Antigua Travel Information
Electrical current is 220 and 110 volts, 60Hz. Most hotels have both voltages available. American-style two-pin plugs are used.
English is the official language, but most locals speak English patois (jargon or dialect).
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.
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 8.5%.
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 November.
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.
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.
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.
Travellers to Antigua over 18 years do not have to pay duty on 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 227g of tobacco. 170ml of perfume and 1 litre wine or spirits is also allowed.
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