Antigua Travel Tips
Keep in Mind...
- Keep it classy Swimsuits and cover-ups are suitable for the beach and hotel pool, but inexcusable when moving around town. When in doubt, err on the conservative side.
- Watch out for that sun The Caribbean sun can be sweltering, especially in summer, and there aren't many lifeguards to assist you if you fall ill. Drink plenty of water while outside, and apply sunscreen at regular intervals.
- Taxi or bust Don't plan on exploring Antigua by foot, the off-resort attractions are quite far apart. Take a cab instead.
It's not the dining, the sights or even the culture that beckons first-time visitors to Antigua or keeps frequent guests coming back for more. It's the 365 beaches, more than any other Caribbean island, a different beach for every day of the year -- or any type of beach experience you most prefer. Do you like to party in the sand? Are you looking for safe, shallow waters where your kids can play? Would you be interested in exploring the ocean deep? Pick a shore; Antigua's got you covered.
But the islands' other attractions aren't nearly as popular. Antigua is definitely the tourist go-to when compared with its sleepy sister island of Barbuda. But once you're on island, you'll find the panoramic view from Shirley Heights or the fascinating history of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine are largely overlooked and unknown to the sun worshippers who have set up camp along the shores. That will just make your sightseeing trips all the more pleasant -- you'll have fewer people to wrestle with as you uncover some of this island's hidden charm.
How To Save Money in Antigua
- Book in the off-season Hotel rates drop as much as 40 percent between May and November. Some hotels are so eager for business this time of year that they will negotiate rates.
- Rent a car If you plan on staying for more than a few days, this could be a better investment than taking numerous taxis. You'll need to obtain an Antiguan license, but some agencies will include them free of charge.
- Pack the bug spray Mosquitoes are a notorious pain during the wet season, so if you'll be visiting between July and November, don't forget to pack your bug spray.
Antigua Culture & Customs
Antigua's residents are descendents of African slaves who were forced to come to Antigua at the hand of British slave trade. Today, Antiguan culture -- the language, customs, music and even Carnival celebration -- is heavily influenced by African tradition. English is the official language, but many Antiguans speak Creole in several different dialects.
As for tipping at restaurants or hotels, we suggest 10 to 15 percent -- though you should make sure to check the bill; as gratuity might have already been added.
While regional fare like slow-roasted ribs, pepperpot stew and fungi used to be served in hearty portions at numerous mom-and-pop joints throughout the island, increased tourism has lowered authenticity. Today, most of the more popular eateries like The Beach House @ Long Bay are housed within hotels, and the dining bill tends to run high.
However, there are still several local eateries that continue to thrive. If you're looking to escape from the resort scene, head to George in St. John's or Coco's in Jolly Bay. Shirley Heights Lookout, on the southern coast, throws weekly parties where diners can sample a range of local specialties. Because these eateries are not as convenient as hotel restaurants, they're often overlooked by tourists and feature a more local clientele.