North America

Antigua and Barbuda

Quick facts

  • Full name: Antigua and Barbuda
  • Capital: St. John’s
  • Largest city: St. John’s
  • Official language: English
  • Area: 440 km2
  • Population: 100,963
  • Currency: East Caribbean Dollar (XCD) 1 (XCD) = 100 cent
  • Foreign tourists: 270 thousand (2016)
  • Travel risks and hazards: Mediocre public healthcare, petty theft, hurricane season.

This Caribbean nation consists of many islands however the two main ones are mentioned in its name. And although Barbuda is considered the main island it is only populated by around 2 thousand people as opposed to Antigua that has almost 90% of the inhabitants. Antigua is the island where all the festivals and nightlife takes place whereas Barbuda is the place with few resorts but by far more beautiful and calm beaches.

Bird eye view of a harbor in Antigua and Barbuda with docked yachts and a village on the coast

Travelling info

Travelers coming from the USA, Canada, Australia and EU with the exception of Croatia are all exempt from obtaining a Visa but they do require proof of accommodation and ability to sustain themselves. All other nationalities are required to obtain a Visa. (List in sources) When driving in AaB you are allowed to use your drivers permit from your home country. An International Driver Permit is also accepted however it cannot be used alone and must always be complemented by the original driving permit. The left-hand side of the road is used for driving. Public transport is only available on the island of Antigua.

Palm trees growing next to a beach

Travelling hazards

Driving in Antigua can be quite a challenge. The roads are quite rough and GPS maps are quite inaccurate. This is all made worse by barely existent road signs. This, however, explains the low-speed limits, only allowing 40mph/65kmph on the rural roads. Livestock often wanders onto the road which is exceptionally dangerous during the night due to lack of any sort of street lamps.

View on the cliffs with turquoise water

Environmental hazards

There are no dangerous animals in Antigua and Barbuda with the exception of mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus. When it comes to waters, beware not to step on a sea urchin or not to attract any large fish such as a barracuda that very rarely attack humans and if so it usually happens by a mistaking a shiny part of swimsuit or a wristwatch for prey.
Like all the Caribbean islands, AaB experiences the cyclone season that lasts from early June onward to late November. During that season tropical cyclones can have a devastating effect. The last tropical cyclone “Maria” has left 95% of Barbuda island buildings devastated.

Person windsurfing in the distance in the turquoise waters of the Caribbean

Health hazards

AaB requires the visitors traveling from the risk areas of yellow fever to present a proof of yellow fever vaccination before entry. (List in sources) There are other vaccines that are not required but recommended. These are routine vaccines, hepatitis A and B, typhoid and rabies vaccines. Generally, healthcare in the country is decent. Private clinics and hotel clinics may have a better standard than public facilities. In case of a serious emergency, the patient might be evacuated to San Juan or Miami. Make sure your health insurance covers medical evacuation as these are very expensive.
In case of an emergency dial 911.

Stone columns leading into the harbor with restaurants on the beach


The vast majority of visits on the islands spend their holiday free of trouble however there have been cases of armed robbery or even murder. Caution should be kept like anywhere else on vacation. Wearing money belts is the simplest way to avoid pickpocketing. Walking around at night in secluded places should be avoided as most armed robberies occur in such circumstances. Narcotics of any kind and amount are punishable by a jail sentence however the decriminalization process of small amounts is currently underway.

Yacht entering the harbor, turquoise water and mountains in the distance


The land of 365 beaches is generally safe, the two main islands contrast with all the nightlife in Antigua and peacefulness on Barbuda. Although not as rich and developed as its neighboring islands it still is a very popular holiday destination. Remember that planning your trip with will give you the quickest information about the nearest emergency services and will also help you purchase indispensable travel insurance for the trip of your lifetime. Please feel free to comment and share the experiences of your travels with