St John's - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to St John's

St John's

The capital and largest city of Antigua and Barbuda, St John's is a popular port of call for many cruise passengers sailing through the Caribbean and its skyline is highlighted by the white baroque towers of St John's Cathedral, an iconic sight for many visiting this city. In 2007 St John's saw a massive influx of tourists when its cricket ground, Sir Vivian Richards stadium in North Sound, just outside of St John's, hosted Super 8 matches in the Cricket World Cup.

Colonised by the British in the 1600s, Antigua only gained independence in 1981 and St John's has since become an increasingly popular holiday destination for travellers looking to laze on sun-drenched beaches, sipping on Cavalier rum cocktails, only to cool off in the crystalline turquoise waters when the heat gets a little too much. But there is more to St John's than just palm-fringed beaches, cricket and water sports.

Visit Nelson's Dockyard in English Harbour, which pays testament to Antigua's past as a Royal Navy base, take your camera on a walk up to Shirley Heights where visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the city and harbours, perfect for that holiday snapshot, visit the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda which showcases the islands' history from colonial times through to present day, or simply relax at a beach bar soaking up the breathtaking scenery enjoying Antigua's local brew, Wadadli, the Carib name for the island.

Information & Facts

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 around this.

Local time in Antigua and Barbuda is GMT -4.

No drink sums up the spirit and flavour of the Caribbean better than rum and a must see while in the capital of St John's is the Antigua Rum Distillery. Located at the Citadel, the distillery is the only one on the island and produces more than 180,000 bottles of the famous spirit each year. Sample rums such as The Cavalier, English Harbour or Rum Punch rum when you visit the distillery.

St John's Cathedral has been destroyed and rebuilt time and time again since it was erected in 1683 and has seen its fair share of earthquakes and hurricanes. For years the cathedral had negative connotations with the black slaves in Antigua as they viewed it as a giant white strength of the English due to its appearance as and the fact that the English first settled here in 1632. One of the most iconic buildings in St John's, the 70 foot-tall (21 m) white towers of this baroque cathedral overlook the city and port welcoming visitors with their majestic beauty and presence. The current church has remained standing since 1845 and is built out of freestone while the interior is encased in pitch pine, built with the intention of protecting the cathedral from natural disasters.

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