Some Basics about Antigua


Redonda
Together with its "sister island", Barbuda, and the uninhabited rock called Redonda, Antigua forms the state of Antigua and Barbuda. Antigua's area is about 280 sq km, Barbuda's is about 160 sq km, and Redonda is negligible. (As a comparison for Europeans: Scotland alone has ten islands larger than that.) The total population is close to 70,000 people, of which about 1,500 live on Barbuda and probably about 40,000 in the capital, St. John's.

See the CIA World Factbook for further details.

Weather

The temperature on Antigua seldom ever falls below 20C, i.e. on the coldest days you might want to wear a sweater over your T-shirt in the evenings. The climate is most pleasant from November to February, and becomes hotter and more humid during the rest of the year. The time between June and November is called the "Hurricane Season" because hurricanes are most likely during these months. It never snows on Antigua, and ice is something you buy at the petrol station to keep your drinks cool.

If you stay on Antigua for a long time, you will notice that there is much less sesaonal variation in the weather than in other parts of the world. During a year in central Europe, you will usually encounter a temperature range from somewhere below 0C to somewhere around 30C, and you will see 6-hour days as well as 14-hour days, with plants and animals (and humans) changing their behaviour accordingly. Not so on Antigua; there are seasonal variations but they are much less pronounced.

Check the current weather in St. John's with weather.com.

Sky

I'm not a hobby astronomer but I was very impressed by the huge number of stars visible from Antigua at night. For me, as a European, the moon was also very interesting - I'm used to see the new moon as a "C" shape in the sky, while on Antigua it looked rather like a bathtub.

Currency

The Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC$, XCD) is Antigua's official currency. It is linked to the US dollar using an exchange rate of 2.67 EC$ per US$. (Convert your currency at Yahoo.) Major credit cards are widely accepted; shop assistants will often convert an amount from EC$ to US$ before charging your card. You will be able to pay in US$ almost everywhere, but people will often use the (easier to use) exchange rate of 2.5 for that. Also, I think it's a nice gesture to use their currency since they have gone through all the trouble of creating it. The EC$ is also used on all other Eastern Caribbean states, except those belonging to the USA (they use the US$) and France (they use the French Franc/Euro).


  Frederik Ramm, 2001-05-23