Favorite thing: My wife and I love animals. Here on the island there are large quantities of strays;in particular cats. The Humane Society does their best to spay and neuter the animals but they are still without homes. The resort in which we have stayed twice has many cats on their grounds which is nice since they keep the rodent population at bay but sad to see the cats without a real home.
My wife likes to bring cat food with her to feed the cats and spends some time petting them and playing with them. On this visit in particular the cats seemed to remember her feeding them from last year and sought her out. One black and white cat from last year came right up to our pool chair before my wife even got the food out of her bag....the cat network must have broadcast a pic of my wife and a sign this one gives out free food. We had several cats at the resort that would wait by the elevator to our room knowing that we'd come by to feed them. She had a cat fan club of several cats that would lounge at the foot of her chair as she relaxed at the pool who were quite friendly and happy to get some love.
We felt good seeing other guests feeding and petting the cats during our stay. My wife was sad to leave fearing they wouldn't have enough food but was reassured when her favorite cat tried to bring her a dead bird it just caught before eating it (she was happy for the cat but sickened at the sight). Animals find a way to eat and hunting is definitely their skill.
Favorite thing: On our tour I took several photos of the various churches that we passed. The large village in the center of the island where four parishes named after a Saint converge was named All Saints. Later houses began to be built around the church. Date Palms were supposed to have been introduced from Africa in the colonial times of the 18th century. Camels had been introduced as beasts of burden and these plants were to be used as their fodder. The camels died of hoof disease, but the palms are still there
Our Lady of Perpetual Help is an Anglican (Episcopal) church on a hill overlooking the intersection of Sweetes and All Saints.
Holy Family Cathedral Catholic Church is on Mount. St. John opposite Antigua's main hospital. This is the Catholic Cathedral (St John the Divine is the Anglican Cathedral)
Ebenezer Methodist church is in the city of St. John's and there have been worship services at this site since 1837
Shiloh Gospel Hall is down at the docks and appears to be a non denominal place for various groups to worshipRelated to:
- Religious Travel
Phone, Mail, and ATM
Favorite thing: Antigua has branches of Scotiabank and the associated ATMS
I also saw for the first time a phone booth where you could use a credit card. I was tempted to try it, but did not. Area code 268 is the telephone area code of Antigua and Barbuda. The 268 area code, or "(ANT)" was created during a split from the original 809 area code which was done on or around the date April 1996. The 268 area code is part of the North American Numbering Plan (NANP).
When in Antigua and Barbuda, use the seven digits alone. When calling to Antigua and Barbuda from anywhere in the United States or Canada simply dial 1(268) + seven digit phone number.
Fondest memory: We also saw the post office at Nelson's Dockyard
Antigua's post office hours are 8:15 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Offices are open until 5:00 p.m. on Fridays. On Saturdays, the post office hours are 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. For more information on the island's postal services, call the main post office branch at 268-462-0023.Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Business Travel
Plants of Antigua
Favorite thing: Many of the plants on Antigua are natives, but some are imported from other areas. Whitewood is the large national tree of Antigua - it lives on river banks. Date palms were imported from Africa. White cedar is a local tree which carves well and was used in boat building. The kapok tree comes from Java. And of course there are coconut and bananas.
There are several varieties of cactus that grow here - Candelabra or dildo cactus, and Turks head are two of them and there is also Night blooming Cereus and Monkey-no-climb
Also there the various tropical flowering plants like hibiscus, Bougainvillea, Poinciana, Frangipani, and Plumbago.
Fondest memory: The guide pointed out several instances of Snow on the Mountain - this is a plane which is not generally eaten by wild animals, as it is somewhat poisonous. Mourning doves eat the seedsRelated to:
- Jungle and Rain Forest
- National/State Park
Night Time Swims
Favorite thing: Our favorite thing to do after dinner was to take a swim in the pool. The pool is open 24 hours but most guests don't take adavntage of this. We loved having the pool to ourselves and enjoying a swim without worry of sunburn. It was great fun and we so looked forward to it every night.
Favorite thing: There is something to be said about staying at an all inclusive resort; the free drinks. My wife and I take advatage of this and try as many new cocktails we can. It's often that many cocktails get just one sip before we decide we don't like it. We have found some new favorites over the years: the Chocolate Monkey, The Reggae Top, The BBC and the Strawberry BBC. When you are not paying for drinks; you don't hesitate to try something new.
Favorite thing: One of the best places for information on what to do in various ports is
Cruise Critic. The Cruise Critic Antigua forum board was very useful in planning shore excursions, whether the ones offered by the ship or independent, and there is also Antigua port information with hints on where to go, what to do, where the ships dock, where to eat and how to get around.
To find out how many other cruise ships will be in town along with you, check
Cruisett.com. The more ships in town, the more competition for independent guides and tours and the more crowded the main attractions will be.
The ships dock at Heritage Quay in St. John's, the island's capital. You can find shopping, restaurants, bank machines and local transportation within a few blocks of the Quay.
Favorite thing: Antigua uses the Eastern Caribbean Dollar but most vendors will take US dollars. We didn't have any need to use a credit card or ATM but you should be able to use your credit card or ATM card with no problem. Cruise Critic says that ATMs are available across from Heritage Quay.
I always like to bring small bills with me when we go to the Caribbean, that way you can hand the taxi drivers exact change, have money for tips for guides or buy things at the market without having to get change. If you are coming in by cruise ship, the passenger services desk can break larger bills for you.
Mail Your Purchases
Favorite thing: At Nelson's Dockyard as you walk in, there are some gift shops and boutiques in which to shop for souvenirs as well as some stylish items of clothing. In addition there are also banking facilities, and a bakery. The gift shop next to the museum in the Naval Officer's House is one of the best in Antigua (although I didn't buy anything there.
It carries old maps, plans and charts of Antigua as well as a quantity of local handicrafts.
Fondest memory: There also was a post office which, when I saw it, I took these photos. You could mail your souvenirs home to yourself. I liked the red metal post box.Related to:
- Budget Travel
- National/State Park
Favorite thing: When I took the picture of the church "of the parish of St. Paul with St. Barnabas, on the island of Antigua, in the Anglican Diocese of North Eastern Caribbean and Aruba - Province of the West Indies", I didn't know that it is one of the most photographed churches in Antigua or that it was the oldest church on Antigua at over 250 years old. I had to do a good bit of searching of photos on the internet before I even found the name of the church in my photo. Confirmation of the church identity is photo 3.
One source says that the bricks that were used to build this church were brought from England on HMS Royal Navy Ships but I'm pretty sure that the green stone originated on the island. This church is still in use to this day.
The book "The Birth of the Village of Liberta, Antigua" says
As you enter Liberta from the north on the main road that runs through the village is Barnabas Hill.... as you climb to the summit, you find a quaint little chappel called St. Barnabas Church, better known to the people of the village as Barnabas Hill Church..
It was built of indigenous green limestone in the late seventeenth or early eighteenth century, long before Anglican Communion started to accept Afro-Antiguans as members, several years after the emancipation of slaves. According to Ms. Flannigan, an English writer who wrote extensively on the lives of the island's people, regarding the 1842 earthquake that pummeled the island and caused widespread damage, St. Barnabas Chapel, which was not only used as a church sanctuary, but also a kindergarten school, was among the buildings destroyed. The structure was rebuilt.
Fondest memory: Our guide pointed out to us that some of the stones on the island have a high copper content which makes them turn green. I have been unable to find out if the copper content is actually the reason for the color although I do see that green limestone is quarried in the hills of the south coast. Some of the stones used in the paving in Nelson's Dockyard (photo 2) were green in tint.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Favorite thing: The official Currency in Antigua and Barbuda is the East Caribbean Dollar, which is also the official currency of Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines as well as the british overseas territories of Anguilla and Montserrat. It is the successor of the British West Indies Dollar, which it replaced between 1965 and 1983. Since 1976, it is pegged to the US$ at a rate of 1:2,70.
East Caribbean Dollars are quite hard to get outside of the Caribbean and it is recommended to pre-order them at the bank. Even at places where you would expect to get this currency (Heathrow Airport), it is hard to find some EC$ notes.
The US$ is widely accepted too, especially at places frequently visited by tourists. Although pegged, it is possible that the US$ is accepted at a less favourable rate. If a price is not clearly marked as “US” or “EC”, ask before you buy or it may get expensive for you.
Fondest memory: P.S.: If you want a special souvenir, have a look through your change. Although not an official currency anymore, some old British West Indies Dollar coins are still in circulation. I got two 25 cents coins from 1955 as change, showing all the old designations and young Queen Elizabeth.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Tourist information office
Favorite thing: The tourist information office is not a really well-kept place in Antigua – more a well-kept secret. It was in a cottage in Heritage Quay, now it is hidden in the 1st floor of a small shopping center called “Vendor’s Mall”. You’ll find that at the eastern end of heritage quay. Staff is very friendly and will do the best to answer the questions you have around your stay in Antigua. The office is open during usual opening times, which means it is closed in Sundays and opens somewhen around 9:00 a.m.
Their homepage will answer many FAQs, but keep in mind that also this page is focused on cruise ship tourists and wealthier people. A good example is found among the 25 tips when travelling to Antigua and Barbuda:
13. Best shopping deals are found at Heritage and Redcliffe Quays
“Best” is a good description for “Most expensive” in this case, as these places are among the most touristy ones on the island. Here, you’ll find a high concentration of souvenir shops as well as shops of luxury brands like Gucci. Sounds not like a bargain…
- Budget Travel
Favorite thing: There are several maps for Antigua and Barbuda, many of them are available for free. The most common one is a pocket map from Skyview (in 2008 it had a canopy tour advertising on the front page). The map is good to get an overview of the island and is sufficient for walks around St. John’s. However, hiking with that map is like trying to sail around Britain with a road atlas. Roads are sometimes not where they are supposed to be and distances may be shorter or larger than they appear on the map. But the worst error on the map is the scale of Barbuda. They just forgot the zeros – for the miles as well as for the kilometers. That made me believe that Barbuda had a size of around 5 square kilometers – which proved to be an error….
Free maps (Skyview and others) are available almost everywhere where tourists are found: Airport, shops, hotels etc.
Before departure: Planning your trip via internet
Favorite thing: If you do not want to rely completely on the advice given you by a travel agency (which is the most expensive option), a lot of research is necessary. Internet research is the obvious method, but is focused on high-fare tourists. But what is even worse is the reliability of antiguan websites and e-mail adresses. Many pages weren’t updated for a long time and e-mail adresses do not work. On the other hand, phone calls may just rocket up your bill without bringing you closer to the information you wanted. Nevertheless, I still opt for the internet, but beware that a lot of patience is needed until you get the information you need.
The websites below are a good point to start the search through Antigua’s tourist information websites. The museum site is the best when it comes to get facts about all the sites on the island.
Fondest memory: I was forced to book a new hotel for a date in the beginning of the high season – and that was “only” two months before departure. E-mailing several hotels found on the web brought only a limited result: From around twelve e-mails sent out two were returned due to an unknown sender, three were replied and the rest disappeared somewhere in the virtual Atlantic Ocean. Research for local sights and activities led to a similar result, with the only difference being in three less replies for a total of zero. Fortunately, Among the three hotels e-mails was an acceptable offer (another was fine too, but that e-mail arrived with a delay of a week…).
For some more info:
- Budget Travel
Favorite thing: In Antigua, you won’t find a supermarket chain like Wal-Mart or Tesco. All supermarkets I saw had a somewhat archaic interior and surely most of them were family-owned. It’s the kind of shop you’ll also find in the more rural regions of South America. As there are no chains, every supermarket is different, with some even offering warm meals inside. Also, some round up or down to the next 10 (or 25) cents, elminiating the smaller coins. One some, you have to leave your bag at the front desk or cashier, no matter how small it is. Anyway, going shopping in one of these supermarkets is something many tourists miss. But it’s another simple way to get in touch with everyday culture.
Fondest memory: In St. John’s you’ll find many supermarkets, a couple fo them are located around the market hall. Perhaps the best known and one of the largest is Miami Supermarket (for some reasons, called in the spanish manner “Mi-uh-mee”). Another larger one is found close to the eastern bus station and is run by an asian family. I heard of one supermarket with a larger choice, located a little outside of St. John’s, called Epicurean. However, I was told that that one was quite expensive. But if you are looking for a special imported product, it may be the right cjoice for you.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Antigua and Barbuda Hotels
We always celebrate my Birthday with a trip of my choosing and October 2012 was Antigua. We chose to...more
Five Islands P.O. Box. 305, Antigua Island, ag
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Good for: Couples
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