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A practical guide to Antigua

National holidays and celebrations

If you're not sure when is the best time to go to Antigua, either to avoid peak seasons, or to make the most of the island's cultural calendar and attend special events such as the annual carnival, then talk to one of our knowledgeable travel advisers who will be able to guide you and make special recommendations.

Religious public holidays in Antigua:

  • Easter (Good Friday, Easter Monday): Between late March and early April. Antigua is a deeply religious Christian country, and Easter marks a major religious celebration where most Antiguans attend church.
  • Whit Monday / Pentecost: Date varies annually. A day for family get-togethers on the beach.
  • Christmas Day: 25th December. A Champagne Party is held on Nelson's Dockyard for tourists.

Other official public holidays and key celebrations

  • New Year's Day: 1st January.
  • Labour Day: Varies each year so that it always falls on a Monday but typically marked on 1st May.
  • Carnival Monday and Tuesday: First Monday and Tuesday in August. The Antiguan Carnival is celebrated island-wide starting at 4 AM.
  • Independence Day: 1st November. Marked by food fairs, sport competitions, dance, kite flying and craft exhibitions.
  • National Heroes Day: 9th December. Commemorates the first Prime Minister and other national heroes.

Tip: In Antigua, holidays that fall on weekends tend to be observed the following Monday.

Money

The currency in Antigua is the Eastern Caribbean dollar ($ or XCD) and US dollars are also widely accepted.

  • For the best rates, bring British pounds to exchange on arrival and obtain local currency at a local bank.
  • ATM machines are found throughout the island and offer good rates.
  • Island-wide, major credit and debit cards, as well as traveller's cheques are accepted.

Eating out

With its own special take on Creole cuisine, food in Antigua and Barbuda has Caribbean flair with a unique twist. Dishes not to be missed include 'fungie', a dish similar to polenta, and 'pepper pot', a variation of a common Caribbean concoction of smoked pork and spinach soup.

Local specialities also include 'saltfish and lobster' (a particular favourite on Barbuda) and a seasoned rice called 'ducana'. If you're not too full after all that, those with a sweet tooth can always enjoy delicious Antiguan desert options including local fudge, peanut brittle, and raspberry and tamarind stew.

Wash all that down with delicious popular drinks including seamoss, maubi, hibiscus juice, soursop juice and ginger beer. There's also a fine selection of rum, including the award-winning English Harbour Rum, for a true taste of the Caribbean.

Weather

Antigua enjoys a typical tropical climate and is sunny and warm all-year-round, with little seasonal variation.

  • Annual average temperatures oscillate around 25°C and rarely dip below 20°C during the winter months - January to February.
  • August is the hottest month, when temperatures peak at around 28°C.
  • Humidity is low and the trade winds bring a cooling breeze, tempering the hot weather.
  • Drier than most other Caribbean islands, Antigua enjoys some of the best summers in the Caribbean.
  • The hurricane season in Antigua runs from June to November, but poses too small a risk to put you off visiting.

Meterological information

J F M A M J J A S O N D
Average °C 262626262727282829282827
Minimum °C 232222232324252525252424
Maximum °C 292929293030313132313130
Sunshine (hours) 788888888777
Rain (cm) 6443556778138

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