Quite simply, we liked Antigua (pronounced An-tig-ah) despite residents who were less friendly than most other islands. It has one of the nicer shopping districts and downtowns of any of the eastern Caribbean islands we have visited.
The other reason why we liked it is because we love beaches. Antigua brags about having 365 beaches -- one for each day of the year.
We went to one called Miller's Beach about 10 minutes from downtown and the cruise port. A taxi driver found us leaving the ship, guessed we needed a ride and gave us a price that we accepted.
We found out later that if we had walked further out to the taxi stand, we would have negotiated a lower price. Miller's Beach turned out to be a nice, quiet expanse of white sand with numerous jet skis crisscrossing over the cove in front of us.
Antigua and its much smaller nearby neighbor of Barbuda rank 15th among the top 25 islands in total tourist visits. About twice as many people visit the island via cruise compared to stopovers, which is the average for the entire Caribbean.
See more Antigua travel information below to plan your trip.
Unique attractions include Shirley Heights with its military fortifications and overlook of English Harbour; the historical Sea View Farm Village with displays of folk pottery available for purchase; Harmony Hall Art Gallery, the showplace of island art; and Museum of Antigua and Barbuda, which displays the islands' historical past.
Tourism / When to Go
U.S. and Canadian stopover tourists require passports. Cruise visitors simply need to have their ship IDs available when leaving the ship and returning.
The favorite times to visit are March followed by April; the least favorite times are the major hurricane months of September and then October.
Average summer temperatures are in the mid to upper 80s while average winter temperatures are in the mid 70s. The climate is tropical maritime with little seasonal temperature variation. The hurricane and tropical storms season is July to October.
Currency / Tipping
Official currency is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar, but U.S. currency and most major credit cards are accepted everywhere. We never had a problem paying with U.S. currency during any shopping. The suggested tipping amount is 10-15 percent, including taxi drivers. Some hotels and restaurants automatically add a service charge. Give 50 cents to $1 per bag for bellhops. The standard hotel tax on rooms is 8.5 percent.
Culture / Geography
The official language is English because of the islands' former status as an English territory. Tourism accounts for more than half of the total economy. The geography struck us as bare and dry, but we never gave it another thought after we reached the beach. The landscape is mostly low-lying limestone and coral islands, with some higher volcanic areas.
Sources / More information