Antigua and Barbuda
Description of Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua is the bigger of the 2 islands that make up Antigua and Barbuda. The islands offer a gorgeous getaway location that many tourists will enjoy. The island culture combined with the tranquility and peace that the surrounding area offers.
The capital city of the two islands is Saint Johns. This is the only city that is located on the island of Antigua. Some of the other destinations on the island include the English Harbor, the West Coast, and Falmouth, which was the first British settlement of the area.
Antigua was granted independence from the United Kingdom in the year 1981. Since that time the country has built itself up to be one of the top tourist destinations in the area. It rivals other island tourist’s destinations such as Jamaica, Barbados, and St. Bart’s.
Getting to Antigua and Barbuda
There are several different options for flying to the area. VC Bird International is located north of the island, just outside of St. Johns. There are regular flights from the United States and the United Kingdom. There are also smaller planes that come in from other regions. LIAT has a hub in the country and other destinations in the Caribbean. International airlines that fly into this airport include Caribbean Airlines, American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta, US Airways, Air Canada, British Airways, Condor, BMI, Virgin Atlantic, XL, Air France, and KLM.
There are several cruise ships that visit the islands as well.
When driving in Antigua you will want to inquire about purchasing a local driver’s license. Most car hire companies will sell this license for around EC $50. In order to obtain the local driving license you will need to show your current driving license. You can contact your hotel about hiring a car while you are in the area. However, it is important to note that the cost of hiring a car tends to be on the more expensive side and can cost about $100 per day.
The main roads of the country are typically well maintained making travel through the country by car quite pleasant. You will have to be aware of stray animals such as goats, cows, and dogs that sometimes end up on the roads. The speed limit is 40 mph and 20 mph in areas that are more built up. Driving this slow can be quite tedious and you may want to consider other modes of transportation for travelling throughout the islands.
There are taxis and minibuses that operate in Antigua. However, they are not that cheap to use. Since some of the roads in the area are quite patchy, the taxis take the best routes to provide you with the most comfortable ride. The fare for a taxi can cost quite a bit as a trip from the Pineapple Beach Resort into St. Johns will run about $52.
There is a local bus system as well. Many people feel that traveling this way is unpredictable. However, the price is right as a bus trip will only cost about $1 or $2. All bus travel starts at St. Johns in a bus station that is located on Market Street.
The islands are also a central hub for the luxury yacht industry of the Caribbean. The yacht season starts in December with the Antigua Charter yacht show. There are several bookers that have luxury yachts available for rent.
Crime in Antigua
Almost 100,000 people visit the country each year and of these visits the majority is without incident. There have been violent crime incidents in the country, including murders. These crimes tend to happen within the local community, but could affect tourists as well. Recent years have seen an increase in the crime rate of the country.
The number of crimes with guns in the country has become higher and these crimes have started to affect British Nationals. When travelling in Antigua you will need to maintain a certain level of security. Make sure that your living arrangements are secure for your holiday. If you are staying on a yacht, make sure it is safe as well. Avoid any areas that are isolated and do not go to the beach after the sun has gone down. You should not ever carry large amounts of cash with you and if possible leave your documents, jewelry and any other valuables in the hotel safe or in a safety deposit box.
Places to See in Antigua and Barbuda
Cricket is the sport of the island and you will find games being played wherever there is a free space. If you visit the islands from late July into the early part of August you can visit the Carnival. This takes place in St. Johns. Nelson’s Dockyard is also worth a visit as this is a historic English dockyard located in the English harbor.
Many people come here to scuba dive as there are some great reefs located just off of the eastern coastline of the island. There are some great fish in the area to see. The water is extremely clear, which makes snorkeling quite popular as well.
Sailing is very popular in the area as well. You can hire a cruiser, cat, or dinghy from several places on the island. There are some great natural harbors and coves that can be explored.
When visiting Antigua it is important to make sure that you adhere to all of the country’s laws and customs. Drug offences in the country come with penalties that are quite severe. Make sure that you pack your own suitcase and that it remains with you the entire time you are at the airport. Do not attempt to carry anything through customs that belongs to someone else.
Another law that you should be aware of is that it is an offence for any person to wear camouflage clothing. This is the case even for children, so avoid wearing this type of clothing.
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