Surface area : 442.0 km2
Population : 77500 inhabitants
Officially, the shops are open from 8.30am to 4.00pm from Monday to Saturday. However, in practice, the timetables differ according to the shops. Grocer's shops and supermarkets stay open late, sometimes until 10.00pm. Everything is closed on Sunday, apart from the "duty-free" areas of Heritage Quay and Redcliff Quay. And when a cruise-ship has docked, the shops open... even on Sunday! Saint-John's market is on Saturday.
Local dishes include dried fish, and goat, fish or chicken stew. They can be tasted in the small restaurants of Saint-John's. And the island can be proud of having welcomed talented chefs who often offer traditional dishes from their countries together with their own gastronomic creations. Thus, excellent Caribbean, French, Italian and Indian restaurants can be found. The best restaurant on the island, "Chez Pascal", is at Galley Bay. Tasty local "Caribbean" cuisine can be eaten there. In the market, depending on the season, you can find mangoes, guavas, pineapples, oranges, papaya, and fruits from the bread fruit tree... And, of course, all the seafood.
The islands have a distinctly Western and American influence, along with the presence of several off-shore banks. The contrast between rich and poor here, more than elsewhere, is shocking.
Steel (with huge steel drums) or reggae bands play at the week-end and during the carnival season.
Paintings by Antiguan and foreign artists settled in Antigua can be found on the island.
It is advisable to have a well-stuffed wallet to visit Antigua. The island lives off tourism and "off-shore" banking services. You will be tempted everywhere by the so-called "duty-free" shopping. Actually, the prices are quite often higher than elsewhere. (especially at the airport "duty-free" shop).
This island was made for sailing. Seen from the sea, it is superb. The boat penetrates bays and creeks of turquoise water, and you can bathe in paradisiac places. However, walking on the island provides few surprises. The English cut back the original vegetation to plant sugar cane that is no longer cultivated today, and has not been replaced by anything. The only place on the island where beautiful forests remain is Old Road in the South-West. The view from Shirley Heights should not be missed under any circumstances.