Camouflage pattern clothes
While in many european countries, camouflage pattern has become something usual to be seen on normal people, it is not so in some countries of the East Caribbean. Some nations even don't permit such clothes to be worn by any civilian, including children. While Antigua is not among them, you may be regarded as something unusual by wearing something with military pattern. The best is just to put on something else, especially if you plan a daytrip to another Caribbean nation (for example Barbados), where it is strictly prohibited.
I have to say that in St. John the vendors are the most aggressive I have encountered in the Caribbean. They swarm around you hawking their wares and a good majority of them do not take a "No Thank You" as an answer. My wife just ignores them and walks through......
On the beach they hover over your chair....looking to sell you a necklace, a hat, a tee shirt and even some drugs. My wife just pretends she doesn't speak english and they go away.
As always, protect your skin and wear sunblock. We always wear sunblock and hats to avoid getting burned. Bring sunblock with you and make sure to re-apply.
We always weart hats to protect our head, face, ears and neck from the sun.
Hurricane Season is something to consider when booking a trip to the Caribbean. Hurricane Season begins in June and lasts until the end of November. If you plan on travelling during Hurricane Season you might want to consider travel insurance or experiencing some wet weather.
During our October 2012 trip to Antigua we landed right into Tropical Storm Raphael. The storm created two days of extreme weather; rain, floooding, thunder and lightning. Afterwards the storm moved on to Bermuda as a hurricane. We were fortunate during our 2013 visit to have no tropical storms just some seasonal rain showers.
Attention with Rental Cars
When taking a rental car check the tires and look if there are any tools in the car. Our car had a flat tire after crossing the second bumper and there was no tool in the car which could enable us the help ourselves.
Also the complete absence of traffic signs on the whole island makes it difficult to find your way.Related to:
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
Beware of the Antiguan Vendors.....
My daughter and I decided to spend the day on the beach, so we found 2 chairs away from the crowds. We placed our towels and items on the chairs and went for a swim. While swimming I thought I heard someone talking and ask my daughter if "He" was talking to us. We didn't think so. We continued to swim. Finally he became so loud it was apparent he was definitly talking to us. I ask him what was his problem. He just kept on ranting and raving in anger. Everyone was wondering what the problem was. I explained I thought this was a public beach and that the chairs were for anyone staying at the Hotel to use. I moved our chairs and stuff. He continued to be loud and rambling. This was his spot he declared. My daughter then approached and ask what was his problem. She wasn't about to back down from his rudness. Security came and they couldn't get him to calm down either. Finally another vendor used his cell phone and called the Police. They came and the guy was still ranting and raving. Another older Antiguan woman had told me he was trouble for everybody. He had recently hit a man over the head for sitting under a tree. The man had to go to the hospital. She said no one ever does anything about him. It was then I decided we would do whatever we could to get this madman some help. We had to go to the police station to file a report. The wildman was arrested for the night. We then had to attend court the next day. When it was all over we were told they would have to have another court date Jan. 23 for more wittnesses to appear. He was released and back out on the beach the same afternoon.
Crime and Corruption
Well I live on Antigua and can confirm the level of violence and corruption has escalated beyond belief in the last 2 years.
Most forums remove any negative comment regarding the island, one site in particular that ensure no negative comment is tolerated is the "antiguaforums.
There is a blog that collates news paper reports and other facts regarding the island that will probably give you a better perspective of what Antigua is really like.
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If at a local club like...
If at a local club like ribbitz in St John or at Shirley Heights, be aware that some local guys consiter themselves sex gods and will try and score as many white girls as they can. Though this isn't the case with many Antiguans, you'll know who I'm talking about when he slides in to dance with any even loosely accompanied woman. The more you dance with him, the longer he will stay and more determined he will be to score.
Also, there are a lot of hard drugs kicking around in Antigua. A handful of local junkies (a very small proportion of the population) will hang around as close to tourist areas as the authorities will allow in order to beg from tourists to pay for their habits. Its best to look past and walk on, in my opinion they are slightly dangerous and can be a nuisance if you speak to them. Its best to just leave them alone, and they'll do the same to you if you aren't part of todays busload of suckers.
St John's - Parking hell
The capital of Antigua, St John's is awful for parking - the centre is actually great to visit but I advise either taking the bus (not sure what number) or getting a taxi (its worth it - be advised though - don't go on the days when the cruise ships are in). If you do go into town in a car the people are so friendly and will always give you directions.Related to:
- Road Trip
Drugs and other annoyances
Long-haired males are not only likely to get special treatment at the shoe-control lane in Stansted, but are also seen as potential costumers to buy drugs. That's probably the reason, why I was asked so many times, if I want to buy some Ganja or whatever you may call it. I don't know about the legal status of cannabis products in Antigua, but I am surely not interested in them. Fortunately, a friendly "no, thanks" works quite well.
In addition to that, avoid to be close to a cruise ship when its passengers are disembarking. Locals will aproach you trying to get you into a taxi for a day tour. Some others are trying to give you a special offer on braiding your hair (Back home, I wouldn't have the slightes idea how to explain that to my boss...). And of course, also the drug dealers are looking for potential costumers. So, if you do not want to feel like a wounded gazelle in the Serengeti, look for your taxi or go shopping at any other time.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Our last visit to Antigua in 2013 was the first time we encountered any jelly fish. There were large swarms of them in the water which made it a necessity to avoid the beach on some days. We encountered many guest at the resort who had been stung by the jellyfish or met someone who had. We'd rather be cautious and stay out of the water to avoid a painful sting.
If you are in town or by the cruise pier there are tons of Taxi guys wanting to take you on a tour or to the beach. There are literally groups of twenty of so miling around each corner; all of them asking the same question despite you saying no to the five previous. It's very exhausting but they have to make a living.
Take care when photographing
I was filming a delightfully mis-spelt sign at a petrol station while my husband was filling the car. A group of youths approached from the road and demanded money for photographing them - which I most certainly was not. Seemingly under the influence of substances they were very threatening and we had to pay and leave in a hurry. The only downside of otherwise friendly and hospitable people.
Do not under any circumstances...
Do not under any circumstances go snorkling unless it is a guided tour through your ship or some tourist agency on the island. Our group went to a beach were one of the locals took us into the open water. There were 5 of us and he had three lifevests. He let us out in rough seas to snorkle, some of us were washed up against the coral reefs cuts from these are very painful and took months to heal.
There are virtually *NO* road...
There are virtually *NO* road signs anywhere on Antigua. The roads are in terrible shape, but you can drive it with a car. The tap water is pretty salty, so you may want to purchase bottled water, but it's expensive. We didn't have any problem with the local islanders -- they were some of the nicest people we've ever encountered in the Carribean.
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We always celebrate my Birthday with a trip of my choosing and October 2012 was Antigua. We chose to...more
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