Shopping on Antigua

I'll try to list a few things of interest, but as always, proceed with caution - you might have different requirements and interests, especially if you're on Antigua for a short visit only. My approach to shopping is usually that of homo oeconomicus (getting the most adequate for the least price and with the least effort). Or are you looking for the interesting experience when you get a sack of potatoes? (Speaking of which, potatoes are rather hard to come by on Antigua.) - The products I'm listing may be a bit euro-centric but then that's my fate; if you are from Antigua and wish to add some things, don't hesitate to write me!

Above: The Wood Centre complex,
with the Epicurean supermarket.


I bought most of my groceries at the Epicurean supermarket, in the Wood Centre Complex (it's on the map on the restaurant page). The Epicurean is, for a supermarket at least, rather expensive, but they carry many products I couldn't find elsewhere, for example some herbs, or reasonably fresh French cheese (from a counter, not shrink-wrapped), many ingredients for Italian cooking, a large selection of dairy products, etc. The Epicurean is open daily from 8am to 10pm.

It would be rather futile to list stuff that I was surprised not to get on Antigua because depending on where you're from, this list would differ vastly. As a general rule, fruit and vegetables that have been imported or those which need a lot of water to grow will not be of a very high quality, and you shouldn't buy fruit and vegs at the supermarket - there's a "conventional" market in St. John's every Saturday (and some stalls seem to be there all week), selling mostly local produce at affordable prices and, if you have an eye for it, a good quality.

Sparkling mineral water is quite a rarity. The Epicurean has three brands - one imported from Scotland, one from France, and one from Italy - all in glass bottles!

If you buy anything that can potentially support a large number of nasty insects - muesli being a prime example - look closely, and try to buy the stuff in clear wrapping so that you can inspect the contents.

Bread bought from the supermarket will only satisfy the expectations of my American readers ;-) all others should think about getting their bread supplies from Philton's Bakery (they also do eat-in sandwiches), just a bit further South from the Wood Centre (follow signs to Gambles Medical Centre). There is also a good French Bakery in St. John's, at Redcliffe Quay.

There is another rather big supermarket in St. John's, near the harbour, between Newgate and North Street (someone with local knowledge please tell me if I've got the street names right), and an even larger one past the roundabout on the western end of Dickenson Bay Street.

If you require larger quantities of certain groceries, check out Island Provisions - follow Old Parham Road from St. John's to the airport, but at the crossroads where you have to turn left for the airport, turn right instead. I believe you have to pre-order many things but they carry a lot of items and are really cheap - I bought a 50kg sack of rye flour there because I couldn't get the stuff anywhere else on the island.

St. John's also has a fish market but I don't know about their opening times. There's a huge number of little "supermarkets" which are often worth a look; many sell some items cheaper than the Epicurean, but none can match its selection.


The Epicurean carries a limited selection of housewares. Other than that, try the houseware shop in the basement of the City View Hotel on Dickenson Bay Street, or the department store that has recently opened next door to that, and then you can also try Benji's Department Store which must be somewhere in the Temple/Nevis and St Mary's/Redcliffe Street rectangle (sorry but my memory deserted me here).


There are essentially two types of clothing stores in St. John's - guess what? One caters to tourists and sells trendy stuff with cool souvenir prints for US dollars, the other has locals as customers and sells the things that you can really use for something other than showing folks at home that you were on Antigua. It's not hard to figure it out, and a stroll in St. John's will lead you past virtually every such store. I found clothing to be rather cheap, in fact, the only kind of goods that were consistently cheaper than at home. Don't expect to get a lot of brand name stuff (unless in the tourist shops) but who needs them anyway?

I am not an expert but I guess that St. John's must be one of the places with the highest density of footwear shops per capita in the world.

Books and Magazines

Again, the Epicurean has some magazines at the checkout. There's a book shop in the Wood Centre right next to it, in fact that is the only book shop of note, and they do have a good selection of books; mostly from Britain. (See their web site.) I believe there's a sort of Christian Bookshop somewhere in St. John's but I didn't care a lot, and you will find some travel guides and (again Christian) education literature in the Map Shop on St. Mary's Street. As the name implies, this is also the place to get your maps.

Don't bother ordering from Amazon while you're on the island. Shipping and duties are exorbitant, it takes ages to arrive, and you'll have to pick it up in person at the post office (and get some paperwork done at the customs office before). If there's any chance of having the bookshop get the stuff for you, you're well advised to use them.

The main local newspaper is the Antigua Sun.


Antigua is a very expensive place to buy anything which has been invented in the past 20 years - expensive, at least, by European, and even more so by U.S. American standards.

A good source for anything technical up to microcomputer complexity is Radio Shack at the Wood Centre. You'll find loudspeakers, musical instruments, batteries, transformers, tools, wires, and even some electronic components here, as well as some computer accessoires. If you're serious about computer stuff, check out ACT in St. John's (Church Street cnr. Market Street); they also have a buggy website. There are a few other computer stores, two of them on High Street (one opposite the cinema, the other still further East). You will also find a few mixed stores on the southern end of Thames Street, and consumer electronics (TVs, hifis) are available at Courts, a large store just south of the market (between All Saints and Valley Road).

Office Supplies

As you may have guessed by now, the Epicurean does have a limited selection of office supply items. But you'll get everything you need just around the corner, in the office supply store at the Wood Centre. The aforementioned Benji's Department Store also has a wide range of items. There is a shop selling office supplies and graphics stuff on the corner of St. Mary's and Cross Street, and another one on Popeshead Street (near the corner with Bishopsgate Street).

Toiletries and Medication

Apart from the Epicurean :-), there's a pharamacy at the Wood Centre, and also Benji's Drug Store/Pharmacy on Redcliffe Street (or was it St. Mary's? Anyone who knows, please help!). Another pharmacy is on the corner of High Street and Temple Street. They are quite cooperative - a friend of mine required a prescription medicine and asked for it in one of them, who was out of stock and then called round and found another pharmacy who had what we needed.

A Word at the End

The information on this page is written down based on my experience in 1999/2000. I know that these things change, so if you know or find that anything I'm saying is wrong, please contact me so that I may correct it!

  Frederik Ramm, 2001-05-17