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English Harbour, Antigua

St Georges, Grenada

Virgin Gorda; St Lucia; Admiralty Bay;
Central American & Caribbean Information

This tour visits the following countries. Please select one to view its details.

| Antigua and Barbuda | Barbados | British Virgin Islands | Grenada | Martinique | Montserrat | St Lucia |

Antigua and Barbuda
To see our current selection of tours in Antigua and Barbuda click here.
The islands enjoy a very pleasant tropical climate which remains warm and relatively dry throughout the year. Tropical storms and hurricanes may occur between June and November.
Required Clothing
Lightweight cottons or linen, with rainwear needed from September to December.

Key Facts
Caribbean, Leeward Islands.
442 sq km (171 sq miles).
87,774 (2011).
Population Density
198.6 per sq km.
St John's.
Constitutional monarchy. Gained internal full independence in 1981.
Antigua & Barbuda is made up of 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/1,318ft) and 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- (5mile-) long beach is reputed to be among 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, the smallest in the group, is little more than an uninhabited rocky islet. It lies 40km (25 miles) southwest of Antigua.
English is the official language. English patois is widely spoken.
Predominantly Anglican but also Methodist, Roman Catholic, Pentecostal, Baptist, Seventh Day Adventist and others.
GMT - 4.
Social Conventions
Dress is informal unless formal dress is specifically requested. It is not acceptable to wear revealing clothing or beachwear in towns or villages. It is an offence for anyone, including children, to dress in camouflage clothing. Relatives and good friends generally embrace. Friends tend to drop by unannounced, but an invitation is necessary for acquaintances or business associates. Although gifts will generally be well received, they are normally only given on celebratory occasions. Flowers are appropriate for dinner parties; bring a bottle only when specifically requested. Smoking is accepted in most public places. Certain homosexual acts are illegal.
220/110 volts AC, 60Hz. American-style two-pin plugs. Some hotels also have outlets for 240 volts AC; in this case European-style, two-pin plugs are used.
Head of Government
Prime Minister Winston Baldwin Spencer since 2004.
Head of State
HM Queen Elizabeth II, represented locally by Governor-General Louisse Lake-Tack since 2007.
Recent History
Except for a brief spell in opposition during the 1970s, Vere C Bird and his Antiguan Labour Party (ALP) held power continuously from 1946 until 1994. He was then replaced by his son, Lester, after the ALP won the March 1994 poll. The 2004 elections saw an historic landslide victory for Baldwin Spencer's United Progressive Party (UPP), which ended the Bird family's domination of Antiguan politics. The UPP government has since passed legislation, such as the Freedom of Information Act and Integrity in Public Life Act, in an effort to distance itself from the allegedly corrupt practices of the previous government.

Eastern Caribbean Dollar (XCD; symbol EC$) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of EC$100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of EC$1, and 25, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents. US currency is accepted almost everywhere. The EC Dollar is tied to the US Dollar.
Currency Exchange
Although the EC Dollar is tied to the US Dollar, exchange rates will vary at different exchange establishments. There are international banks in St John's, and Pound Sterling and US Dollars can be exchanged at hotels and in the larger shops.
Credit/Debit Cards and ATMs
American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are accepted. ATMs are available in major resorts.
Traveller's Cheques
Are widely accepted. They can be exchanged at international banks, hotels and the larger stores. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take traveller's cheques in US Dollars.
Currency Restrictions
There are no limits on the import of local and foreign currency, provided it is declared upon arrival. The export of local and foreign currency is permitted up to the amount imported and declared.
Banking Hours
Mon-Thurs 0800-1500; Fri 0800-1300 and 1500-1700 (some banks open until midday on Saturday).
Exchange Rate Indicators
1.00 GBP = 4.42 XCD 1.00 USD = 2.7 XCD 1.00 EUR = 3.72 XCD 1.00 CAD = 2.54 XCD Currency conversion rates as of 12 December 2013

Low-lying and volcanic in origin, Antigua and Barbuda form part of the Leeward Islands group in the northeast Caribbean and have certainly adopted the notoriously 'Caribbean' way of life. This is a place to take things easy, stroll around markets, sip the fresh juices of coconuts and pineapple and meet friendly locals. Unsurprisingly, Antigua and Barbuda's way of life is governed by water, and any visitor will find that their stay is too. Nelson's Dockyard in the English Harbour is at the forefront of Antigua & Barbuda's vast yachting and sailing scene. Unlikely, but should you grow weary of Antigua and Barbuda's nautically themed activities, the area also abounds with colourful bird and insect life. Barbuda is an unspoiled natural haven for wild deer and exotic birds and boasts the Frigate Bird Sanctuary. There are also national parks and blow holes to discover, including, of course, the Devil's Bridge, a natural phenomenon crafted by the colliding of Atlantic and Caribbean surf. Antiguans are proud of their human history too, especially as it documents their release from colonisation, slavery and sugar plantations. This keenness to remember emancipation is apparent as towns proudly proclaim names such as Liberta and Freetown.

From copyright Columbus Travel Publishing Ltd, December 2013.

PLEASE CALL US ON 020 7752 0000

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