Electricity

Electrical current is 220 and 110 volts, 60Hz. Most hotels have both voltages available. American-style two-pin plugs are used.

Language

English is the official language, but most locals speak English patois (jargon or dialect).

Money

The Eastern Caribbean Dollar (XCD) is the main form of currency in Antigua and Barbuda, and it is tied to the US Dollar (USD), with $1.00 equal to XCD 2.70 (long-standing, pegged rate). US currency can be used nearly everywhere. Major currencies can be exchanged at the international banks in St John's and at many hotels. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted and ATMs can be found all over Antigua.

Tipping

Tips of 10 to 15 percent are common in Antigua and Barbuda, depending on the service. Some restaurants and hotels will automatically add a 10 percent gratuity. Porters and bellhops expect 50 cents per bag, and taxi drivers 10 to 15 percent of the fare.

Health

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.

Safety

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. Travellers should avoid isolated areas, including beaches, after dark, and should not carry large amounts of cash or jewellery. Hurricane season is usually from June to November.

Local customs

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, and 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. Local attitudes towards the LGBT community are mostly conservative throughout the Caribbean, so LGBT visitors should bear in mind that public displays of affection may draw negative attention.

Doing business

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.

Duty free

Travellers to Antigua over 17 years do not have to pay duty on 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco. Two litres of wine or spirits are also allowed.

Communications

The international access code for Antigua and Barbuda is +1, in common with the US, Canada and most of the Caribbean, followed by 268. There is free wifi available in most hotels, restaurants, cafes and bars.

Passport & Visa

All nationalities must hold confirmed onward or return tickets and sufficient funds to cover their period of intended stay. Technically, Antigua and Barbuda only require that passports be valid on arrival in the country, but as many countries require a valid passport for re-entry, it is strongly advised that passports are valid at least for the duration of travel and preferably for six months after travel. Visas are generally not required for stays less than 180 days. Extensions are possible on visas. As part of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), all travellers travelling between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean region are required to present a passport or other valid travel document to enter or re-enter the United States. If departing from the USA a valid passport will be required by immigration authorities. Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required for those arriving from risk areas.

Entry requirements

United States nationals require a valid passport. A visa is not required for a period of 180 days, with extension of stay possible.

UK nationals require a valid passport. A visa is not required - the duration of permitted stay will be determined by Immigration on arrival.

Canadians require a valid passport. A visa is not required for nationals of Canada for a maximum of 180 days with the possibility of an extension of stay.

Australians require a valid passport. A visa is not required for nationals of Australia for a period of 180 days with the possibility of an extension of stay.

South African nationals must hold a valid passport. A visa is not required for nationals of South Africa for a period of 180 days with the possibility of an extension.

Irish nationals require a valid passport. A visa is not necessary for 180 days with the possibility of an extension of stay.

New Zealand nationals require a valid passport. A visa is not needed for a period of 180 days with the possibility of an extension of stay.

Useful contacts

The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority: +1 268 562 7600 or www.visitantiguabarbuda.com/

Emergencies: 911.

Embassies / consulates in other countries

Embassy of Antigua and Barbuda, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 362 5122.

High Commission for Antigua and Barbuda, London, United Kingdom: +44 (0)20 7258 0070.

High Commission for the Countries of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 236 8952.

Embassies / consulates in Antigua and Barbuda

United States Consular Agent, St John's, Antigua: +1 268 463 6531.

British High Commission, St John's, Antigua: +1 268 561 5046.

Canadian High Commission, Bridgetown, Barbados (also responsible for Antigua and Barbuda): +1 246 429 3550.

Australian High Commission, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago (also responsible for Antigua and Barbuda): +1 868 822 5450.

South African High Commission, Kingston, Jamaica (also responsible for Antigua and Barbuda): +1 876 620 4840.

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