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Welcome to the Port of St John’s Antigua!

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Cruise port information 

Most of the major cruise ships dock in St John’s Antigua, which is the capital city of the destination. Passengers will disembark at the Heritage Quay Pier or Nevis Street Pier (depending on the number of cruise ships in port); either way, they are offloaded at the doorsteps of two wonderful DUTYFREE shopping centers – the Heritage Quay, and Redcliff Quay Shopping Centers. The Heritage Quay offers a more modern shopping experience; from renowned jewelry stores to small clothing and souvenir shops. Redcliff Quay; smaller of the two, provides shopping in a rustic setting with the Georgian style coffee shops and restaurants. 

History

Antigua & Barbuda’s became a British colony in the latter portions of the 1600s. This period saw the emergence of Britain’s newest cultivation hub, where cash crops such as tobacco, cotton and the much herald sugarcane were produced. The island of Antigua quickly became one of the largest producers of sugar to Britain. As the demand and operations grew, slaves were imported from Africa by the thousands to erect and operate over 175 plantation estates. Subsequently, countless fortresses were installed on the coastline, to fend off any possible invasion from rival territories. Many of these sites still stand today but in the capacity of our main tourist attractions.

Geography

Antigua & Barbuda lies approximately 260 miles east of Puerto Rico, 1,425 miles south-east of Miami, and 4,076 miles south-west of the United Kingdom. This twin island collection is the largest country within the Leeward Islands sub-region; with a combined area of 170 sq. miles. Antigua (An-tee’ga) the larger of the 2 islands is 108-square-miles, with a population of 90,000 people. The island is best known for its verdant and undulating landscape, natural coves, and most of all its 365 stunning beaches. Barbuda (Bar-byew’ da) which lies 27 miles north of Antigua is 62 square miles, with a population of only 1800 people. The island is famed for its many miles of pink sand beaches, and home to the largest Frigate bird colony in the western hemisphere.

Currencies accepted

The unit of currency is the Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC$) although U.S. dollars are widely accepted on the island. Traveller’s checks and major credit cards are accepted and ATM’s are available around the island. The exchange rate is USD$1 = EC$2.70.  Most Banks are open from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and until 4 p.m. on Fridays.

Local dining & dishes to try

Independent restaurants offer the authentic island cuisine. Get off the beaten track to sample national favourites, savoury ‘salt-fish'(cod fish) and sweet ‘ducuna’ (a blend of sweet potato and coconut) or fungee (cornmeal based) and pepperpot, (with spinach, aubergine and okra).

Accommodations

In keeping with its reputation as a top tourist destination, Antigua offers a wide array of accommodations in hotels and private houses. Hotel options range from charming bungalows to five-star resorts and a choice of luxurious villas, a combination which guarantees the perfect haven for an idyllic vacation. There are also real estate agencies in Antigua, which help customers find rental houses or apartments, as well as seasonal vacation rentals. Please visit www.visitantiguabarbuda.com for more information

Major Tourist Attraction of Antigua & Barbuda

From the capital city of St. John’s, the 108 square miles of Antigua can be easily explored Antigua offers a wealth of activities and attractions for visitors interested in exploring beyond the island’s beautiful beaches. With its relatively flat landscape, the island’s 365 picturesque beaches, attractions and activities are no further than a 45minute taxi-ride. Some of the most scenic areas of this destination can be found in Antigua’s National Parks and heritage sites. Some of the major tourist attractions include:

Nelson’s Dockyard, English Harbour, a UNESCO’s World Heritage Site is the only remaining example of a Georgian fort and perhaps the most renowned landmark in Antigua.  The Dockyard, houses a museum, bakery and gift shop, while the surrounding area of English Harbour is filled with a variety of quaint restaurants, lively bars and marinas.

Dockyard Museum
The Nelson’s Dockyard Museum is laid out within the Naval Clerk’s House in the Centre of Nelson’s Dockyard, highlighting its history and serving as a centre for archaeological environmental and historical research in Antigua. There is a gift shop in the museum stocked with interesting items relevant to Dockyard and Antigua’s history and there is a research library which holds books on the navy and old accounts of Antigua. There is also an archaeological library available to researchers.

Dow’s Hill Interpretation Centre, English Harbour provides a historic overview of six periods of Antiguan history through a multimedia presentation. 

Shirley’s Heights, English Harbour

This rambling array of gun emplacements and military buildings is best known today for the absolutely breathtaking views that it offers. From the Heights, one can look far out over English Harbour, and on Sunday afternoons the view is accompanied by the sounds of steel band, soca and reggae music. The site is named for General Shirley, Governor of the Leeward Islands when the area was fortified in the late eighteenth century.

The Bust of Sir V.C. Bird Senior, Antigua and Barbuda’s first Premier and Prime Minister, is displayed within the area of the St. John’s Market.

St. John’s Anglican Cathedral, visible from around the capital is regarded as one of Antigua’s national monuments.

Museum of Antigua and Barbuda, originally opened in 1985 in the old St John’s Court house, the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda holds exhibits which tell Antigua’s story from its geological origins to its political independence. The Museum which is operated by the Historical and Archaeological Society is dedicated to “preserving and expressing the island’s heritage” and welcomes the input of all those interested in doing so. It is also dedicated to education and research of the nation’s heritage.

Betty’s Hope was the first large sugar plantation on Antigua, and its success led to the island’s rapid development of large-scale sugar production. The twin towers at Betty’s Hope are the only twin towers on the island, which has about a hundred stone windmill towers dotting the landscape. These two restored examples at Betty’s Hope provide a dramatic sense of the way these mills must have dominated the island during the hundreds of years that sugar production was the dominant industry. Betty’s Hope was built by Sir Christopher Codrington, who came to Antigua in 1674 from Barbados, and was named after his daughter. It has been developed as an open-air museum and visitor centre.

Fig Tree Drive is where sightseers can explore the lush vegetation of the rainforest, and sample fresh fruit and the Antigua Black Pineapple at fruit stalls on the journey. 

Devil’s Bridge, located at the eastern tip of the island in Indian Town National Park, where Atlantic breakers have carved out a natural limestone arch. Devil’s Bridge, offers one of the most spectacular sights on the island. At high tide, the rougher waves of the Atlantic force enormous geysers of water through boreholes in the rocks near the bridge. Guided tours of the site are available.

Things to Do

A variety of land and sea activities await the adventure-seeker. Water sports abound from sailing, boat cruising, day trips to Barbuda, scuba diving, swimming with stingrays and snorkeling. The island also offers the unforgettable Antigua Rainforest Canopy Tour, a high wire course through the verdant forest. For land lovers, an 18-hole golf course is accessible and open to the public.  In addition, Antigua offers other popular recreational activities such as horseback riding, helicopter tours, hiking and biking. Please visit www.visitantiguabarbuda.com for more insight.

Getting around with local transportation

Renting a car is an ideal way to discover more of Antigua. A valid driver’s license and an EC$50 fee are required to obtain a permit to drive in Antigua.  Taxis are also available throughout the destination. Fares between the airport, harbour, and many hotels and destinations are fixed and can be obtained upon arrival.  While there is an easily accessible public bus transportation service, the most popular mode of transportation is by car or taxi.

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