Antigua is pretty amazing, it has beautiful beaches, lovely people and stunning scenery. However, like any country, it has its quirks and things you need to be on the look out for as travelers or tourists. Here is our list of wacky tips and things we learned while in Antigua.
Watch out for the 'wildlife'
If you're driving around Antigua, even close to the towns, you need to watch out for the numerous herds of horses, cows and especially goats. They graze by the side of the road but many are not tethered and can wander into the road. These animals are all owned and taken care of, so shouldn't be considered dangerous, but some herds do have breeding bulls and rams, so you need to watch out if you stop to feed or pet them.
Talk to the locals
The Antiguan people speak English as their first language, but between themselves they speak a creole dialect that is a bit harder to understand. The locals are very happy to share, and will talk for hours about their families, jobs, sport (cricket and football are big in Antigua). Just listen out for a couple of their expressions such as 'stand up,' which actually means 'stop' and 'walk this way,' which confusingly is used in reference to driving, not walking.
If you can't find a local bank and are looking for cash, the best place to get it (in East Caribbean dollars) is any supermarket. The reason we included this tip is because each machine only takes one type of card, so if you're asking for directions to an ATM, make sure you specify which type of card you use, i.e. visa, mastercard etc.
Don't be afraid to visit the local supermarket. The Epicurean is the biggest supermarket on the island, and the most westernized (they have sushi), but we found the local indoor markets just as easy to get around and much closer to where we were staying. The most exciting thing about them for us? They sell Heinz baked beans. The only thing that's not as available in the local markets is good, fresh meat. A lot of it is frozen or just not sold at all.
While looking for tours and activities on the island we looked online and in the hotels for brochures etc, but the best tours we went on were booked through a tourism rep we met on the beach. While some people may find this a bit sketchy, we asked reps at the villa that we trusted and were told that for price we wouldn't get a better deal online or at the hotels and in terms of quality all the tours were very similar.
Those in the Western world used to fast paced life and getting to where they want to go as quickly as possible will struggle with the traffic in Antigua. Its slow paced, because the roads are narrow and windy and the drivers are incredibly pushy, so if you're a little bit of a cautious Carol when you drive, you'll soon find yourself being overtaken and trundling along behind slow trucks and possibly tractors.