LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION: Antigua is located in the sunny Eastern Caribbean islands, less than 300 nautical miles Southeast of Puerto Rico. For sailors, the geographical coordinates are 17°03’N, 61°48’W. The island comprises about 280 sq km (108 sq miles), with typically warm, sunny weather.
STABLE ECONOMY: Antigua enjoys an open economy, with one of the highest per capita earnings in the Caribbean. The country’s official currency, the Eastern Caribbean (EC) Dollar, is stable and fixed to the US Dollar at the rate of EC$2.70 to US$1.00. The US Dollar is widely accepted at most businesses. The economy is largely tourism based. Banking, business services, and light agri-business also contribute. Overall, the private sector is the economy’s driving force.
INVESTOR-FRIENDLY: Antigua welcomes foreign investment with its climate of economic and governmental stability and a range of statutory incentive programs. To protect foreign investors, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda has signed Investment Protection Agreements with the United Kingdom. The country’s Constitution further protects foreign investment and investors. Investor assets have never been nationalized, and principles of free enterprise are upheld by the Government. The Fiscal Incentives Act and similar statutes provide excellent tax incentives and tax holidays for businesses and investors. Attractive investment incentives are frequently granted to hospitality and tourism businesses to stimulate sector growth and foreign currency exchange.
INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS: Numerous international banks maintain branches in Antigua, including Bank of Nova Scotia, Royal Bank of Canada, First Caribbean International Bank. Also available are regional and local banks such as Royal Bank of Trinidad & Tobago, Antigua Commercial Bank, and Antigua and Barbuda Investment Bank. ATM machines are available, along with currency exchange centers.
UK-STYLE PARLIAMENTARY GOVERNMENT: The Government of Antigua and Barbuda is democratically elected, and includes the Prime Minister, his Cabinet (Council of Ministers), bicameral Parliament consisting of the Senate (17 members) and the House of Representatives
(17 members). Elections are held every five years.
INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT: Getting to Antigua is a breeze. The island’s V.C. Bird International Airport accommodates large passenger jets, private jets, and regional carriers. Direct flights from many international destinations including the UK, US, and Canada are easily available.
SOCIETY AND CULTURE: Antigua offers a diverse cultural experience, with its uniquely Caribbean blend of African, European, American, Middle Eastern, and British culture. Its current population is about 80,000. You will find Antiguans to be typically warm and friendly, with a terrific sense of humor, and true Caribbean spirit of hospitality. Several island-based societies promote history, sports, arts, music, and drama. The national sport is Cricket, popularized by local heroes like Sir Vivian Richards and Richie Richardson.
EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES: Antigua offers the best of laid-back Caribbean lifestyle, and festive events and activities. Every year, Carnival spans ten days of music, parades, and festivities in late July/early August. Musical events are frequent, and include calypso, steel pan, reggae, and soca performances. In May of each year, Antigua hosts Sailing Week, one of the world’s most famous international sailing events. Other popular events and activities include: Cricket tournaments, tennis, diving and snorkeling, swimming, hiking and bird watching, sport fishing, horseback riding, eco-tours, historical tours, windsurfing and kitesurfing, and of course, relaxing on the beach. There are also several casinos on the island. And don’t forget to join the fun every Sunday evening at Shirley Heights, where tourists and locals gather to enjoy great Caribbean music, barbecue, and dancing.
SHOPPING: Shopping in Antigua is a pleasure, with its marketplace filled with brightly colored arts, crafts, and duty free centers. A large selection of items including designer clothing, shoes, jewelry, perfume, liquor and fine wine, beach wear, and electronics is available at duty free prices.
DINING: A wide range of dining options is available amongst the island’s many charming restaurants—everything from spicy local dishes, to upscale international cuisine.
PLACES OF INTEREST: You will find no shortage of things to do and places to explore!
- English Harbour: Once home to the British fleet, and governed by Lord Nelson in the late 1700s, English Harbour and Nelson’s Dockyard provide an impressive glimpse of the past.
- Shirley Heights: Built on a mountain peak in the 1780s as a cannon-decked fort, Shirley Heights is now the sight of festive Sunday evening events featuring music, barbecue, tropical drinks, and breathtaking sunset views of English Harbour.
- Betty’s Hope: Once the sight of Antigua’s first sugar cane plantation, this historic center now features a fully restored cane-processing mill and visitor’s center.
- Devil’s Bridge National Park: Beautiful geological formations meet the blue sea for exciting vistas, just a short walk from The Verandah Resort & Spa.
- Fig Tree Drive: Take a leisurely drive through the remnants of Antigua’s tropical mountain rainforest.
- Museum of Antigua and Barbuda: Located in the capital city of St. John’s, a collection of historical objects and exhibits delight visitors to this quaint museum.
- St. John’s Cathedral: Built on the site of earlier 1683 and 1745 churches, the ornate St. John’s Cathedral was constructed in 1845 and continues church services and visits by the public to this day.
- Antigua is also popular for its beautiful beaches, numerous historic forts, bustling downtown area, and pastoral countryside.