their return home.
English is the official language, but most locals speak
English patois (jargon or dialect).
The Eastern Caribbean Dollar (XCD) is the main form of currency
in Antigua and Barbuda, and it is tied to the US Dollar, with US$1
equal to EC$2.65 (long-standing, pegged rate). US currency can be
used nearly everywhere. Major currencies and travellers cheques can
be exchanged at the international banks in St John's and at many
hotels. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted but there are
not many ATMs in the area, so it is best to make arrangements
All nationalities must hold confirmed onward or return tickets
and sufficient funds to cover their period of intended stay.
Extensions are possible on visas. As part of the Western Hemisphere
Travel Initiative (WHTI), all travellers travelling between the
United States and Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean region
are required to present a passport or other valid travel document
to enter or re-enter the United States. If departing from the USA a
valid passport will be required by immigration authorities.
Most visits to Antigua and Barbuda are trouble-free but visitors
should not become complacent. Crime exists on the island and
visitors should take normal precautions. Avoid isolated areas,
including beaches after dark, and do not carry large amounts of
cash or jewellery. Hurricane season is usually from June to
Local time in Antigua and Barbuda is GMT -4.
Tips of 10-15% are common in Antigua and Barbuda, depending on
the service. Some restaurants and hotels will automatically add a
10% gratuity. Porters and bellhops expect 50 cents per bag, and
taxi drivers 10-15% of the fare. There is an additional room tax of